Apr 11, 2012

Missing Maine: Green Olive Cream Cheese

I mentioned last week that I've been missing Maine and missing getting a green olive cream cheese bagel from a local bagel shop.  I realize that only about a 1/3 of my readers will stick with me on this post - green olives are certainly an acquired taste.  I'm the only one in my family that likes them.  Everyone else pretends to die at the idea of me eating them.  Whatever!  So, if you like green olives, or know someone who does, keep reading.  Other wise, it's okay, I'll catch up with you later.

So, Maine!  I love Maine!  I called that state my home for 10 years and even though I knew in my heart that it was time to move to Colorado, it was hard to leave.  My favorite little town, and the last placed we lived in Maine, is called Camden.  It was there that I fell hard for green olive cream cheese bagels.

So, why did a Utah girl end up in Maine?  Well, in 1997 my husband and I stood on the corner of Elm Street, in Camden, by the city green.  I was holding my then 3 month old daughter and we both had a rush of emotion hit us.  We were just on vacation but there was a sense of clarity in that moment and we knew we were supposed to live in that town. It was home!  I'm pretty sure our family thought we were just drawn to Maine because of it's New England charm and one brother claimed it was the farthest away we could get from family, but, I've had those impressions before and I knew - I knew - it was something more.

It took us another visit a year later and then another two years to pull things together but we did it.  We moved.  Our family didn't understand.  My parents thought we were insane.  Moving 3,000 miles away from family and friends "just because" was unthinkable to them.  But we knew it was right.  And, years later, even my dad admitted it was a good move for us.

We didn't end up in Camden until 2006.  We'd visit every chance we got but moving there didn't happen right away.  When it did though, it was right and we were lucky enough to have this be our regular view on evening walks.

Beautiful!  They'd shoot fireworks out over the harbor in the summer and I swear, it was the most patriotic thing you could ever see.  I felt very American living in small town USA.  Here's a little map of Camden.

We lived at "A".  The Bagel Cafe was at "B".  It was so close.  The Village and harbor are at "C".  I felt so spoiled that I lived in a Norman Rockwell like town were I could walk everywhere.  It would take about 5 minutes to walk to the harbor, village shops, and the library.  If you ever get to go to Maine, go visit Camden.  It's a busy tourist town in the summer but the beauties are worth the trip.  Oh, and see "D" - I miss that place the most.  Laite Beach.  It's not a beautiful beach as in sandy and warm.  It's slightly rocky, and not very big, but it was my place.  Very few tourist knew about it so it was a place to go and sit and think and most of all search for sea glass.  I miss searching for sea glass.  I miss Laite Beach.  I miss my walks to the village.  I miss the friends I left behind.

Ok, I'm starting to miss Maine even more.... let's move on.

I told you that I've been craving these bagels and that I haven't been able to find anything close to them in Fort Collins.  Because of that, I came up with my own recipe.  If you are interested, here it is....

You will need:
1 - 8oz package of cream cheese.  I opted for the less fat version but it's good with regular too
Plain bagels
Onion powder
*Garlic Salt
Green Olives
(*edited note:  My friend Mona, suggested Garlic Powder instead of Garlic Salt since the olives are already salt.  I'll try that next time)

Step 1:  Start by letting your cream cheese soften.  You want it soft enough that you can stir it easily.  Then, sprinkle on some Garlic Salt and some Onion Powder.  I didn't measure, I just sprinkled.  Start with less and then add more to taste as needed.

Step 2:  Next, take a handful of green olives and chop them up.  You'll want about a 1/2 of a cup, more or less.  I tend to go for more but 1/2 cup is a good amount.

Step 3:  Stir everything together.  Taste it and if it needs more garlic or onion, mix in a little more.

Step 4:  That's pretty much it.  I like to let the spread sit in the fridge for a little bit, maybe an hour before I eat it. The flavors tend to settle this way.  Then, when you are ready for a quick snack, toast a half of a bagel, spread on the yummy goodness and enjoy!  You can also put it on Ritz crackers for an appetizer too.

So, thanks for letting me reminisce and if you try the recipe, let me know what you think.