Updated: Jan 9
I love seafood and could easily live on shrimp and oysters for the rest of my life. My kids eat these foods, but definitely don’t love them as much as I do, especially the oldest one. The youngest son can eat any type of seafood especially with no big brother around who likes to make comments about the smell of the seafood being eaten! I think my love for seafood came from my father who enjoyed it along with his love for spicy food. It's been many years since he has passed, and I still miss him terribly.
As a mom I’m always looking for ways to make seafood delicious and appealing for the kids. Plus, we all need our veggies too (and a variety of them) so I’m always looking for ways to combine proteins, veggies, and healthy fats in a single snack that satisfies my little ones. This recipe checks all of those criteria and is a favorite in our house. I even call this dip an emergency appetizer, and it is also quick, easy, inexpensive and good for you.
A Secret Probiotic Boost
This recipe incorporates one of my other favorite foods that is packed with probiotics and protein: kefir cheese!
Even if you aren’t a huge cheese fan, stick with me for a minute. This cheese is an exception even for those people who are trying to avoid dairy. Kefir cheese is a creamy delicious cheese adding creaminess and texture to this recipe. Even my boys who insist that “kefir cheese is not one of their favorite foods” love this dip.
Most creamy dips rely on a lot of cream cheese for flavor. By substituting with kefir cheese, you get an even richer flavor, more protein, and most importantly it's loaded with probiotics. You can feel great about giving this dip to your kids.
Important Note on Kefir Cheese
If you love cheese, then you really need to learn to make kefir cheese. It's crazy easy, filled with probiotics, and you can use it many different ways. I make kefir cheese in small batches on a regular basis since making milk kefir is pretty much a daily routine. I want to show you how you can do it too. I use kefir cheese in place of any recipe that calls for cream cheese, sour cream, or yogurt. It's very versatile! Making kefir cheese is one of my favorite things to do with kefir—and it’s a great way to sneak it into the diets of picky eaters.
Great News: Kefir Cheese Is 99% Lactose Free!
The curds (or the cheese) portion of kefir contains most of the fat (and you do want to use whole fat milk), casein (dairy protein), and vitamin A. The whey (the liquid) also contains a lot of beneficial properties for your body, and they both (curds and whey) contain probiotics. Kefir cheese is loaded with calcium because it is so concentrated. The good lactic acid bacteria in kefir eat the lactose (dairy sugars) out of the milk, lower the pH, make it tart, and cause the milk protein to thicken. The digestion of the lactose as these bacteria ferment milk makes kefir easily digestible. Kefir is pre-digested food. The bacteria make probiotics from the sugars and as a result gives us a 99% lactose-free product.
Here Is How to Make Kefir Cheese
I usually make kefir cheese at least once a week, so I always have it on hand. Using two coffee filters with a strainer works great. I also have a yogurt maker and it provides the same principle of straining and separating cheese curds from whey as does the coffee filter & strainer method. Sounds easy, right?
Place two paper coffee filters into a strainer and put the strainer on top of a bowl. Pour 2 cups of kefir (my warning to you: nonfat kefir will give you a sour taste of the final product) into the double coffee filters and the liquid (called whey) will drain into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. This process will take 12 to 24 hours. Once it is complete, you will have cheese in the coffee filters and whey in the bowl. Simply flip the coffee filters upside down onto a plate. EASY!!! You will end up with 3/4-1 cup of kefir cheese. Keep the whey and store in another container. This "Golden liquid" as whey is called can replace lemon juice in salad dressing, be added to smoothies, be used as a facial cleanser, a stain remover and many more things!!!
A Few Thoughts About Smoked Oysters
Oysters are a nutrient dense food and extremely high in vitamin B12, which is especially important for vegetarians. They are right up there with organ meats when it comes to nutrient density. Canned smoked oysters are an easy and very inexpensive way to get these nutritional powerhouses into your diet on a regular basis. However, the flavor is strong so it’s a challenging food for even the most adventurous eater. Luckily, I grew up eating smoked fish almost daily and therefore it's not a problem for me or with my youngest son. This dip recipe tones down the strong smoky flavor by using traditional herbs combined with creamy cheese and mayo. You mostly taste the herbs, cheese, and a tiny kick of horseradish (make sure your horseradish has clean ingredients, " no natural flavors", artificial flavorings, sugar, etc.). If you typically are challenged with the texture of smoked oysters, this is a great recipe for you because it is well hidden within the other ingredients. If you are unsure about experimenting with these flavors then try one of my favorite dips: Black olive tapenade, for this also provides you with good fats and good bacteria for your gut as well.
Notes On Cheese
First, check your local farmers market every time you go and I'm pretty sure you will find kefir cheese.
But what if you want to make this dip now? Well, it is possible! Simply substitute kefir cheese with mascarpone, ricotta or farmers cheese. Cream cheese is a great option too.
Notes On Canned Oysters
Make sure to use oysters that are not chemically smoked. The ingredients should just read smoked oysters, salt, and maybe oil. If chemicals are used, they may contain gluten or other additives so make sure to read the label.
Let's do it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Making time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Yield: 8 servings
1 can of smoked oysters or sardines
1/2 cup mayo of your choice (I used homemade mayonnaise in the video)
1 Tablespoon horseradish
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
a pinch of salt and black pepper (freshly ground)
1/2 cup chives, chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
3/4 cup kefir cheese (ricotta, mascarpone, farmers cheese, cream cheese)
few drops of hot sauce
veggies and crackers to serve
Place all ingredients into a mixer using a whisk attachment. Whisk a little bit, just enough to incorporate all ingredients. That's it.
2. Pour into a serving dish and enjoy with crackers or veggies.