It’s late October and I’m having a tough time giving up my warm weather habits… I’m resisting the impending cold weather as long as I can. Even if it is a bone chilling 32 degrees outside, I still prefer to order my latte over ice early in the morning on my way to work. I know that once I start to order it piping hot, I’m going to be drinking it that way until the warm weather arrives again in the spring. I look at it this way, we still have at least another week of glorious warm weather here in Southern Oregon and I am going to take advantage of it. That means getting outdoors and enjoying the bright sunshine while it is still here.
While preparing my Smoked Salmon Dip for an appetizer for a dinner party later this evening, I spied some cedar waxwings in one of the trees outside my kitchen window. I immediately stopped what I was doing and grabbed my camera. Cedar waxwings are sleek crested medium sized birds that frequent my neighborhood in the fall of the year. They arrive in large noisy flocks to eat the fruit off of the flowering crab apple tree in the back of the yard. Cedar waxwings are distinctive for they look like little bandits with dark black masks streaked across their faces.
Another way of identifying a cedar waxwing is by the glossy dark grey wing feathers and bright yellow tip on its tail. Cedar waxwings are similar to Bohemian waxwings but are smaller in size.
A pair of cedar waxwings deciding on which juicy berry they are going to pick first. The one on top of the photo is a juvenile. You can tell by the lightly mottled brown feathers on its breast and back. By next spring its plumage will look like the mature adult perched on the branch below.
Cedar waxwings are without a doubt, greedy little birds. They are in the trees as soon as the sun comes up in the morning, and they stay throughout the day, gobbling up as much fruit as they can fit into their bellies. It’s amazing to see how many berries one single bird will gulp down. Within a few short weeks all of the fruit will be stripped from the trees. Regardless of what the calendar says, that in my mind, officially marks the end of the warm summer months…
After snapping a few photos of the cedar waxwings, I resumed preparing my Smoked Salmon Dip. My Smoked Salmon Dip is light, flavorful and easy to make. It’s made with good quality smoked Oregon Chinook salmon, fluffy cream cheese, light sour cream, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, fresh squeezed lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. My Smoked Salmon Dip tastes amazing on crackers, toasts, chips and even fresh vegetables. Enjoy! Tessa
- 6 ounces smoked salmon
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 1 tsp horseradish
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- a few dashes hot sauce (optional)
- salt to taste
- garnish with bits of smoked salmon or fresh snipped herbs
Begin by placing the cream cheese, sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and hot sauce in a medium sized bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream cheese mixture until it is light and fluffy. Be sure to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure that the mixture is well incorporated. Break apart the smoked salmon into smaller pieces removing the skin or any bones. Add smoked salmon to the cream cheese mixture and blend well. Taste and correct your seasonings. Keep chilled. Place in a dish and serve. Garnish with bits of smoked salmon and herbs. Makes approximately two cups.