Happy Friday! Doesn’t this recipe, make your mouth water! I love cheese and I love sweet and savory food combinations! This appetizer takes less than 45 minutes to make, and is great for a party! Serve with your favorite wine and artisan crackers and I guarantee you will be the hit of the party! I hope you enjoy my Classic Brie en Croute!
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (package comes with 2 sheets)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped almonds (or pecans or walnuts)
1 small (8-ounce) wheel Brie
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold (place remaining sheet in freezer for later use). Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14 inch square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Spread preserves to within 1 inch of pastry edge. Sprinkle cranberries and almonds over preserves. Center the wheel of Brie on top of the pastry sheet. Brush edge of circle with egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2 inch from edge of cheese. Fold these two sides over the cheese. Press edges to seal. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Take the access dough and roll it out, cut into stripes, and criss-cross the dough over the cheese to create a lattice design. Place the brie in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Place the golden brown bundle of brie on a serving plate and serve with artisan crackers.
For our Christmas party everyone was responsible for bringing an appetizer and drinks. I decided to do wine and a cheese platter. The platter turned out wonderful! See below how I prepared my appetizer!
Habanero hot pepper cheddar
The cheese platter was pretty simple; it just took a little preparation! I had four cheeses and four toppings to go with each cheese. I also created a platter of crackers and garlic crostini to go along with the cheese platter. I began assembling the cheese platter by taking a long cutting board and four small silver bowls. Each silver bowl contained a topping to be used along with the cheese. Be sure to offer all sorts of accompaniments with your cheese platter: crackers, baguette slices, sauces, chutneys, jams, berries, sliced fruit and don’t forget the red and white wine. I used dijon mustard with habanero hot pepper cheddar, pear slices with brie, cranrasins with sharp cheddar, and apricot jam with goat cheese. I like to go ahead and slice all hard cheeses (no need if the cheese is already soft enough for spreading, i.e. goat cheese). Having each cheese pre-cut invites guests to go head and dig in! Make sure to label each cheese, so your guests know what they are eating. I used tooth picks, tape, paper that I cut into flags and used a DYMO label maker. The best part about a cheese platter is the accompaniments don’t have to only be used with one type of cheese. I used apricot jam on brie with cranrasins, trying different flavor combinations I always find is the fun part! Cheese makes a great appetizer and it looks like a lot of work, but they are easy and so tasty!
A few pictures from our Christmas party! We played life-size Jenga, had girl talk while we sat around and drank wine, danced, and laughed a lot! Two successful Christmas parties in one weekend, can we say intense, but successful!
Hope you had an enjoyable weekend too! Did you throw or attend any Christmas parties?
2 Whole Wheat English Muffins, halved
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons of freshly cut basil
1/2 cup smoked mozzarella, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Take two English muffins and cut each in half and place face side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle EVOO over the English muffins and place in the oven for 3 minutes to toast. While the English muffins are toasting cube the smoked mozzarella, chop freshly cut basil by chiffonade, which is just a fancy term for thin shredded strips. On two halves of the English muffins place a few cubes of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil and top with more smoked mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste. On the other two halves of English muffins place a few cubes of smoked mozzarella, then place three pepperonis on each half and top with the remaining smoked mozzarella. Drizzle a little more EVOO over each English muffin, this will help caramelize the cheese. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. You can tell when the pizza is done when the cheese is caramelized and the edges of the English muffins are golden brown. Bon appetit!
My husbands family is moving out of the country and over the weekend we had a going away party for them. I was in charge of making a salad. I was so busy with work and house work, that I barely had time to make a salad, but I wanted to put my best foot forward. I didn’t want to buy a bag of mixed greens, throw it in one of my pretty bowls with dressing and call it a day. Instead, I wanted to make a hearty and tasty salad. Sometimes making a recipe from inspiration in the grocery store is the best. You can make salads in so many different ways: Caesar, Southwest, Cobb, etc. With each salad it brings its own individuality with different cheeses, vegetables, meats, etc. I was in the grocery store and I decided to pick some of my favorite vegetables and salad add-ins. Food needs to look good and be colorful and the best way is to include different vegetables, cheeses and meats. I love cherry tomatoes, they’re sweetness burst in your mouth. Colby jack cheese is marbled and adds a beautiful yellow spark to the salad. Mushrooms act as sponges and absorb the flavors of the dressing. Carrots add a beautiful orange color, as well as the pretty “trees”, as I called broccoli as a kid.
8oz of Rotini
8oz of Baby Carrots
3 Broccoli Heads
10.5oz Cherry Tomatoes
8oz of Sliced Portobello Mushrooms
4oz of Colby Jack Cheese
8oz of Spring Salad Mix
8oz of salami
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon of no slat organic seasoning (my fave is purchased at Costco)
In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the Rotini and cook for 8 minutes until al dente. While the pasta is cooking throw the spring mix of greens in a large bowl. Dice the carrots, broccoli, portobello mushrooms and Colby jack cheese and add to the salad. Add the cherry tomatoes. Once the pasta has finished cooking, strain and let it come to room temperature. Once the pasta has cooled add 1 tablespoon of seasoning and fresh diced rosemary to the pasta and toss, making sure each noddle is coated. Add 8oz of diced salami to the salad. Add the pasta to the salad and toss. Serve with your favorite healthy dressing!
The other night I made Italian food for dinner, my favorite! I had leftover Irish soda bread, so I decided to use it for my garlic bread. Even though it had rasins in it, it was a sweet compliment to the savory flavors of typical garlic bread. When making garlic bread, I love to heat the bread through, enough that it is warm to the touch. I then take a garlic clove and rub it against the warm bread, infusing the bread with that great garlic taste. I love garlic and whats even better is it’s great for you!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 stick of organic butter
12 (1/2-inch thick) slices Irish soda bread
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh dill
2 garlic cloves
To make the garlic bread: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drizzle the oil over the bread slices. For additional creaminess spread a thin layer of butter on each slice. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet. Heat the bread through, enough that it is warm to the touch. Then take a garlic clove and rub it against the warm bread, infusing the bread with garlic. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and freshly chopped dill. Place the bread back into the oven and bake until the bread is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes.
On Monday night I made my husband brown fired rice and mini shrimp. The recipe was very easy and tasty! I wish I would have had peas and carrots to add to the rice, but I made due with what I had. I had a cup of leftover brown rice, that I wanted to use up from the weekend., shrimp and I always have eggs! He loves fried rice and shrimp, so I thought it would be a quick and easy way to use up a few ingredients I had on hand. This is a healthy dinner filled with protein, healthy carbs and omega-3′s. The recipe takes less than 15 minutes and has five ingredients; how easy is that?
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 organic egg
1 cup of mini pre-cooked shrimp (deveined and no tail)
3 drops soy sauce
3 drops sesame oil
1 tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small pan drizzle a tablespoon of EVOO. Crack one large organic egg and scramble. Add 1 cup of cooked brown rice to the pan and warm through. Add the shrimp, I used pre-cooked shrimp, so I cooked the shrimp for no more than a minute, to heat through. You know the shrimp has been heated through when they start to curl up tighter. You don’t want to cook shrimp too long, otherwise they become tough and rubbery in texture. If you aren’t using pre-cooked shrimp, be sure to devein and remove tails and cook for about a minute in a seperate pan. Once the brown rice and shrimp have been heated through add 3 drops of soy sauce and 3 drops of sesame sauce and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. I am always really careful with how much salt I add to a recipe, that being said, soy sauce and sesame sauce has a lot of sodium so you may or may not need to add salt. If you have peas and carrots they would definitely be a great addition to the rice. Plate and serve with your favorite tarter sauce!