Friday, February 28, 2014

Brie en Croute


I love Brie Cheese, even if it is French and I'm Danish.  I also love Havarti cheese but I don't think it's a cheese you can fold into puff pastry and bake.  Of course I haven't tried doing that yet either, hmmm.

 I just had to say it.  I mean a lovely, luscious piece of creamy Brie on a piece of fresh bread or a cracker with some cracked hazelnuts or fresh fruit, I can make a meal out of it, and have done just  that, on many occasions.

However there is just something so over the top decadent about baking a wheel of Brie in some Puff Pastry and then digging into it, so since I had a lovely piece of Brie in the fridge, that needed to be eaten, I did just that.

Encased it in a piece of Puff Pastry and baked it.  That is.

And it was good.   So good, it all got eaten.  Luckily I managed to get a couple of bites.  I think I would have been seriously miffed if I hadn't.

To start with, I did something that the purists are going to gasp at.  I trimmed the rind off of part of the brie.  Yup, I did.  But it didn't go to waste.   Well, maybe my waist, but that's a story for another day.

I pulled some Puff Pastry out of the fridge and let it thaw while I prepared the cheese.  And no I didn't talk to it, other than telling it how lovely it was.

To start with, I cut the top of the rind off, I wanted a fresh spot to spread the Fig Preserves on.  And then I cut the sides off.   I know the rind is good, but I wanted to have the whole wheel really, really melty.

I floured my mat lightly and placed the pastry on it.  I did roll it out a little, but that was more to get the fold marks out.

I then placed the Brie right in the middle, spread about 1/4-1/2 a cup of fig preserves over the top, I really didn't measure.  I just knew I wanted a layer of preserves on there.















I then took opposite corners of the pastry and brought it to the center and pinched them closed.
I then took the corners again, and folded them up and over.  



I put it in the fridge until later, (I was so organized on Saturday it scared me.) 











I took it out and gave it a good egg wash before popping it into the oven at 400 degrees.    I also like to bake on parchment paper, as you can see in the pictures.  Saves a whole lot of clean up, and stuff doesn't stick to baking pans as easily.  Trust me on this.

 Because it had been in the fridge and cold, it took a little while, a good 20 or 30 minutes to get a lovely golden color.   I just checked the oven after 20 minutes, and it wasn't quite golden enough so I left it another few minutes.  The cheese was really melty. 

I pulled it out when I thought it was done and people promptly dove into it.    Well, it took a few minutes, but then again, there was a lot of food there, and they had to make their way over to it.    I had some little toasts set to the side, but no one ate the baked brie on them, they just cut chunks of the cheese and ate them.

OK, so that was me doing that.   But really, this was a seriously good appetizer and one I will make again.


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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Chopped" for Tapas

I don't  watch a lot of network TV, most of my TV viewing is Netflix, but there is one network I do like to watch, and guess which one it is?

Yup, Food Network.

You guessed, didn't you?

My favorite show on there is Chopped, and in fact I even sent in an application to appear on it, of course I never heard back from them, but that's OK.

I can play Chopped, all by myself.

And compete with various dishes, some of which are hits and some, well, not so much.

With Tapas coming up last week, I was wracking my brain trying to come up with some ideas.  And after a couple of things fell on my head in my pantry, (it's getting a little crowded in there), I thought I would go ahead and make something for Tapas from my pantry.

I  had some rice paper and bean thread noodles, and gee, there's carrots and cabbage in my fridge so I  made some Spring Rolls.   And I came up with a killer dipping sauce for it.  A little twist on the regular kind, and I noticed people were spooning it up.  And I was asked for the recipe, so I'll share.

I mean this is a food blog and shouldn't I have at least one recipe per blog post?  

Dipping Sauce for Spring Rolls
1 1/2 tablespoons Sweet Chile Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Marmalade
1 1/2 tablespoons Cape Cod Toasted Sesame Soy Ginger salad dressing (the fat free one)
1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seed Oil

I just added equal amounts of Sweet Chile Sauce, my homemade Marmalade, Cape Cod Toasted Sesame Soy Ginger Dressing and some Toasted Sesame Seed Oil.  Whisked it together and YUM!!!   I'm going to try it with some pork and some wontons and some egg rolls and, of course more Spring Rolls.
 I also had a Brie Cheese in the fridge, so I pulled some Puff Pastry out of the freezer and made a Brie en Croute.  And gee, guess what, I even had some fig preserves in the pantry so I used them. 

I had a game plan and I did it, along with a couple of other things, I usually have cold cuts in the fridge and that along with some No-Knead bread always goes over well.  
So there you have it, my version of Chopped.  And even though I didn't make it to the Dessert round, I still scored.   I'll just have to use that jar of Speculoos another time.    Or can I use the Brie en Croute for the dessert, hmmm.  That would be very European of me.

And gee, I am Danish after all....

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Mini Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Balls

Well, another week has flown by, and it's NPA time again.

Well it was on Friday.   

This is AKA the night I get together with the ladies to have a drink, unwind, talk and nosh.    Mostly it's unwind, talk and nibble on goodies.

And as you may have surmised, I like to make stuff, and share.   We have all kinds of goodies that are brought, from salted nuts to cheeses to chocolate, really it doesn't matter what is served, the main thing is we get together and have a good time at NPA. 

Awhile ago I ran across this recipe and thought it would be a natural for either Tapas or NPA or Boat Club or...
Mini Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Balls

I just wanted an excuse to make it, OK?

So I did.

Mini Craisin Pistachio Cheese Balls

6 oz. Goat Cheese
2 oz. Cream Cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped Craisins or Cherries
1/2- 3/4 cup finely chopped Pistachio's  (I just bought a bag of toasted salted pistachio's and then shelled them)
a pinch of salt if desired, but I thought the pistachio's had enough salt
toothpicks to serve with
crackers to serve with

Mini Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Balls

Add 1/4 cup of the chopped craisins to the goat cheese and cream cheese and mix in just until incorporated.

Mini Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Balls


Combine the remaining Craisins and chopped pistachios in a shallow bowl. If pistachios aren't already salted, add a large pinch of salt to the mixture to taste. Divide cheese Craisin mixture into 12 evenly-sized balls. Or just dollop a little of the cheese mixture into the chopped pistachio/craisin mixture and roll each ball until well covered, and transfer to serving plate. Put a pick into the center of each ball, if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 1 day).



Mini Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Balls
 Don't they look purty?
Mini Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Balls

 I had some cheese left over, I had made over a dozen of the little mini cheese balls, so I decided to make a small cheese log with the remainder of the cheese and nuts.
Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Ball

Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Ball
Kinda made a rough roll and plopped it down into the nuts and rolled it up in the plastic wrap into a roll. 
Stuck it in the fridge overnight and then put it on a plate.
Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Ball

I then added a few crackers...
Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Ball

 Posed it a little more
Pistachio and Craisin Cheese Ball
And then we ate it. 


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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tapas for February

We had a crowd last night for Tapas, and it was good.   People were laughing and talking and noshing on all the great food that was brought.

We had some lovely desserts, an incredible soup, lots of yummy side dishes and well, gee, go ahead and take a look...




 I made some Spring Rolls and also some No-Knead bread, and set out some cold cuts.

And played with my food a little and made a totally awesome dipping sauce for the Spring Rolls, I'll tell
you all about that in another post.   (Gotta keep you reading this blog, one way or another.)













I also made a Brie en Croute with some Fig Preserves, but I'll tell you all about that in another post. 
And here's the cast:

I'm going to start with Dessert first, cause I have my priorities...

There were these interesting cookies.   And I wish I knew who brought them, because I was asked by several different people if I knew who brought them, because everyone wanted the recipe.

Here's an appeal, if you brought these, please contact me and let me know if you want to share the recipe.  You have fans who want it.   Hey, I want it, I had one and they were fun and different and yummy.





Next up...
 Lemon Meringue Pie, one of my favourite pies, along with apple, cherry, blueberry, huckleberry, salmonberry, well, you get the drift, I like pie.
 An apple/pumpkin good bread/cake.  Moist and delicious.
 Didn't get a chance to sample this, but it looked good.
 Fudge, dark chocolate fudge.  Jon makes an awesome one. 
 And Geri brought fudge too, and it was good as well.  And look at that cute little dish, I love seeing pretty dishes being used.

Chocolate Silk Pie.  No other words are needed.











Pound Cake, always good.












And today I'm doing a left to right thing, the next buffet had these on it:
 
 A bread with a dilly dipping sauce, and it was good. 
This was fun.  A 'pizza' with cream cheese, broccoli and cauliflower on a baked croissant dough base.   Fun, I just love it when we get a wide variety of good food.









Buffalo Wings, nuf said?  I didn't get a chance to try them, but they sure disappeared fast.











 Hush Puppies with a ranch dipping sauce
 Chipped Beef Cheese Ball.  (and if you're wondering where your bowl went, it's in my fridge at the moment, just pick it up next Tapas Night).
Cowboy Caviar?  It was tasty.  I do love corn and beans and veggies all put together like that.

A little overview of the table.  

If you look real close you'll see a little toothpick holder there.  One of our friends picked it up at a yard sale and brought it with her to Tapas before Christmas.   We all loved it, and now she's forced to bring it with her to all gatherings, as well as some fruit.   Which I did not get a picture of.  She had some awesome pineapple.




 Meatloaf...    And it was good.  I love meatloaf, I can eat it hot, cold, warmed up, chopped up, on a sandwich, I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a late night snack. 

I think I need to make one for myself soon, rather than make myself hungry looking at this one.
 Cheese ball.   Last night was kinda the night of the Cheese Ball, I even made one. 

But I'll tell you about that in another post. 
 Roasted Veggies.  they smelled divine, and by the time I got back to get some, there were just crumbs left.  (don't tell anyone but scooped up the crumbs and ate them)










 Foccacia, doesn't that look good?  And it was.   I snagged a small piece.  I do love my bread.
 Ratatouille.   The crust on this was sublime.  And the veggies, yum.











Fresh Trout Ceviche.   I love Ceviche,  and this was awesome.   The first time I ever had Ceviche was in the Bahamas' and I fell in love with it then, and now I want to learn how to make it.   And this dish just solidified that wish.
 Deviled Eggs.   Pardon the blurry shot, but I tried to get a shot before I got elbowed aside.  Cannot go wrong with deviled eggs.  Always popular.
  Stuffed Strawberries.  And again pardon the photographer, sigh.  Actually, it was all my camera's fault.  It just doesn't like the color red.  And I had to shoot this with a flash, otherwise it would have really looked awful.

Oh and the strawberries were very good too.
 Cajun Coleslaw and just behind it some sweet pickles.  They came from Canada so you know they were good.  Imported pickles always are.


Last and really not least.   This soup.

Chicken Corn Chowder made with Register's sausage.    Register's is a kinda local brand, and is totally awesome. 

This soup was so good, most of it got eaten, and this was a large pot of soup.   I and many others who attended last night want the recipe.  So I'll be begging  asking for it.   And I will share it here.

And let me end with this shot of my Pistachio Craisin Goat Cheese Log.   I'll be sharing the recipe for that later on too. 




There you have it, another Tapas Night...

And best of all, I got to share it with some really wonderful people, the food was good too.



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