Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pretty cheesy

This is my new favorite thing to do, it satisfies my neglected creative mind and makes an awesome appetizer. I didn't do a step by step photo tutorial but it's not too difficult to do.
- First you need to find just the right board or tray, only the edges will show so don't worry too much about the center area.  Line it with wax paper. 
-figure out what you'll garnish with. I had a crazy amount of sage in my garden and it made a perfect garnish
Radicchio, chard greens and also fake greens are great, plus you can wash and reuse them!
-you'll need at least 5 cheeses. I made a goat cheese spread, Stilton, cheddar, Brie, Italian sharp, manchego, marinated mozzarella balls, emanthaler. Cut them into different shapes (cubes, triangles, etc) and leave soft cheeses whole. 
-choose some colorful fruits. Pomegranate, clementines, dried apricots and figs, grapes. 
-cured meat is a good addition. Pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, etc.  can be used. Roll or fold the larger slices, fan the smaller ones.
-pick some savory treats. I love seasoned nuts but there are too many folks allergic these days so I don't do that. Choose mixed olives, peppadews, roasted pepper slices, cornichon, etc. 
-you will also need a basket of sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers

After you choose the items make little note cards with each item and lay them randomly on the tray 
As you prepare the item, place it on the tray and remove the note. I do this because I always forget something! It will start coming together as you build it and tuck garnish inbetween.  I used small stemmed ice cream dishes from the dollar store to hold wet ingredients, mason jars, cups made from radicchio or cabbage leaves. The main goal is to have beautiful colors, height variations and zero empty spaces. Give it a try!

If you have cheese leftover, why not make soup? This is one from James...my partner in soup crime. I switched it up a little because if I gave you his recipe I'd have to kill you. 
Start with a few onions, sliced and carmelized.  Shred a few pounds of red potatoes, add to the pot and cover with chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire and dried thyme. Simmer until potatoes are cooked.  In another pot make a little roux and add milk or broth, heat until thickened. Add chopped up cheese leftovers and whisk until smooth. This one was manchego, provolone and a little Brie. Ok, I didn't actually do that part. I just tossed the cheese into the soup, it tastes great but it's not so creamy. You can purée the potato (or not) and add the cheese mixture and simmer for 15 min on low. 
I left the potatoes shredded, I wasn't looking to dirty anything else in the kitchen. 


Anonymous said...

Looks Delicious!

Carol said...

Thank you!