Just say cheese!

Yowsa! Thursday night was such fun! The gang at Dobbs & Bishop, our local cheese shop, invited me in to teach a class called “Beyond Brie and the Cheese Plate- Easy Interesting Hors D’oeuvres with Cheese” and I have to say, it was a blast. A nice crowd of nine or so foodies ponied up $25 for the Bronxville School Foundation to learn some very easy-yet tasty treats with cheese. I was very nervous before the start; after all, I’ve never taught before and the cheese shop is just that- a shop, not a kitchen. But, with a fabulous toaster oven and some ingenuity, not to mention great wine and cheeses- everybody had fun.

So, what did I teach…well, my motto for the evening (as well as life but that’s another story) was: simple and easy trumps complicated every time! And boy, did I mean simple! We started with a wedge of brie dressed up with some Honeycup Mustard….that’s right, could not be easier-just slather it on the top and serve with crackers; then, stand back and watch that it disappear!

My second trick with brie is just as easy. Take a large wedge of brie, cut off the upper and side rinds (leave the bottom rind) and then chop the brie into 2” pieces. Place cheese-rind side down-in a small oven proof casserole. Top with ½ a jar or so off your favorite chutney. Bake in a 350 oven for 10-15 minutes until the brie melts and bubbles. Swirl the cheese and chutney together with a knife and then serve with crusty French bread.

Moving away from brie- we took pitted olives, hand stuffed them with blue cheese, and marinated them in gin. Place them in a nice jar with a bow and they are the perfect Father’s Day gift if your dad or husband is a martini guy! In a similar vein, take a Pepperdew Pepper- you can find them in a good olive bar at a market like Fairway-and stuff it with Feta. Delish!

I demonstrated my Goat Cheese Tiddley- you can find that recipe in the archives, as well as the amazing fresh ricotta with olive oil, crushed pepper flakes and basil (also in the archives). I had some fun with the ricotta by placing it in roasted baby potatoes. So simple-and looks so elegant.

Finally, we made wonton cups (recipe-if you can call it that-below!) and filled them with various cheese and fruit combinations- blue and pear, Robiola with truffle oil and arugula, gruyere and dried cherries- let your imagination run wild! These are so elegant- and super, duper easy. People will think that you slaved- when all you did was a little “painting of oil!” Also, this is a great one to do with kids. My daughter adores making these!

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Wonton Cups– can be made 24 hours ahead and stored in an airtight container
Package of wonton wrappers- available at any good groceries or oriental market
Canola oil
Mini muffin pans
Basting brush

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Spray the muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray such as PAM. Place some canola oil in a small bowl and using the basting brush lightly brush each side of a wonton wrapper with oil. Place in a muffin cup. Repeat until all your muffin cups are filled. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until brown and crisp.
NOTE: when you fill your cups, place them in a 300 oven for 5 minutes to reheat and melt the cheese inside.

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3 Comments

  1. Christine Solomon
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats Caroline!
    You are such a superstar – cannot wait to try these!
    Christine

  2. Suzanna
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Divine! I bet you are a born teacher! I am going to make the brie with chutney for my house warming party…whenever I get to that point! (PS You look fab in your picture!)

  3. Raye B
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations on what sounds like a wonderful and delicious event – you are really on your way! xxoo

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