Assorted crackers (we recommend Carr’s Water Crackers)
What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel or slice off the top rind of the brie and scrape out a small amount of cheese to form a shallow hollow in the center. Place the cheese in a small baking dish like a pie pan. (If you plan on transferring the cheese to a serving dish after it’s baked, line the pie pan with a square of parchment paper.)
Mix the cranberry sauce, brown sugar, vanilla, zest, and nutmeg. Top the brie with this cranberry mixture and sprinkle the hazelnuts over it.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the cheese is gooey. This is a delicate process, and baking time can vary. The goal is to take the cheese out after it has softened, but just before it collapses into a heap.
If desired, lift the parchment paper and use a spatula to carefully slide the cheese onto a prettier serving dish. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately with assorted crackers.
There are few things J and I like more than wine and cheese. Take us to a fancy restaurant, and we will order a cheese plate. We will also grab one at the airport Starbucks. Whether it’s lunch, dinner, apps or a late night snack, a few nibbles of different cheeses and a bottle glass of wine sounds like heaven to us. Here are our tips for creating the perfect cheese plate at home.
1. Include a few different kinds of cheese. The best variety includes something soft, something hard and something strong. Our picks for the plate:
– Brie is our favorite soft-ripened cheese. Slice it and serve cold with a grind or two of sea salt, or let it get really mushy and smear it on a slice of french bread. Check out the Whole Foods Market Brie Guide for ideas.
– Over Brie? Try Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill. Made in Thomasville, Georgia, this double-cream cheese (sorta like Camembert) will surprise and delight you.
– We also love goat cheese (chevre), a mild, soft cheese that spreads easily. Feeling Pinterest-y? Try this awesome recipe for Cranberry Cinnamon Goat Cheese spread and wow your friends for sure.
Medium to Hard Cheeses
– Try an aged cheddar, Gouda or even a wedge of Parmesan. We like Ewephoria Sheep Milk Gouda (mainly because the name is awesome).
– Flat Creek Lodge Cheddar – Another local fave (hello, farm to table?). This firm cheddar is aged a minimum of six months. It’s smooth, not overpowering…and will make you forget bright orange grocery store cheddar forever. Unless that’s your thing. We’re not haters.
– Parmesan – Grab a wedge of Parmesan and use a cleaver-style knife to break off a hunk or two.
– Bleu cheese is delicious on its own and is the perfect end to your cheese course. You seriously only need like two bites, and you’re done. Cabrales and Point Reyes are two of the best varietals.
2. Include accompaniments like nuts, fruit and baguette slices. This is the beauty of the cheese platter: you can go simple (a sharp cheddar, a creamy brie, some grapes and a few Triscuits) or deluxe (four to six varieties, walnuts, almonds, honey, marmalade, the works).
3. Can’t do cheese without wine. We definitely don’t believe that expensive wine is better (plus, we’re saving for Loubotuins), so we usually end up with something from Trader Joe’s. Check out the Trader Joe’s wine guide, and pour your choice into a cute wineglass.
4. Bust out your cutest serving pieces.When else are you going to use them? We love these:
Gah, now we’re hungry for a cheese plate. What’s your favorite wine and cheese combo?
PS – To make a cheese course lunch, just add a romaine salad tossed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt and a sliced baguette. Done!