Life can be so hectic. We are all so busy. I am grateful for the time we share with friends. I’m a little late in posting my most recent cheese plate, devoured at a Friendsgiving. This one overflowed with fall fruit…
I broke with my cheese cutting trend. You can review how I cut the cheese here and here. Yes, my Instagram is filled with cheese. I decided to leave most of these cheeses whole because they were soft, semi-soft or spready.
How will you be cheesing it up this holiday season? Please tag me on Instagram with #BabyBirdsFarm if you post anything yummy!
Clockwise from 12 o’clock: persimmon, grapes, pomegranate, dragon fruit (pitaya), Époisses de Bourgogne, marcona almonds, honeycomb, pistachios, Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog, Cypress Grove Purple Haze, strawberries, tangerines, blackberries, Camembert. The Époisses, a famously stinky French cheese I discovered through the Cheeses of Europe Cheese Pop Up, I acquired as a hand me down, of sorts. But the rest of the cheese, fruits and nuts are from Specialty Produce.
Shopping notes: the berries are from the organic cooler at Specialty, the persimmon and dragon fruit from the Farmers Market cooler, and be sure to check out the cheese section along the South wall of the main cooler. You can find the honey comb up at the retail checkout counter. The nuts are from the bulk section. Did you know that they will open up any large box of nuts (or anything, really) and let you buy just a handful?
…and life is complete. With or without a glass of wine, or maybe some apple slices. Here is a quick shot of the cheese plate we served at my daughters’ birthday party.
From left to right: Asiago/Parmesan mix with olive oil and rosemary crust; jamon serrano; a creamy blue; (my favorite) Humbolt Fog from Cypress Grove Chèvre; Manchego; and quince paste.
My Little Birds must agree. The other day the three of us made a lunch of the rest of the cheese, crackers and apples. Delicious! I could never get away with serving my husband that for a “meal” but the girls loved the “mama lunch” as much as I did.
Are you grilling for Memorial Day? Try these delicious grilled baby artichokes! Because they are small and tender, they do not have to be parboiled or steamed before throwing on the grill. I am also sharing some tips for creating an awesome cheese, nut and fruit board, in case you will be entertaining. (Or just like cheese, like me.)
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Melissa’s Produce who supplied many of the ingredients free of charge. The recipes, post and opinions are my own. You might remember Melissa’s Produce from my posts on Butternut Squash, Chick Peas and Black Rice with a Clementine Shallot Vinaigrette and Chestnut Tart with Fresh Winter Fruit (GF, Vegan, Low Sugar). I didn’t hesitate when Robert from Melissa’s reached out and asked if I wanted to try some of their latest products, like Clean Snax and the baby artichokes, and seasonal, exotic fruit and nuts.
First, the artichokes! I grew up in the Carmel/Monterey area on the Central Coast of California, which is the perfect climate for artichokes. I still remember eating the grilled artichokes at the Rio Grill in Carmel, and it’s been at least 15 years. They were slightly charred, and dripping in olive oil, garlic and salt. I actually had been wanting to grill artichokes for awhile, and was excited to see the baby artichokes from Melissa’s. Cutting into them, it was fascinating to see that some had no choke at all, and some had a little to cut out.
Robert included Melissa’s new Hollandaise sauce, which made a tasty dipping sauce, along with our family’s favorite: balsamic yogurt. Other classics to try would be melted butter or garlic aioli. My mom used to do a semi-homemade take on aioli with garlic, lemon juice and mayonnaise. The full recipe for grilled baby artichokes and balsamic yogurt sauce are at the end of the post. We used the same olive oil, garlic and thyme, to dress a chicken my husband rotisserie-grilled, which completed our meal.
Now for the cheese board….
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Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!
I apologize for the lack of posts lately. (The conversation did continue over on the Baby Bird’s Farm Facebook page, so join us over there!)
While watching my daughter open presents over FaceTime video-chatting last night, my sister-in-law pulled a baked brie out of the oven. Too bad we haven’t invented that food transporting machine they have on Star Trek! She did inspire me to make some baked brie to bring over to a NYE party tonight. We will be going early and leaving even earlier as Baby Bird is joining us.
Although this is more of a “semi-homemade” recipe than a from-scratch deal, I thought I would share my baked brie recipe as it is always a crowd pleaser.
Easy Baked Brie Recipe
- 1 sheet of frozen Puff Pastry Dough (or frozen pie crust sheet)
- small (4″-8″) wheel of brie or camembert cheese
- filling of your choice (options follow)
- (optional) 1 egg or a little milk
Preheat oven to 400°F. Allow the dough to defrost according to package instructions. For best results, use a rolling pin to evenly roll out the dough and erase any crease marks.
Place a round puddle of the filling in the middle of the dough. Place the cheese on top of the filling and wrap the dough around it. Flip it over and place onto a pie pan or casserole dish. Expect the cheese to pool out some during baking. Brush a little beaten egg or a splash of milk over the top of the dough.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese is soft. Serve warm with sliced baguette, crackers and/or fruit.
- Mushrooms and shallots sautéed with marsala, sherry, wine or brandy, and a fresh herb, such as thyme or tarragon.
- A spicy jam, such as habanero-mango or jalapeño.
- Apricot jam with dried cranberries and almonds.
- Sliced pears or apples with or without fig preserves.
You could also make two small baked bries, one sweet and one savory. Any other ideas for fillings??