Monday, December 3, 2012

Cheese and Wine Melt, Layered Cheese Terrine, Brie en Crute

"Go ahead, indulge yourself!"

Good day my followers!
Well, I cannot believe it's December already and the holidays are just a few weeks away! So, to get you all ready for those fun Christmas parties that I'm sure are on your calendar, I have decided to feature three delicious appetizers. These recipes I developed and photographed for my 'Sideroads of Halton Hills' holiday articles, over the last three years. Only looking at these now have I realized that they all feature cheese! Ha! I guess I don't need to explain that I love cheese and it's especially during the holidays that I tend to indulge. Cheese is one of those ingredients that is just so versatile and with so many varieties, the possibilities are endless. That being said, please feel free to change things up a bit and use your favourite cheeses in today's recipes. Believe me, you can never go wrong! Vive le fromage!

Cheese and Wine Melt
(serves 6 to 8)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white only, rinsed well and thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry Ontario white wine
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, plus extra for garnish
250 gr deli style cream cheese, softened
113 gr goat cheese, softened
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat oil in a small frying pan on medium and toss in the leeks with a pinch of sea salt. Stir until softened and begin to brown, about 5 mins. Pour in the wine and add in the scallions, garlic and thyme. Allow the liquid to reduce until there is about a tbsp of liquid left in the pan, another 3 to 4 mins. Set aside and allow to cool slightly. In a bowl mash together the softened cream cheese and goat cheese. Stir in the leek mixture along with half of the grated cheese. Transfer to a small ovenproof dish, sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top and some thyme leaves for garnish. Place in the oven for 20 to 25 mins. Serve immediately with a fresh sliced baguette, crostini , crackers or your fave cut up seasonal veggies.

Layered Cheese Terrine
(serves 6 to 8)

1/2 cup deli style cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 cup Old Cheddar cheese (or for some zing, substitute 1/2 cup with crumbled blue cheese!)
2 tbsp pecans, roasted and chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Line a 250ml container with plastic wrap, leaving enough to hang over to cover the top when done (I find a small deli tub works best). Set aside.
In a small bowl stir together the cream cheese, butter, scallion, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Set aside. In another small bowl combine the grated Cheddar with the pecans and parsley. Place one third of the grated cheese mixture in the bottom of the lined container. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture on top. Repeat the layering until done. Cover the top of the terrine with the over hanging plastic wrap, press down lightly to compact the ingredients and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours before serving. To serve, simply uncover the plastic wrap from the top of the terrine, flip upside down onto a platter and remover the plastic tub and rest of the wrap. Serve with fresh sliced baguette, crostini or crackers.

Brie en Crute
(serves 6 to 8)

200 gr puff pastry, thawed (I prefer the P.C. brand made with butter)
flour for dusting
350 gr wheel of brie cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the puff pastry into a 30cm by 30cm square, or simply unfold the pre rolled sheet. Cut off all of the corners a couple of cms from the edges. If you wish, use the scraps to make a decoration for the top of your brie en crute. Place the cheese in the centre of the pastry and brush around the outside edge of the pastry with the beaten egg. Fold the pastry over the brie and gather, so the cheese is completely covered. Turn the brie en crute over, seam side down, onto a parchment lined tray. Brush the entire surface with the egg wash. Place your decorative pieces of pastry on top and brush with more egg wash. Place the tray into the oven and bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 mins, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the brie en crute to rest for about 15 mins before serving with fresh sliced baguette, crostini or crackers.

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