Saturday, December 31, 2011

All the cheese

In the past year, I have discovered that Brie is my absolute favorite food. 

Its impractical for a lactose-intolerant lady such as myself to have cheese as her go-to meal of choice, but I have discovered that if I eat other things in conjunction with the brie - the yummy ache feeling is less and the awesomeness is more.

So here are my favorite ways to prepare brie.

1- Brie and Caramelized Onion Bake.  Noble Pig hardly ever lets me down, but she does occasionally require me to alter her recipes.  I don't know if she lives at a high altitude or has some sort of space-jet oven and range, but the cooking times are never quite right for me.

This is pretty amazing and WAY easier than I thought it would be.  Presentation-wise, everyone is always impressed (something about wrapping something in puff pastry makes people think that you are a kitchen wizard...False).

The onions take way longer to caramelize than she says - and if you are using a standard size brie wheel, you only need about half an onion worth.  Watch the onions to make sure they don't burn. Make sure you unfold the puff pastry while its still cold (if it gets to room temperature its impossible to work with). Let it cool for at least 10 - 15 minutes to prevent a gooey, ugly disaster (that will be delicious but less visually impressive).

2 - BBQ Brie with Raspberries. The best grill discovery of the year! Invest in some of those cedar planks, this will not work without them. And you can use them for other fun things (although chances are you will just make this three or four times).  This is one those things where they say to simmer the sauce to make it get thick but then takes forever, and you call your mom and she tells you to turn the heat up high and that will make it sauce-y much faster.  Also, the sauce does not to be cooked on brie the grill (too messy!), just put it on when you're done with the grilling.

3 - Bite-sized Baked Brie.  I made this as one of the apps. for Christmas dinner this year and literally they were gone in less than 10 minutes.  I turned around to get the bacon-wrapped-dates out of the oven and poof.  Gone.  They are also incredibly, tediously labor-intensive. It would help to do them in stations with someone else, but I was all alone, incredibly hungover and reevaluating all of my life choices when I made them.  But the product was worth it.  I used raspberry jam instead of cherry (because I really don't like cherry and I already knew raspberry + brie = crazy delicious).  You need WAY less brie and jam in each little tart than you think you do. Make sure you grease whatever you cook them on (even if its parchment/wax paper). I made one less cut of the dough than she did and just did a fold over and it worked fine.

4 - Kahlua-Pecan-Brown Sugar Baked Brie. This is not really an appetizer.  Its actually kind of a dessert.  Or a PERFECT brunch pot luck item. Noble Pig is teh ish. The whole simmering bit with the sauce has again never worked for me.  I cook it on high for awhile and then turn it off. And then its perfect. I keep the pecans whole for aesthetic reasons.  This is the easiest thing on this list and it is so rich and fantastic. 

Here's the thing.  Putting just a wedge of brie on a plate with some crackers, is pretty much always going to satisfy...but if you are interested in taking your cheese-eating to the next level, her's how to do it.

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She's pint-sized and amazing.