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Category Archives: cheese

Roasted Red Pepper And Artichoke Tapenade Toast Rounds

I was recently asked to try some Wisconsin Cheese recipes and write a review on the results.  The first recipe that caught my eye was a Tapenade recipe that I knew would be perfect for one-bite hors d’oeuvres.

The original Recipe for the Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade can be found on the Eat Wisconsin Cheese website:

http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/recipes/3062/roasted-red-pepper-and-artichoke-tapenade

Here’s the review I wrote for the Wisconsin Cheese website that explains how I made the tapenade toast rounds.  Delicious!

I love to serve one-bite hors d’oeuvres that my guests can pop into their mouths without having to put down their glass of wine. When I found this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade I knew it would be delightful on little toast rounds as the perfect one-bite. I made the tapenade according to the recipe instructions, then I made little 1 ½ inch bread rounds out of ordinary white sandwich bread (cut rounds with a cookie cutter). I put the bread rounds on a cookie sheet and brushed them with a little melted butter.

toast rounds

Then I toasted the bread rounds in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 8 minutes (until they were brown and toasted on the bottom). After removing the toast rounds from the oven I topped each round with a teaspoon of the tapenade and sprinkled them with Wisconsin parmesan cheese. I put them back in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 more minutes and then I broiled them for 1 minute to make sure the cheese was melted and beginning to brown.   Serve warm. Cheesie perfection in one bite!

The red peppers and garlic make this recipe zesty and the capers, green olives and lemon juice give the tapenade a citrusy tang. And cheese, glorious cheese, such a welcome ingredient in tapenade. Love this recipe. It will be one of my “go to” recipes for my cocktail parties. 5 Stars! Fabulous served with champagne!!!

sign sparkle like champagne

lizard

I surprised this little gecko when I started digging around in my potted plants last evening.

sign enthusiast

Over-the-Moon-Link-Party-200virginiabloggers

 

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Lemony Herbed Fresh Ricotta Recipe + Dhondt-Grellet Brut Grand Cru Champagne

Tōgarashi is the Japanese name for chili peppers. The Nanami Tōgarashi that I purchased at a local Asian food market is a combination of chili peppers, white and black sesame seeds, ginger, orange peel and seaweed. It has a nice little kick of spiciness to it.

To serve my fresh ricotta I generously sprinkled the serving plate with freshly ground gourmet peppercorns (pink, black, white and green) and Nanami Tōgarashi so that the cheese would pick up the little bits of pepper and spice as each guest spread the cheese on toasted baguette slices.

Fresh Ricotta is super easy to make. I tried several recipes made with lemon juice (that did not have enough acidity to make the milk curdle) that failed before I found Ina Garten’s recipe (uses vinegar, not lemon juice) which works perfectly.

Here’s the link to Ina Garten’s Fresh Ricotta recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-ricotta-recipe-1923290

I like to mix into to the ricotta:

8 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

4 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced into tiny rounds

10 chives, chopped fine

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon + 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Serve on toasted baguette rounds that have been brushed with melted butter. Garnish with tiny basil leaves and (if in season) chive blossoms.

 

Dhondt-Grellet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Prestige du Moulin — N.V.

A perfect pairing for my lemony herbed fresh ricotta.  100 % of Chardonnay from two Grand Crus villages (Cramant & Chouilly).  $55 range.   Golden color with delicate consistent bubbles in the flute. Elegant with notes of white flowers, quince paste and freshly baked pastry.  A grower champagne, only a handful of cases are brought into the United States each year.

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Summer Snacks ~ Chive Blossom Dip

In the “good-ole summertime” I love creating recipes that are simple to prepare and will hold up in the heat when we entertain outside.  Here’s one of my new favorites Chive Blossom Dip:

Pink rose blooming next to chive blossoms in my herb garden.

Chive blossoms in bloom in my herb garden.

Chive Blossom Dip

Easy prepare in two minutes!  In a small bowl, combine 5.2 ounce package Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese with 3 to 4 tablespoons milk. Mix each tablespoon of milk into the cheese and add more milk as needed to make the dip smooth and dip consistency. Put dip in a pretty serving bowl.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives and a chive blossom in the middle of the bowl. Serve with Terra Exotic Potato Chips or your favorite kettle cooked potato chips (kettle cooked potato chips are usually heartier and stand up to the humidity in  the summer better than other types of potato chips).

Boursin Cheese

Creamy, spreadable cheese flavored with garlic and herbs.  Other flavors are now available:  shallot and chive, pepper and cranberry and spice.  (You can make dip out of these flavors too – just change the garnish to crumbled crisp bacon for the pepper boursin and chopped toasted pecans or walnuts for the cranberry and spice boursin.)

To learn more about Boursin Cheese, please visit:  http://www.cheese.com/boursin

Easy recipes that do not require cooking are especially important to me right now…our kitchen/dining room remodel is about half-way completed. Granite countertops are being installed today. Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again!

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Spicy Bacon Butter Recipe For The Holidays!

bacon-butter-on-rock

I am always looking for a fun delicious spread to serve on crackers or spread on hearty ridged potato chips during the holidays.  As a Chef friend of mine says…”Just add bacon and everyone will love it!”…so I added bacon to one of my favorite spreads to create “Spicy Bacon Butter”.

Spicy Bacon Butter

2 (2.52 ounces) packages pre-cooked bacon (microwave bacon until crisp), crumbled

8 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 ounce ranch dressing and dip mix

2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onions, white and some of the green part, chopped

2 ounce jar pimentos, drained

1 tablespoon medium peri-peri hot sauce (add a little more if you like super spicy!)

Cracker assortment for serving

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and bring to room temperature to soften.  Add ranch dressing and dip mix and mix until well combined.  Add cheddar cheese, green onions, bacon, pimentos and peri-peri sauce and mix until well combined. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve on assorted crackers.

As we get ready to greet a new year…

 thought I would share some of my favorite signs from the past twelve months…Happy New Year!

cat-signkittycatcat with champagne

champagne-sign-dancestart-celebrating-sign

wag-more-sign

wine sign

chocolate-sign

 virginiabloggers11

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bloghopbuttonfinal_southern_zps3ce2c2e1julies-link-up-bannerwednesday-showcase-button

Cheers! Toasts And Cheese

When toasting with bubbly it only makes sense to “say cheers!” in the language of the bubbly you are serving:

rose-champagne

French (Champagne):

Santé – pronounce “Sahn-tay”
A la votre – pronouce “Ah la vo-tre”

Toast

Italian (Prosecco):

Salute  – pronounce “Saw-lutay”
Cin cin – pronunce “Chin-Chin”

Cava Bella Conchi

Spanish (Cava):
Salud – pronounce “Sah-lud”

And to go with “toasts”…CHEESE!

burratta-cheese

I enjoyed this article about Burrata cheese in Bon Appétit Magazine so much that I could not wait to taste this creamy delight.  First I sourced it on Amazon.com because I wanted to find a consistent source (knowing I will want to serve it often) and then I found it at our local Tanglewood Kroger grocery (Roanoke, Virginia).

Mozzarella and Burrata Recipes, from Virtuous to Decadent

burratta-cheese-2I  prepared the Caprese Salad pictured above with Burrata cheese, fresh basil from my garden, slices of fresh tomato from the farmer’s market, balsamic vinegar reduction and roasted fresh corn on the cob (kernels removed from cob) and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.  You can make your own balsamic vinegar reduction, but it does tend to “stink up the house” with balsamic vinegar fumes or you can purchase balsamic vinegar reduction in a bottle or purchase very good quality balsamic vinegar that will be almost as thick as the balsamic vinegar reduction.

pimento-cheese

A fun way to serve pimento cheese ~ on a charred board topped with fun berries and pickled vegetables. Add bacon or chopped pecans for an extra flavorful flourish!  Serve with your favorite flatbread.

truffle-cheese

Pecorino With Truffles!

A fresh sheep’s milk cheese with whole pieces of black truffles. Buttery and intense with the aroma of damp pastures, lanolin and earthen fungi.  Smooth, buttery and intensely satisfying, permeated with the essence of truffles.  Serve with your favorite buttery cracker.  Fabulous accompaniment to brut champagne.

peppers-2

I love Ricotta Salata!  The words ‘Ricotta’ means re-cooked and ‘Salata’ means salted. Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in colour with firm texture and salty taste. The cheese is often used in salads and ideal for slicing, crumbling and grating. (Source: cheese.com)

Shishito peppers are East Asian peppers that are finger-long, green (some turn red as they ripen) with a little dimple on the end.  Generally they are mild peppers but about every 10th pepper tastes hot and spicy.  Find them in your local farmers market in late summer.

 Sautéed Shishitos make a tasty, easy appetizer or side dish. Cut the stem end off of each pepper and discard stems.  Heat a little olive oil in a wide sauté pan until hot.  Add the peppers and cook them over medium heat, tossing and turning them frequently until they turn brown and blister a bit (about 10-15 minutes).  When they’re done, toss them with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with grated ricotta salata cheese. To eat and enjoy – just pick up the whole pepper and take a bite or two.

I found that these peppers need to be salted to bring out their flavor, without it they taste bland but with the salt their flavor “pops”!

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$5 Cava Just Had To Taste It And Hot Honey!

Cava Bella Conchi

As I begin these notes, please bear in mind that we are talking about a $5 bottle of wine that normally sells for $10 to $15 per bottle.  I would be hard pressed to remember when I’ve paid only $5 for a bottle of sparkling wine.  Over the weekend I noticed this pretty label in the grocery store and decided that I could part with $5 just for curiosity. With the temperatures in the low 90’s on a lazy summer afternoon this Bella Conchi Brut Rosé Cava was non-pretentious and approachable. 70% Trepat and 30% Garnacha grapes that give this Cava raspberry and light lemony flavors.  Made in the metodo tradicional resulting in little tiny bubbles in the glass.  At the end of the day, it is good bang for the buck.

hot honey

Mike’s Hot Honey is infused with chilies and vinegar.  This honey is HOT so I would not eat it by the spoonful right out of the jar!  I did drizzle a little Hot Honey over the French double-creme soft cheese Fromager d’affinois on flatbread crackers and the honey became a delicious piquant condiment. I found this honey at the Tanglewood Kroger in Roanoke, Virginia.

What’s this cheese? Fromager d’affinois is a wonderful French innovation which looks like pudgy Brie but it’s actually much creamier. This pasteurized cheese may remind you of a triple-creme, it’s so loaded with silky fat. But that texture is achieved by “ultra filtration” which breaks down the fat molecules in the milk. In order to further disperse them through the paste.  The result is a thick, nearly whipped spread of tangy, milky goodness, with a sweetness that begs for champagne and fresh fruit. 

Try the Hot Honey in this lovely cocktail:

“Sometimes in the Morning” or afternoon cocktail by @lindseyjeanie Starflower-infused gin, muddled ‪#‎strawberries‬, ‪#‎mikeshothoney‬ & champagne. ‪#‎daydrinking‬

 …or on pizza, ribs and even ice cream!

 

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