Cooking with Tomes Away: Cheese Night edition
(It might be stretching a point to call this cooking, but I melted the cheese on the bruschetta, so it works)
The key to a good cheese night is a variety of two things: cheese and the cheese delivery system (crackers). Everything else is just accessories.
On the plate above, there’s a round of triple cream Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery (available at Whole Foods), raw milk sharp cheddar (from Zingermans mail order), a Dorset raw cow’s milk rinded cheese, and a chile-rich cheddar.
The brands don’t matter as much as a variety (in flavor and color, since you want a pretty looking plate), and most grocery stores have a pretty decent selection nowadays.
You should get:
- A brie (double or triple-cream) and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. You want it to be spreadable. You can also impress guests by cutting off a hunk, dipping it in a beaten egg and bread crumbs, and “frying” it in a warm skillet with butter until the insides are all runny, gooey, and perfect.
- A good sharp cheddar. My go-to cheddar is the Cabot extra aged block you can get at the deli counter.
- Goat cheese (chevre) adds tang to toast points, and is well-complemented by a few sun-dried tomatoes.
Beyond these three, it’s really just a matter of how many people you’re serving. This will get you started nicely.
Add interesting crackers:
- get a Pepperidge Farm variety pack of savory crackers, or if you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, get their crackers (they’re better).
- Get a French baguette, slice it into toast points, and put on a cookie sheet in an oven set at 275 degrees for about 20 minutes. Your little toasties will also be nice as the foundation for your…
With bruschetta, you can do it one of several ways (and endless varieties, which I’ll teach you about in a later post):
- Trader Joe’s jarred bruschetta topping is divine, and super fast. Spoon onto toasts, top with a little shredded mozzarella, and broil till the cheese is melty
- Dice up tomatoes, a little purple onion, basil, a shred of parmesan, and a dollop of olive oil
Serve your cheese and bruschetta with fresh fruit (we had peaches), honey to drizzle on the brie (wow, it’s good) and a nice fizzy wine (we had a bottle of Charles de Fere, a $12 bottle available at Total Wine). If you’re feeling fancy, you can add pistachios, almonds, or a nut of your choice.