Monday, June 10, 2013

Camembert and Berries

While we were stationed in Germany—many, many years ago—I was introduced to camembert cheese on toast with preiselberen (kind of like mini cranberries).  The presentation at our then favorite gasthaus, Berg Wirt, was this:  two pieces of white bread, toasted and cut on the diagonal, served alongside a breaded and baked mini wheel of camembert with a dollop of preiselbeeren.  It was delicious and I ordered it e-v-e-r-y- time we went there.

Since then, I have prepared and enjoyed camembert and brie in a variety of fashions.  Heck, there are few things I enjoy as much a slice of good brie on a fresh Triscuit (Velveeta on white bread, anyone?), but I recently tried a recipe recommended by a friend and am in love!  (Thanks Amy!)

(This is the recipe I referenced in this post about a creative evening with friends and family.)

Your ingredients:

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berries, I used blackberries, but this would work with just about any type of berry (2 cups)

agave nectar (2 T)

fresh rosemary (about 1 T, chopped—reserve some for garnish)

a small wheel of camembert (or brie)

a fresh baguette, sliced


balsamic glaze*

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Mix the berries, agave nectar and rosemary together—allow juices to extract from the berries while you prepare the baguette slices.

Spread each side with butter, then brown on a griddle.

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Transfer baguette slices to a baking sheet, top with a slice of camembert and the berry mixture; place in oven set at 400°, until cheese is melting.  Transfer to serving platter, drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve!

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This is now one of my “go to” favorites! 

*for the balsamic glaze:  mix 2 cups of balsamic vinegar with 1 cup of brown sugar in a small sauce pan, heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer mixture until reduced by (about) half—mixture should be thick and syrupy.  (Refrigerate the remainder and use on other stuff—hamburgers, vegies, whathaveyou!)

Thanks for your indulgence,


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summertime grilling

Not being a big fan of hot weather, there are a few things I do enjoy about the summer—not the least of which is grilling most of our meals.  In actuality, we are year ‘round grillers, but we truly step-up the game during the summer months.
Everything from chicken legs and hotdogs to beef filets and prime rib have been prepared on our grill.  I would like to expand my repertoire with regard to main dishes, but the accompanying dishes, as well. 
I’ve prepared the more obvious side dishes on the grill—corn on the cob, potatoes and vegies—but there are some many more opportunities to use the grill. 
I started thinking about this while I was preparing one of my family’s favorite appetizers last week—mango brie quesadillas (thank you, Stacy)—and committed to myself that I would start investigating the aisles at our local book store for grilling books.  (Yup—that means I’ll be buying yet another cookbook, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.  Don’t be a hater—it’s for my family for heaven’s sake.)
mango brie quesadillas
Truth is, as I typed that my mind went to Barefoot Contessa and Giada De Laurentiis cookbooks already in my collection.  They probably have a few recipes in there, but I am pretty sure Bobby Flay or another grilling expert would have it all neatly packed into one volume.  Again, this will require some exploration.
In the meantime, I wanted to share the recipe I came-up with the other night.  I had thawed some chicken breasts, but did not have a marinade planned.  Since I had the mango standing by for the quesadillas, I decided to use them in the marinade.  I actually buy mango in a jar—the kind packed in juice—because it is quick and easy to use for morning smoothies. 
Looking in the fridge and realizing we are heading out of town for a few days, I decided I needed to use the remnants of an open yogurt container.  A mango yogurt marinade started to formulate in my mind.  It’s loosely based on a recipe I got from my friend’s, Brooke’s, sister, Lynn. I usually use plain yogurt for marinades, but all we had was vanilla Greek yogurt—again, for smoothies.  Here’s how it played-out:
for six boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. of yogurt
1/2 cup of mango juice (from jar)
1 T fresh lime juice
garlic (I had to use powdered because I was flat-out of fresh—if was okay, but it’ll never happen again.  I used about 1 t, but will use 2-3 minced cloves when I make it again.)
chopped cilantro, about 3 T
2 t curry powder
3 T olive oil
I allowed it to marinade for about 1 hour, but will allow more time the next time I make it.  I grilled over medium-low heat.  don’t ask me how long—as I rarely do it the same way twice.
mango chicken
Do you have any favorite grilling recipes? Will you share them with me, please.  I enjoy cookbook recipes, prepared by people in restaurant-worthy kitchens, but the best ones come from real people in their real kitchens.
Thanks for your indulgence.
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