It is well into July and I feel like I deserted my poor, dear blog. Unintended but totally necessary, as you see my friends, I was welcoming the queen with very short notice. Yes, my mother came to visit. You know the one that just turned 80, but doesn't look it. She hasn't visited me without her male escort (my father), since Alex and Zoe were 5 years old. And to what did I owe this visit? It was a dear, sweet puppy that enticed her.
We had a great time with queenly massages and perfect pedicures and a required stop at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. We even made a stop at the Savory Spice shop where the Queen bought truffle salt, za'atar and other queenly spices. Denver's weather was totally uncooperative but the coolness felt good to the queen, who hails from very hot Phoenix weather. I even celebrated her short, but sweet arrival with a girl's happy hour where we ate this royal cheese appetizer that was quite fitting for a queen during tea time. So fitting, we skipped the tea and drank champagne sangria. No. I don't have photos of that.
"Folly": a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park. I just hope this doesn't turn into a folly! My job is to find old windows to put in. The Manservant is even putting in a sliding barn door so I can open one entire side to the outside! I did save a few boards of graffiti that my darling kids left behind. This is one that is not X-rated.
So let's just cut some corners and get to this cheese! What a fun appetizer. It is rich and savory and totally decadent. It is also addicting. I loved serving slices of it to my friends on little individual plates and gave each person their own knife for spreading purposes. I put out some dried fruit and crackers and everyone chose their favorites. There are a myriad of ways that one could jazz this up, but this was simplicity at its best. I tore this out of a Martha Stewart magazine but I can't tell you when. It has been sitting in THAT drawer for a long while.
Now is the time to make this. It is perfect while summer sipping. It is perfect and easy and pretty. And we all know how good pretty tastes, don't we?
Brie and Blue Savory Cheesecake with Toasted Walnuts and Honey
From: Martha Stewart
Time to Make: About 15-20 minutes
15 oz fresh goat cheese
4 oz mild blue cheese, such as gorgonzola dolce
1 9" wheel of Brie, chilled
1 c toasted walnut halves (I put mine in a pie pan and toast them at 350 until I smell them. I'm guessing about 10 minutes. Cool, before using.)
1/2 c ruby port
2 T honey
2 c red seedless grapes sliced in half
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat goat and blue cheese until light and fluffy. This may take a few minutes.
Using a sharp, serrated knife slice Brie in half horizontally, gently easing the two halves apart. Spread 3/4 c goat cheese mixture on bottom half of Brie. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Top with other half of Brie, cut side down, on top of walnuts.
Using a spatula, spread remaining goat cheese mixture over Brie. Chill 2 hours or even overnight.
Up to 1 hour before serving, combine port, honey and 2 sprigs of thyme in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until reduced by half- about 6 minutes. Add sliced grapes and cook 30 seconds more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer grapes to a small bowl to cool. Reduce remaining liquid until thickened, about 6 minutes more. This will become very syrupy. Remove from heat. If left to sit for too long this will become hard and difficult to drip over cheese as it will be like sticky candy.
Just before serving, arrange cake on a platter and arrange reserved grapes over top. Drizzle with port mixture. Top with thyme sprigs to achieve the pretty effect! Serve with dried fruits and an assortment of crackers.
The winner for May's Whole Foods giveaway is: LeaAnn of Cookin' on the Ranch!
Don't forget to enter the June giveaway.
Other great appetizers:
5 Great Appetizers
Middle Eastern Appetizers
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Smoked Trout Pate
Lemon Thyme Biscotti Crackers