Welcome to today’s Blog everyone! I’ve been trying to decide how to start entertaining again in a safe environment given that we are still dealing with Covid-19. We have begun to invite people over in two’s and three’s but only if they are fully vaccinated. We are still keeping our distance so the table is set with place settings far apart. When deciding on a menu I’ve been trying to come up with things that can be served individually. Today is an example of that adaptation. Who doesn’t love a good cheese and fruit communal board. Let’s take that thought and prepare individual boards instead.
These are little individual servings of Brie that are placed on each board. We added lavender infused honey (recipe below) to each individual serving. The lavender and honey make a delicious accompaniment to the Brie. Allow your Brie to come to room temperature. If it’s ripe, it should start to soften and “weep” a little.
I chose a pretty store Blue Cheese as a counter to the Brie. You’ll notice dried apricots, sliced pears and grapes near the blue cheer.
We’re also adding some blackberries and apples to the board. The apples and pears have been tossed in a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
You can pre-make these great mini- cheese balls (recipe below). This is the last step. Which is to prepare ground nuts and minced sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl. Add your pre-formed mini balls to the mixture and roll them around to coat the balls with the mixture.
These look really colorful on the tray and are delicious. I served them with Focaccia Bread that I made before. Just heated it in the oven and sliced it for serving.
The final cheese is Tete de Moine which translates to “head of the monk”. It’s been produced for 800 years in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. You can also P’tite Basque. This cheese is a bit pricey but lasts a long time. You need the Girolle which is pictured above right. I also used a peach bourbon cardamom preserve for the center. You turn the Girolle around the block of cheese and it produces a flower. Put a dab of preserves in the center of the flower and it looks and tastes really special.
Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Ball
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (1 package)
4 ounces Goat or Feta Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and minced, divided
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Chopped Walnuts for rolling cheese balls
In bowl, combine cream cheese and goat cheese until well combined.
Add 3/4 of the 1/4 cup of tomatoes, basil, garlic powder, garlic salt, parsley and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until everything is combined.
Lay plastic wrap on surface and transfer cheese mixture on top. Cheese should be in a rough ball. Wrap cheese in the plastic wrap and then shape into a nice ball. Chill until firm.
Combine nuts and remaining minced sun-dried tomatoes. Roll the cheese ball in the nut/sun-dried tomato mixture. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve. You can make this the day before serving and allow flavors to combine.
Lavender Infused Honey
Culinary lavender (enough to cover the bottom of the glass container you are using.
Honey (enough to cover the lavender in your container and another two inches or so.
Add lavender to a clean class container with a tight sealing cover.
Pour honey into the container to completely cover the lavender and come up another 2 inches.
Place in cool area out of the sun for about two weeks.
When ready, strain honey through a fine mesh strainer. Discard lavender. Honey is ready to use.
I hope you will give these ideas a try for your own entertaining. The individual cheese boards go over well and are really fun for an outdoor table setting. Add a glass of wine and you have a great way to entertain without getting too close to you guests. Enjoy!