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Cheese Please!

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It’s wine and cheese night over here! Family and friends have gathered and we’re ready to eat cheese! Earlier today I shared my recipes for three olive tapenade variations.

Enjoy the tapenades on their own or pair with cheese. Olive tapenade is especially delicious with feta cheese. Spread it on a baguette or make little tartlettes like these…

Simply buy a package of phyllo/fillo tartlette shells, fill with a bit of cheese, top with tapenade and bake in a 375 degrees oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is warm and delicious. You can make these tartlettes a hundred different ways. Try gorgonzola with finely diced dried apricots and prosciutto, brie with fig preserves or a cranberry chutney, or cheddar with poached pear and perhaps a piece of ham. The options are truly infinite. So easy and delicious!

Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella with Basil Pesto

Fresh tomato and mozzarella always works well for a wine and cheese night. There are many different ways to present the dish. Tonight, I arranged the tomato and mozzarella in overlapping rings. Then, I drizzled the plate with fresh basil pesto. Alternately, you can layer fresh basil leaves with the tomato and mozzarella and drizzle the dish with balsamic vinaigrette. Serve with a platter of sliced baguette and let your guests create their own Caprese appetizers.

For the basil pesto, I made a very slightly modified version of my regular pesto. This version simply contains a bit more olive oil and is blended longer so it has a consistency more like a dressing than a sauce. You can use the same recipe to create a spread or sauce for pasta by blending less and using a little less oil.

Basil Pesto Dressing


  • Big Bunch of Basil (about 2 cups Basil Leaves)
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil (plus more, if necessary)
  • Salt and Pepper


Pull the basil leaves off of the stem.  Place in a food processor and pulse slightly, giving the leaves a coarse chop. Add all other ingredients, except the oil, and mix until well blended. Gradually incorporate the oil until you reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Baked Brie en Croute

We’re big fans of brie around here. One of my favorite ways to serve brie when we have guests is wrapped in puff pastry. It’s a simple preparation which makes an elegant presentation. You can wrap the brie on its own or pair it with preserves, dried fruits, spreads or nuts. Simply thaw one puff pastry sheet, which you can usually find in the frozen foods section of your grocery store. Spread a small circle of preserves or the filling of your choice in the center. Place an 8 ounce round of brie on top of the preserves. It’s not necessary to remove the rind from the brie. Wrap the puff pastry around the brie. Cut off any excess pastry. Lightly beat an egg with a splash of water. Brush a little on the seam side. Place the wrapped brie seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with the egg mixture. Bake in a 400 degrees oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with baguette.


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Salmon, Corn, and Tomato Pasta in Pesto « The Gourmand Mom

  2. Hi Amy, I made the baked brie in pastry last night and it was delicious! I added apricot jam to the pastry which I really liked. I love how easy it was. We also served hot chilli & carrot chutney on the side. That was for those who wanted some kick with their cheese! (this was very popular!) My next goal is to get the presentation to be as polished as yours. Thanks so much for your great ideas & photos! Dana S.


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