I have to admit…I have a real addiction to cheese. I’m not kidding. I’ve been trying to give it up and get it out of my life for quite some time now, but I physically need to have a little bit everyday. It’s not exactly healthy, often lacking any real nutrients and loaded with saturated fats, and it’s not exactly a good path to take when you’re still hoping to be a vegan someday (these are dreams I have along with becoming a yogi master and running a marathon…but often, I’m too busy watching my DVR-ed shows and eating cheese and crackers and drinking wine to accomplish these goals…). Anyway, it’s hard to resist the rich, smoky flavor of smoked cheeses like Gouda or the slightly salty taste of mild cheeses like Fontina, and as it turns out, cheese actually does have addictive ingredients, like morphine and casein…so, see? I’m not lying, it’s a legitimate problem. I need to work on it.
Well, one particular cheese, brie, actually makes me smile. Sick, isn’t it? I love brie-on anything: brie on a Ritz cracker, brie in a sandwich, brie with some jam baked in some pastry…and I’m feeling hungry all over again. This past Winesday, my friend Amber decided to combine two recipe ideas into one and came up with our entrée for the week-brie crostini with roasted grapes and thyme. Ridiculous. See the recipe below.
Another successful yet overdue Winesday.
- San Sebastian Rosa. If you’re not aware of my wine obsession, please check out what I gave myself for my birthday. San Sebastian produces delectable wines from a small variety of Florida-grown grapes, and their Rosa is one of my favorites. It’s sweet and fruity with a slightly dry finish and goes well with just about anything, other than chocolate, which is a shame really…
- Brie crostini with roasted grapes and thyme. Although roasting grapes may seem like an odd way to treat them, they were actually incredible. By lightly covering them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh sprigs of thyme, you create a more savory jam. When the grapes are roasted, they soften and burst slightly, making it easy to eat them on crostini.
- A large loaf of Ciabatta bread, sliced-we always use Chabasco, which is an incredible Ciabatta bread that comes in five varieties (roasted garlic is the most delicious) and is sold in many supermarkets in the bakery section
- 8 oz package of good-quality brie that can be sliced
- 1/2 pound-1 pound red grapes
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh thyme
- Baking sheets
How to Do It
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line the slices of Ciabatta bread across a baking sheet lined with foil, and brush them with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Lightly toast the bread in the oven until the slices just begin to brown. Remove from the oven, and place 2-3 thin slices of brie on each slice of Ciabatta bread. Set aside.
- Toss the grapes with a tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl, and then line them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Dust them with salt, and lay several sprigs of fresh thyme across the top. Roast for 20 minutes or until the grapes begin to soften and burst. Remove from the oven, and set aside.
- If the brie hasn’t melted completely on the Ciabatta, toast the slices for a few minutes longer in the oven.
- Serve with warm grapes on top of each slice of bread. Enjoy-I guarantee you’ll go back for seconds and thirds!
- Double Feature Cupcakes with Mexican Hot Chocolate Frosting. Another one of my favorites. I consistently get good feedback on these cupcakes when I make them. As in, they’re gone within a few minutes, and people are taking seconds when they’re available. They’re in the range of 400 calories per cupcake so I usually try to have just one at a time, but it can be hard. Be warned-they’re more suited for a lighter meal because they’re so rich and spicy. You’ll enjoy them more if you’re eating them with little else.