Hors d’oeuvres for Cheese Lovers Everywhere

Today is National Cheese Lovers Day. I suppose we could have served up a creamy Mac and Cheese dish and called it a day. But why do that when we can throw a Cheese Inspired Party instead!

The nice thing about Cheese Lovers Day is that it holds no restrictions. It’s not tied to a particular type of cheese such as Cheddar Cheese Day (February 13) or presentation such as Cheese Ball Day (April 17). This gives us total freedom to have our cheese and eat it too. Serve cheese cold in a log or warm, wrapped in pastry. Skewer it, marinade it or just slice and enjoy. Cheese is delicious. So let’s party on, dude!

All About the Cheese
Marinated Chèvre Cheese Log
Puff Pastry Brie Bake
Bacon Blue Cheese Wedge

And More Cheese
Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Italian Mozzarella Bites

For the Non-Cheese Eater
Sliced Sausage Platter

Just Because
Warm Breads
Assorted Wines

Marinated Chèvre Cheese Log
11 oz soft Goat Cheese Log
1/2 cup Olive Oil
6 sprigs Thyme
6 fresh Basil Leaves
Pinch Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, optional
Baguette Slices or Crackers for serving

Allow goat cheese log to rest on the serving platter, positioned in the center as desired for final presentation.

Cut slits in the cheese halfway through, every inch or so along the distance of the log. This allows the marinade to immerse into the goat cheese. Set log aside.

Pluck thyme from the sprigs, finely mince the leaves, scatter in a small bowl. Stack basil leaves, slice into thin ribbons, scatter over the thyme. Season herbs with salt and pepper. Add minced garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Stir to combine. If desired, finely chop pine nuts to add to the herb mixture.

Just before serving, pour olive oil mixture directly over the Chèvre cheese. Surround Chèvre with baguette slices or crackers for serving.

Puff Pastry Brie Bake
2 sheets Puff Pastry
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/3 cup Apricot Jam
1 (7 oz) wheel Brie Cheese
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Water

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Thaw puff pastry according to package direction. While the pastry thaws, chop walnuts and set aside.

Place brie wheel on a piece of parchment paper, trace circle sharp paring knife to match the wheel. Use scissors to finish cutting circle from paper. This is a template for the apricot filling.

Place the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.

Spoon the apricot jam on the middle of the puff pastry sheet. Spread jam in a circle, checking size with the paper template. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the jam. Place the brie wheel on top of the walnuts.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.

Lightly brush outer edge of the pastry with the egg wash. Fold the puff pastry over the brie wheel. If necessary, brush with more egg wash to make a tight seal around the cheese..

Turn the wrapped brie over, so the seam side of the puff pastry is facing down, and place on the prepared baking sheet. 

Using a sharp knife or cookie cutter, cut leaf shapes from remaining puff pastry. Roll some of the pastry to create mini berries or other desired shape.

Arrange cut outs as desired on the pastry. Brush all of the pastry with remaining egg wash to seal.

Bake in the heated oven for about 30 minutes or until the puff pastry is browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into and serving.

Serve with baguette slices or assorted crackers.

Bacon Blue Cheese Wedge
3 strips Bacon
8 oz Blue Cheese Wedge
1 tablespoon Honey
Assorted Crackers

Stack bacon slices, dice into small pieces. Scatter bacon in a skillet over medium-heat. Fry, stirring frequently, until crisp and beautifully browned. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. Store bacon in an air-tight container until ready to use. Reserve bacon drippings in the refrigerator for another purpose.

When ready, place blue cheese wedge on a serving platter. Drizzle cheese with honey. Sprinkle bacon over the cheese. Arrange crackers on the platter. Serve and enjoy.

Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
1/4 cup Italian Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
Olive Oil as needed
12 oz Cremini Mushrooms
1/2 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, minced
1 tablespoon Fresh Chives, snipped
4 oz Goat Cheese, softened
3 oz Whipped-Style Cream Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar for drizzle

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil, set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle a little olive oil. Toast Panko crumbs until golden, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Transfer toasted breadcrumbs to a small bowl and set aside.

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove stems to create wells for the cheese filling, set mushrooms aside.

Finely chop parsley and snip chives, set aside.

In a small bowl using a hand-mixer with a whisk attachment, whip goat cheese until light and fluffy. Combine the whipped goat cheese, whipped cream cheese, chives and parsley. Mix well.

Spoon a dollop of the cheese mixture into each mushroom cap.

Arrange stuffed mushrooms on the prepared baking pan. Place in the heated oven to bake for about 15 minutes or until the filling is warm and the mushrooms tender.

Remove from oven, arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle caps with toasted Panko Breadcrumbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If desired, scatter more herbs around the platter for a splash of extra color.

Italian Mozzarella Bites
1-1/2 tablespoons oil-packed Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley
1 teaspoon Chives
1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon Sun-Dried Tomato Oil
16 oz brick Mozzarella Cheese

Drain sun-dried tomatoes, mince and place in a large bowl. Mince parsley, scatter over the tomatoes. Snip chives, add to the bowl. Season with red pepper flakes, basil and garlic powder. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture. Drain 1/2 tablespoon of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, add to the marinade. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Cut cheese into bite-size pieces. Place cheese in the mixing bowl with the marinade. Stir to coat cheese bites well. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour for flavors to fully develop.

Serve with attractive cocktail skewers.

Sausage Platter
16 oz Summer Sausage
16 oz Hard Salami
16 oz Smoked Beef or Kielbasa Sausage
8 oz Hard Spanish Chorizo
Curly Parsley for garnish

Slice each of the desired sausages into 1/4-inch rounds. Arrange slices on a serving platter, stacking and overlapping to create an attractive presentation.

Finish with a garnish of curly parsley for a splash of greenery.

Serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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