Monday, November 30, 2009
Cheese Bites - An Appetizer for Blue Monday
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Poor planning on my part led to some scrambling today. Several weeks ago I agreed to make appetizers for a fund raiser, not realizing that the date fell on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Normally, I love to do this kind of thing. Not so much today. I've been in the kitchen a lot this past week and right now my idea of a perfect meal is a container of Ramen noodles. Having backed myself into a corner, I felt duty bound to get myself out of it with as much grace as I could muster. These cheese bites and two other very easy recipes were my passport to that graceful exit. The recipe for this appetizer is over a decade old. It came on the back of a box of Land O'Lakes butter. The original recipe called for blue cheese and roasted peppers. I still do that sometimes, but I must admit to doubling the amount of blue cheese I use when making the cheese bites that way. I also make them with Parmigiano-Reggiano and sun-dried tomatoes. The original recipe suggests baking the appetizer in a tart pan and serving it in wedges. I think that's way to rich for a first course and the wedge is hard to serve as a finger food. Over time, I began to make these in rectangular tart pans, cut them into small squares and serve them as finger food that can be passed with cocktails. In a bind, I've been known to use commercially prepared puff pastry or pie crust. The bites can also be assembled and frozen to cook as needed. This is not the best of my appetizers but it's among the most serviceable. I've used it over and over again because it is so easy to do and lends itself to theme and variation. Here's the base recipe.
Cheese Bites...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
Unbaked pie crust for a one crust pie
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 to 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1/3 cup drained and chopped roasted red pepper or drained and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup lightly toaste chopped nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a tart pan (round or rectangular) with a removable bottom with pie crust. Dock crust with a fork. Place foil and pie weights inside pastry. Bake until very lightly bown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights.
2) While crust bakes, combine cheeses in a large bowl. Beat, at medium speed, scraping bowl as required, until cheeses are creamy. Gradually add cream, egg and black pepper until everthing is blended. Spread into prepared crust. Sprinkle with red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes. Top with nuts and parsley. Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cut into wedges or squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 14 to 16 servings.
This post is being linked to:
Smiling Sally - Blue Monday