Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snack Time Again

Fruit and cheese trays are so refreshing and delicious.  This one was the perfect balance to finish off the trilogy of snack trays from New Year's.

Since it was just me and my Dear Honey, I stuck with the things we both really enjoy.  

The cheeses would normally be something hard, something creamy and something stinky.  For the hard, I went with aged Asiago - nice and sharp.  The creamy was (of course) triple cream Brie.  Yummy!  And the compromise on the stinky was Jarlsberg.  

My honey loves blue cheese, but I am not a big fan - I probably just haven't had the right one!  We have an ongoing joke about asparagus because of this very thing.  We were vacationing with friends in the Outer Banks and trying to decide what to have for supper.  Our friend, a really great chef, wanted to know what I thought about asparagus.  We talked about all the ways to prepare it - grilled with balsamic and dipped in lemon butter is my favorite way to cook asparagus.

That evening, he proudly presented his grilled balsamic asparagus with lemon butter - at which point my Dear Honey told him that I don't like asparagus, even though I make it for him.  What!?  Well, I thought he was just talking about recipes and cooking!  It never dawned on me that he was actually planning a menu for the evening.  

Well, years have passed since that vacation and I have avoided asparagus ever since.  But.  A few weeks ago I was at a dinner and the dreaded vegetable was served.  There was no way to get out of it.  It would have to eat a full serving of asparagus.

It was blanched with a light balsamic vinaigrette.  There were 7 spears served to me.  The chef was awaiting my opinion... I tasted.  I chewed.  I swallowed.

I can honestly say it was the best asparagus I have ever had in my entire life.  It was a little crunchy and the dressing was perfectly balanced.  It was yummy!  I would eat it again (without being forced!).  I finally had asparagus that I liked.

I think the same thing will happen with blue cheese.  I just haven't found one I like yet - aside from the blue cheese dressing you eat with Buffalo wings, that is.

So back to the platter...

So there are the 3 cheeses - sort of balanced because Jarlsberg is kind of strong although not nearly as strong as a blue cheese.  And then there's the fruit.  I have red seedless grapes and oranges.

The grapes are sweet, crunchy and green to burgundy.  The oranges are acid, juicy and yellow orange.  So I would normally add a bright red (strawberry, not too juicy, moderately sweet this time of year) or a green (granny smith apple - tart, crisp, put some mint leaves around).  Since it was just us - I doubled up on what we liked a lot and left off the visual pop of color.

We really liked this fruit and cheese tray - and it was so super easy to put together.  It too only about 10 minutes of chopping.  Then I just left it out to let the cheese come up to temperature and it was perfect.

Sometimes simple is best.

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