We Three Cheeses

IMG_0543-wMirabo Walnut, Cambozola, and Champignon Garlic are a delectable assortment of cheeses that can dress up any holiday party. Here the cheeses are paired with a range of divine flavors: nutty and tart, strong and sweet, savory and sumptuous.

So whether you are currently trying to find a parking space at the mall while fretting what to make for the holiday party (tonight!), or you are the planner who has everything checked off the list except picking up some cheese for your party this weekend, look no further. You’ll find something here to fit every schedule, every budget, and every palate.

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Quick and Simple: Mirabo Walnut and Cherry Preserves
No time for a recipe? This one’s for you: nutty, sweet, and easy.

1) Go to the store and pick up a crusty baguette, Mirabo Walnut, and a jar of Cherry Preserves.
2) Rush home, take out a cutting board and slice the baguette on a diagonal.
3) If you have time, slice the Mirabo and put it on the bread. Take a breath. Spoon out a teaspoon of cherry preserves on top. If the doorbell rings before you have time, set all three out with utensils and go answer the door.
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Pretty and Pungent: Cambozola-Apricot “Sandwich”
If you are a little more Rachel Ray than Semi-Homemade, this one’s for you. Give yourself a half hour to prepare these bite-size beauties. They are pungent and fragrant, sweet and salty, and all wrapped up in a pretty little package.

16 dried apricots
4 oz. Cambozola
½ cup pistachios, finely chopped
1 T honey

1) Halve the apricots laterally. (You can use a knife, but I found you can open up the dried apricot along the seam, as you do fresh apricots.)
2) Top half of the apricots with the Cambozola (about a teaspoon for each).
3) Place the remaining apricot halves on top to make “sandwiches.”
4) Brush honey on each top half.
5) Sprinkle with the finely chopped pistachios and serve.

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Luscious and Lavish: Champignon Garlic Blinis with Caviar
If you have a little more time and more lavish tastes, this one might be right up your alley, er, avenue.
Champignon Garlic underpins the decadent flavors of this “blini,” which is actually adapted from a previously failed pâte à choux recipe. But one man’s failure is another’s success. These blini are airy and light and so delicious they can be eaten on their own. But really why stop there, when you can indulge with a dollop of crème fraiche and briny caviar? Yes, do. And enjoy after all that work.

For Blini:
1 cup water
3 T butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs, room temperature
3 oz. Champignon Garlic, rind removed

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Bring water, butter, and salt to boil. Whisk together and turn off heat.
3) Slowly add flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
4) Beat in eggs, one at a time (make sure they are at room temperature first).
5) Stir in cheese until mostly smooth.
6) At this point, if the batter is runny, put the bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens enough so that it holds a soft peak when you pull a spoon out of it. Then spoon the batter into a pastry bag (or plastic bag) that is fitted with a wide round tip, and pipe one-inch wide drops onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
7) Bake for 25 minutes, without opening the oven for the first 15 minutes.
8) Cool slightly before adding the toppings.
9) Add ½ teaspoon of crème fraiche to each blini and top with a ¼ teaspoon of caviar (American Sturgeon or Paddlefish is perfect, though I won’t stop you if you want to splurge for Osetra). Garnish with chive and serve.

One final can’t-help-myself-because-these-blinis-are-too-good recipe:
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Duck and Champignon Garlic Blinis
I’m not saying go out and cook a whole duck breast just for these blinis. But, if you do have leftover duck hanging out in the fridge during the holidays, why not give this one a try?
To prepare, spread the blini with any remaining Champignon Garlic (leftover from the blini). Top with very thinly sliced duck.
That’ll keep you going until the limousine arrives.

Happy New Year!