Love is in the air! Although, it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s almost Valentine’s Day. I think my holiday radar is a little bit off lately. I’m going to blame my holiday ineptness on the stores around me feeling the need to fill up with Valentine goodies on December 26th! The stuff has been in the stores for so long that I’ve grown to ignore it, and now, here we are…almost to the actual occasion! I’m fully prepared for them to roll out the 4th of July paraphernalia on February 15th.
This week, I’m going to feature three recipes that could easily fit into this year’s busy, weeknight Valentine’s Day celebration. Or, they work well on their own any day of the week…they just happen to look especially festive. 🙂
Let’s start with an appetizer, shall we?
One of my all-time favorite appetizers is baked brie. Whether it’s wrapped in puff pastry or just baked up until it’s all ooey gooey, it’s just a little piece of heaven. I ran across this recipe a while ago and thought it might be the perfect thing to start out a Valentine’s Day dinner. Delicious AND pretty. Sounds good!
I started by toasting some slivered almonds in the oven. Toasting up nuts can be a tricky thing, only because they can go from looking good to burnt in a matter of seconds. Stay near the oven when you’re toasting them up, so you don’t end up stinking up the kitchen! There’s nothing romantic about a stinky kitchen. Once they are lightly toasted, remove them from the oven.
As the nuts were toasting, I prepared my brie. I was making this for four people, so I chose a smaller wheel of brie. If you’re having a group over, you may want to opt for larger wheel. I carefully sliced away the top rind of the brie and placed the cheese back in the box it came in.
Once back in its box, the brie needed to warm up in the oven for about 15 minutes. Just long enough for the cheese to soften up, but not long enough for it to bubble all over the place.
While the brie baked, I worked on my topping. I warmed up some honey, fresh rosemary, and balsamic vinegar together on the stove top. To that, I gently stirred in some beautiful fresh raspberries and the toasted almonds.
Once the brie was out of the oven, I carefully removed it from its box and set it on a plate. Then, I poured the warmed raspberry mixture over the brie. The warm brie started to ooze over the sides as if on cue. We dove in with crackers and sliced baguette and before I knew it, we had an empty plate on our hands. The combination of the crunchy almonds, smooth, creamy brie, sweet honey, and tart raspberries was really different…in a good way. It was a departure from our usual baked brie and we agreed we’d have to travel there again!
WARM, HONEYED BRIE WITH RASPBERRIES AND ALMONDS
Adapted from Creative-Culinary.com
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 wheel of ripe brie (8 oz. works for 2-4 people, 13 oz. for more)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 pkg. (6 oz.) fresh raspberries
- water crackers or baguette slices for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350*. Place the almonds on a cookie sheet and bake, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir mid-way through.
- Carefully slice the top rind off of the brie and place the cheese back in its box. Place the box on a cookie sheet and bake until softened, but not oozing over, about 15 minutes.
- As the brie bakes, warm up the honey, vinegar, and rosemary over medium heat in a medium skillet. Once the mixture is warmed and liquid, carefully fold in the raspberries and almonds with a rubber spatula.
- Remove the warmed brie from its box (I found I could peel the box apart from the side and move the brie with a spatula) and place on a serving plate. Top with the warmed raspberry mixture. Serve with crackers and baguette.