Monday, November 2, 2009

Marinated Cheese

This is a very colorful and tasty appetizer.  Because it has such a stunning presentation, it is a great appetizer for the holidays (red and green).  I got this recipe from a friend (Cate) and I will think of her every time I make it.

Marinade ingredients are olive oil, vinegar, roasted red pepper, parsley, green onions, garlic, sugar, basil, salt and pepper.  I just mix all together in a jar.

Before trying to attempt to slice cream cheese it has to be put in the freezer for at 15-20 minutes then it will slice nicely.  If it softens up on you just stick it back in the freezer for a few more minutes. 

Slice the cheddar the same size as you did the cream cheese.  

Arrange cheese alternately in a shallow glass baking dish with slices standing on end.

½ cup olive oil
½ cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar*
½ cup roasted red pepper, finely diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar (use up to 1 Tablespoon depending on grade of vinegar)
3/4 teaspoon dried basil**
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (8 ounce) package medium Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cold

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Set aside. This can be made a day ahead and stored in refrigerator. (Reserve some roasted red pepper, parsley, green onion and basil for garnish, which will add color to the top.)
2. Cut the block of Cheddar cheese in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices to form squares. Repeat with cream cheese. Arrange cheese squares alternately in a shallow baking dish with slices standing on edge. You can arrange in a single long row, or 2 parallel rows depending on the size of your dish. Pour the marinade from the jar over the cheese slices, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
3. To serve, remove slices to a serving platter so they are still arranged in an alternating pattern. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the marinade over the cheese so that all the herbs, onion and pepper stay on top of cheese. Pour remaining marinade over all and serve with crackers.

Garnish: I like to garnish with extra roasted red pepper, parsley, green onion and basil for extra color on top.
Hint: I like to use a hearty wheat cracker that can hold both cheeses.

*  I used to use regular balsamic vinegar but didn't like the look of the dark color.  I have made it with both white balsamic and white wine vinegar and I like them both the same.  I found white balsamic at Trader Joe's.

**  I used to use fresh basil but I like the dried basil better as the fresh would turn brown after it was refrigerated.

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