My oldest daughter has fallen in love with cheese, so she insisted that we have a cheese course as part of our Xmas Eve dinner this year. I don’t think I’ve ever done one before, but boy am I glad I did. The cheeses were wonderful, and for a couple of my guests (including my husband) the best part of the dinner. Those guests won’t be invited back 🙂
I did my cheese shopping at Trader Joe’s, as it made it easy, so I was able to research TJ cheese recommendations before. The day I went shopping, TJ was offering samples of one of their cheeses and it may very well be my favorite cheese of all times – my daughter also loved it. This is what I ended up serving, in addition to sliced french bread and sliced apples (I also had jams but they proved less popular). Remember that the key to a good cheese course is that the cheeses be close to room temperature, cold cheeses are less flavorful cheeses.
– Le Délice de Bourgogne, a triple cream softened ripened cheese from France. It’s similar to a brie, though even creamier than the triple cream brie they have at TJ, but with a stronger, richer flavor. It’s really delicious.
– Castello Blue, a triple cream soft blue veined cheese from Denmark. This is a real winner, and a real competitor to TJ’s stilton. I think we all liked it, and was one of my 10-yo’s favorites.
– Double Cream Gouda, from Holland. Another all around winner, but not as spectacular as the other two.
– Cotswold Double Gloucester with Onion & Chives, from England. This is the cheese that they were offering tastings of and that blew us away. It has an intense flavor, it’s super cheesy and slightly bitter, and just delicious.
– Arla Dill Havarti, from the US. I got this at Grocery Outlet and my daughter liked it, but it was mild and boring in comparison with the other cheeses.
I made this very simple hors d’oeuvre/appetizer for my 2010 Xmas Eve dinner and I think it was my favorite dish of the evening. It couldn’t be simpler: just some caramelized onions and blue cheese on puff pastry – but boy, is it delicious. I plan to make it as often as I can
The original recipe called for making your own bready dough, but I was running late with all Christmas dinner preparations and decided to use up the extra puff pastry I had around instead. It worked out perfectly, though I had to increase the cooking time from that of the original recipe for the pastry to be fully cooked. If you roll the pastry thinner, it’ll cook quicker, however. These squares are pretty messy, so make sure to serve them with napkins.
The puff pastry I used is the one that Trader Joe’s sells under its own name, which comes in two thick flat sheets. It’s pretty good and I think only $4 for a $1 package. The blue cheese was Rosenborg Danish Blue, which I got for $4 lb!!!! @ Grocery Outlet. It’s a delicious cheese @ an incredible price.
Blue Cheese and Caramelized-Onion Squares
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 lb. puff pastry, defrosted.
- 6 oz crumbled blue cheese
Melt butter with oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they start to brown and become soft, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Stir in the rosemary, sugar and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the onions are soft and dark brown, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 425F
Grease a large baking sheet.
Roll puff pastry sheets on a flour surface until they have the thickness you desire. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with caramelized onions. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese on top.
Bake in oven until crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling – 20 to 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.