Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marinated Cheese

I'm a sucker for appetizers. I think more people than are willing to admit it secretly crave party food. You know what I'm talking about... all those little things that make you feel like you're not eating much even though you're probably eating way more than you would in a typical meal. I'm Jenny, and I'm that person. Give me a plate, a table of appetizers, and leave me to take care of business.

My friend Holly made this for a party over a year ago, and she was kind enough to give me the recipe. It's been on my mind since then, and I knew this past weekend was the perfect opportunity to indulge. Some friends and I threw a bridal shower, and marinated cheese was one of the most popular dishes. Hello, appetizers: I love you.

Marinated Cheese

8 oz. regular cream cheese
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 oz. pimento
Crackers (for serving)

Freeze cream cheese a few minutes for easy slicing, but don't leave it in the freezer long enough to change consistency. Slice both cream cheese and cheddar cheese into thin squares, and place in dish, interchanging pieces.

Combine remaining ingredients, and pour over the cheese. Try to keep the "stuff" on the cheese, and let the juices run to the bottom. It's best to make this several hours ahead to let it marinate.

The Garlic Press - seriously. People who have it love it, and people who don't have it realize their struggle with garlic can come to an end with one simple purchase. You don't have to peel the garlic! Just pop the clove in the hopper, give it a squeeze, and watch the good stuff come out while the peel stays behind. Also, this means you're not getting garlic all over your hands, which is nice if you plan to be around other humans or small animals.

I'm a sucker for prep work, so here it is. With recipes like this one, it's easy to lose track of what you've mixed and what you haven't, so it helps to lay it all out ahead of time. (No one wants your nasty marinade with double the salt.) I'm using Measuring Spoons, and Adjustable Measuring Spoon, a Pinch Bowl, the Garlic Press, Easy Read Measuring Cups, the Herb Keeper, and the Large Cutting Board. Let me just say this about the Herb Keeper: amazing. Not only does it keep me from fighting gross produce sacks, but it legitimately keeps herbs way longer than anything else I've ever tried (like produce sacks). The top comes off to create a little bowl to chop herbs easily, which is a great feature on a recipe like this.

So my marinade is whisked in the Small Batter Bowl using the Stainless Mini Whisk, and now it's time to slice cheese. The Cheese Knife makes pretty quick work of this because it's got a long, heavy blade, complete with pokey tool. As with everything sharp, this comes with a protective sleeve. Love the Cheese Knife!

Ok, could this be any simpler? I didn't think so. This is an appetizer that feeds a lot of people, looks beautiful, and can hang out at room temperature a few hours. And unlike many appetizers, this won't break the bank. It's in the Dots Medium Round Bowl from the Simple Additions Collection, and I think the colors work well together. Also, the shallow bowl keeps marinade on the cheese without letting the presentation go from pretty to pretty gross after people serve themselves.

You're crazy if you don't make this for your next party. There, I said it.

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