APPY HOUR: Manchego + Cider Syrup Bruschetta

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Yesterday we brought you a “recipe” for Cider Syrup, which is just reduced apple cider. It becomes caramelly and tart and absolutely delicious. And, since you’re probably up to your dreidels in holiday entertaining, we’ve brought you a fantastic recipe that uses that syrup. This simple-to-assemble appetizer uses Co-op made baguettes, arugula, manchego cheese and the cider syrup and the mix of flavors is out of this world. Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese with a bold and nutty flavor, making it a natural partner to the sweetness of the syrup. Toss in some peppery arugula tossed with a floral olive oil and be prepared to be amazed!

To make this recipe you will need:

1 baguette, cut into thin slices
2-3 cups arugula
2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 ounces manchego cheese cut into thin slices
1/4-1/2 cup cider syrup

In a mixing bowl, drizzle the arugula with the olive oil and toss to coat. Place a small amount of arugula on a slice of baguette, top with a slice of cheese and a drizzle of syrup.

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APPY HOUR: Aubrey’s Holiday 4-Cheese Ball

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Aubrey is infamous around our Co-op for two things: her sassy sense of humor and her holiday cheese balls. People travel from miles around (well, staff flock from their respective departments) to dig into these savory treats she makes every holiday season. And now, Beet Box readers, we’re sharing one of the recipes with you!

One of favorites (she makes 4 different kinds!) is the four-cheese version that is salty and savory and the perfect addition to your holiday entertaining. We serve ours with crispy slices of housemade baguettes, but you could use anything your heart desires- gluten-free crackers, pretzels, your fingers?

To make this cheese ball you will need:

2 cups parmesan, shredded – reserve ¼ cup
4 cups swiss cheese, shredded
5 cups white cheddar, shredded
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup shallots minced – reserve half
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt – or to taste
a couple drops of your favorite hot sauce
¼ cup parsley – minced and reserve
Small handful of pecans – finely chopped and reserve

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well incorporated. Take reserved items and mix. Form your cheese ball(s). Roll through the reserved mixture and serve.

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Appy Hour: Fresh Fig Bruschetta

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It’s that special time of year. You’re getting ready to pull out your sweaters and boots and say “sayonara” to tank tops and flip flops. The evenings have a slight chill and pumpkin flavored things are beginning to make an appearance. We love to celebrate the changing seasons at the Co-op with recipes that highlight unique ingredients.

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If the only way you know figs is through Newtons, prepare to be amazed. They offer sweetness, smoothness and crunch all wrapped up into one tiny fruit- which (FUN FACT!) grow on ficus trees. They’re flavor isn’t overpowering, which allows them to pair nicely with a mild cheese and toasted bread.

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Figs will automatically up your host(ess) game, so be prepared for the oohs and aahs at your next shindig.

To make this bruschetta you will need:
1 baguette or loaf of crusty white bread cut into slices and toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces of goat cheese, softened
1 pint of fresh figs, sliced thinly
fresh thyme
honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush bread slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Let bread cool slightly and spread goat cheese on each piece. Top with slices of fresh figs and a sprinkle of thyme leaves. Drizzle honey over the top and serve.

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Appy Hour: Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

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Local tomatoes are exploding on their vines right now and we are fully stocked with beauties from several local growers. Be sure to check out our visual guide to some of the heirloom tomato varieties we currently have here! It uses naan made from scratch in our bakery, whole  milk ricotta cheese, fresh local heirloom tomatoes and pink himalayan sea salt for flavor and crunch.

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Spread ricotta cheese over naan and sprinkle with sea salt. Slice tomatoes and layer in rows. Sprinkle more salt on top and sprinkle with fresh herbs- we used rosemary, but thyme or oregano would be delicious too. Cut into slices or squares and serve with a sparkling white wine.
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Appy Hour: Nectarine Prosciutto Crostini

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Appy Hour is back! Summer is the perfect time for outdoor gatherings with friends and family. And since cooking in the heat (and lately humidity) is pretty far from our minds we came up with this simple, yet impressive recipe for a fancy appetizer. These crostini use toasted baguettes made from scratch daily in our own bakery and are topped with juicy local nectarines, local basil and goat’s milk ricotta cheese that’ll knock your socks off.
To make these delicious little bites you will need:
About 18 pieces of sliced and toasted baguette
1 container of Amaltheia Dairy goat’s milk ricotta chese
1 nectarine pitted and sliced
8-9 slices of prosciutto
5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Top bread slices with ricotta cheese. Tear prosciutto slices in have and place on top of the cheese. Place a nectarine slice on top of each and sprinkle with basil leaves.
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Appy Hour: Watermelon Feta Bites

WatermelonFetaBitesIt’s heating up outside, so make your grub a bit cooler! These simple watermelon feta bites are the perfect summer appetizers. Now, some of you may think we’re crazy to pair cheese with melon and mint, but trust us! The saltiness of the cheese combines with the sweetness of the melon and the coolness of the mint and it really works. Plus, they’re pretty to boot!

To make this appetizer you will need:
1/4 whole watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 ounces feta cheese, cut into i inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
olive oil (optional)
Place cheese on top of  melon cubes and sprinkle mint over the top. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.

Appy Hour: Rhubarb Ginger Compote

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Far be it for us to ever tell someone to ditch a pie recipe (after all, pie is a food group, right?), but rhubarb can be used for so much more! It’s natural tang lends to a nice pairing with sweetness, saltiness and a variety of spices. We serve this compote in the deli over pork roast, but you could also make bruschetta with it!  Try topping slices of toasted baguette with the compote and a salty goat or feta cheese.

To make this compote you will need:
1 pound of rhubarb trimmed into half inch slices
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, combine brown sugar, raisins, vinegar, ginger, capers, chili flakes and black pepper. Cook ingredients, stirring constantly, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5-10 minutes. Add rhubarb to pot and cook until the rhubarb begins to break down and the mixture is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let cool and serve. The compote will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Appy Hour: Grilled Almond Butter + Caramel Date Syrup Sandwiches

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Your typical PB + J just got a grown-up makeover! We used the Co-op’s Salted French bread, freshly ground almond butter and Date Lady Caramel Date  sauce, then grilled it with salted butter in a skillet on the stove. We also tested a batch with a new local Cabernet Sauvignon jam which was equally delicious.

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You can cut these into small triangles and serve them as an appetizer with grapes and cheese too.
To make the sandwiches you’ll need:
10 slices salted French bread (or other hearty white bread)
1 cup of freshly ground almond butter
8-10 tablespoons of caramel date sauce or wine jam
4-5 tablespoons butter

To assemble sandwiches, spread 2 tablespoons of almond butter on 1 slice of bread. Spread caramel sauce or jam over the almond butter and top with another piece of bread. In a large pan or skillet over medium heat, melt  two tablespoons of butter. Place assembled sandwich in pan and grill on each side until golden brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through. Cut into four pieces. Add more butter to pan and repeat until all sandwiches are grilled.

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Wine, Cheese + Chocolate Pairings, Part 2

If you find yourself hopelessly wandering around the wine section trying to figure out what will go perfectly with the cheese and chocolate in your cart, then this two part guide is for you. Be sure to check out part one.
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Featured left to right: rosé, pecorino, milk chocolate
Although the color is described as sweet, rosé is typically described as dry (the opposite of sweet). The color of rosé is developed from the juice of white grapes and the skins of their red counterparts. This often makes for a more subtle flavor which pairs well with the saltiness and nuttiness of a pecorino cheese, made from sheep’s milk. Because of the mild and dry flavor of a rose, a sweeter, creamy milk chocolate makes a tasty companion.

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Featured from left to right: Syrah, truffle sea-salt cheddar, dark chocolate with espresso beans
Syrah is a fuller-bodied dark red wine that starts out with deep fruity flavors and often tapers to peppery notes. This flavor profile makes a perfect match for the sharpness of an aged cheddar, especially the one pictured, with truffle and sea salt. The depth of flavor in syrah stands up well to the bitterness of dark chocolate with espresso beans in it.

RieslingGoudaCollageFeatured from left to right: Riesling, Gouda, chocolate with caramel and sea salt
Riesling, a sweeter white wine, is known for its notes of citrus, apricot and honey. It’s these flavors that pair nicely with the bold, buttery flavor of Gouda- smoked or not. A sweet Riesling is also an equal match for a milky chocolate with caramel, toffee and sea salt.

Wine, Cheese + Chocolate Pairings, Part 1

If you find yourself hopelessly wandering around the wine section trying to figure out what will go perfectly with the cheese and chocolate in your cart, then this two part guide is for you.
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Featured from left to right: prosecco, triple creme brie, dark chocolate with hazelnut + currant
Prosecco, a nice alternative to champagne, pairs well with the luxurious texture and high butterfat content of a triple creme brie. The bubbles in prosecco offer a nice refreshing balance to the creamy texture of brie and the sweet and salty flavor and crunchy texture of a chocolate loaded with fruit and nuts.

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Featured from left to right: cabernet sauvignon, blue cheese, 85% dark chocolate
This pairing is not for the faint of heart- or taste. These flavors are bold and complement each other well. The salt and tang of a blue cheese needs something more full-bodied to stand up to its pungent flavor. Enter cabernet sauvignon. Drinkers of cabernet sauvignon often note the flavors of dark fruit, oak and smoke all of which tame the strength of blue cheeses and super-dark chocolate. The red wine and dark chocolate also pack a one-two punch of antioxidants.

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Featured from left to right: chardonnay, plain goat cheese, white chocolate with strawberries
Often with citric notes and crisp flavor, a chardonnay balances well with the herbal and tangy flavors of chevre. The lightness of the chardonnay is also a perfect match for a fruity and buttery white chocolate, which can be overwhelming with sweeter wines.