Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Try a New Cheese: Brie

Brie with sliced French Bread, diced apples and chicken -
ready to be made into a sandwich! 

Does your kid love cheese? Ours do. Grilled cheese. Mac 'N Cheese. Cheese sticks. Cheese enchiladas.   You know who else loves cheese? Me. My husband.  We love to try different cheeses. I'm sad to say that we used to give WP the same few cheeses (American, Mozarella and Cheddar) and buy the good stuff for ourselves (Brie, Fontina, Blue, Gruyere, Parmesan, Kasseri, etc...). It never crossed our mind that our two year old would like the "finer" cheeses. But, one day, he toddled over to Mom & Dad's cheese plate of Brie, grabbed a cracker and dug in. To our surprise, he LOVED it!   Now, trying new cheeses is a fun family thing we share. We have found that by using a variety of cheeses that are new and different to us, meals like Mac 'N Cheese, Pizza, and Grilled Cheese never get old! 

Over the next few weeks, I will do several posts on the cheeses WP has tried and liked. I will share info on the cheese itself as well as a recipe or way to incorporate the cheese into a meal. 

Let's start with Brie. Brie is a soft, cow's milk cheese named after the French Region from which it originated (thanks, Wikipedia). You can buy it in a small, round "wheel", or in a pie shaped slice. Here are some of my personal preferences on Brie:
  • I like a double or triple creme Brie - double creme is soft and delicious, but triple creme is even softer and creamier. It can get pricey, so I recommend finding the softest Brie that fits your budget!
  • I do not eat the rind (nor do I recommend serving it to kids.)  Some people eat the rind, but I find it has a strong ammonia taste that over powers the rest of this delicate cheese.  I think it would completely turn a child away.
  • I serve Brie at room temperature, with water crackers
One way to incorporate Brie into your meals is to spread some on a sandwich as an alternative to grilled cheese.  The Grilled Brie Sandwich with Chicken & Apples was a hit at our house. It satisfied a picky-kid, a hungry Dad, and a foodie Mom. 

Grilled Brie Sandwich with Chicken & Apples
2 Tablespoons butter
6 slices of bread (I use sliced French Bread or Panne Lucianne from the HEB bakery. Sourdough would be good too.)
about 5 oz of brie, room temperature, with rind removed
1 Golden Delicious apple, diced
about 1/4 lb roasted chicken (or turkey) deli lunch meat, diced 

Remove the crust from the bread (for kids.) Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the Brie on the inside of all six slices of bread. Add diced apples and chicken to one Brie-coated slice of bread, then top with the other slice.

Melt the butter in a large skillet (or griddle) over medium heat. Add sandwiches to the skillet (or griddle) and sear on each side until bread is lightly browned and cheese is melty and gooey enough to hold the sandwich together. 

This recipe makes 3 sandwiches - enough for 2 adults and 2 kids. 

Optional: For a little more flavor or kick (for grown ups or adventurous kid eaters) add purple onion, arugula, and deli mustard to the sandwich before toasting. 

Enjoy! Love ~ Lauren

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