Culinary Tourism in the state of Oregon!...baked brie and caprese!

Not sure I would want this guy in my garden but I loved going to our local nursery last week!

Looking for all kinds of herbs to plant in our garden has been fun this year.  Our usual Sweet and Thai Basil will steal the show in all our breakfasts at our inn but this year we are looking for those unusual herbs that add a taste that's new and fresh!

There are a few of my favorite summertime recipes below that I hope you make, enjoy and share with your friends.  Around here when the sun is shining, the margaritas are made and we are looking for that simple and very tasty something to chew on, we make "Insalata Caprese" and a little "Baked Brie!"  Who doesn't love a bit of mozzarella with lots of herbs and tomatoes?  And...who doesn't love that nutty and creamy brie oozing fresh out of the oven spread on crusty Italian bread.   

So...here goes!  Enjoy and let us know how much you loved these recipes and if you have a "really good" margarita recipe to share, let us know about that too!

BAKED BRIE

2 Tablespoons butter, softened
About 7 ounces whole ripe Brie or Camembert cheese with rind
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread butter over the top and sides of Brie.  Place the Brie on an ovenproof rimmed serving plate.  (I like using a mini cast iron pan...it looks cool and keeps the cheese warmer longer).  Sprinkle almonds over top.

Bake in the preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese just begins to melt!


and now for the Caprese!

INSALATA CAPRESE

3 lg. fresh tomatoes
16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, only fresh will do
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 sliced black or kalamata olives
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar ( I use 30 yr. old basal mic vinegar...really, really good flavor!)
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/8 cup fresh oregano
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (or use Fleur de sel...a French sea salt...yum)!

Slice mozzarella into small slices, slice tomatoes thick and combine the tomatoes and cheese with all the remaining ingredients.  Toss well and coat everything!

Chill for 1 hour (minimum).  When ready to serve, arrange tomatoes on a large platter, put some of the cheese slices on each tomato slice.  Work in olives and onions.  Drizzle remaining dressing over the top and serve with crusty bread!


And yes...these recipes can be served with one of our awesome "inn" breakfasts!  We hear it's a European thing.  Loving that fresh just picked and tossed dish makes us innkeepers pretty popular in Oregon.  Check out one of our Oregon Bed & Breakfast Guild Inns to see what's cookin' this summer!



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