I lived alone for many years, and while I cooked for myself a lot, sometimes I just liked something simple for dinner at the end of the day. This meant a bowl of cereal, or if I wanted to treat myself, brie on a baguette with fresh mint and strawberry balsamic vinegar. Now that I am shacked up with my man, I can’t get away with this. He requires a full meal, usually consisting of meat, starch, and veggies, followed by dessert. Before you take away my feminist card, know that he cooks for us often as well, or pays for us to go out to eat. However, he does travel frequently, and when he does that’s my chance to eat like a single lady again! This week he’s in New Orleans, so I went to the grocery store and bought a loaf of French bread, and what I thought was brie- on sale! (Score!) I like Ile de France brand, it’s reasonably priced, as brie can get expensive. I got home from work yesterday, got on my warm comfy clothes, and poured myself a glass of red. I cut my thick chunks of bread and turned on the oven. Then I got out my cheese, and saw it was CAMEMBERT! Now this is totally my fault, I was rushing in the grocery store because it was snowing out and I was worried about getting home before the roads got bad. But in my defense, Ile de France has the same packaging for both cheeses, and the word camembert was partially obscured by the sale sticker my grocer put on top. I couldn’t remember having camembert before, and there was no way I was going back out to the store, so I thought, “why not, maybe I’ll find a new favorite cheese.” I sliced a few pieces and piled it on my bread, just like I do with brie, noting that it had a slight smell to it that wasn’t very appealing. Then I put it in the oven. Once the cheese started to get melty, I took it back out, and put some mint from my kitchen garden on, then drizzled my balsamic. I took a bite, and…. YUCK! It tasted like it smelled. I was super disappointed, and also felt like I just wasted some of my precious balsamic, which isn’t cheap. I hate to waste money, and time, so I decided to just pick off as much of the cheese as I could, and then eat the bread with the balsamic and mint. Even still, the smell was on the bread, so I felt like that was all I could taste. Even my dogs wouldn’t eat a piece of the cheese, and they think rabbit poop is a delicacy! So- lesson learned- be more careful when grocery shopping and make sure you’re buying what you think you are. And now, the recipe for BRIE on baguette.
BRIE ON BAGUETTE–
Everything is estimated to my taste, feel free to change it up according to your own. This is more a suggestion of food pairings than a recipe.
Brie– Several ounces, I usually have a small wheel of Ile de France brand in the fridge, and for one serving I use about half of it.
Baguette or loaf of French Bread– I go back and forth, sometimes based on what my grocer’s bakery has on sale
Fresh Mint– One large leaf for every slice of cheese, or several small ones per slice
Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice two or three thick (1.5-2 inches) pieces off of your loaf. On a baking sheet, turn them on their sides, so that the center is facing you and the crusty sides are perpendicular to the baking sheet. Pile on the brie. I cut several thin slices and place them on top (see the picture). Put the brie covered bread in the oven, and watch for it to get melty, but not oozing hot. (Usually 4-5 minutes.) Take out the baking sheet, and gently press your mint leaves into the soft brie, taking care not to burn yourself. Drizzle with your balsamic, and enjoy!