cocktail party

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Yesterday evening Jonathan and I hosted a little wine and cheese tasting garden party for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the one where you are supposed to eat dairy- basically, my favorite holiday ever!). A friend brought plums from her tree and it was fun to see the early fruits of the garden, including blackberries that will arrive in a month or two.

I am no wine connoisseur, but I did some research online to find wine/cheese combinations that went well together, and then came up with simple, no-cook appetizer ideas using each cheese to pair with 5 different wines (ranging from bubbly to after-dinner port). I learned that when pairing cheese and wine, it’s best to match similarities in flavor (like a light fruity wine with a light cheese/fruit appetizer) or go for complete contrast, (like a sweet robust port paired with a pungent blue cheese like gorgonzola). It’s fun to take your time and pay attention to how the flavors dance in your mouth! I think they are best enjoyed in this order:

  1. Prosecco: spread camembert (a brie-like) cheese on a toasted piece of baguette, top with a peach slice, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  2. Pinot Grigio: spread fresh whole milk ricotta cheese on a toasted piece of baguette and top with lemon zest and honey. See more details on that recipe in this post.
  3. Pinot Noir: stack a cube of watermelon, a cube of feta and a leaf of mint on a toothpick.
  4. Cabernet Sauvignon: top a slice of sharp white cheddar with a slice of crisp green apple, then sprinkle with honey and black pepper.
  5. Port: put a smear of creamy gorgonzola on a leaf of purple endive and top with a red grape or 2.

Happy summer entertaining!

xx Erin

Lemon Ricotta Crostini

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We had a deck party last weekend and I made a batch of these Lemon Ricotta Crostini- they were a hit! And they were sooooo easy to make. Just slice and toast a baguette, and top the slices with ricotta, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest. Top with a pinch of coarse salt and serve!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

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We have a huge blackberry bush right off the deck, and I have found a tasty new use for them. Fresh rosemary muddled with sweet blackberries plus tequila! Yes! Check out the recipe on my Better Homes & Gardens post today.

Cheers!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

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Bacon & Basil Wrapped Dates! I have made these with real bacon, turkey bacon & veggie bacon. All are good (but real is the best!). Wrapping it in a fresh basil leaf after baking makes it feel a little less indulgent and a little more delish!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

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Watermelon Margaritas are super fun and colorful for summer entertaining! And I love how this recipe uses frozen watermelon chunks instead of ice cubes. You can find the recipe on my post today for Better Homes & Gardens.

What’s your favorite summer drink?

Cheers!

By Erin Gleeson | The Forest Feast