The past couple months have been crazy with all the holidays, and I gotta say, I’m glad it’s over. January feels like a fresh start, and I am so ready to put all that heavy holiday eating behind me. Err… soon. After this cheese.Me, this brie, and a bottle of wine. That’s how I rang in the start of 2014, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.I’m certain this breaks some cardinal rule of the New Year, but to those of you who made resolutions to watch your diet, I say… what about cheese? What about rich, gooey, decadent cheese, baked with rosemary and dripping in honey?
Forget the calories. This has to be good for your health.
Having the holidays so close together definitely took its tole on me. Even when they’re spaced out more reasonably, I tend to be tired by the end of it all, but this year even more so. With no real down time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or Christmas and New Years, I was feeling a little extra sleep deprived, and as a result, a little extra cranky-pants.
My (self-prescribed) remedy? A hunk of crusty bread, molten cheese, and the sweet/savory combination of rosemary, honey, and maple candied walnuts. If this couldn’t take the stress away, nothing would.
After this photo was taken, I pretty much devoured the entire wheel of cheese. And then hibernated for the first few days of the new year. As expected, this did wonders for my mood, and I woke up feeling completely rejuvenated. This just goes to show the healing powers of cheese and sleep. New Year’s Resolution: more of both.
I’ve never been big on making new year’s resolutions, but this year I’m breaking my own rules and laying out the ground work for some personal change. Top of my list is to work on shifting my sleep schedule, and becoming more of a morning person. I’ve always been a night owl, and that’s worked out okay for me so far, but I had a mini revelation a couple weeks ago that convinced me mornings might be better.
When I stay awake at night, more often than not, I’m spending my time trying to unwind from the day. I watch youtube videos and browse pinterest, mindlessly surfing the web for hours until I finally pass out… but it occurred to me recently that the best way to unwind from stress is probably just to fall asleep, even if my mind is telling me it wants to spend the next few hours catching up on cute cat videos. Plus, if I were to fall asleep earlier, I might wake up feeling more rested, and could spend my mornings doing more productive things.
That’s my theory, anyway. As for the reality, well, so far I’m lying in bed at 11 o’clock, fighting the urge to turn on the computer. I’ve dealt with five year old’s less ornery about bedtime than I am, so this is easier said than done. Wish me luck.
Besides my personal resolutions, I’m also planning on making some changes around here in the next few weeks. More on that to come. In the meantime, you may see a slow down in posts as I get my act together. Also, as I’m writing this, there’s over a foot of snow accumulating outside, and growing. I don’t foresee any grocery shopping happening in the next few days. I guess I’ll just have to go back to hibernating, and dreaming about this cheese…
That rosemary on top is like candy, you guys. Candy.
So what about you, did you make any new years resolutions? Also, are you a morning person or an evening person? Have you ever made the switch? Let me know in the comments below, and if you have an advice, please share!
- 1½ cups walnut halves
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup (the real stuff)
- pinch of salt
- 8-12oz. wheel of brie*
- 2-3 TBSP honey
- a few sprigs fresh rosemary
- crusty french bread, toasted, for serving
- maple candied walnuts, for serving
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Preheat a dry skillet over medium-high heat for a couple minutes to get it nice and hot. Add the walnuts, maple syrup, and salt, and stir. Cook, stirring constantly, until the maple syrup has thickened and clings to the walnuts. You should just begin to smell the syrup caramelizing when the nuts are done. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Pour nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, and quickly spread them out to avoid clumping. Let cool, then store in a cool dry place at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove cheese from its packaging. Place in the center of a rimmed baking sheet, or an oven-safe pan. Place a sprig or two of fresh rosemary on top, and drizzle thoroughly with honey -- don't skimp.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the honey is bubbling and the cheese is soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before digging in.
- Top with additional honey and bits of rosemary (I like to remove the leaves from the sprigs of rosemary that were baked with the cheese and sprinkle them on top, or you can use a little fresh rosemary), and serve with crusty bread and candied walnuts.
The rind of the cheese is completely edible. If you prefer to avoid the rind, you can slice off the very top of the wheel prior to baking. Do not remove the rest of the rind, as you need it to hold the cheese together. Once baked, simply dip and scoop the cheese out of the center.
Baked brie is a great place to experiment with different sweet and savory flavor combinations. You can use just about anything you can think of! Here are some ideas: bake your brie with herbs, spices, garlic, pesto, or serve with caramelized onions, for something savory. Or, bake your brie plain and top it with fruit preserves (such as apricot jam, marmalade, or cranberry relish), fresh fruit (such as figs, raspberries, or apples), or drizzle with honey or maple syrup. If you have a favorite way to eat brie, share it in the comments below!