Tag Archives | cheese

Apple Tartlets

Apple Tartlet photo

Time is getting away from me these days. Far too often, I’m unsure of what day of the week it is. Somewhere inside my brain, the miniature version of me is pacing, mumbling to itself. Go left? Go right? What’s the next move?

Each night before I go to bed I write out the tasks of the next day so I can combat this haze. It helps me center, to focus. Most mornings the last thing I want to do is leave the bed and get going on the day, so I set myself up with a purpose, one foot in front of the other. And then I get distracted by things in my refrigerator.

It could be worse, of course. It could be things that are expired, creating funk and ooze, but instead I just have drawers and shelves with possibilities. It’s easy to let yourself get lost in those.

When I made this mascarpone last week a good portion of it immediately went into the best pancakes ever – I’m sharing those next weekend, I promise — but I still had some left. I thought about a complicated, rich, showpiece dessert, and then I abandoned that idea in favor of these quick and easy, but no less delicious, tartlets.

Apples are a star food at our house, and it’s sometimes hard to convince the rest of the family that other fruits do exist the rest of the year. But when autumn comes I join the full-on embrace, and it feels like we can’t quite keep enough apples on hand.

Luckily, this dessert uses just one apple. It’s the sort of oh-crap-company-is-coming dish that you can throw together with stuff from the fridge and still have it look fancy. These little tartlets are also stellar for breakfast in the place of a standard pastry.

Apple Tartlets image

I recommend cutting the puff pastry to the size of your apple slices, so you might get more or fewer tartlets depending on your apple. With a standard Fuji apple, this recipe yields 9 tartlets.

If you like, the finished tartlets can be glazed with apricot jam or additional honey while they are still warm from the oven.

Apple Tartlets


  • 1 medium apple, such as Fuji
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 sheet puff pastry


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice apple either horizontally or vertically to create large cross-sections. Remove seeds and stem pieces.
  3. Stir together mascarpone, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Roll out puff pastry and cut into 9 sections.
  5. Place an apple slice in the center of each pastry and trace around the apple with the tip of a knife.
  6. Remove the apple and spread some of the mascarpone in the circle, then replace the apple, pressing down.
  7. Repeat with remaining pastry, apples, and mascarpone.
  8. Bake tartlets for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
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DIY Mascarpone

Homemade mascarpone is only a few steps away.

DIY Mascarpone

Cheese-making might be my new obsession. I’m loading up on cheesecloth. Errands have been scheduled around trips to the store that sells the best rennet selection. I might be trying to convince my husband that we need to move to an acreage so I can have goats for milking. This is all normal, right?

It’s not like I’m going to drop everything to have my own cheese business. But maybe I could.

I first got hooked on making cheese at home with this simple ricotta-style cheese, getting totally mesmerized watching the curds form after pouring in the vinegar. Food science and poetry, mingling together right there in my pot.

Mascarpone is even easier. Considering how much mascarpone costs at the store, it’s like a dirty little secret that all you need is good, quality cream and some citric acid. And time, but, well, most of that is the cheese just doing its thing in your fridge.

This revelation might actually be a dangerous thing for me, because now I’m obsessing over finding new ways to use mascarpone. Dessert, obviously. Breakfast dishes, sure. Stuffed in pasta or stirred into risotto? Now we’re talking.

I let this sit for about 16 hours, but it really doesn’t need that long. The longer it sits, the more whey is drained out, so you might find yourself needing to stir some whey back in to achieve that creamy texture mascarpone is known for. Definitely do not throw away the whey, because it’s a great addition to a variety of things. I like to use it in pancake batter or use in place of yogurt in a smoothie for a protein boost that isn’t thick.

If you have 15 minutes of time tonight you can have fresh mascarpone ready by morning. What’s stopping you?

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Pimiento Cheese Jalapeño Poppers

Pimiento Cheese Jalapeño Popper image

One of our friends always makes jalapeño poppers whenever we get together. It’s not that they’re a showy dish — in fact, I think their simplicity is part of their addictive charm. I admit that at first I was wondering why they were always on the table, but now I seek them out eagerly. After all, there’s a reason why they’re called poppers.

I might have to switch it up a little on the popper front, though, because these pimiento cheese jalapeño poppers are basically the best way to kick off your end-of-summer party. Why use cream cheese when you can use pimiento cheese, right? (And no, my pimiento cheese does not have cream cheese in it. I can’t do that to my Texan friends.)

Pimiento Cheese Jalapeño Popper ingredients

Honestly, for these poppers the hardest part is getting the bacon to stay wrapped around the peppers. Or maybe waiting for the peppers to cool down enough to eat without searing the top of your mouth. Whichever. The point is, even when making pimiento cheese from scratch, the whole dish comes together quickly, and you can even be a party ninja and do everything in advance, then toss ‘em on the grill or in the oven when the first guests arrive. Twenty minutes later, boom! Mouthful of happiness right there, folks.

I used aged cheddar in these, but you can really use whichever kind of cheddar you prefer. Sharp cheddar is classic, but smoked gouda is also darn good. The great thing is that this makes far more pimiento cheese than you need for the jalapeños, which means you can either set the rest out with a bowl of crackers or make the best darn grilled cheese in history.

Pimiento Cheese Jalapeño Popper photo

I made these pimiento cheese jalapeño poppers as part of the August Progressive Eats! Jump below the recipe for more information on our fun monthly progressive dinners, and get the rest of this month’s recipes.

Pimiento Cheese Jalapeño Poppers


  • 7 to 8 ounces cheddar (or use a mix of cheeses)
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces diced pimientos
  • 1 teaspoon grated shallot
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 jalapeños
  • 8 strips bacon


  1. Shred cheese and set aside.
  2. Stir together mayonnaise, pimientos, shallot, cayenne, and salt. Fold in cheese. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F or prep grill.
  4. Halve jalapeños lengthwise and remove seeds. Fill each cavity with pimiento cheese.
  5. Slice bacon into halves or thirds (depending on size of slices) and wrap around each jalapeño, securing with a toothpick if necessary.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or grill 10-15 minutes.
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Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

This month’s theme is Summer Barbecue hosted by Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake. You’ll love all the summertime recipes that will be perfect for your next cookout or Labor Day gathering.

Main Course








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Homemade Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

Homemade cheese is easy with this simple method. Adding seasonal tomatoes and basil makes it a summer staple.

Homemade Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

The cherry tomato plants are taking over.

Deciding that their carefully placed cages are too confining, they’ve reached out their limbs in every direction, trying to make their move out of the garden box. Tomatoes, it seems, don’t realize they’re meant to be eaten.

After a few years of frustration, we now only grow cherry tomatoes in our garden. Thanks to birds and squirrels that are far more industrious than I and the years-long drought, larger tomatoes are best left to those who are experts — or at least have drip tape installed. This year, I happily pluck tomatoes from our plants nearly daily, and my only worry is how to tether the ever-lengthening branches.

We do get more tomatoes than we tend to eat in on any given day, but luckily summer is the time for tomatoes and their consort basil to shine. In particular, mixed together in this homemade cheese.

Homemade cheese is remarkably easy, and every time I make it I wonder why I don’t do it more often. This is a basic ricotta-like cheese, and it only needs milk and vinegar, plus salt to taste.

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Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausages

Make breakfast better with homemade sausages studded with apples and Kerrygold Skellig.

Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausage

Nearly three months later, kindergarten is still a transition. Amid his successes in the classroom, home life is fraught with denied exhaustion, harsh words, and frustrated tears. You could say we’re still trying to find a balance, but when you’re six years old, I’m not sure balance is even an option. Throw a baby brother into the mix, and it’s no wonder 3 out of 4 people in this house are in or near tears every night.

I can’t control what happens during the day, but the least I can do is put a good breakfast in him. We really enjoy biscuit breakfast sandwiches, but I don’t get much time to make them during the school week. Plus, even when I buy the best sausages I can, I don’t like not being in control of the ingredients. Then I remembered how easy it is to make your own.

Making sausages with chicken is as simple as getting white and dark meat (already ground if you don’t have a grinder at home) and mixing it with whatever spices and other ingredients you want. For this sausage, I added Skellig, Kerrygold’s newest cheese.

I first tasted Skellig after Maggy from Three Many Cooks hooked up my pregnant self with a lot of cheese and butter. Almost immediately it became my new favorite cheese – it’s a sweet cheddar, but not sweet-sweet in the traditional food sense. There’s also a bit of nuttiness that is in all the cheeses that I really love.

Skellig pairs really well with apple and maple syrup, so I added those into the sausage as well. With the small cubes, the cheese doesn’t make a melty mess in your pan, but adds bites of flavor within the sausage.

And the verdict? Well, when I served these up for brinner, my son said, “I wish I had one hundred of these!” Sometimes, all you need is a hug and some homemade food.

Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausage


Apple Cheddar Breakfast Sausages
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • 1/2 pound ground dark meat chicken
  • 1/2 pound ground white meat chicken
  • 3.5 ounces Kerrygold Skellig cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Put chicken, cheese, apple, and syrup in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix together spices, then pour into large bowl. Mix everything together until ingredients are evenly distributed.
  2. Form sausage into 12 patties and chill until ready to cook.
  3. Cook over medium-low to medium heat for about 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time. Extra cooked sausages can be stored in the freezer; reheat on the stove with a little water in the pan (just like commercial sausages).

Disclaimer: I received cheese and butter from Kerrygold to create a Skellig recipe as part of their contest for the Kerrygold Bloggers Network. All opinions are my own, and obviously, I like cheese.

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Beer Cheddar Waffles

Beer Cheddar Waffles close up

Football has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. When you grow up in Wisconsin, that’s just how it is. On Sundays, the local radio station would start playing Packers-themed music two hours before kickoff. (Yes, there is enough to fill two hours. Maybe more at this point.) The grocery store and the mall were ghost towns during the game. You quickly learned which teachers you had to tiptoe around on Mondays in the event of a loss.

Although I was never extremely into the games growing up, it was always on, so it became part of my subconscious. Now that I live in Texas, I spend half of Sunday griping about how I don’t even get to watch my team, thanks to local channel programming. The rest of the day? I work on recipes, of course.

This particular recipe came together while I was thinking about how Sunday brunch coincides with kickoff. Football people never go to brunch during football season, but they deserve waffles too. Waffles with lots of cheese inside and topped with crispy meat and cool sour cream. Waffles made with beer.

Beer Cheddar Waffle

These waffles don’t taste boozy, but you get a nice hit of malt flavor. The yeast in the beer makes it a natural addition to waffle batter, helping the waffles rise and create a fluffy interior with crispy crust.

I used a local German-style pilsner, but I think these would be even better with a dark ale. If you make these, I’d love to know which beer you use!

Beer Cheddar Waffles

Yield: 4


  • 1 ounce prosciutto
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar, such as Kerrygold Reserve (about 3 ounces)
  • Sour cream
  • Chives


  1. Crisp prosciutto by baking it on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375°F for 10 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.
  2. Whisk together flours and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, beer, and butter, then stir in cheddar.
  3. Let batter rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat waffle maker and cook according to manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Top waffles with sour cream, chives, and crumbled prosciutto.
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