On Eating and Loving Food

Cranberry brie bites, wine, art, and other delightful, and stupid, stuff

What’s not to like
Posted:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 8:15am
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This week it’s not about a recipe of my mother’s, grandmother’s, or great-grandmother’s. Or mine.

Sanny Norton shared a recipe on Facebook last week and it looked mouthwateringly yummy. So of course I had to make them: Cranberry brie bites.

I have joined Sanny and several other local artisans for this year’s Gifts for Giving Christmas show and sale at Studio 53, beginning on Friday, Nov. 19.

There will be an opening party on Friday, and each of the participants will share a bottle of wine and a sweet or savory hors d’oeuvre. When I saw Sanny’s post, I knew what I’d make. Sanny suggested we both make some, so there will be enough to go around.

I have made a variation of these in the past, and the recipe is simple, but astonishingly, amazingly delicious.

What’s not to love? Puff pastry? Brie cheese (melted)? Pecans? Fresh homemade cranberry sauce? Nothing to not love. And it is, after all, the beginning of the holiday season.

I used to prefer the jellied cranberry sauce from a can, but as taste buds have a habit of doing, mine have evolved, thank god. And making cranberry sauce is ridiculously simple. Cranberries, sugar and water. Period. Cook over low/medium heat for a half hour or so, and voila! Cranberry sauce.

The recipe for the bites is simple, and foolproof. Just cut up some store-bought puff pastry or filo dough (with some flour spread under them) into small squares and fold them into a greased cupcake tin, drop a little piece of brie in each, and a dollop of  cranberry sauce, sprinkle some pecan pieces over them and throw them in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes.

I stirred the pecan pieces in some butter, with a little salt and sugar thrown in, over low heat for a few minutes. Just because I could.

I still have a few bags of rhubarb in the freezer, thanks to Jeff Savastano and his wife, Adele. They have a big patch of rhubarb outside the back door in East Boothbay and they don’t like it. So lucky me. I used that rhubarb in several recipes over the past summer, and I cut up and froze what I didn’t use. I figured if Martha Stewart could do it, so could I.

So, I decided to make some of the bites with rhubarb instead of cranberries, and fresh mozzarella in place of brie.

You can either make these yourself, or sample them at the opening party for Gifts for Giving on Friday. Starts at five. There will be wine too :-)

And besides the wine and hors d’oeuvres, there will be handcrafted jewelry, stained glass art, sea glass creations, pottery, lotions, soaps, cards, scarves, silks, handwoven creations, shawls, books (autographed by the authors), and original art.

So let the holidays, and all the fattening, unhealthy, but scrumptious food, begin. Just remember to drink a big glass of water first thing after waking up, and you’ll be all set. Just kidding. You won’t be all set, but you’ll be a little healthier, and presumably a little happier.

P.S. I actually started feeling a little guilty halfway through making these little delicacies. Upon reflection it occurred to me that the reason Sanny shared the recipe on Facebook in the first place was probably because she had already decided to make them for the Gifts opening. And now here I am stealing all her glory.

But as she said, if we both make them there will be more to go around. So I’ll get over it.

And full disclosure: I screamed when I popped that stupid, stupid, as Lisa Kristoff would say, crescent roll package. I hate those things. Scares the hell out of me every time. Like the stupid game of sitting on balloons. Ugh.

Also I admit another stupid thing I did when making these. I stood there waiting for the stupid oven to preheat so I could cook the stupid things. Finally I realized I hadn’t turned it on. And I was only halfway through my manhattan.

Oh! And Jill Butke, who will be selling her luxurious woven creations at the show, just hinted that she may make some of these ridiculous little bites, subbing Gorgonzola and fig preserves. Yikes!

It also just occurred to me that Thanksgiving is right around the proverbial corner, so I guess that’ll the subject of next week’s column.

See ya then!