Thank you to Fromager d’ Affinois for sending me a variety of cheeses to try and photograph for this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.
If you entertain often, then cheese platters are your friend.* Not only are they delicious, but they are filling and SO easy to put together! When pressed for time, or bring an appetizer to a potluck party, or even when I just have a lot going on, I reach for my cheese boards and hit the deli section of my local grocery store.
Fromager d’Affinois is the top-selling cheese for Fromagerie Guilloteau. It is a smooth double cream cheese expresses that has been delicately matured. In addition to the original Fromager d’Affinois, this cheese also comes in flavors of Garlic & Mixed Herbs, Olive, Truffle, and Pepper. I tried the original, mixed herbs bleu and pepper varieties— all of which were creamy and flavorful! The high fat-content of this cheese positions it halfway between a traditional Brie and a triple-cream cheese. I was able to find this cheese at my local Whole Foods Market.
*Cheese platters are your friend unless you do not eat dairy, or your guests do not eat dairy. In that case, you may want to make other entertaining friends.
My favorite thing about Spring is the emergence of all the fresh herbs. This cocktail is the perfect mix of fresh herbs and the wonderful aromatics of gin.
Rocks glass with Ice
4 Slices of Cucumber (3 for beverage and 1 for garnish)
1 sprig thyme for garnish
1 oz Basil & Thyme Simple Syrup (See recipe below)
½ oz lime juice ( ½ of freshly squeezed lime)
1 ¼ oz Gin
2 oz Sparkling Water (Or Soda Water)
1. Put ice, 3 slices of cucumber, 1 oz of basil & thyme simple syrup, squeeze of lime juice, and the half of the lime into a shaker—Muddle
2. Pour gin into shaker, cover, and shake vigorously
3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
4. Pour in sparkling water and garnish with cucumber slice and thyme sprig
How to Make a Basil & Thyme Simple Syrup
1. Put a handful of basil leaves and several sprigs of thyme into a small sauce pan with 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water. 2. Stir the mixture as it heats on medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved (about four minutes) 3. Remove from heat and let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 4. Once cooled, taste to see mixture as it sits to get your desired herbal flavor. 5. Once you have your desired flavor pour mixture over a sieve— to strain the solid from syrup—into a jar.The mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.
Originally published on InComplete Magazine
I love cooking. You can take one look at my “A Well Crafted Pantry” section of this blog for proof of that. However, one thing you won’t find in many of my recipes is a variety of spices. I’m sort of simple when it comes to using spices in my cooking. I like using fresh and dried herbs in cooking, but even that I typically limit to two or three different ingredients. Because of that I’ve stayed away from cooking some of my favorite styles of foods. Part of the hesitation is not knowing if I’ll like a certain spice or spice combination. The other is whether I’m going to use it very often. Then of course, there is the cost! Buying ten different spices to create one dish is not easy to do when living on a budget. Cooking with spices always seemed intimidating and expensive.
Enter my new favorite subscription service. I love subscription services. I’m a member of several for my entertainment, to my blog work to simple pleasures we want to enjoy at home such as food or beverages. I was thrilled when asked to try out a new spice-centric subscription service.
The RawSpiceBar is a subscription service perfect for people like me who want to try different spices and spice combinations, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg trying them out.
For $6/month you get a small batch of spices delivered to your door with a short story about the spices and the region that they come from along with some recipes. The past three month spice batches included:
How much fun is that? I have never cooked ANYTHING with any of these spices. It is a whole new world of cooking at my finger tips.
I originally wanted to try creating my own recipe with the spices. But, since I had never worked with ANY of these spices before, I decided to try out one of the recipes that were provided.
I made the Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala using the Punjabi Garam Masala spice mix and the Tandoori Spices. One of the directions on the recipe was to bring the spices back to life by heating them in a dry saucepan on the stovetop. I cannot describe the amazing smells that were in my kitchen. I want to do this with ALL my spices now!
I made this meal for myself, my husband and my toddler. All three of us ate as much as we could and there was enough for at least 4 more grown adults! I love that the recipes create enough for a crowd. Perfect for when I want to try out a fun new dish with friends.
I do have to say that the recipe card was missing a few bits of important information while cooking. But, the online recipe fixed any of my questions. So, if you read through the card and have questions, jump on the RawSpiceBar website and use the online version of the recipe instead.
Want to give it a shot? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win one of two 3-month subscriptions to RawSpiceBar! Or, hop on over to RawSpiceBar now to sign up for just $6 a month!
Please read giveaway guidelines. Giveaway begins today, March 26 and ends 12AM PST April 6. Giveaway open to readers in US & Canada only.
Thank you to RawSpiceBar for providing me with a sample subscription to try the RawSpiceBar services and share with readers as well as the giveaway subscriptions. All opinions and images are my own.