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A Great Cheese Plate

 [ Food]
Author: 132132 View: 3548 07-07-06 15:32

3 ounces flavorful hard cheese such as manchego, Mimolette, Gloucester or cheddar
3 ounces semi-firm or semi-soft blue cheese such as Cabrales, Maytag or Roquefort
3 ounces soft cheese such as a triple creme cow¡¦s milk cheese like Brillat-Savarin or Saint Andre
3 ounces soft goat cheese such as Bucheron or ash-covered Chevre
1 recipe Cheese Course Almonds (recipe below)
Seasonal fruit such as berries, cherries, figs, apples or pears
Preserved fruit such as dried cranberries, orange marmalade, Spanish quince paste, or Indian chutney
Thinly sliced bread, such as a crusty baguette or dense dark bread studded with dried fruit

Cheese Course Almonds:
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups blanched whole almonds
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
Thirty minutes to 1 hour before serving, remove cheeses from refrigerator to they can come to room temperature.  Arrange on a large platter, leaving enough room around each one to cut.  Arrange Cheese Course Almonds, fresh fruit, preserved fruit and bread on platter, too.  Cover platter loosely until ready to serve with small knives and small plates.

Cheese Course Almonds:
Combine curry, sugar, garlic powder, ground ginger and ground red pepper in a bowl.  Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add almonds and stir, coating with butter.  Saute 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant.  Add spice mixture and stir.  Cook until spices are fragrant and nuts are golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Add orange juice and cook until almonds are dry, about 3 minutes.  Toss with salt and spread on a lined baking sheet to cool completely.  Serve immediately, or keep tightly covered for up to 1 week.
Creator Comment
In creating a wonderful post-dinner cheese plate, keep a variety in mind ¡V feature cow¡¦s, goat¡¦s and sheep¡¦s milk cheeses, for example, or feature a range of textures from hard to soft.  Provide a range of flavors, from mild to pungent, and some complementary accompaniments.  For beverages, a full-bodied or sweet wine is nice, as is port and brandy.

Serves: 8-12

Nutritional Analysis (for 10 servings):
Calories 391 
Cholesterol 33 mg 
Total Fat 26 g 
Fiber 6 g 
Saturated Fat 8.3 g 
Calcium 260 mg 
Monounsaturated Fat 12.6 g 
Magnesium 99 g 
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g 
Potassium 390 g 
Carbohydrate 27 g 
Sodium 624 mg 
Protein 15 g 
Vitamin E 8.1 mg* 

* Total Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents

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