Manchego is a wonderful Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk. Eat it plain, or marinated in olive oil and herbs, as it is here.
According to Fine Cooking, the cheese should be eaten within 3 days. The olive oil can be kept up to 10 days for sauteing and cooking.
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more if needed
3 large sprigs thyme
2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
1 small dried red chile, cut in half or thirds
8 oz. manchego cheese (more aged is better), rind cut off, cut into 1/2- 3/4-inch cubes
Combine olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and chile in a small saucepan over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmery, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Put manchego in aanother bowl (I used my serving bowl). Pour olive oil mixture on top. (If necessary, add more oil to cover.) Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. A few hours before serving, remove dish from fridge and allow the cheese and olive oil to come to room temperature.
To serve, transfer everything to a pretty bowl, with toothpicks alongside for spearing the cheese.
These Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms are a long-time family favorite. Mushrooms are sauteed and then stuffed with Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, mushrooms and onions for a hearty, flavorful vegetarian appetizer that everyone will enjoy.
This is a favorite appetizer of ours – we serve this both hot and at room temperature (grill and keep warm in the oven, if you prefer). I haven’t tried it, but I bet this would be fantastic in a taco, topped with a light, fresh salsa.
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (less to cut the heat)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. light brown sugar or honey (I’ve made it with both)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lime, juiced
2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
If using bamboo skewers during grilling, soak skewers for 30 minutes, prior to threading the shrimp. You may also skip the skewers and place the shrimp directly on the grill.
In a large ziplock bag, combine all ingredients except for the shrimp. Once thoroughly mixed together, add shrimp and toss to coat. Preheat grill, if serving immediately. Otherwise, refrigerate marinating shrimp until ready to grill.
Grill shrimp / shrimp skewers until pink and lightly charred on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
These quiche are billed as appetizers but are also perfect for breakfasts. They can be made ahead of time and heat up prior to serving, or may be served at room temperature. They can also be assembled and frozen, and baked right before serving.
Bacon, Leek & Cheddar Mini Quiches
Source: Fine Cooking (issue no. 82)
3/4 lb. bacon, cut into medium dice
3 c. diced leeks (3 leeks, white and light green parts only)
1-1/4 c. half-and-half
1 c. grated extra-sharp Cheddar (4 oz.)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 (1 lb.) pkg frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions (FC actually calls for two packages, but I use 1 package, reusing the scraps)
Flour as needed for rolling out the dough
Brown bacon until crispy, 6-8 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet and put on a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but a tablespoon of bacon fat and return skillet to stove. Cook leeks until soft.
While leeks cool, mix half-and-half, cheese, eggs & egg yolks, and spices. When slightly cooled, add leeks and bacon and combine.
Lightly spray mini-muffin tins… you’ll need 4 12-muffin tins. If you’re short, don’t worry, make half, refrigerate the rest of the dough and filling, bake or freeze a batch, and then finish the rest.
On a floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry at a time. Per FC, you should get a 10×18 rectangle. I didn’t measure, just thinned the dough out a bit. Use a cookie cutter (or juice glass) to cut out 3-inch circles. Place dough circles into the muffin tins. Fill each cup with 1 Tbs. of filling, to the top of the dough. Repeat until done with filling & dough.
To Freeze: If you’re going to freeze the quiches, now’s the point to do so. Place the muffin tins in the freezer for 30-45 minutes, or until frozen. Pop out of muffin tins (I had to use a butter knife to pry them out) and place into a sealable bag or tupperware. (FC says these will keep frozen for up to a month.)
To Bake: Bake at 400°F, with quiches at top and bottom thirds of the oven. Bake about 20 minutes (switching tins halfway through if using two oven racks) or until filling is puffed up and crust is browned.
If using frozen quiches, return to muffin tins to cook. Cooking time will be 30-35 minutes.
Dec. 2010 Editorial Note: Added photos since original post did not have any.