Brie & party animals

Today started off sunny, crisp and super windy, with temperatures that made me require gloves on my bike ride over to my morning class. In the afternoon after I got home, it started raining. Good thing I holed myself up in the apartment with plans of cleaning, baking and watching TV.

First I had to make lunch. And since Tobi isn’t here to do the cooking, I decided to use the opportunity to pick a few recipes to try from a cookbook we got for our wedding. (Thanks, Peter!) It’s the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook, which has beautiful photography and good tips on cooking and baking, as well as some pretty simple but delicious-looking recipes!

So I decided to try the recipe for mâche salad with baked brie drizzled with honey and topped with granny smith apples and roasted pistachios, with toasted baguette slices on the side.

Um. I just have to say OH. MY. GOD. This was sooooo good, and really simple to make! I mean, just look at that! (You’re drooling too, right?)

Yum. I’ve been craving a lot of cheese lately (especially the creamy French kinds) so this was perfect. I had to modify the recipe a bit because I’m allergic to raw apples (and, unfortunately, most other raw fruits) so I threw in the apple slices with the brie and baked it. They were still a bit crunchy and definitely very juicy (and no allergic reaction, yay!) and it was a pretty darn amazing lunch!

Gosh, I had forgotten what granny smith apples taste like. They’re marvelous. I think I may have to bake some and drizzle them with caramel! Before my days of itchy gums and a swollen throat/lips, I used to love dipping (raw) apples into caramel sauce. Anybody else have oral allergy syndrome? It sucks, doesn’t it? If I had to choose fruit or chocolate, I would choose fruit. It’s that good and I miss it that much. But in reality I would choose chocolate, since I’m allergic to most of my favorite fruits anyway. But at least I can bake those allergy-inducing fruits into pies and it kills the enzyme that causes the reaction. Still not the same as biting into a fresh peach or spitting cherry pits out into the backyard*, but I’ll take what I can get.

(If you’re interested in trying it, the recipe is right over here on Food Network!)

p.s. My little friend was rescued from a “Zum Verschenken” box (free stuff!) at a flea market recently. I also ended up with a dinosaur. After seeing ideas like this one, these ones, and this one on Pinterest and blogs I follow, I have been keeping my eyes peeled for cheap plastic animals to use for craft projects. (These two little projects by Jordan of Oh Happy Day are also cute for parties & Christmas!)

*I have fond childhood memories of summertime sitting on the deck with my brother and cousins and a big bowl of bing cherries. We would have pit-spitting contests to see whose could go the farthest. Of course, it was hard to measure, since they were tricky to find in the tall grass afterwards. Not sure why we didn’t end up with any cherry trees after that…! Maybe it’s because our dog Katie would try to catch the cherry pits as they flew through the air. Katie never grew any trees in her stomach, either.

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