"if you're afraid of butter, use cream." - Julia Child

Month: November 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Is there anything more comforting than a homemade chocolate chip cookie? Every time I make them I can’t help but remember getting so excited for them to come out of the oven as a little kid — peering over at them while they cooled on […]

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

  I know this is bound to be a somewhat unpopular opinion given all the Stranger Things fever spreading around lately, but it has to be said: supermarket frozen waffles taste like cardboard. It doesn’t matter what brand they are, what the gluten content is, […]

Brie En Croute stuffed with Stone Fruit Jam

Brie En Croute stuffed with Stone Fruit Jam

I love a good cheese and cracker set-up as much as the next guy. It doesn’t even have to be fancy — triscuits and cheddar, you say? Perfect. I’ll bring the wine. But sometimes those occasions arise where you want to spread your big, beautiful, cheesy wings — and why wouldn’t you? You weren’t raised by wolves, after all. You know when the circumstances call for a little something extra. And if I may be so bold as to say — you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like brie (sorry).

Okay, in all seriousness, this recipe can be put together with only a minimal amount of additional effort than the triscuits. And, I promise you this: While people love a plain wheel of brie when you put it in front of them, if you wrap that brie in puff pastry, brush it with egg wash and bake it until it’s flaky and golden brown on the outside and oozing with melted brie on the inside? You’re going to become a whole lot more popular than you previously were. Try to stay humble.

pictured with fig jam

The jam filling here is totally optional or replaceable — you can substitute cranberry sauce, caramelized onions, other types of preserves — or omit the filling entirely. Believe me, it’s all money in the bank once that thing slides out of the oven.

I’ve found over the years that this gooey gem is best served as the Mandatory Holiday Appetizer; i.e. the thing you set out before you’re about to serve a huge meal. Otherwise known as The Thing You Set Out To Appease Hungry Loved Ones That Have Started To More Closely Resemble The Ravenous Wolves You Once Were So Certain Had No Hand In Your Upbringing. It can be assembled in advance and even baked off an hour or so beforehand if you hold it in a 200°F oven until your guests arrive, freeing you to work on the seemingly thousands of other tasks you need to complete before dinner is served. Crostini is the ideal vehicle for this one (which can be made a day or two beforehand), and maybe some sliced granny smith apples if you’re going for the gold. Your guests will be quite pleasantly distracted while you Houdini together the turkey, the sides, the rolls…and perhaps your sanity if there’s any extra time. Now, if this brie could find a way to start on the dishes…that would be a thing worth celebrating indeed.

pictured with date jam


Brie En Croute Stuffed with Stone Fruit Jam


1 16 oz. wheel of brie

I sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled out to about  12” x 12”

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons fig or date jam (or filling of your choice)

A few tablespoons of flour, as needed for the work surface and rolling pin


Preheat oven to 400° F

With a sharp knife (or, preferably, a piece of unflavored dental floss. It’s way easier, I promise), cut the brie wheel in half so that you can open it like a book (This is easiest when the brie is cold from the fridge).

Spread the inside of the bottom half of the brie with the jam, then place the other half on top, like you’re making a brie-and-jam-sandwich. Set aside.

Sprinkle a little flour on a flat work surface and unfold the sheet of puff pastry. Sprinkle the top of the sheet and your rolling pin with some flour and proceed to roll it out until it measures about 12” x 12”.

Place brie, topside down, onto the center of the puff pastry. Gently gather the corners of the pastry sheet in towards the middle, enclosing the brie in the pastry. Slowly transfer brie to a sheet pan that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with parchment paper, seam side down. Gently gather in any protruding edges towards the brie, so that it’s in the shape of a rough circle. Brush the pastry all over with the egg wash (get in those crevices). Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and brie is melted and oozing inside.

Let rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with crostini or crackers and sliced apples, if desired.


Fall Salad with Caramelized Bacon and Fennel

Fall Salad with Caramelized Bacon and Fennel

I fear that I’m guilty of making the same side salads over and over again. In the spring and summer, it’s the blueberry goat cheese salad. And in the fall…as soon as the temperatures drop to the point that I suddenly remember my oven goes […]