Monday, February 27, 2012

Homemade with Trader Joe's #1: Baked Goat Cheese a la Isa

I love me some Trader Joe's. I'm ceaselessly amazed by the quality affordable products that I can regularly get there and how easy they make it to throw together a fun and impressive looking cocktail party without too much stress. In a new monthly series I'll be sharing with you new fun "recipes" that only require putting together things found at TJ's.

My first recipe was inspired by that delicious warm goat cheese appetizer we enjoyed at Isa during Dine About Town. As I mentioned in my write up I couldn't wait to try it at home! Thanks to Trader Joe's it was simple to effortlessly gathering everything I would need to recreate this for my friends.

1 Container Trader Giotto's Fresh Bruschetta Sauce
1 11oz Cylinder Plain Goat Cheese (you could also choose the herb goat cheese if you prefer)
1 Pkg Pinenuts (they offer them raw I'll let you know an easy method to toast them)
Fresh Basil (if you grow some at home don't bother buying)
1 Loaf good crusty Bread (any of the baguettes are good!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a sheet pan lightly sprayed with olive oil spread a 1/4 cup of raw pinenuts. Lightly spray of the top of the pinenuts so they have a nice coating. Bake for 5 minute, pull out and with a spatula move the pinenuts around so they can toast evenly. Put them back in for another 3 minutes or until they are nice and golden. Set to the side to cool.

I chose to bake & serve mine in a 8" square Pyrex because that's what I have but if you have a prettier dish you would like to use go for it! Any glass or stone bake ware works great. In the 8x8 size pan I was able to use the whole container of Bruschetta sauce. If you choose something smaller you may only use half. Another fun idea is to do multiple smaller dishes and position them intermittently down a long dining table! Using the Bruschetta mix saves you the extra time and effort of preparing the tomatoes, garlic, & other seasonings. Slice the goat cheese in rounds about 1/2 an inch think and lay them on top of the sauce. Bake in your already heated 350 degree oven for 10- 12 minutes to well heated through.

Scatter your toasted pine nuts and some fresh chopped basil over the top of the warm goat cheese, serve with slices of your toasted baguette and enjoy! Be sure whatever you set the dish on is heat resistant (the restaurant served the heated crock on top of another plate, we set ours on a potholder) and make sure your guests know at least for the first 20 - 30 minutes that the serving dish is hot.

This melange of textures and flavors is sure to please your guests, is great enjoyed with wine, and couldn't be easier!

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