Saturday, January 2, 2010

Asiago / Blue Cheese Crisps - RESTAURANT QUALITY Amuse-Bouche


...Yeah, I know, I have a bit of holiday overload myself. But, it is time to start blogging my Christmas Eve meal. For us, this was the "big" meal, with lots of prep work, time in the kitchen and it stretched my talents as a cook. These next several posts will be my Christmas Eve dinner. But, dare I suggest for you to consider these a germ of an idea to help celebrate...


Christmas Eve is a romantic time for Jackie and I. I have told the story recently, but quickly, Jackie and I made the decision to get married on Christmas Eve many years ago. Since then, we try to remember those romantic times. This year, I wanted to do something special in the kitchen that would remind us that for the two for us, "It's A Wonderful Life".

We made a couple of decisions... First, This was not to be a single BIG elastic waistband dinner. Instead, we would eat and cook courses... many courses, throughout the day. And second, we would spend the time remembering restaurant meals. The places we have been would be remembered and talked about. The memorable dishes we have been served would be recreated and serve as the "Clarence" to remind us, "It's A Wonderful Life".

Which means I get to stretch my cooking chops. We have eaten very well over the course of our life together. New York to LA: England, Germany and the Caribbean; resorts, cruises and Celebrity Chef restaurants all had to be remembered, researched and recreated to make this work. Jackie and I spent a week playing Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman wandering through the Wayback Machine to decide the menu.

First up is an Amuse-Bouche. That's a French term for a pre-appetizer, literally meaning, "mouth pleaser". An Amuse-Bouche is different from an hors d'oeuvres in that they are generally small (only one or two bites), it is the same for all of the guests at a table and it is never ordered. It is offered free of charge. An Amuse-Bouche is an unexpected bonus. The first time we received an Amuse-Bouche was at a fancy dancy casino restaurant in Vegas. I am now a poker player, but in my mis-spent youth, I played a lot of blackjack and craps. In exchange for me paying the entire casino electric bill for a month, they gave me a comp of a free meal at the fancy-dancy place. That was indeed a wonderful trip that Jackie and I remember very fondly (Cirque du Soleil "O" and Sigfried and Roy were also comped... but I digress...).

So, at the crack of dawn I woke up, went to pee (I am old), and went back to bed for a couple hours. Then, at a civilized 8 AM, I had my coffee, and started to work on our Christmas Eve dinner...

For my Christmas Amuse-Bouche, I decided to make a very simple little snack I had first had at a casino in Kansas City. the restaurant is closed now, but I fondly recall the first time we had these little jewels. So incredibly simple and so tasty. I have made these many times, whenever we have a group over, they are always gone by the end of the night. Almost as addictive as blackjack.

Ingredient list for the basic crisp is just grated cheese. Either Asiago or Parmesan works best, You can add almost anything. Olives, minced spinach, bits of diced rib meat leftovers... anything except Brussels Sprouts (see the comments section at OURKRAZYKITCHEN ... click HERE for that discussion... But I digress again).

I chose to use some Blue Cheese and some walnut pieces as my accents to the basic.

It is also very easy if you fire these up on a cookie sheet with parchment paper covering.

Just as easy as it looks... sprinkle a bit into a circle and top with what you like.

I bake at 300 degrees. It took about 10 minutes for the edges to brown up and the center to start bubbling.

In the next few days, I will be tossing around the term restaurant quality and restaurant recreations. I tried to duplicate not only the taste but also the presentation look of the courses I made during the day. When plated, some plain cheese, some with just blue cheese accents and some with just walnut accents; and some with both blue cheese and walnuts... These were both restaurant quality and had the same look that I remembered.

Our bouches really were amused. So simple and so tasty. We spent an hour talking about Vegas, fun shows we saw, Jackie made a few very tasteless jokes about Roy (I made appropriate jokes about Siegfried) and it was a perfect start to our romantic trip down memory lane...

More Restaurant recreations and stories of our life to come over the next few days... We had LOTS of courses.

Despite having no Brussels sprouts as an ingredient, I am linking this recipe up with SIMPLE SATURDAYS at OUR KRAZY KITCHEN.

For some ridiculous reason,
they are collecting Brussels Sprouts recipes today


  1. A Happy New Year to you and Jackie !!...I did read the story of how you guys sweeeet !... My Hubs and I got engaged on christmas eve several years ago for us it is a very romantic time too... full of reminiscing :)... Glad you guys had a wonderful did we !

  2. These little amusing bites look wonderful. I love when Bob and I get into our "remembering fabulous culinary events" mode. New Orleans usually dominates the memories. Can't wait for the next post.

  3. "Jackie made a few very tasteless jokes about Roy (I made appropriate jokes about Siegfried)"

    I love how you are always the 'well behaved' one when you recall things. Selective memory perhaps? (ha ha ha, I kid, I kid)

    I love the lacey cheese rounds like this, I haven't tried them with blue cheese just yet. I had an idea that I haven't tried yet. You know how they are still flexible when they first come off? What if we bend them into a taco shell shape before cooling. Then you could stuff them with just about anything. Mini tacos, guacamole, crab dip....hmmmmm much to ponder.

    Happy New Years Dave!

  4. Until now, I have kept out of the brussels sprout controversy...I am not very confrontational, but I must tell you...I HATE brussels sprouts, too.

  5. I love easy peasy recipes like this one. This looks like quite a fancy and good snack.

  6. I want my bouches to be amused too! These do look wonderful Dave and definitely quick and easy enough for me to make even on the busiest evenings. I'm thinking they might be just fine with some bits of leftover brussels sprouts though ;-)

    Loved how you added all our silly fun to your entry today. I knew you were really going to liven up Our Krazy Kitchen! Cheers!

  7. Hello! I'm giving you the Kreativ Blogger Award, hop over to my blog and see who else has been nominated!

  8. YUM! These look so delish...I love the ones made w/ just hard cheeses....but throw in the deliciousness of bleu yeah!! Very nice :D

  9. This post has all my favorite elements - holidays, romance, foods, humor and even Brussels sprouts LOL! Seriously these look yummy and will make a great addition to some soup I'll be making shortly. Christmas Eve is always our big food time too so it's nice to know that at the crack of dawn I am not alone in the kitchen prepping for the big night!

  10. Love it and love these little cheese bites! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story. It has all the elements - food, travel and adventure, and romance.

  11. Eating is always the best way to celebrate! What a great start!

  12. You had me until the Brussels Sprouts....

  13. What a sweet way to do Christmas dinner! I definitely appreciate your references to It's a Wonderful Life. That's my all-time favorite Christmas movie.

    The cheese crisps look delicious! I'm looking forward to seeing what else you had cookin' on Christmas.

  14. The cheese crisps look yummy! Sounds like ya'll had a lovely evening. I am so looking forward to seeing your crawfish post! Happy New Year, cher!!

  15. Great thinking to try these with blue cheese. Id love to pair them up with veggie soup.

    Happiest of New Years to you two!

  16. Look who's getting all fancy schmancy in the kitchen! Those are lovely, and your love story is even more so. Happy new year to you and Jackie!

    PS: I heart Vegas.

  17. I love those little crispy thingies! Yum! So yeah I was thinking the same thing as Ju (The Little Trochew) you are getting pretty fancy in the kitchen... Are you are distracting us with your culinary skills in the kitchen so you don't have to go outside in the cold to grill!?? Hummmm???
    Can't wait to see what is next...
    BTW I leave for Vegas on Tuesday... Any good recommendations for shows? I am usually really busy when I go there but my brother moved back to Colorado so I won't have anyone to visit...


  18. This is such a cute idea! I like the idea of eating smaller plates throughout the day rather than eating one huge meal and feeling ill afterwards.

    These amuse bouche sound amazing! Can you go wrong with cheese? Ever? I think not.

  19. I love Parmesan Crisps.... or Asiago Crisps... I posted them last year (now doesn't that sound like a long time ago..LOL)...

    Crisps are great... and yours look terrific... I'm not a fan of bleu cheese but ... you did get me thinking about other cheeses to use...


  20. Thank you for explaining what amuse-bouche is. I've often wondered.

    I do love cheese crisps and the addition of the nuts sounds wonderful!

  21. Now I don't know why I don't make these because we love cheese. Just don't think of it I guess, but now I will.

    Hey, I made your potato latkes the day you posted them, and they are GREAT! A keeper recipe.

    Loving the personal stories. It's good to share the memories with the food.