I think we need a little party. Let’s shake it up, crack open some wine, and rip apart some really good bread. Oh yea, you know what I’m talkin’ about.
One jar of this stuff and you’ve got an instant party–anytime, anywhere! I first saw this at the farmer’s market in Corvallis. The party in the jar was first made by Alsea Acres, who makes some of the best goat cheese ever! While I did “borrow” the idea, you can make your own with Alsea Acres goat cheese, or the cheese of your choice. I took some of this up to visit family in Canada on an impromptu road trip (impromptu as you can get when you still need to renew your passport, eh?) and they loved it. It has everything included for a great appetizer.
You can put almost anything you want in this and it comes together so quickly, you could make it about an hour before you run out the door. I used 6 ounces of soft goat cheese for two of my jars, and chunks of feta for the other two jars. Other cheeses you could use include fresh mozzarella balls or shreds, feta cheese, goat cheese, even little cubes of parmesan would be good in this. You just marinate the cheese, garlic, red pepper, and herbs in olive oil and spices and spread it over bread or gluten free crackers. My mom is gluten free and even toasted up some Udi’s GF bread to smear with this cheesy concoction. I have to admit, that was pretty good too.
Here’s how to get the party started:
Layering is the name of the game with this.
Start with some garlic, peeled and crushed.
Add the first layer of cheese and some chopped peppers and spices.
Add more cheese.
Add more peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. You could add even more garlic if you want to.
Cover the whole thing with olive oil. You want to fill the jar with liquid. The oil becomes infused and is excellent along with the cheese on bread, pasta, more bread or even to saute chicken or fish in.
You can eat it immediately, but you can also let it marinate in the fridge for a couple days or even a couple weeks. It will only get better with time. The cheese is preserved in the oil, but you probably don’t want to leave it longer then 1 month.
When you are ready to start a party, take it out of the fridge and let it “thaw.” The oil will have solidified, so you need to set it out about 40 minutes before you want to partake.
Here’s how you eat it:
Rip off a piece of bread (or take a cracker out of the bag) and dig either a spoon, or a wide knife in the jar, cutting into some cheese and simultaneously getting some olive oil out. Spread onto bread (a soft, yet crusty, loaf). or cracker, with the olive oil dripping everywhere. Eat. Take a sip of wine. Yeeeees.
Best eaten outside on a balcony, in a quaint neighborhood in Vancouver, BC. If you can’t manage that, just find a lovely corner of your world. Share it with your friends and have a little party.
- 6 ounces soft plain goat cheese
- 6 ounces feta cheese, chopped into 6 or 8 rough squares/chunks
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1/3-1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped or cut into thin strips
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- red pepper flake (optional)
- 4 small jars with lids (about 8 ounces)
- about 2 cups of Olive oil for filling the jars
- In each small jar, place two cloves of peeled and crushed garlic. Add a few pieces of roasted red pepper into each jar. Top that with a few (4-5) leaves of rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes if using, and a few grinds of pepper and a sprinkle of salt. Then add the first layer of cheese. You want about two chunks in the bottom of each jar. I did two jars of goat cheese and two jars of feta. For the goat cheese, I just crumbled it into the jar in large chunks as I added it.
- Keep layering, cheese, peppers, herbs and spices, until you reach the top of your small jars. When you fill the jar with all the cheese goodness, slowly and carefully pour olive oil over it to fill the jar. The very top doesn’t need to be covered, but just fill as much as you can with out spilling it. You can serve right away, or store in the fridge for a few days or even a few weeks.
- This is great with bread, crackers or even drizzled over pasta for a quick meal.
Jars: Ball 8-ounce jelly jars
Cheese: I used whatever was on sale at my grocery store, but I strongly recommend visiting either Alsea Acres or your local cheese shop/farmer’s market. Good quality cheese is a treasure and a treat!