Homemade Mascarpone

Homemade Mascarpone

Homemade Mascarpone

I first encountered mascarpone in an Italian chain restaurant. Going out on a limb, I suggested ordering dessert, a feat I only reserve for the most elite occasions. Tiramisu, my friend ordered for us as I nervously propped the dessert menu back on the edge of the table.

I was in the middle of the long stage of my life known only as Afraid to Try New Things, a stage that most certainly applied to food. I knew very little about Tiramisu. In fact, the entire sum of my knowledge about it came solely from the picture on the dessert menu. It was only natural for me to be wary of it, eyeing it like a sworn enemy until it proved itself otherwise. My friend, of course, knew none of the internal conflict brewing at the thought of consuming a dessert that wasn't completely and exclusively chocolate.

The first bite of Tiramisu, however, was bliss. As was the second and third, as I fought to devour the dessert faster than my friend could keep pace.

Homemade Mascarpone

Once I started baking (and properly eating), mascarpone cheese found its way into some of my most beloved desserts. It was bittersweet, however. Mascarpone was (and is) an incredibly expensive cheeseβ€”nearly eight dollars at the local marketβ€”so I only used it on very rare occasions, for birthday cakes and holiday sweets.

I wish someone had told me that you could make your own mascarpone cheese years ago. Someone to not only inform me that it was possible to make, but that it was dead simple to do so.

I want to be that someone for you.

Homemade Mascarpone

Cheese making can certainly sound like an intimidating art form but I'd argue that, in the realm of art, creating mascarpone ranks in difficulty somewhere among drawing stick figures. This cheese only requires ten minutes of active time out of your day. Did I mention it's also cheap to make? A cup and a half of mascarpone cost me precisely two dollars to produce.

Two dollars.

I will never buy a tub of mascarpone at the supermarket again.

Homemade Mascarpone

Homemade Mascarpone looks and tastes just as the store bought version. It's also quite simple to make, only requiring a couple special tools, and is drastically cheaper to cook up on your own. Mascarpone cheese isn't very good to eat by itself (imagine eating a spoonful of butter), but it is perfect to use as an ingredient for savory and dessert recipes alike. Next time you want to try out a recipe calling for mascarpone cheese, give this recipe a try!

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Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, & Brie Spread

Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, & Brie Spread

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread

This week has been unseasonably warm. So warm, in fact, the Upper Midwest has tossed aside the winter jackets and scarves, burying them deep into the coat closets, opting for shorts and flip-flops instead. Summer in March, if only for a few days. While I've been soaking up the hot weather and warm breezes, running around in flowing skirts, I can't shake the feeling that Mother Nature is going to make me pay for this untimely gift, in some form or another.

Blizzards and ice storms in May? It wouldn't be the first time.

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread

This newly encountered Summer in March is like a Spot the Difference! game in a child's doodle book. The grass is brown and dead. The branches on the trees are stripped bare, without the bright green buds of spring. The neighbor's home still has Christmas lights winding around the railing of the front step. The earliest signs of spring haven't arrived, leaving the appearance of the world still in the midst of winter.

If not for the cars driving past, with the windows rolled down and the music drifting into the street, or the girls suntanning in swimsuits in front yards of neighboring houses, you'd never know it was 80 degrees F outside my window. Summer in March, you are giving me mixed signals.

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread

Even so, I've embraced this heatwave by eating the quintessential summer foods. I've taken the cover off the grill. I finally purchased fresh fruits that weren't apples and oranges (Hello strawberries and watermelon! It's been too long). I made frozen yogurt for the very first time. The last few days have been mood healing.

One of my favorite end-of-summer meals is a garden fresh tomato basil pasta with a warm baguette spread with brie cheese. Since summer foods aren't nearly in season, I incorporated this memorable meal in a different way. This Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, & Brie Spread is an homage to those long summer nights, but can (and should) be eaten any day of the year.

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread Sun Dried Tomato Basil Brie Spread

This Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, & Brie Spread couldn't be easier to make (and packs a punch of flavor). With a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper, each ingredient is bright and present. Spread thickly onto a cracker, it makes for a simple-to-make appetizer for dinner parties or it can act as a makeshift meal when you simply don't feel like cooking.

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