The Cheese Course (Ultimate Recipe Swap: Fancy Food)

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Serve up a little fancy for Valentine’s Day. Share your favorite fancy food at Ultimate Recipe Swap.

the cheese course fancy food

This month’s theme for Ultimate Recipe Swap is “fancy food”. In our house fancy food can mean any number of things. For one kid, it means he needs to use his fork to eat. Yes, we’re still working on that. For my eldest daughter, fancy means that she’s going to set the table with a cloth, candles, and all the flatware. When I asked my eldest child, the one with the most sophisticated palate to define “fancy”, he said “anything with mushrooms.” He loves mushrooms. Future Daughter-in-Law, please take note.

Fancy Nancy says that frilly toothpicks “make” the sandwich. You know they do.

fancy food

So, fancy is in the eye of the beholder.

For our purposes this week and in celebration of Valentines Day, I suggest an elaborate bread and cheese board as my fancy contribution to the table this week. The cheese course, if you will. It’s not a recipe, really. But, that’s what makes it so nice. Anyone can pull it together, anytime.

When I was une jeune fille americaine living in France, I first encountered the multi-course meal and the beautiful finale, the cheese plate. Granted, I was a little timid in which cheeses I would try, but I came to love the multiplicity of cheeses that the French produce.

Start with an appetizer, follow it with a hearty protein and vegetable main dish. On the heels of the delicious vinaigrette salade that followed the main dish, the cheese course was perfect. I could take that over dessert most days.

Later that year my then-boyfriend, now-husband came to visit. We picnicked our way across the South of France, baguette and cheese in hand. It certainly wasn’t “fancy food”, not served on a park bench. But it was special.

Today when I pull out the stops, I’ll add a cheese course to the end of our meal. I usually have to  fend off my husband and make him wait until the end of the meal. Cheese and baguette is a favorite in our family. He’d rather eat it throughout the entire meal.

The cheese course does make a meal in itself if I want to be creative and add some fruit, veg, and pickles. But, then we call it a snacky dinner.

What can I say? We’re unique.

If you’d like to serve a cheese course this Valentine’s Day, simply arrange a number of different cheeses on a cutting board. Vary the textures and colors if you can. This is a great way to get your kids to bust out of the typical orange cheddar rut that they’re in.

cheese course

Recently, my local Sprouts had very small pieces of cheese packaged and ready to go. This is perfect for a cheese course. You can ask the deli counter to cut you small pieces at many a grocery store, so don’t be scared to ask. Since I bought very small portions of new-to-us-cheeses like manchego and chipotle cheddar, I wasn’t worried about “wasting” them if my family didn’t like them. I threw in Brie that I knew they loved as well as two new ones that I guessed they might like: emmental and fontina.

Serving the cheese course is a great way to expose your kids to new flavors as well as add a little culture to the table.

Ultimate Recipe Swap

URS Guidelines

Remember: Each month at Ultimate Recipe Swap, there is a posted theme. You are welcome to share any recipe that fits the theme and contains a link back to Life as MOM. If you’re curious about the upcoming themes, I have a calendar here. This month’s theme is Fancy Food.

If you have a recipe that fits the theme, please link it. However, things like Beef Strogonoff will be deleted from Chicken week because it doesn’t contain chicken. Please keep this meme as helpful to others as we can.

And don’t make me the bad guy! ;)

What is a fancy food at your house?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. I could totally live on cheese. I love this post. Also, my daughter is a huge fan of Fancy Nancy so I really appreciated the reference to her!

  2. My tiramisu cupcakes are definitely fancy. I haul out my cake decorator bag/tips and it time to make these just right.

  3. Jeanine says

    I would say that fancy food here is anything that the four year old and two year old won’t eat. (Which is actually not that many things.)

    Ah, how I love cheese, I could eat it throughout my whole meal, too. I can’t wait to go to the farmers markets again, as we get many cheese vendors from Wisconsin that come here. Yum.

  4. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says

    I don’t have a blog and have no idea how “link up” but Brie is my absolute FAVORITE thing n the planet. With my first pregnancy I was totally (blissfully) unaware that you are not supposed consume it and I literally ate it everyday as my after work snack! My mother cooked up this recipe below and it was superb. I will say I am not a fan of the casing and always remove it, including with this recipe, but anyone can do it how they want!

    PREP TIME: 20 Min. COOK TIME: 90 Min. SERVES: 8

    1 whole garlic bulb

    1/2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon Crisco® Olive Oil, divided

    1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

    1 round loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread

    1 round (8 ounces) Brie cheese

    1 loaf (10-1/2 ounces) French bread baguette, sliced and toasted

    Red and green grapes


    Remove papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut top off bulb. Brush with 1-1/2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle with rosemary. Wrap in heavy-duty foil. Bake at 425° for 30-35 minutes or until softened.
    Meanwhile, cut the top fourth off the loaf of bread; carefully hollow out enough of the bottom of the bread so cheese will fit. Cube removed bread; set aside. Place cheese in bread.
    Cool garlic for 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°. Squeeze softened garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork; spread over cheese. Replace bread top; brush outside of bread with remaining oil. Wrap in heavy-duty foil.
    Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with toasted baguette, grapes and reserved bread cubes.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Baked brie is fine for pregnant women. And I just made sure I found a doc who let me eat any kind I wanted. 🙂 Your recipe sounds great!

      • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says

        This will sound dumb but at that time I had no clue Brie could be baked! Amazing how little I knew just 6 years ago. I was eating it “raw” every day for 9 mos!!!

        • Jessica Fisher says

          My doc said it was fine for me to eat it raw. I think it depends on who you talk to.

  5. Put the wrong name in there, sorry – my link shares our super simple and “fancy” Fondue night!

    We also love a cheese plate. I’ll often place cheese, veggies and crackers (or baguettes) out as an “appetizer” while I’m making dinner. Yum! Whole Foods often has a basket in their cheese department where I can buy small bits of cheese – a great way to create a nice variety without spending a lot. And, thanks to Earth Fare continually having cheese samples, we almost always have a good stock of different cheeses – seems like once we try them, we HAVE to buy – that’s some good marketing!

  6. That looks like heaven for me!

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