My favorite product in Bar Harbor – Fiore Olive Oils and Vinegars. It’s a tasting room. It’s culinary inspiration. It’s art. It’s delicious! Every time I go in they have new products to taste. So I spent a short while thinking about how to use the Chocolate Aged Balsamic. And one of the wonderful staff members said that she’d been wanting to try it with the Blood Orange olive oil. And she was spot on, the combination was perfect! So I went home to make a dressing for a Baby Spinach Salad.
I started out wanting to use fresh cherries but my husband had just finished them! So I opted to soak some cranberries in a little of the Balsamic and the Vinegar for a couple hours. I toasted some walnuts, crumbled some goat cheese and tossed them into a bowl of baby spinach. I put the marinated cranberries in the salad, tossed on the oil and vinegar they’d been soaking in and added some coarsely ground fresh black pepper and a new salad was born!
Fiore just opened a store in Rockland that I understand has been doing very well, naturally. For many years I’ve been very particular about my olive oils, and I must admit, I’m completely hooked on Fiore’s and won’t buy any others!
While I was there, I purchased a nice gift box of a four pack variety for an upcoming closing gift – keeping it local!
This is a savory cheesecake. It’s more of a cheese dip, but holds together like a cheesecake. Talk about the perfect appetizer for cocktail hour? I needed to bring an appetizer to a dinner party – and decided to make this Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot Cheesecake with 4 cheeses and a touch of fresh baby spinach. It is out of this world! It can be a side dish, an appetizer, or a light meal with a salad and glass of wine.
So here’s the recipe:
In a mixing bowl, combine 3 twelve oz. packages of room temperature cream cheese, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Mix until creamy. Add 4 eggs, incorporating one at a time until combined.
Saute 4 large shallots until slightly browned. Add 16 oz. of sliced mushrooms – I used Cremini, but any will do. Add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire and a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until they’re all fragrant and caramelized. Remove a third of the mixture and set aside. Add 1 cello-package of fresh baby spinach to the pan and cover. Cook for a couple minutes and then remove from heat. Let cool a couple minutes.
Chop or shred 2 cups total of the following cheeses: white cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere or Swiss, and Manchego (the Gruyere or Swiss and Parmesan are a must). Add to egg/cheese mixture.
Fold in spinach and 1/3 of the mushroom and shallots and mix well.
Spray an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray and coat lightly with breadcrumbs.
Pour cheesecake mixture in and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Then add remaining shallot and mushroom mixture to the top, toss another handful of shredded Parmesan and freshly ground pepper on top and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for 1o minutes before slicing.
Note: the mushrooms and shallots are not necessary – they were my adaptation of this recipe. The original as it was given to me used 1 package of frozen and thawed/drained spinach and none of the shallots or mushrooms and was absolutely delicious as well. Feel free to put your own twist on it!
Serve with crusty bread or crackers and enjoy!