Baked Brie with Mixed Nuts and Caramel
I’m pausing for a bit of reflection today… and popping the champagne. (and really, what better to go with champagne than baked brie?) When I woke up and checked my Bourbon and Brown Sugar stats Saturday morning, I learned the blog had surpassed 10,000 views. I know, some of the best blogs out there get 10,000 views a day, but at the end of my first three months, I’m kinda thrilled by this number. By Sunday morning, I had nearly 500 more views. Seems this little endeavor might be catching on…
I thought I’d take this rainy Sunday morning to share a few things I’ve discovered on this blogging adventure:
1. Writing is an essential part of who I am. Over the past several years I had not taken the time to write much more than Emails and the annual Christmas letter. I didn’t realize how much writing is an essential part of who I am, and how much I missed it. I recently came across a piece in Oprah Magazine indicating you should reflect on what you loved to do as a second grader, and this would give you insight as to what you should be doing with your life. I believe I was alternately baking apple crisps, reading whatever I could get my hands on, and writing little books as a second grader. (Ok, maybe the baking started in third or fourth grade.)
The format of blogging (short pieces, instant feedback!) has prompted me to write several times a week, and it’s quickly become my favorite pastime. It’s becoming clearer to me that writing is what I’m meant to be doing.
2. I had no idea how difficult food photography would be. Oh my word. I thought I’d cook something fabulous, take an Instagram shot with my iPhone, and be thrilled with posting the artsy result. I was so wrong.
It quickly became apparent that the best blogs have a trio of excellent elements – writing, recipes, and photography (and why bother doing this if I’m not striving to excel at all three?) Some of the photography in the blogosphere is absolutely stunning – gorgeous food, elegantly composed and perfectly lit. I have been humbled and inspired by Sukaina’s photography on Sips and Spoonfuls, Kakana on Playful Cooking, and Beatrice on La Tartine Gourmande.
While Friday’s Israeli couscous salad photo was a winner, my brie photo below is evidence I still have a long way to go… (would you believe that was the best of over a dozen photos? Sadly friends had begun to inhale it before I realized I didn’t have a shot I loved…(sigh!) really, it tastes much better than it looks.)
Photography is the area where I have both learned the most, but yet have the most to learn. If you are a blogger looking to improve your photography, I would like to give a shout-out to the Ebook published on a Pinch of Yum. It’s an invaluable resource.
3. It’s been amazing to re-connect with friends near and far. Wordpress has a very nifty “Stats” page, so I can see that over the past three months people from 72 different countries have stopped by the blog (!). How cool is that? The thing is, I actually have family and friends scattered all over the globe who I’ve had a chance to connect or re-connect while sharing my memories and recipes… What an incredible gift. And I owe a huge thanks to all my friends who have been so supportive and encouraging, and shared my blogging antics with their friends on Facebook.
4. I had no idea how many amazing food bloggers I would discover. There are thousands of bloggers out there, but a handful I have discovered have challenged me to up my game. I love the advice from Bjork of a Pinch of Yum in a piece titled: 10 Mindsets for Growing Your Blog, who likens growing a blog to running a cross country race: “With cross country, if you beat your own previous record you consider the day a success. Your journey of growing your blog will be much more fulfilling if you aim to outperform yourself as opposed to other blogs.”
While I aim to outperform myself with each post, I am awed and inspired by the writing and desserts from Michelle on Hummingbird High, Jennifer’s recipes and photography on Seasons and Suppers, and Karen’s writing and photography on Lavender and Lovage. I have also had a fantastic time connecting with other bloggers through the Fiesta Friday link party on The Novice Gardener… where it seems many of us are newbies.
5. I’ve always wanted to write a cookbook… this is like creating my own, very personalized book page by page. I believe many people who love to cook do it to be able to share their food with friends and family. My go-to recipes are scattered among dozens of cookbooks and torn out from magazines tucked in a couple of binders. How wonderful to finally start a collection housed in one place to share with family and friends.
So, we’re celebrating with this delicious, incredibly easy, if rather messy and difficult to photograph appetizer. It’s a nice excuse to pop open a bottle of champagne. Cheers to you, dear readers. Here’s to many more culinary adventures!
Baked Brie with Mixed Nuts and Caramel
- one round of brie cheese
- 1/2 to 2/3 cups salted mixed nuts (depending on the size of the brie round)
- 1/2 cup good quality caramel sauce (I love the Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce)
- warm french bread or crackers
- apple slices
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Cover with the nuts. Bake for 10 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a serving platter
Put the jar of caramel sauce in the microwave, and warm it – about one minute. Pour the about 1/2 cup of warmed sauce over the brie and nuts.
Serve immediately with warm french bread or crackers and slices of apple.