Roasted Red Peppers (recipe follows)
Black Olive Tapenade (recipe follows)
Crostini (recipe follows)
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1 pound seedless red grapes, cut into clusters
1 wedge (8 to 10 ounces) Brie
1 log (8 ounces) soft goat cheese
1 wedge (8 ounces) Gorgonzola (see Kitchen Note for other ideas)
2 cups almonds (plain or smoked)
Fresh basil leaves, stemmed
1 French baguette, sliced
1. Prepare Roasted Red Peppers, Black Olive Tapenade and crostini the day before serving. Rinse grapes and cut into clusters; refrigerate.
2. About one half-hour before serving, bring Brie, goat cheese and Gorgonzola to room temperature. Arrange on a serving platter or board with clusters of grapes and small bowls of almonds. Cover loosely.
3. Up to a half-hour before serving, place basil leaves on half of the crostini and top with a small spoonful of Black Olive Tapenade. Spoon Roasted Red Peppers on the remaining crostini. Arrange on a platter, cover and refrigerate. Or, serve peppers, tapenade and crostini in separate bowls for a more casual presentation.
4. Just before serving, slice baguette and put into a basket to the side of the cheese board.
Times Kitchen Note: Many different combinations of cheese can be served besides those suggested. Camembert or a triple crème cheese such as Explorateur or Pierre-Robert can replace the brie, and a mild, semisoft sheep’s milk cheese such as Brin d’Amour can replace the goat’s milk. Any other blue cheese can replace the Gorgonzola, or switch completely to a good aged cheddar or the local Beecher’s Flagship cheese.
Adapted from “Dishing with Style” by Rori Trovato