Showing posts with label Camembert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camembert. Show all posts

Friday, August 11, 2017

An Irish Pasty?

Okay, I'm almost out of new Irish recipes (from this trip), but this one sneaked up on me.

I will happily cede the title of Pasty Queen to Rhys for her Cornish version. I'm not sure I've ever seen an official pasty in Ireland, and the ones shown online seem to lean toward beef stew in a crust. 

But I was having a nice lunch at The Coffee Shop in Union Hall (I love their house-baked pastries! see their Facebook page), and I ordered what was described on the menu as a chicken and Camembert panini with pesto. It arrived, and I was so intent on eating it that I didn't notice that it didn't quite fit the definition of a panini, which usually calls for something between two pieces of bread, pressed to cook, leaving a nice grilling pattern. 

What I got was delicious, but I actually observed it being made: no press involved. However, it did have a wonderful short crust, which I envied. And the filling was flavorful and interesting, so I decided to recreate it (as best I could). Call it whatever you like--it tastes good.

An Irish Pastypannini a la The Coffee Shop


(note: this recipe serves two, but you can expand it or make a second batch later--I had plenty of chicken and cheese left over))

1 recipe pie crust (I shamelessly borrowed Lucy Burdette's version of the Moosewood crust, which actually held together!) It is the simplest version I have ever seen.


one chicken breast, skinned and deboned, lightly cooked 

a small amount of pesto, to rub into the chicken

a small Camembert cheese

1 egg, beaten (this is the glue that holds things together)


Make the pesto, to your taste. I used fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper (no garlic, but add it if you like). Mash them together and massage the chicken with it and let it sit for a while to absorb the flavor.

Saute the chicken lightly in a bit more olive oil. Don't worry if it's not cooked through, because this is going into the oven once the thing is assembled. Let cool, then slice about 1/4-inch thick.

Slice the Camembert to about the same thickness.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and grease a baking sheet.

Make your pie dough (I used a food processor). Combine the flour, butter and salt and process until it looks like sand. Then add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until it holds together. Turn it out on a wooden board and form two balls.

I considered adding something like mayonnaise to the inside, but the contents are fairly delicate in flavor, so I decided against it. The crust is very buttery, so the results won't be dry.

Roll out the first ball of dough into a rough circle. Lay three or four pieces of the cooked chicken on one half, then the same number of slices of cheese on top. Don't overfill, or it will never hold together!

Beat the egg lightly, and brush some around the edge of the crust. Fold carefully and crimp the edges together--you want to seal this. Repeat with the second one. Brush the tops of both lightly with some more egg.

Place on the prepared cookie sheet and slide into the middle of the preheated oven. Set the timer for ten minutes, then check to see that the crust has begun to brown. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. The chicken should be nicely cooked, and the cheese with be gooey. (And they didn't leak!)

Slice in half to serve. These can be served warm or at room temperature.

You can vary your ingredients however you like, but this is a nice combination. If you have some leftover chicken, you're home free. You can swap in a packaged pie crust if you want (easier still!), but I've never seen a simpler pie crust recipe, and I've tried at least a dozen.

Many a Twist, the next County Cork Mystery, coming next January. Maura actually gets to eat in a variety of restaurants. I'll make a foodie out of her yet!

The real Coffee Shop in Union Hall

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Camembert Recipe


I'm thrilled to say that CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT is doing great in sales...

Thanks to all of you!

I have received the most delightful letters from fans this week. I'm grinning ear to ear.

By the way, for fans...

I'm running a contest on my website right now, through March 1st, (that's tomorrow) for all who are signed up to receive my newsletter.  [It doesn't come out often, but when it does there are tips on cheese, recipes, and upcoming events...and sometimes a short story.]  Two on the list will win a beautiful cheese paddle from Sur la Table. Don't miss out.  

So...with a new book coming out, I've been so busy that I can barely breathe, with deadlines and travel for book signings, and, well, life in general. When I'm this busy, I crave comfort food, and one of the best comfort foods is a grilled cheese.

In the Cheese Shop mysteries, Charlotte's good friend, Delilah (who owns and operates the Country Kitchen) has been on the hunt for the best grilled cheese ever. Needless to say, I have to help her out, don't I? I mean, I have to experiment. I add pears, jams, onions, all sorts of things. I give it my all a couple of times a month. [Being gluten-free, I use gluten-free bread, but truly it's all about the cheese.]

Until now, I had never made a grilled cheese with Camembert, but it's a cow's milk cheese that has the great ability to melt like a dream, so why not, I thought, bloomy rind and all.

I added some spices, swathed the bread with cream cheese (to give it that extra creamy texture), and served it with mustard. Oh, yum!

I am now...comfortable and ready to write...and probably in need of a couple extra minutes on the treadmill. As Charlotte's energy-packed grandmother would say, "C'est la vie!"



(1 serving)

2 slices bread
1-2 tablespoons butter
2-3 oz. Camembert cheese, sliced
2 tablespoons cream cheese
½ teaspoon mixed herbs (thyme, basil, rosemary)
1 tablespoon spicy mustard (served on the side)

Butter two slices of bread on one side only. Spread cream cheese on the other side of bread.

Heat up flat grilling pan. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, on hot grilling surface.  Layer with Camembert cheese. Top with herbs. Top with the other piece of bread (butter side up).

Grill the sandwich on low to medium for 4-5 minutes. Flip the sandwich and grill for another 4-5 minutes, until a nice golden brown and cheese oozing.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

[This can be made on gluten-free bread. It is still amazing.]



Recently I wrote a blog for Fresh Fiction that I titled "The Joy of Cheese Cooking." I had fabulous comments from all who read it. If you get the chance, pop over and take a peek.


I'm thrilled to say that my alter ego, Daryl Wood Gerber (who happens to be the "real" Avery Aames) has been nominated for an Agatha Award, best short story from the anthology: FISH TALES.

"Palace by the Lake."

If you'd like to read the story, click this LINK.

* * *
You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for my mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baked Camembert - Say cheese!

I'm getting very excited. 

CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT comes out in less than three weeks. And I have to say it's one of my tastiest mysteries yet. 

{Or at least it has been for me. I've been testing Camembert recipes!}

To celebrate, I'm having a Get Cozy with a Mystery contest, in conjunction with my author pal Kate Carlisle [BIBLIOPHILE MYSTERIES]. It'll be live this Thursday, so look for messages in Twitter, Facebook, my newsletter, and in next week's blog right here. You'll see how easy it is to enter. You could win a signed copy of both Kate's and my new books, as well as a Bibliophile mug and a cheese board (great for serving cookies if you want to get real cozy). It will run through February 1st.

In honor of Clobbered by Camembert, I'm doing a series of Camembert dishes for the next few weeks. 

The first is so easy it's scary.  This is baked Camembert. It is an absolutely gorgeous and delicious way to serve the cheese. Warm and savory, it melts in your mouth.

Set on foil
For those of you who didn't get my recent newsletter, here's a little bit of history about Camembert. The cheese is a soft, bloomy-rind cheese created in Normandy, France in the late 18th century. The original was made with unpasteurized milk and, according to the AOC, (governing laws in France) must still be made with unpasteurized milk. In America, it is made with pasteurized milk. 

The two flavors can be completely different. The ripening process is what gives the cheese its flavor. It is similar to Brie, with a rich, creamy center. At first, the cheese was iffy in color. It wasn't until 1970 that white rind became the standard. Camembert is transported in little round boxes. These boxes made it easier for the cheese to travel great distances, particularly to America, where it is extremely popular. It was often given out to the troops in World War I because it traveled so well.



Cut off the top, discard.

1 8 oz. Camembert round
jam (of your choice)



Preheat the oven to 350. 
Cut off the top rind of the cheese and sprinkle salt and pepper over the bottom portion of cheese. (Discard top)
Set the cheese on foil.

Bake in the oven until softened and the top turns a golden brown, about 20 minutes. 

The cheese bubbles to a golden brown.

Serve on a platter with crackers or crusty bread. 

This is great with fruit jam. 

The center literally oozes with richness.

* * *
You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for my mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and even more contests!

I'll be signing books at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach February 7, Murder on the Books in Houston February 11, and another bookstore (TBA) in the San Francisco Bay Area February 18. Check out my event calendar for more info.

 CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT, coming out February 7, 2012.

* * * * * * * *

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ahhhh, New Orleans!

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to New Orleans (for a college football championship bowl game). New Orleans is a charming and challenged city. It still suffers from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But I would say most people who visit come to revel.

It might be the only city that encourages walking around with an opened container. But that’s another subject. J

While in town, I visited a number of independent bookstores while in town. The owners/managers were delightful. Garden District Bookshop on Prytania and Octavia Books on Octavia. These stores all have events for their patrons. Both carried mysteries, but they also carried books about New Orleans' history and food. New Orleans is well-known for its food and its music. Both were prevalent.

I also checked out a fabulous cheese shop.

St. James Cheese Shop, on Prytania.

And I attended a women’s luncheon at K Paul’s restaurant, famous because Chef Paul Prudhomme is the owner.

We ate delicious food. A jazz trio played. What fun and spirit!

And Chef Paul was there to greet us and sign our gift copy of his cookbook.

Highlights of the restaurant included not only good music and good conversation, but the artwork on the walls. Beside my table was this charmer with a recipe scrawled all over it for Oyster Brie Champagne Soup. I had to jot it down and I'm including it below.

However, it is not what I'm making this week. The chef's recipe requires flour, and as many of you know, I am a celiac and need to eat flour-free. In addition, I'm not a big oyster fan, but I needed to know what this soup "might" taste like and whether the portions on the painting were correct.

SO...inspired by the recipe, I created my own cream and shrimp soup. Instead of Brie, I used Camembert.

Trivia: Camembert is a soft, luscious cow's milk cheese, first introduced in Normandy France during the 18th century. An engineer, M. Ridel, designed the wood box that helps carry the cheeses long distances.

Oyster Brie Champagne Soup – K Paul

(serves 8 - handsome portions)

1 ¼ cup unsalted butter

1 ¼ cup flour

2 quarts oyster or seafood stock

5 cups whipping cream

1 ½ teaspoons red pepper

2 cups brut champagne

3 dozen oysters, shucked

1 cup green onions (green tails only), diced

salt to taste

8 ounces Brie, rind removed, and sliced in 8 slices


In 3 quart saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir for 3 minutes.

Add seafood stock and stir for 3 minutes.

Add whipping cream and red pepper and stir for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Add brut champagne, oysters, salt, and green onions

Let stand 10 minutes and pour into 8 bowls.

Adorn with one slice Brie.


My recipe turned out satiny smooth and so delicious I couldn't stop eating. The addition of shrimp was brilliant, if I do say so myself. And adding slices of Camembert on top of the soup right before serving is luscious. A real texture treat.



(serves 6-8 - portions about 3/4 cup each)

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup potato starch (potato flour)

4 cups vegetable stock (gluten-free; many are nowadays)

2 ½ cups whipping cream

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup green onions (green tails only, about 1 bunch), diced

1 cup dry champagne

1 pound bay shrimp

4 ounces Camembert, room temperature


In 3 quart saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.

Add potato starch and stir. Heat 3 minutes.

Add vegetable stock and stir. Heat 3 minutes.

Add whipping cream and pepper and salt and stir. Heat 5 minutes. (Stir occasionally to prevent cream from boiling).

Remove from heat.

Add champagne (will bubble), shrimp and diced green onion tips.

Let stand 10 minutes and pour into 6 to 8 bowls.

Adorn with slivers of Camembert (rind removed).



Who knows? Maybe the chef will see this post and decide it’s a recipe he must include in his next presentation? LOL


A SNEAK PREVIEW of LOST AND FONDUE is now up on my website. Click here. If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming soon.

Say cheese!