Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Salad with Brie! Say cheese!

  From Avery and Daryl:

On Sunday, our guest Melissa Bourbon Ramirez offered a giveaway. The winner is:

KIMBERLEY!!  Congratulations.

Kimberley, write me at Avery at AveryAames dot com and give me your snail mail address so I might pass it along to Melissa.

* * *

And now...

Happy closer to the holidays. Are you ready? Set? Okay, go! Cook up a storm if you have to or sit back and relax and pamper yourself. When was the last time you did that? How about a day trip for a picnic (even to a covered mall)? How about a nice walk in the park or along the street? We all need mini-vacations, now more than ever when life comes at us 24/7, with cell phones and social media.

So, as many of you have heard me say before, BREATHE. Yes, I have to remind myself to breathe, too, because there’s so much to do. In addition to the holidays, I have a new book coming out February. Whenever there’s a new launch…and a book to be delivered…and parties to throw…BREATHE.

Sorry, light was a little dim.
Washington Square,
note the birds along the top
By the way…a little segue…I did take a vacation recently. It wasn’t a mini-vacation. Every year my husband has a conference in New York around this time, so I accompanied him. I expected 30 degrees and snow. It was approximately 65 degrees and sunny the entire time (except one morning, rainy). Delightful. I saw family and friends and visited with my editor. Love her. And I got to meet our very own Cleo Coyle and hubby (Alice and Marc in real life) for lunch, which is the point of this whole segue. We had such a great chat. They introduced me to a fabulous pizza place, Otto’s Pizzeria, near Washington Square (where I was able to eat gluten-free). What fun!  [I posted pictures on my Facebook page. Here's the LINK.]

And now back to food…I hope you'll enjoy a simple salad (or entrée), perfect for the holidays. Yes, I use Brie, in keeping with my “addiction” to the delicious cheese for the next month, in honor of the fourth in A Cheese Shop Mystery series, TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE.

Enjoy. Happy, merry. And may you enjoy the love of family or friends (human or furry). And read a good book!


(serves 8)


FOR THE VINAIGRETTE {makes 1-1/2 cups}
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of half an Orange
2 teaspoons honey
A pinch of dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 oz mixed salad greens
2 ripe apples, quartered and sliced thin {I used Ambrosia*}
One 6 oz Brie log, sliced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted
A few pinches of kosher salt
Extra raspberries for garnish


Bring the Brie cheese to room temperature (about a half hour).

Meanwhile, puree the raspberries and strain them through a wire mesh sieve (to remove all those pesky seeds). Combine the berry puree, honey, vinegar, kosher salt, white pepper, and orange juice in a bowl and whisk while slowly pouring a steady stream of the olive oil. Taste to check seasonings. Adjust the spices if you think they’re needed (mine was just right), then set the dressing aside.
Place a handful of greens on 8 plates. Quarter the apples and remove the core. Slice the apples into ultra thin pieces (a quarter apple per serving), arrange on top of the greens. Slice Brie and lay three to four slices on each salad. Drizzle with the raspberry vinaigrette and garnish with the toasted pecans and extra raspberries, if you have some.

Note: Apples

I used Ambrosia, which I discovered is a relatively new cultivar originating in British Columbia in the early 1990s. It is medium to large in size and has mostly red coloration mixed with lovely yellow. It is firm and very sweet, reminiscent of pear.

* * * * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 
coming February 2013.

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

Click this link to watch the TRAILER

Click this link to read an EXCERPT.

Click this link to hear a PODCAST of chapter one.

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 the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego,
DARYL WOOD GERBER...and her new series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!



  1. Lovely post, Daryl (aka Avery). Marc and I very much enjoyed meeting you here in NYC. Your (facebook posted) pictures from the trip are beautiful.

    BTW - Marc and I have already pre-ordered To Brie or Not to Brie - can't wait to see what Charlotte is up to in the new Cheese Shop Mystery (only 6 weeks to go). Hey, I saw photos of a cheese shop among your New York pics. Was that Murray's?

    ~ Cleo (aka Alice)

    1. Hi, Cleo. The cheese shop was Beecher's on Fifth Avenue. I've been to Murray's, but this time, my hunt was for Beecher's. Fabulous place! Their flagship cheddar is killer. And they have a special cheese Yule Kase for the holiday (infused with wine and honey). Yum. Both of which would taste good on this salad in place of the Brie.

      Avery aka Daryl

  2. I'm so jealous. Wish I could have been there with you guys!

    Daryl, your raspberry vinaigrette is right up my alley. I love raspberries, and I'm always throwing berries into salads. Yum!

    ~ Krista

    1. Next time, Krista, I'm packing you in my suitcase. We definitely need to have an MLK reunion, all of us in the same place, same time. What fun!


      Daryl / Avery

  3. Raspberries, brie, and pecans? I'm in!