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Tis the Season…For Cheese!

It has begun! Trimming of the trees, decorating our houses inside and out, wrapping gifts, baking and candy making, whew! So much to do for a wonderful time of year! The parties are starting and we are all making tasty appetizers to serve or bring to someone’s house. It is always fun to be the one that our friends and family ask “Who brought that? Can I have the recipe?” I always have brie and either puff pastry or pie dough on hand. Wrap the brie, any shape, bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until brown. Spread any preserves or sauce, serve with water crackers or tiny toasts and you have something people will talk about! We all like something warm during this time of year, so Gruyere and Jarlsberg are nice to have on hand to make those special warm dips for any occasion. Gruyere is one of the most famous Swiss cheeses. It is made from cow's milk and has a nutty, slightly sweet taste with complex musty and mushroomy notes. Hot Gruyere Spinach Dip Ingredients 2 tbsps. butter 1 finely chopped onion (1/2 cup) 2 ozs spinach (frozen creamed, thawed) 1 cup half and half 8 ozs gruyere cheese (shredded 2 cups) 1 tbsp dry sherry (optional) 1 slice French bread (breadsticks optional, optional) Directions Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add creamed spinach and half-and-half; cook and stir 5 minutes, or until hot. Stir in cheese and (if desired) the dry sherry Cook 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve with breadsticks or French bread slices, if desired. NOTE: Dip may be held in a small slow cooker over low heat for several hours. Jarlsberg has a yellow-wax rind (outer layer) and a semi-firm yellow interior. The flavor is mild, buttery, nutty and slightly sweet. It is an all-purpose cheese, used for both cooking and eating as a snack Christmas Omelet Ingredients 4 eggs 1/4 cup water 1/2 tsp. salt 2 tbsps. butter 4 green onions (sliced) 1 cup ham (cooked, diced) 1 bell pepper (seeded and diced) 12 ozs Jarlsberg (cheese cut in 12 cubes Directions Preheat oven to 400°F Beat eggs, water, and salt together. Melt the butter in a heavy ovenproof pan and then add the onions, ham and bell pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes. Pour the egg mixture over the onion, red pepper and ham mixture and then sprinkle with the cheese cubes. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. When the egg is set and the cheese has melted, the omelet is done. Jarslberg Dip 1 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup scallion 1/4 cup purple onion Serve cold or heat at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Now for something fun and a conversation piece! Kids will love making this with you. Christmas Tree Spread 1- (8 oz.) Cream Cheese or Neufchatel ½ cup pesto ¼ cup chopped red peppers 1 twisted string cheese Create CUT block of cream cheese diagonally in half. Arrange both halves, with points together, on serving plate to resemble Christmas-tree shape. CUT a 2-inch piece from the string cheese. Place at bottom of tree for the trunk. Wrap up remaining cheese; refrigerate until ready to use for snacking or other use. SPOON pesto over cream cheese; sprinkle with peppers. Serve as a spread with the crackers. Be sure to take the time to listen and visit with the ones you love.  What better way than to prepare wonderful dishes and serving something you all will enjoy! Wishing you all good health and safe travels! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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