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Mar 4, 2011 07:48 PM

Hounds - Need help on a "Top Chef" cooking challenge!

My office is doing a Top Chef-type challenge for fun. The rules call for participants to use cheese in any way, shape, or form for 100 staff. I'm leaning toward an appetizer like mini cheese tarts, but the problem is we won't have the ability to keep things warm. So... I am looking for something that's good at room temperature. I really don't want to make a dessert - everyone will be doing that.

Any ideas? Thanks very much in advance!

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  1. You could try the Gruyere Cheese Gougeres from The French Laundry.

    1. You can try a dip served with parmesean crisps and cheese straws. Yum! AND super easy!

      Chowhound parmesean crisps thread below. I have a recipe and tips for perfect looking crisps. Let me know if you want to go this route.

      Sample cheese straw recipe:

      1 Reply
      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        cheese straws are the first thing that came to my mind too

      2. jalapenos with cream cheese wrapped in bacon (or prosciutto). I've cooked them & served room temp lots of times
        goat cheese fritters/balls

        1. Get a soft blue cheese and wrap a thin layer around good seedless red grapes. Then roll in finely crushed pistachios. Should be different from the other ideas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katecm

            Oooh ooooh ooh! Classic grape (read: wine) and cheese combination. This just inspired an idea for me, although it's probably way too complicated for what the OP is looking for, but I want to put it out there anyways.

            Juice grapes and strain (straining finely is key!). Stir in simple syrup and just a touch of kosher. Spread super thin (1/16 inch) on acetate sheet. Dehydrate.

            Cut strips of grape sheet and strips of very soft cheese. Lay on top of one another and roll up on a diagonal so it the edges are offset. Serve on individual spoons, one roll up per spoon.

            Garnish ideas: Very finely chopped pistachios, Pistachio salt, dot of balsamic reduction, and ummmmm.............I don't know, I need more time to brainstorm...

            Anyways, inspiration comes from Grant Achatz's Cucumber-Mango roll-up things, which can be found in his book Alinea, which I just happened to be reading a few minutes ago. It's basically the same technique he uses, check it out for pictures, they're beautiful.