this is a sponsored post on behalf of Old Amsterdam. all opinions are my own.
its summer (2020)! which means gatherings (small) and eating outdoors (every chance). quick and easy meals is the name of the game. bonus points if turning on the oven is optional. these mini marinated gouda jars are the perfect addition to your summer menu. they're quick, easy and so, so easy to make. here's what you need:
- ~ 2 oz cheese per person
- good quality olive oil (or other neutral oil such as avocado or grape seed)
- handful of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, dill
- aromatics such as citrus peels, garlic or bay leaves
- spices such as peppercorn or chili fakes
- heat or time (you get to choose!)
- individual serving jars or glasses (4-8 oz)
what cheese is best for marinating?
for these jars, i used Old Amsterdam goat gouda. this semi hard gouda is buttery, creamy with a mild flavor. it pairs well with just about anything in my opinion. here it pairs well with bright herbs such as thyme, oregano, garlic and lemon peel. chili flakes would have also been a nice touch for a bit of spiciness!
other great cheeses for marinating would be:
- porous cheese such as:
- goat cheese
- some cheddars
the best cheese is one that is fairly neutral in flavor. the cheese should be semi hard so it retains its shape while marinating, while also being soft enough to easily eat or spread. once marinated, the cheese can be left to serve in the oil. or, the oil can be drained prior to serving and reserved for another use. read all about marinating cheeses here
to heat or not to heat...
for this recipe, you can choose!
the heat helps speed the marinating process along by hours. I recommend this option if you need a quick turn around. keep in mind that the cheese still needs time to absorb the flavors. at least 1-2 hours.
the chill takes longer, around 12 hours. but, the flavors have the benefit of time to develop more fully. as the technique suggests, the jars will marinate in the fridge for around 8-12 hours. bring to room temperature right before serving.
what pairs best with gouda?
as I was researching flavor pairings (one of my favorite things), the most popular pairings for gouda or goats gouda are:
- autumnal fruits such as apples, pears, figs and grapes
- sweet jams and chutneys
- nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts + pistachios
- spicy mustards
- a variety of breads and crackers
sweet red cherries, water crackers and truffle marcona almonds make a perfect complement for this recipe. add a can of sparkling rosè for a light, refreshing drink pairing. perfect for summer!
make it special + a little extra
entertaining in the time of covid is different. instead of fretting on the things we can't do, let's focus on ways to stay safe. it just so happens that one way to stay safe is by being a little "extra." let's pull out all the stops for these smaller and even more special gatherings. a few tips if you're planning a gathering this summer and beyond:
- keep it outside as much as possible: its time to fully embrace al fresco dining. don't forget the about the bugs! an easy way to deter unwanted pests is to fill some containers with an assortment basil, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, or mint. scatter them around the eating/food area. set up seating and serving areas with things that are easily cleaned
- individual servings: family style is out for now. plus, who doesn't love individual portions on cute boards + plates, or inside cute jars and cups?! these mini marinated gouda jars are a great place to start!
- drinks: individual drinks in glass jars or cans...its your time to shine!
try these strawberry + lavender prosecco popsicles for a fun summer dessert!
mini marinated gouda jars
- heat proof containers
- medium sauce pan, optional
- 6-12 oz goats gouda or aged gouda, about 2 oz per person old amsterdam was used in this recipe
- 6-12 oz olive oil use ~1 oz per 1 oz of cheese
- sprigs of fresh thyme 1 medium sprig per 2 oz. of cheese
- 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced or lightly crushed
- peel of one large lemon peel 1 strip per serving of cheese
- sprigs of fresh oregano 1 medium sprig per 2 oz. of cheese
- Cube cheese into large heat proof container with a lid. Or place cubes of cheese directly into individual serving jars or glasses. Just make sure to cover with a lid.
- Heat method: Place olive oil, garlic, thyme and lemon peels into a medium sauce pan. Heat over low heat for 15-25 minutes. The oil should be very aromatic and peels should be shrivled. Remove from heat and cool 10-15 minutes before pouring on top of the cheese.Pour infused oil on top of cheese. Evenly distribute the herbs, lemon peel and garlic into each serving container. Marinate for at least 1-2 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
- Chill method: Place sprigs of herbs, lemon peel and garlic cloves evenly into the serving containers of cheese. Pour enough oil to mostly cover the cubes of cheese. Chill in the fridge 8-12 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.