I've been stirred from my internet slumber to wander the world once more. It's come to my attention that Halloween is approaching, given the appearance of pumpkins and spooky decor. So in spirit of the holidays, I present to you...
But in all seriousness, this is one deliciously simple appetizer that's perfect for any spooktacular party! I was inspired while thinking about things I could make in the Jell-O molds I uncovered in our basement that must have been hidden in a box untouched since college days. Once I found the molds, the wheels in my mind started turning - and the only other thing that sounded better than a half pound of brain Jell-O...was a half pound of BRAIN CHEESE!!!
I ran to my fridge to see what I had on hand, because the scariest part of this story is ALL THAT CHEESE WAS ALREADY IN MY FRIDGE. The more I let that sink in, the more I was disgusted in what I was about to create...which made me hunger for it even more.
For a few days I sat on this brainy idea and during that time debated where to go for lunch with a friend. Bagels were suggested at a nearby cafe, where they have the best lox and cream cheese bagel spread. Upon the craving for smoked salmon and cream cheese, which is a favorite combination of mine, I realized I had just accidentally connected the dots in my mind to find exactly what would take this block of brain shaped cheese to a whole 'nother level.
We didn't end up getting bagels.
Because this blog was most definitely an afterthought - meaning I had already starting eating the brain cheese by the time I realized I had some internet gold in my fridge (I'm a sucker for imaginary internet points) - I do not have any pictures of the process it took to create this delicious monstrosity.
The only thing I really needed to purchase for my brain cheese was the salmon. Almost every grocery I've been into has a section by the seafood with fake crab meats and other miscellaneous packaged sea meats that aren't fancy enough for the display case, but aren't crappy enough for the freezer aisle. I chose one of those flattened packages of the thin smoked salmon. As one redditor pointed out, it may have been lox I used, which is brined, not smoked salmon, though the packaged described it as such. While there is a difference in flavor, which is preferential, lox is equally as good, in my opinion, to smoked salmon. Either will work in this recipe, depending on your taste buds.
Allow me a moment to show off my actual Halloween decorations. Pretty hard to get into the spirit when all you have are two windows to shine through. Clearly my neighbors need to STEP. IT. UP.
Anyway, Back to the Thing
This was surprisingly easy to accomplish with a little creativity. First, I sprayed the mold with olive oil spray because I wasn't sure if the salmon alone would be enough to keep the cheese from seeping through and making it stick to the plastic. Then line the mold with the salmon by laying pieces next to each other horizontally until the mold is covered and the salmon doesn't slide down. I gently pressed the salmon into the creases to help add to the effect. After that, into the fridge while you melt the cheese.
There are a couple ways you can go about melting the cheese, I chose the slower of the two methods, mostly because I feel as though I can tell the difference in texture. That being said, you can microwave (in intervals) the cheese in a casserole dish OR you can create a double boiler over a pot of water to melt it. Either way, the cheese should be at room temperature to quicken the entire process, regardless which method you choose.
Cube up the sharp cheddar cheese and add to a bowl with the cream cheese and goat cheese. Decide on your preferred melting method and proceed until cheese is melty with no chunky!*
*Edit: This was entirely unintentional verbiage. I was possibly talking to my ~5 month old puppy while typing this.
Once the cheese is at a smooth consistency, add the teaspoon of sriracha and a handful of golden raisins. Those were what I had on hand, but you can use your favorite hot sauce or dried fruit bits. Stir a few times then pour the mix into the salmon lined mold. Cover with some plastic wrap and place into the fridge.
Let the cheese set in the mold for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. The cheese should not jiggle when you go to remove it from the mold!
|Serve your brains with some crackers - or if you're looking to really scare your guests...carrots and celery!! QoooOOoooOOOOOo|
So there you have it! Delicious, yet disgusting, BRAIN CHEESE!!!
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 10 oz block sharp white cheddar cheese
- packaged smoked salmon/lox (I used a kind with dill and lemon seasonings)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins/crasins/any bits of dried fruit you please
- 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
- Bring all the cheeses to room temp
- Cube the block of cheddar
- Create a double boiler with a pot of water and metal/glass bowl that fits over the pot, bring water to boil
- Spray your Jell-O Brain mold with an olive oil spray
- Open your smoked salmon and press gently into the mold, pressing into all the grooves and creases. Stick in the fridge to chill.
- Melt the cheeses in the double boiler. I created mine using a metal mixing bowl that just barely touched the top of water when placed into a large pot. Or just microwave it. Whatever.
- Once cheese is melted, add sriracha and golden raisins, remove from heat, and stir.
- Remove Brain mold with the salmon pressed inside, then pour the cheese mix into the mold on top of the salmon. Stick in the fridge and chill for at least 6 hours.
Be sure to check out my other, not so spooky recipes, only on The Starving Chef - Will Write for Food and follow me!
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Did you make this recipe? What did you use and how did it go?? Let me know in the comments BELOW!
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