Looks Can Be Deceiving

Candied Pine Nut Crusted Goat Cheese Salad-Duo Dishes

Some things do not photograph well.  A few people would say casseroles, other might chirp brown goulash.  We’re going to say hunks of melted cheese.  Melted brie slices to be exact.  Especially when they are plopped onto a bed of greens, and all the cheese goodness just droops down into the lettuce.  As we’ve learned, not everything can look pretty.  By no means should that lead you to believe it is not tasty.  Although we do initially taste with the eyes, sometimes you have to excuse a dishes appearance and accept that deep down inside, it is beautiful too.  So beautiful that your plate will be scraped, licked, and wiped clean of anything that used to resemble the ugly duckling of a meal.  That is where this salad lies–the pond of ugly duckling foods.  Please take our word for it when we say it tastes much better than it looks.

We originally thought this salad would be awesome with goat cheese.  We went to Trader Joe’s, saw a cheese round, picked it up and got home to get cooking.  It wasn’t until the meal was underway that we did a double take at the wrapper and saw that what we thought was a hunk of goat’s cheese was actually goat’s milk brie.  Dang you, Joe, and your trickery!  When people are hungry, tired and impatient, you can’t expect them to be able to read correctly.  If there is a goat on the package and the word goat in the title, they will see what they want to see!  With no time or desire to do a swamp, brie it was.  And honestly, Joe did not disappoint.  He must’ve known that this would actually turn out to be a profitable mistake.  Dang you, Joe, and your genius!  Though it looks a little funky, we really do think you’d agree it’s super tasty.  You can use your fave vinaigrette to vamp it up, so we stirred up a quick and easy honey dijon dressing.

Candied Pine Nut Crusted Brie Salad – Serves 2
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces brie
Salad greens
Olive oil

1.  In a small sauce pan, heat butter until it melts , then toss in pine nuts.  Add brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and salt and stir to combine.

2.  Once brown sugar has melted and nuts are fully coated, slide onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer to cool.

3.  Once nuts have cooled, dump them into a food processor and chop until they form small crumbles.  Pour onto a small plate.

4.  Slice brie into four pieces* and press two sides of the cheese into the nuts, coating both sides completely.

5.  Heat a swirl of olive oil in a pan.  When hot, add the cheese, cooking both sides just until almost browned.  (Brie melts quickly, so don’t leave it in the pan long.  A few seconds on each side should do.)

Honey Dijon Dressing – Approx. 1 cup

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt

1.  Whisk apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, ginger and garlic until well combined.

2.  Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking until all the ingredients are combined. Salt to taste if desired.

Click HERE for printable recipes.

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48 thoughts on “Looks Can Be Deceiving

  1. ‘Taste with the eyes’ is just a figure of speech; when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I’m all about the tastebuds! I actually find the gooey-ness really appealing and the candied pine nuts just confirms it!

  2. I can’t vouch for what others see, I see a delicious snack and all I ask is where is my granary toast lol loved it looks great 🙂 xxxx

  3. Hi There

    Apologies for contacting you through the comments instead of email but I couldn’t spot yours. Just wanted to say that loving your photos here on the blog and would love to get some of them featured on and hopefully send you some traffic back here.
    Look forward to seeing some of them 🙂



  4. OK, this one should say DebinHawaii–not Cook The Books–if it doesn’t I am giving up leaving a comment! Argh!

  5. That “Cook The Books” comment is from me–strange I guess I was still logged in on WordPress!

  6. Gosh, I’ve encountered so many foods that you just cannot get a decent photo of no matter how hard you try, unless you have a room filled with the brightest sunlight and gauzy curtains, and even then, it’s tough to get a good shot.

    That said, that salad is bookmarked. I’ve candied nuts with brie before, but never pine nuts, and the combo of everything (esp. that honey dijon dressing) is perfection and mouth watering!

  7. It’s not always easy to take great pictures of food. But melted brie taste so good. I like that you did take the picture with the salad. Looks more vibrant.

  8. Brie could look like a huge pile of doo, and I would still love it… I think your salad is lovely 🙂

    And I love the idea of honey dijon dressing and brie!!

  9. MMMMM,…baked brie salad!! Lovely indeed & to top that with a lovely honey & mustard dressing!! I onlu use Dijon mustard!

    I voted for you!!

  10. I know what you mean about somethings not photographing well, but that’s where all the tricks and cheats professional photographers come handy! This really really looks and sounds good 😀

  11. Kind of reminds me of how no matter what I put my chicken and dumplings in, it still looked better in the storage bowl, lol, and I am the queen of it does not look so pretty, or I forgot to photograph it at all, because we ate most of it first, lol…I need some cheese now…this sounds good!

  12. MMMMmmmm, picture looks great to me!!!! 🙂 I think meatloaf makes a really gross picture, even when tastes really good. OOhh, and sometimes chili can be hard. It can be done… but when done incorrectly, it’s not pretty.

  13. oh my gosh, I saw the title of the post and was afraid to go further but like a moth to the flame I could not resist. I think it looks just fine and am very intrigue to find out how it tastes

  14. Too funny! 🙂 I’m glad your mistake paid off. And really, I don’t think something has to look good to be tasty. My mom’s earthquake cake looked like a disaster but it was super delicious!

  15. I dont think it looks bad at all. And the honey mustard dressing must take this over the edge. What a delicious salad.

  16. I actually love to look of gooey melted cheese – I guess I have eaten so much of it over time that my brain now equates the look with what I know it will taste like!

  17. I really think that this photo of yours look irresistible. I can imagine how meltingly delicious this cheese is and combine with baby green … scrumptious!

  18. I agree that it doesn’t look bad AT ALL!

    Brie wrapped in aluminium foil and heated on the BBQ is also pretty yummy all by itself, take some crusty baguette and dig in!!!

  19. To be honest, it doesn’t look that bad. It’s much more appetizing. I know what you mean when you thought you read a product one way to only realize later that it was something else. Happens to me a lot, too.

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