Ladies and Gentlemen. Tonight, for your munching enjoyment…..

Appetizers / January 11, 2015

During college, while still in that experimental phase in terms of Majors and Minors, I was dabbling in obtaining a Bachelors in Theater Arts. I loved the idea that the stage could be a portal to any place, era, or idea. Perched atop its blackish patina, and with the help of a bevy of curtain raisers, set movers, and fellow thespians, I looked out into the spotlight and emoted with all my 19 year old heart in dozens of plays, operas and of course the occasional Lerner and Loewe extravaganza.

As I look back, it would have been a suitable degree given my flair for the dramatic. As it is, I find that I still look at life through this lens, knowing that setting a stage is as important as any job when you are trying to communicate an emotion to those around you. And certainly in cooking, there is no better metaphor.

Take the lowly bread slice for instance. Especially a slice of newly baked french bread that has been gently toasted to a friendly golden brown. It just sits there, much like a stage and says, “Tell a story with me.” And so by crowding my counter top with the accoutrements of culinary experimentation I began to think about all the players that should crowd my savory podium.

First, a bright red jar of cherry peppers would be the muse. Papadews as they are often called, have a wonderful sweetness that balances their heat and tang. By mixing some fresh thyme leaves in with the Mascarpone cheese, I added some earthiness to the creaminess, and slathered it all on the toasted discs. Next, the layers of sliced peppers — garnet, shiny, and happy for the white bed of cream — were elevated and ready for their closeup . Hmmm. How could I create the overture? The music that would turn heads and pull all the flavors together in harmony? Yes. I would add a bit of fine brandy to some honey and drizzle that upon it all. And just for flair, a few tiny flecks of Himilayan sea salt for a topping of crunch and a way to set off the sweetness of the honey.

Sound good to you? I hope so. If you want to read about the actors in this production, click on and download the recipe to my SWEET CHERRY PEPPER BRUSCHETTA WITH THYME INFUSED MASCARPONE AND BRANDIED HONEY and turn your diners into a happy audience.

Yes, applause is always welcome. Although an encore is up to you.

Sweet Cherry Pepper Bruschetta with Thyme Mascarpone and Brandied Honey

Serve right away or they get soggy and the cheese dries out

Makes 24 brushcettas
30 minutes total prep time
Serves 4


1 loaf fresh French bread or 24 ½ inch slices
1 8 ounce container Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 T fresh thyme leaves
½ C honey
1/3 C Brandy
8 to 12 cherry peppers or Papadew peppers as they’re called, drained and sliced into thin strips
Coarse sea salt for garnish


  • Mix the Brandy with the honey and set aside. Remove leaves from Thyme sprigs and set aside. Cut bread, and get your tray out so that all the prep can happen at once.
  • Put bread slices on a cookie sheet, doing one batch of 12 at a time and toast under the broiler on each side. Nice golden brown but not overdone. Toast second batch. Set aside and work on them one by one with your serving tray nearby. First slather each piece of toasted bread with a generous layer of cheese and finish with the cheese so all toasted pieces have cheese. Then sprinkle with only a few leaves of thyme on each one. Now lay the peppers atop the cheese, piling in a nice arrangement and being generous with the peppers. Right before guests arrive, drizzle each with a ½ t or more of the Brandy honey. Sprinkle a few sea salt granules atop each and serve.

Get the cookbook!

Let's think about food preparation as art, and flavors as adventurous stories. Say ‘goodbye’ to safe sequences, or copycat flavors, and use your senses to curate the perfect meal. My recipes help your kitchen come to life as I share anecdotes about food chemistry, and fun shortcuts that conquer menu-mediocrity. my cooking style is one that combines everyday ingredients into sensuous layers that wake up the bored palate as I reveal easy-to-understand tips, tricks, and hacks so everyone can prepare and serve Bling Cuisine with confidence and joy!


Follow us Ifeellikecooking