Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello Whole Foods

So, I went to Whole Foods Market last night because I have a cough and needed eucalyptus oil to put in my humidfier. Well, we all know how Whole Paycheck works. I escaped this time with only $20 worth of damage. 2 new cheeses ... Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Goat Cheese and a Pleasant Ridge Reserve Gruyere. Have I reviewed that one before? I'll have to check. (ok, checked - I haven't).

Cypress Grove... mmmm. From the makers of Humboldt Fog comes this delightful goat cheese. Slight crystallization for a bit of "crunch", but otherwise creamy and melts in your mouth. Nicely goaty. Gorgeous creamy color as well, with a black wax rind. Nutty flavor reminiscent of gruyere.

The Pleasant Ridge. I have to say, I normally love gruyeres, but this one left me disappointed. From Upland Cheese Company in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, this hard cheese just had a bit of an off taste to me. Only aged 4 months, in a natural rind, this one tasted much older to me. Dunno. I guess it was inevitable that I ran into a cheese that left me cold.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cheese is indeed for snacking!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but I love Whole Foods for their "Cheese is for Snacking" bin. Small little bits of cheese, about 2oz each. It's a great way to try new cheeses without breaking the bank.

Yesterday I stopped to sample, and came home with 4 cheeses. One was the Wensleydale Crandale, which is a favorite of mine. Another, the one that I am snacking on now, is a Double Gloucester. With a lovely golden color and a natural rind, it's a very well-balanced cheese. Creamy and a bit crumbly, similar to a hard cheddar. At first bite there was a hint of blue to it, but after a bite of apple, it became more buttery and less sharp. The apple is a gala, and I think it would do better against something a bit more tart, or some slightly sour grapes. As you move outward on the slice, towards the edges of the wheel, the blue taste becomes more prominent and consistent.

Overall, a very diverse cheese for very diverse moods!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Code bleu

Is there anything like warm, melty cheese, oozy and stringy and yummy? I think not. That's why grilled cheese is probably the world's most perfect meal. It can be tailored to any situation, any mood. Feeling traditional? Kraft singles to the rescue. Feeling gourmet? Goat cheese, honey and prosciutto on sourdough, if you please. Someplace in the middle perhaps? Brie and ham with a smear of jelly, raspberry, perhaps, or the cranberry-jalapeno I so love with cheeses of all kinds. On a nice sturdy white bread, of course. George Duran, of "Ham on the Street", did a show on grilled cheese once, and introduced me to the idea that you can take any bread, any cheese, and any jam (go fig! But it does work) and make a killer gc sandwich. That sweet-salty combo is lovely - thanks George, for your dedication.

So, seeing as though my cheese drawer was woefully empty (except the Kraft singles - I've been on a kick lately!) I stopped at the market today, and 3 happy cheeses found their way into my basket. Seeing as though it's mid-January, and we are a handful of days away from midterm exams (didn't like them as a student, don't really enjoy them as a staff member either!), the cheeses are nice and familiar.

Once again, the honey goat cheese (from Montchevre, by the way!). I also have a happy container of fresh mozza and a wonderfully sharp white cheddar from New York. And peace once again came to the Whore House. Fire up the cast iron griddle, probably the best way to make them. Although, for kicks, the pie iron from camping, stuck in the wood burning stove, provides me with many smiles as well, as I sit on the floor in the light of the fire and lick cheese from my fingers...

Grilled cheese - because in these times, we could all use a bit more comfort and happiness. Peace out, cheese love

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ok, it's true

I'm the world's worst blogger. *hanging head* It's ok. I'm ok with it. It's just who I am.

But, I'm here to make amends. I have 3 items to add today. Not necessarily 3 cheeses, and there have been enough cheeses in the missing days, weeks and months to sink a small ship, but 3 items.

The first: the cheese. Now, I have long considered the perfect meal to be a fresh loaf of bread (preferably sourdough), a smear of goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. Well, the fine folks at... crap, the packaging is at the cottage. Well, it's really not important. But it is, so I'll get you the info soon. Anyways, these lovely folks have put the goat cheese and the honey into one lovely goaty-honey product. The way the cheese goddesses intended. Now I can get my fix at work without getting honey all over the papers that I'm grading.

The second: the recipe. Now, who among us doesn't long for an amazing macaroni and cheese on a winter's eve. You over there - put your hand down. Clearly The Pioneer Woman agrees with me, as she created Fancy Macaroni. Now, there are several reasons I have a hard time going hard-core vegetarian. And bacon is responsible for reasons 1-19. For those wondering, #20 is Thanksgiving turkey - thank you for being interested. First of all, Ree, the TPW is an amazing blogger. The amount of gorgeous photography alone is enough to give her site an X rating for being food porn. But her recipes? They just put it over the edge. So when she combined cheese *sigh* with caramelized onions and bacon *gasp* my heart leapt for joy. I started writing odes to The Pioneer Woman. I penned sonnets to her Fancy Macaroni. And then I reached for my stretchy pants. Because boys and girls, this isn't light stuff. But oh, so good. And I'll stop drooling now. I've made the recipe, and it's the stuff of dreams. I recommend a good bottle of wine and a movie and a snuggle buddy on the couch. Or a good bottle of wine and a bunch of friends around a winter table. Or a good bottle of wine... you get the point.

The last entry I have is long overdue. Very long. Back in April, I traveled to the Holy Grail of cheese shops - Neal's Yard Dairy in London. Oh, the heaven. Catholics go to Rome. Jews go to Jerusalem. Muslims go to Mecca. I go to Neal's Yard.

But, wait, there was more cheesy goodness on that trip. After leaving London, I flew to Cork, Ireland, where my travelling companion, Ruth, and I met up with my mother for a little tour around the Emerald Isle. Long story long... When I was nigh on 10 years old, I had a friend, Jatin, who, with his mother Saroj and his sister Anu, were aboard Air India Flight 182 en route from Toronto which was downed off the western coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people on board. The lovely people of Ahakista, Ireland, on the Sheep's Head Peninsula, were very gracious in helping the grieving families and recovery workers as they went about the horrible task of finding and identifying the passengers and their belongings. There you can find a memorial to the victims, and the names of my friend and his family.

Obviously after this we needed cheese. And, having scouted out its location before leaving the States, we headed around the Peninsula (BREATHTAKING views, but oh, so remote...) and back up towards Bantry and found the lovely folks at Durrus Cheese. We caught them on their lunch break, so the tour was actually a lecture. And a sampling. Oh, the sampling. What an amazing cheese - strong without being overwhelming, slightly nutty... wonderful with pears, as we found later when we had taken a small wheel to our hotel. Many thanks to our host, Jeffa, and her lovely companion, pictured here!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Officially booked

Sometime during the day today I booked my ticket for spring break. If Zingerman's presents me with a religious experience of cheeses, the Neal's Yard Dairy in London is the Vatican to me. Others may say Italian, or Swiss, or French cheeses own their hearts. But, to cross religious lines briefly, Neal's Yard is my Mecca. It is the place that Zingerman's sends their cheese guy, John, to work and learn. So, I will be winging my east this spring, over the pond to the land of cheeses that I so dearly love. I will be basking in the soft white glow off the rounds of brie, the golden hues of the cheddars. Then, a short jump over the Irish Sea to Ireland, land of Dubliner, Cahill Farm Cheddar and Cashel Blue. With these cheeses, a pint of Guinness and a plate of Galway Bay oysters to look forward to, does life get any better?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And a Happy Festivus to All!

Where has the time gone? Mid-December already? Well, I'll take it - one day closer to winter break, one day closer to my spring break trip to London and Ireland. Yes, I'm a snob. My spring break will be spent in London and Dublin. You can cry for me. ;-)

Not many straight cheeses through the House of Trudi lately, mainly due to a catering gig that had me jumping and dancing in my kitchen, performing feats of strength worthy of Festivus as I cooked appetizers for 60 people. The big hit of the party, as usual, was the Gorgonzola Fruit Torta. Somewhat of a legend in my circles, this layered cheese spread is easy to assemble, freezes well, and is always devoured. So, in the holiday spirit of giving, I present the recipe. My gift to you.

Gorgonzola Fruit Torta

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 1 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizers

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
16 ounces cream cheese -- softened
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese -- crumbled
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup green onion -- chopped
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 cup dried apricots -- chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds -- toasted

Cut up cream cheese. Place in a food processor (or mixer, or, if you want to skip your gym workout, by hand) with Gorgonzola and mix until smooth. Line an 8" by 4" loaf pan with saran wrap (I use a cereal bowl). Layer the following ingredients in order:
1/4 cream cheese mixture
1/4 cream cheese mixture
green onion and parsley
1/4 cream cheese mixture
1/4 cream cheese mixture

Use a small spatula greased with cooking spray to spread cream cheese mixture easily over other ingredients without mixing (or, do as I do and use your wet hands). Cover and chill until firm. Turn uncovered pan upside down on a serving plate and remove wrap very gently. Serve with crackers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A love/hate kinda day...

Joe, darn you anyways. I love having someone who appreciates food in the building, though - makes my day that much more pleasant!

You see, Joe made me go to the Cheese Brothel today. Like, stuck a gun to my head kinda made me. Ok, that might be exagerating a bit. But, I did pick up an old favorite (Crandale) and something new (White Stilton with Lemon Zest). Well, it was actually an accident - I had meant to pick up the Stilton with Pear and Apple, but, well, I grabbed the wrong one. A very nice, mild cheese with just the slightest hint of lemon. Well, maybe more than a hint. Yes, more than a hint. But, I could see this with blueberry scones. And a very nice cup of black tea. Definitely tea. As far as wine, I'd pair it with something equally fruity. Beer? Definitely a summery Hefeweizen. Or... stuffed into a chicken breast into a take-off on a picata.

All courtesy of Long Clawson Dairy. Fate, I believe. You see, I live in Clawson....