Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Awakening Taste

October 3rd, 2011

When I was a little girl. living in Brooklyn, and it was a perfect, warm day, or we were watching something beautiful, like a scarlet sunset over the city skyline, my mother would say to me, “Close your eyes, breathe it in, and hold this moment in your mind, so you may remember it with all your senses.” This is a short story about an evening I would hold in my memory as my mother taught me, and the impetus of my love of food.

As a single woman in my early 20s, I had been invited to a dinner party by a guy whose date invitations I had rejected for some time. He seemed very intelligent and perfectly nice, which I suppose is why I hadn’t gone out with him, as I tended to lean toward the brooding artist type. But I felt sorry for him when he told me none of his friends could make it for his birthday that evening. Could I possibly join him, his parents, and a family friend for dinner?

His parent’s apartment was high up in a handsome pre-war building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with gorgeous views of the city. It was a reader’s oasis. Well-worn furniture in dark wood, fabric upholstered chairs one could cradle in with a cat (they had two) on their lap for hours, and books everywhere the eye could see. Even the dining room had bookshelves, with thick histories and paperback mysteries tucked in among many cookbooks.

His father, a native Frenchman, and his mother, an American of German and Italian decent,  served dinner in the European style: appetizer, main, salad, cheese, and dessert. I don’t remember what was served for the appetizer and main course, though I remember the meal feeling homey, like warm soup and roast chicken. A simple green salad followed, which was new to me, having always been served salad first, which I found revived my palate for what was to come: The cheese plate.

Up until this time I wasn’t very knowledgeable about food, though my parents were excellent cooks, and my grandparents took me to some of the finest restaurants in New York. I wasn’t aware of the just-launched Food Network, and though I had watched Julia Child and The Frugal Gourmet, I had been living contentedly in a world of stews and roasts. Pizza, fast food, and Chinese delivery, or grilled cheese and spaghetti with tomato sauce from a jar in leaner times, were my meals when I started living on my own. In general, I didn’t stop to smell food, or appreciate its appearance and texture. I mostly ingested, chewed, and swallowed.

The only cheese products I was familiar with were Kraft’s American slices and grated Parmigiano in the green shaker can, Velveeta, and Boursin spreadable cheese with herbs, which seemed exotic at the time. My parents sometimes ate bleu cheese dressing on iceberg lettuce, which I abhorred for the dressing’s sour flavor and lumpy texture. The only brie I had was served ice-cold at a friend’s Superbowl party, where we spread the stiffened innards on crackers, leaving the rind behind.

I was a little wary of the cheese served that night, but I enjoyed both the soft goat, similar to the Boursin I was used to, and the mild bleu, surprised to find it not at all offensive. The last was a cheese that looked like a rectangle of hard, straw-colored cheddar. Taking a small slice of this, the birthday boy held it up to my lips and said, “Taste this, it’s incredible.”

I took the bit of cheese into my mouth, and the company, the conversation, the lovely surroundings, all faded into the background while I held it for a moment on my tongue. As it warmed I found the texture creamy, like butter, surprising for something that looked so hard, and it held tiny crunchy bits throughout, like salt on a soft pretzel. The flavor was bold. Tangy like lemons, and savory-sweet like hazelnut coffee. Looking back, my best guess is that it may have been something similar to Piave, but at the time I was too overwhelmed, and perhaps a bit ashamed of my ignorance, to ask.

I finally looked up to find the guy leaning back to look at me, staring at me questioningly. “Um,” I said stupidly, “this is GOOD.” He smiled and nodded slowly, as if he had shared a secret. I remember thinking there might be something about this boy after all.

A plum and apricot fruit tart with a birthday candle was brought from the kitchen, and we sang Happy Birthday. The tart, Calvados, and strong coffee were bringing me back to Earth. But why, I wondered, was anyone not noticing the distinct aroma of cat feces? The fragrance had been permeating the dining room for quite a while, and I had been peeking under the table to find the source of the odor, thinking for certain I’d find the cat had left a gift, when the guy’s mother begged, “Could someone please take the cheese into the kitchen?” It was taken away, and with it the unpleasant smell, when it dawned on me, it was that delicious cheese!

I often take this memory out, as my mother taught me, recalling the moment, how it awakened my senses, and how much I’ve learned about the cuisine of different cultures since. I no longer think of food with funky aromas as something to avoid, but something to explore.

Because of that meal, I no longer wanted to eat alone over the kitchen sink, but wanted to share food and talk about it with others. I went to cooking school. I took wine classes. I visited farms to buy local produce. I educated myself about sustainable and organic agriculture. I started a food blog, and I came to love “the wedge:” a quarter slice of iceberg slathered in the formerly abominable bleu cheese dressing, with bacon bits strewn on top.

I dated the guy for a few years. I shared many wonderful meals with him, his family and their friends, and became bold enough to scour markets to bring new foods for them to try. Though ultimately our mutual love of food could not overcome our differences and we eventually parted ways, I will always appreciate how he, and his family, opened up the world for me to taste.

EatingWell’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese

June 21st, 2010

EatingWell's Baked Mac & Cheese

Week 4, day 3 of My Eating Well Challenge.

EatingWell’s Comfort Foods Made Healthy cookbook has redeemed itself with this version of mac and cheese. It may have simply been the luck of the draw that the two other recipes I chose from this book were lackluster. I was beginning to feel that EatingWell’s definition of comfort food meant gluey sauces, but this recipe is a winner.

I was very concerned about this recipe, as I dislike cottage cheese, but most of that has to do with its texture. It is used in this recipe to lighten the fat, and does not make the sauce curdy in the least. Even so it should be noted that this is not a low fat recipe. However, by using whole wheat pasta and adding spinach, it is a high-fiber recipe, and I found that a smaller portion is very filling. I inadvertently used hot paprika in the breadcrumb mixture; a happy accident as it wasn’t spicy at all, but gave the dish an added punch.

The sauce is wonderfully cheesy, and the spinach makes the flavor reminiscent of Ina Garten’s incredibly luscious spinach gratin. This is a delicious baked mac and cheese.

Baked Mac & Cheese
From EatingWell’s Comfort Foods Made Healthy
View the recipe and nutritional information at EatingWell.com

3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs, (see Tip)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni, or penne

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

2/ Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out excess moisture.

3. Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

4. Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. (It will continue to cook during baking.) Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.

5. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs. For dry breadcrumbs, spread the fresh crumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until crispy, about 15 minutes. One slice of fresh bread makes about 1/3 cup dry crumbs. Or use prepared coarse dry breadcrumbs. We like Ian’s brand labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets.

Baked Mac & Cheese with a Spinach Layer

Ham & Swiss Rosti

June 8th, 2010

Ham & Swiss Rosti in the Pan

Week 3, day 3 of My Eating Well Challenge.

Rösti, at its simplest, is shredded potatoes which are pressed into a layer in a saute pan, and fried with some type of fat to make a potato cake that is crispy on the outside, and is generally served as a side to an entree. By adding ham and cheese and serving it with a vegetable or salad, the dish becomes hearty enough for dinner.

I found the rosemary a bit distracting, as it has a particularly aggressive flavor that nearly overwhelmed the cheese and ham. I’d be inclined to leave it out, or cut the amount in half. Otherwise, all the flavors and textures of great comfort food are there, and I’d never have guessed that this rosti is low calorie. You can even forgive yourself for having two pieces if the mood struck you. This would likely be very tasty (and pretty) served for breakfast with a sunny side egg on top, which is what I’ll try next time…and there will definitely be a next time.

Ham & Swiss Rosti
From The EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at EatingWell.com.

1 large egg
1 cup diced ham, (about 5 ounces)
1 cup shredded part-skim Jarlsberg, or Swiss cheese, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1. Beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in ham, 1/2 cup cheese, shallot, rosemary, pepper and salt. Add frozen potatoes and stir to combine.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pat the potato mixture into an even round in the pan. Cover and cook until browned and crispy on the bottom, 4 to 6 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Place a rimless baking sheet on top. Wearing oven mitts, grasp the pan and baking sheet together and carefully invert, unmolding the rösti onto the baking sheet. Wipe out any browned bits from the pan. Return it to the heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Slide the rösti back into the pan. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, cover and cook the second side until crispy and browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Slide onto a platter, cut into wedges and serve.

Ham & Swiss Rosti

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza

June 7th, 2010

EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza

Week 3, day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge.

When people ask, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food, what would it be?” I often think my answer would be pizza. Between the dough, the sauce, and the toppings, the variations are practically endless. I am also not prejudiced in favor of any one particular style. Although I am particularly fond of the thin-crust style I grew up with in Brooklyn, I can appreciate deep-dish, stuffed, and most variations of toppings.

This recipe has intrigued me since I first read it. According to EatingWell, adding pumpkin puree to the sauce increases fiber and beta carotene, but what about the taste? It turns out it’s quite good. One wouldn’t notice unless they were looking for an odd ingredient, they’d just think it’s a relatively sweet sauce. When I questioned my family, they guessed sweet potato. I believe adding a bit of salt to the sauce would balance the flavor.

The recipe also features a favorite secret ingredient of mine: Turkey pepperoni. I am generally disappointed by “replacement” foods, but turkey pepperoni is an exception. When cooked, its flavor is nearly identical to the pork and beef version, but has significantly less fat.

This pizza is certainly no replacement for my beloved Fascati or Grimaldi, but it’s a very good, satisfying pizza that can be prepared quickly. I’m sure little kids would love this recipe (and they can help make it, too).

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza
From The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at EatingWell.com.

1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Shopping Tip), thawed if frozen
1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)

1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined.

4. Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

May 12th, 2010

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Week 1, Day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge. On my way home to cook dinner, I was wondering why I chose this recipe. It’s not as if it’s anything very remarkable. Stuffing chicken breasts is something one learns the first week of culinary school, or about once-a-week on the Food Network or PBS cooking shows. Maybe it was because it  had ham and cheese. Maybe because I wanted to see what EatingWell.com would do to make this frequently fat-laden dish not so fat-laden. In any event, I’m glad I made it, since it tastes indulgent and makes a great presentation.

One wouldn’t think that sauteing a breaded chicken breast in just a teaspoon of oil in a nonstick pan, and then finishing it in the oven, would create such a beautiful crispy crust, but it does, and the chicken stays juicy. There’s not much cheese filling (the photo on their website, which I only saw after I had made the dish, is a little misleading), but the flavor of the ham and mustard is so intense, it tastes like just the right amount.

The only issue I had, as with the previous day’s recipe, was salt. If you wish to leave it out for dietary reasons, that’s fine. However, I’d suggest putting at least a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of salt into your breadcrumbs. For the crumbs I used three slices of whole wheat sandwich bread pulsed in the food processor with the salt. Next time I might take the opportunity to add some dried herbs, a bit of garlic powder, or paprika to the crumbs.

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
From The Essential EatingWell Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional info. at EatingWell.com.
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup grated Swiss, Monterey Jack or part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped ham
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
1 egg white
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a baking sheet with sides and lightly coat it with cooking spray.

2. Mix cheese, ham, mustard and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up the breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in egg white, then dredge in breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

Napoleon of Crisp Potato, Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper, and Caramelized Onion

March 4th, 2010

Potato, Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Napoleon

A traditional napoleon is a luxurious dessert. Layers of puff pastry and custard or whipped cream, often interspersed with berries, topped with fondant or powdered sugar. It is meant to be admired before eating. Just looking at one brings to mind images of royal powdered faces with stained lips. The pastry gives some resistance and crackles as the side of one’s fork bares down to make the first cut, just before the pastry layers give way and the custard oozes from its trappings, making an orgasmic mess of the dish.

To the best of my recollection, in the early 90s, somewhere a chef decided to translate the napoleon into a savory dish and added the vegetable napoleon to their menu, sparking a glut of vegetable napoleons nationwide. Then came the napoleons with ragu or duck confit. There wasn’t a menu without a savory napoleon on it. Anything that was layered was now called a napoleon.

I instantly fell in love with vegetable napoleons, their flavors and variety; but after seeing them everywhere for several years, they became a little corny and passe. Though I still spy one here or there, it seems their time in the limelight has passed.

I was thinking of this the other day when I decided to attempt to recreate the layers of a napoleon with what I had on hand. The potatoes became the crisp layer, an herbed goat cheese the custard, and the roasted peppers and caramelized onion the fruit, topped with a layer of melted parmigiano cheese. These are classic flavors, and the assembly created that same orgasmic mess the dessert does. Of my two tasters, one commented that, while delicious, the instability of the layers wasn’t to his taste, while the other declared this was her new favorite dish. Personally I felt the experiment a great success. Served with a green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, it made for a visually appealing and deliciously satisfying dinner.

Napoleon of Crisp Potato, Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper, and Caramelized Onions

Makes 3 napoleons

- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 small yellow onions, peeled, halved, and sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 2/3 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated

1. Preheat a broiler and place the peppers directly under the heating element, turning occasionally until the skin is black and blistered. Remove peppers from the oven and set aside to cool (you may wish to put a narrow cut in the top of the pepper to release the steam). Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them, keeping the flesh in large pieces.

2. While the peppers are broiling, cream together the goat cheese, sour cream, and basil, with a pinch of salt and a few grounds of black pepper to taste. Set aside at room temperature.

3. Melt the butter and one tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet at medium-high heat. Add the onions and the sugar. Once the onions have wilted a bit, before they are brown, turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and caramelized, approximately 45 minutes.

4. Slice potatoes no more than 1/4 inch thick. Place in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt, rubbing the oil and salt over the potato slices. Arrange 9 large center-slices on a baking rack on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Once they are fork-tender, increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. use a spatula to loosen the potatoes from the rack, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until lightly browned and slightly puffed. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. (I baked the remaining slices until crispy and ate them as chips. You can also use them to make more napoleons, if desired.) Set the oven temperature to broil.

5. In assembly-line fashion, working carefully (hold the potato slices with tongs if too hot to handle), working on the same rack the potatoes were baked on, spread three of the potato slices with a thick layer of the goat cheese mixture, one layer of pepper slices, and a heaping tablespoon full of the onions. Add another potato slice, and repeat the layering. Top the second layer with a potato slice, and then with a third of the parmigiano. Place the napoleons under the broiler just until the cheese melts and gets lightly brown. Keep an eye on them, they brown very quickly. Serve hot, along with a side salad with a vinegary dressing, or the napoleons may be served as a side dish to an entree.

The Mailman Brings Cheese

February 9th, 2010

Vacherin Mont d'Or, Murray's Cheese Label

It all started with my friend’s enticing post about Vacherin au Four, a soft cow’s milk cheese, studded with garlic, fortified with wine, then melted in its wooden box in a hot oven and poured over potatoes or served fondue-style. There are few things I have a harder time resisting than melted cheese. Plus, it is winter, the height of the melted cheese season, so it seemed a perfect opportunity to try making this simple dish at home.

That meant getting my hands on some Vacherin Mont d’Or. Easier said than done in Northern New Jersey. I telephoned Wine Library in Springfield, who told me that while they did have an order that was supposed to arrive on the next boat, he wouldn’t know if it made the boat until it arrived, and even then he wasn’t sure it would make it through customs. I called Summit Cheese Shop in Summit, and was told that it would be nearly impossible to get, and good luck with that. I phoned Gary’s Wine and Marketplace in Madison, and was told they were out and didn’t expect to get any until next season, which would mean maybe October. I called Murray’s Cheese in Manhattan and was told, yes, they had plenty! I made two dates to hop into the city to pick some up, but both trips were foiled. I was going to have to suck it up and pay for shipping.

A foodie, shopping a website listing a large variety of cheese, armed with a credit card. Well, you can see where this is going, can’t you? My eyes glazed over as my fingers clicked to the “Special Sale” page. I would be saving money if I purchased some cheese on sale, wouldn’t I? And oh, what’s this? A virtual cheesemonger! Answer just a few multiple-choice questions, and my own cheesemonger will guide me to my ideal selections. I went deeper into my trance as “Amanda,” my virtual cheesemonger, described a list of cheeses that I’d surely enjoy. Click, click, click. I should get some bread too! Click. And oh yeah, I almost forgot, the Vacherin Mont d’Or. Click!

Two days later my professionally packaged box of cheese is waiting for me on the porch, with a stamped message on the top of the box informing the FedEx delivery person that it’s OK to leave the package with the recipient, even though it may stink. A lovely (to me) odor envelops our dining room as I inventory the contents of the box: Two Vacherin Mont d’Or (one for me, one for a friend), a half-pound of Cabot’s clothbound cheddar (a friend’s recommendation), a half-pound of Fourme de Ambert (“Amanda” said this blue is mild and sweet), one puck of Brunet (“Amanda” says it’s her favorite goat), a half-pound of Tete de Moine (I need this as have not used my girolle in ages), and one pound of Parmigiano-Reggiano (well, it was on sale), and a loaf of bread (if you’re going to go this far, you may as well buy the bread so you don’t have to go to the store).

Counter-top tasting: The first night, we have a simple tasting. My friend is right, Cabot’s clothbound cheddar is outstanding, and “Amanda’s” picks are spot-on. Not that I wouldn’t have been just as happy with any other cheesemonger’s choices. I have no prejudice against any cheese, but it was nice that these were cheeses that noticeably agreed with my taste. The goat is super creamy and mild, almost the texture of camembert, while the blue is downright luscious with a bit of tang. We eat it standing at the counter, all except the Vacherin and the Tete de Moine. Those, we’ll eat later.

Brunet, Fourme d'Ambert, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Vacherin au Four: I meant to make this on day two, but couldn’t get to it until day four. Life got in the way, as it often does, and we didn’t get to it right away. This is too bad because Anne over at Pots and Plumes had emailed me to say that we shouldn’t wait, as hers had been too ripe. I should have listened. When we received ours, it looked very fresh, almost white. By the time I retrieved it from the refrigerator to cook it, it was nearly orange and it had a very strong odor. I cooked it with garlic, wine, and a bit of chive, and ate it with potatoes and bread, but it had taken on a flavor of ammonia and was overripe. I emailed Murray’s Cheese, not to complain but to warn, and was told that I would be credited for the Vacheran Mont d’Or. Way to go Murray’s customer service! We will definitely be ordering from them again.

Vacherin Au Four

Interlude, cheddar with Diana Pittet: Ironic that of all weeks I should be attending a talk by Diana Pittet, who writes of her adventures in cheddar on her blog, CheddarBound. This is a very cozy affair in the private room at Jimmy’s 43 in Manhattan, during which Diana regales a crowd of listeners with stories of her travels and the making of cheddar. We enjoy a tasting of five cheeses, along with a cask ale, an apple cider, and an apple wine. Apple beverages go fabulously with cheese!

Spicy tomato and blue cheese soup
: It has occurred to me that perhaps I have purchased too much cheese. I should include some in a recipe, perhaps. I find the recipe for Michael Symon and Michael Ruhlman’s spicy tomato and blue cheese soup on leitesculinaria.com. Made with sriracha and blue cheese, it is creamy, fruity, and spicy. I highly recommend it. But I’m not sure I could have it more than a few times a year. It is rich.

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup

Another tasting: End of the week, another spread of cheese on the counter for my husband and me to pick at. I’ve discovered this is probably my favorite way to eat cheese. It goes against all tenets of healthy eating, but I like it. Take what you want, when you want it. Leave the bread out with a knife nearby, or crackers, and maybe some olives, fruit, or nuts. Cheese is Nature’s processed food, so I figure it can’t be all that bad for us.

Tonight or tomorrow the Parmigiano-Reggiano will take its turn, grated over pasta. Sometime this weekend I’ll be leaving the girolle out on the kitchen counter to enjoy the thin rosette-shaped slivers of Tete de Moine with a glass of white wine. Probably while perusing Stinky Bklyn’s website. Their cheese-of-the-month club looks very tempting….