Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/food/public_html/wp-content/themes/StandardTheme_20/admin/functions.php on line 229
Cheese | Manolo's Food Blog
Archive - Cheese RSS Feed

Spirit Animal

This man is my hero (with a few caveats).

According to the guy who twitpic’d him, this blithe cheese fiend was digging into the wheel of Brie with his fingers and then putting it on crackers. Okay, gross. Dude clearly needs to upgrade to crackers with decent cutting ability; you use the cracker edge like a knife to cut off a piece of cheese and then, coincidentally, the cheese is on the cracker already! How convenient is that? From long experience, I would recommend your quotidian saltines, or a Wasa crispbread, perhaps the rye; although it is not sharp, it has a tensile strength that is truly gasp-inducing. When the apocalypse comes, you’ll be able to build fallout shelters from this stuff. Carr’s are, although lovely, easily shattered by the cheese-cutting operation, and are to be steered clear of in subway picnicking situations.

Also, Miss Manners will certainly back me up on this: stinky cheese should not be shared in enclosed spaces without the consent of those enclosed in the spaces. Also, if your Brie is stinky there’s something wrong with it, so this probably wasn’t Brie but something in the family. God knows I loves me some Chaumes, but the fumes will dissolve window glass. If in fact it was Brie, then he’s probably paying the karmic price for stinking up the subway car, spending the weekend on the bathroom floor, groaning.

To get your transit picnic right, remember these key things: No stinky cheeses! Or you’ll get mocked all over the blogosphere! And either a knife (really, who does not carry cutlery with them at all times? It is for such emergencies the Swiss Army gadget was invented! Get the one with the corkscrew, of course) or crackers of sufficient strength to both cleave and provide a satisfying textural contrast with the creamy cheese. Bonus points: an actual cloth napkin, because you’ll never get the grease stains out of your $300 leather satchel.

The Cheese Stands Alone

Paris Stilton

Paris Stilton

Lock up your heirs! It’s Paris Stilton!

Funny, I’d have lost a bet about the specific geolocation of the cheese. Sorry about spoiling your next casserole.

You say Pierogie and I say Perogy

Gluten Free? Why not, I guess

It must be said, and that by me (for my extensive blogging staff appears to have gotten into the sherry and is AWOL) that I am indeed making the very most that can be made of my missing gallbladder and subsequent license to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, regardless of how fatty it is. After months where bacon was an abstract concept and cheese a mere hypothetical, the luscious richness that fat brings to, say, Saint Andre Brie is a revelation.

Now, there are two ways to do this, to dive back into a diet that suddenly includes fat.

  1. The high-fashion route, ie lardons. As in Goop and other pretentious monstrosities such as the Pork Martini. Yes, the Pork Martini: The pork Martini serves many needs on many levels! In these pomo days, when old formulas are reborn with futile twists for our fickle, fin-de-siècle tastes, the meat cocktail stands out above wobbly, cranberry-tainted attempts at bar trendiness. When one abandons the olive garnish for that of a pork-rind wedge, the pork Martini merges the flavors of the working class with that of wealthier ones, bridging social strata. It has the humanitarian goal of bettering the nutrition of alcoholics, offering protein for those who prefer their lunches liquid: since meat digests longer, it will both inebriate and offer nutrients for longer periods! It will open new markets to pork consumption, adding American jobs to every level of the meat-industrial complex. And, finally, it looks really weird. To which one can only reply: Oh honey. Oh honey. Oh honey, shut up and get me another Bombay Sapphire 6:1 with a twist.
  2. The low-rent, diner route. This, my friends, is the route I have chosen (and does it surprise any of you?). The food and the company are both better, and my wallet still respects me in the morning. And in this marvelous, Bukowskian noshquest, I believe I may have found the ultimate food.

Winnipeg Style Perogies.

perogy cat knows when you're cheating on him with gnocchi

perogy cat knows when you're cheating on him with gnocchi

Although there hasn’t been a food invented that can’t be ruined by snobbery (yes, it’s been done with truffle oil; hasn’t everything?), the humble perogy is as pure a peasant food as the world contains, and if there’s one thing the peasants know, it’s that it doesn’t pay to be doctrinaire. When you have three things in the kitchen and you’re bored of them separately, you put them together and call it “Casserole” or whatever the local word is (there’s a restaurant in Portland whose best-seller is called “slop” but we do not recommend this for marketing purposes) and you just eat it.

A Shmenge's favorite food

A Shmenge's favorite food

Perogies are the perfect example of this: their infinitely adaptable, humble nature has spawned some amazing displays of loyalty, whether it’s John Candy diverting his flights to pick some up or inspiring spirited musicals.

A plateful of potato-stuffed dumplings served up with catchy tunes and a bit of humour is heating up into a favourite menu item for Ukrainian Catholics and other Catholic churches across the country.

The Perogy Supper Miracle, the hour-long musical comedy about a church fundraising supper written by Winnipeg musician and composer Danny Schur, is about to tantalize and entice audiences in Sudbury, Burlington, Ottawa, Calgary and Prince Albert in the next months…

Schur says he’s surprised and pleased that The Perogy Supper Miracle has attracted enquiries from churches all over North America since its Winnipeg premiere on Nov. 6…

“I’m pleased about The Perogy Supper Miracle because it’s a chance to do creative fundraising and creative ministry and it’s a good musical,’ says Gnutel, who portrays a priest named Father Mark experiencing a doubts and questions about his work while attempting to recruit enough volunteers to keep his parish’s perogy dinners operating.

Boston Pizza even, apparently, has a perogy pizza; that they serve this in Boston, well, colour me skeptical.

The lineup outside Baba's Perogy Hut could be extensive

The lineup outside Baba's Perogy Pizza Hut could be extensive

I grew up partly in Winnipeg, flying from Paris to Winterpeg at the age of 11 months (and I’m STILL not over the culture shock: Oscar Wilde got off the train and said, “SO this is Winnipeg. I can tell it’s not Paris” and every visitor since has said much the same) and fondly remember the one weekend every Fall when our Ukrainian friend Frida would come over and draft the population of the entire block, turning us into one huge perogy and cabbage roll factory, after which we would have enough to eat until the Communists came marching over the North Pole as they were surely going to do any day now. I remember eating them with everything, including ketchup, but distinctly do not remember eating them in the style known in Vancouver’s iconic Hamburger Mary’s diner as Winnipeg Style Perogies.

A lb of food! Cheese perogies topped with house made beef chili and broiled cheese with sour cream.

And here they are:

Winnipeg Style Perogies in all their cholesteriffic glory

Winnipeg Style Perogies by 604FoodPhotography,in all their cholesteriffic glory

Is this authentic? I SHOULD SAY NOT!

It should be “0.45359237 kilograms of food,” duh!

But what I can tell you is this: if you’re near starvation, after nearly three solid month of fat-free dining, it is about as close as the planet comes to the perfect restorative. Sure, the serving was the size of my head, and sure, there was too much cumin, even for me, but it was, nonetheless, a plate of ecstasy.

The kind you feel dirty about afterwards, which only makes it better.

Cheese It!

Grilled Cheese there are limits to deluxe

Grilled Cheese: there are limits to deluxe

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? You’d think that the simple Grilled Cheese Sandwich, beloved by ketchup-slinging toddlers and truffle-scented gourmets alike, could be appreciated for its own merits, without being tarted up like a four year old beauty pageant contestant, but noooooooooo.

Honestly, if you want to get fancy, make the pickle on the side an artisanal pickle and you’re good. Super-deluxe it by slicing some fresh mushrooms on top of the cheese before frying if you want, and you’ll even find that the enzymes in the mushrooms make melt-resistant cheese as soft and pliable as a wodge of velveeta in the heart of Eyjafjallajökull. Why, the low rent version made with margarine instead of butter may even contain the secret to immortality!

But that’s not enough for some people; indeed, some people never met a food they weren’t capable of enthusiastically ruining, including God’s Own Comfort Food, the glorious grilled cheese sandwich. I’d like to present (very much WITH comment) the world’s most expensive grilled cheese sandwich.

Now, it’s not the simple $50 fontina and truffle version featured on Gossip Girl.

For the Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
• 8 slices of fresh baked white bread; look for a local bakery
• 16 slices of fontina cheese
• 2 tablespoons sweet butter
• 2 oz. fresh shaved black winter truffles
• Salt and pepper

Layer 2 slices of fontina cheese between 2 slices of white bread and shave a couple of slices of truffles in the middle of each sandwich; do the same for all four sandwiches. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter melts, add the sandwiches and cook until the bread is nice and toasted. Remove and slice sandwiches in half and place onto four plates.

Adding a few extraneous truffles to something is, as we all know, the first resort of the unimaginative trying to make something ostentatiously and purposelessly expensive. Besides, truffles taste like toe jam that’s gone off.

There. I said it. Truffles are to mushrooms as durian is to mangosteen, which is to say, they are the version of that food that is served in HELL.

But I digress. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. It’s a post about Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

Right, the world’s most expensive grilled cheese sandwich, other than the $28,000 one with St. Mary of Cracker Barrel on it, is the $170 version made for the Frome Cheese Show and consisting of:

…cheddar cheese blended with white truffles, quail egg, heirloom black tomato, apple, figs, dainty mustard red frills, pea shoots, red amaranth, 100-year-old balsamic vinegar dressing and sourdough bread topped with edible gold dust.

Edible Gold Dust on a grilled cheese sandwich. Edible. Gold. Dust.

Please report on the geographic coordinates of your supreme being at this time.

Canadian Cooking with Reed Farrington

You people think you have the Sandra Lee thang all to yourselves, but the truth is, she’s simply one iteration of a worldwide plague; why, we even have one up here in Canuckistan!

Here is renowned “celebrity chef” (look, it’s Canada. In the US, celebrities need crowd control; in Canada, they need nametags) Reed Farrington (as portrayed by Gerry Eng), personifying the Canadian can-do spirit, combining three packaged convenience foods into one mouth-watering national classic dish: POUTINE!

Or, as he calls it, Poo-teen. I’ve never seen it eaten with chopsticks before, but hey, it’s a nice multicultural touch.

Cooking With Gerry – Episode #2: Poutine from Jay Cheel on Vimeo.

In fact, it doesn’t really matter what quality of components you use; the result always turns into a soggy, cholesterol-laden heart attack on a plate, rich in what hangover sufferers call “Vitamin G.” Here’s the recipe, for those of you who are not video-positive:

  • Make some fries. Or reheat some fries.
  • Make some gravy. Beef gravy ONLY, people; beef gravy is a food, chicken gravy is just a condiment.
  • Put some farmer’s cheese (cheese curds) over the fries, then put the gravy over the whole mess.

If this isn’t enough to clog your arteries, poutine (pronounced “p’TIN” with a contemptuous expression {as are all Quebecois words, actually}) is an essential ingredient in the Angry French Canadian Sandwich:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Party at Sandra Lee’s!

Open wide, New York State

Open wide, New York State

Congratulations and commiserations to the people of New York State, who now have this gibbering 70’s throwback as their common-law First Lady. At least the political news has a shot at being mildly amusing, in, say, the way laughing at a 39-year-old with a Scooby Doo birthday theme is mildly amusing.

Let’s check out one of the lady’s recipes, shall we? What about her infamous Kwanzaa Cake?

1 (10 to 12-ounce) purchased angel food cake
1 container (16 ounce) vanilla frosting
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (21-ounce) container apple filling or topping
1 (1.7-ounce) package corn nuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup popped popcorn

Special Equipment:
Kwanzaa candles

Using a serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place bottom cake layer, cut side up, on a serving platter. Mix frosting, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon in large bowl until combined. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting over top of cake layer on platter. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake to coat completely. Spoon apple pie filling into hole in center of cake. Place candles atop cake. Sprinkle top of cake with some corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, and popcorn. Sprinkle remaining corn nuts and pumpkin seeds around base of cake.

And then, presumably, set it on fire and give heartfelt Kwanzaa thanks for the fact that nobody could expect you to put that in your mouth.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

American cheese

upland.jpg

Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Wisconsin is the finest American cheese Mr. Henry has ever tasted, a gruyere-style cheese that tastes better than Beaufort, the celebrated French Alpine tomme.
uplandspleasantridge.jpg
Mildly tangy, mildly fruity, and mildly nutty, Pleasant Ridge has firm texture, a slightly grainy mouthfeel, and a creamy finish, the ideal pairing for a fresh summer salad followed by fruit.

Fellow cheese snobs take note. There are other terrific cheeses made here in the States. The peerless cheesemongers at Artisanale recommend twenty-nine on their site.

Looking to be Happy

simic.jpeg
What advice would you give to people who are looking to be happy? “For starters, learn how to cook.” From In-Verse Thinking, Questions for Charles Simic, interview by Deborah Solomon, February 3, 2008, New York Times Sunday Magazine.
dracula.jpg
All week long Mr. Henry has been chewing over this pithy admonishment. Unfortunately for his waistline, he has been chewing a lot more. The virus colonizing his sinuses hacked into Mr. Henry’s appetite control center. Its sinister program impels Mr. Henry to rise in the night like a Transylvanian Count and glide towards the kitchen to graze. His current fixation is toast, cottage cheese and umeboshi, Japanese salt plum.
cottagecheese1.jpg
Cottage cheese is a preparation not seen in this household since Mrs. Henry’s pregnancy when every few hours she too rose like a wraith and shuffled kitchen-ward to ingest anything resembling pabulum.

Did not Nixon, Haldeman, and Erlichman sitting round the Oval Office lunch on cottage cheese with ketchup? Such satanic visions calls to mind the most famous aphorism from Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s (1755-1826), The Physiology of Taste, “Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.”
nixon.jpg

dickens.jpg
Mr. Henry is laid low. He can offer no explanation or defense for this craven departure from virtuous habit. Those familiar with Mr. Henry’s Dietary Dicta must be shuddering at this late-night eating, this blatant trespass on established rules.

Perhaps Dickens is to blame. Yes, that must be it. Hardly a chapter of Great Expectations goes past without someone sitting down to enjoy a joint of mutton or a tankard of ale. (As a boy, Dickens was poor and knew what it was to go hungry.) Mr. Henry should go back to reading Samuel Beckett, a writer who genuinely appreciates denial. Though he sucks on a pebble to abate hunger, for the whole of the book Molloy never actually eats anything.
samuelbeckett_tel_aviv_university.jpg
Simic, poet laureate of the U.S., is right. To achieve happiness in life you must learn how to cook. Why? Because you can never really know how to eat unless you understand how food is prepared. And it follows that if you never really learn how to eat, you never really learn how to be happy.

Page 1 of 212»