A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

In Food, Recipes on June 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

For Father’s Day, we got my husband a new DeLonghi panini press and for our maiden voyage decided to christen it with Green Goddess Grilled Cheese—a sandwich that includes three of my favorite things: cheese, tarragon, anchovy. I can’t tell you what a winning combo this is—the combination of oozy cheeses with the tangy Green Goddess goodness will have to speak for itself. I believe the original inspiration for this sandwich comes from the Panini Happy blog, but we threw ours together using what we had in the fridge. I grabbed some basil, tarragon, chives and Italian parsley from the back yard.

I threw that in the mini Cuisinart along with some chopped shallots, minced garlic and a generous squirt of anchovy paste. I prefer to use the paste because you can keep a tube on hand at all times and you don’t have to worry about those pesky little anchovy bones from the tinned variety.

I added a splash of white wine vinegar along with a few ounces of crème fraîche, although you could also use sour cream, and then gave it a whir.

Don’t worry about adding any salt—the anchovy paste will take care of that. The herb mixture then went into a bowl with grated cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and then generously spread on slices of whole wheat. Fresh sourdough would have been far better.

We then brushed the sandwiches with a little olive oil and put them into the press for about six or seven minutes they reached melted perfection. We gobbled them up in seconds flat. And then my husband made himself another… Happy Father’s Day!

The Foodinista’s Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

Makes 4 sandwiches

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

3-4 ounces crème fraîche

1 cup grated cheddar

1 cup grated mozzarella

8 slices of sourdough bread (or favorite sliced bread)

Olive oil

Heat panini press to medium. Meanwhile, add first 9 ingredients to the bowl of a mini food processor and pulse to blend. In a separate bowl, add cheeses and herb mixture. Mix to combine. Lay out bread and top four slices with about 1/2 cup of mixture each. Cover with remaining four slices. Brush bread with olive oil. Grill in panini press for 6-7 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

The Valentine’s Dinner Dilemma

In Food on February 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I love my husband, I love restaurants, but I hate going out to eat on Valentine’s Day mostly because I dread having to inhale the cloying smog of 50-odd competing perfumes in an enclosed space. It seems that February 14 unleashes the inner spritzer in so many of us. This year, we’re just not doing it and instead are staying in for a cozy night of fondue. On Monday I plan to hit the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills to pick out some Gruyère, Appenzeller and Emmentaler to make my grandmother’s recipe for cheese fondue. It’s a show stopper, just like the woman herself! Everyone in my family makes this fondue, and we all have the same fondue pot in different colors. Mine is in a fabulous discontinued flame orange—a present from our friends Booth and Adam. But the cherry red pictured above from Le Creuset would make a great gift for your Valentine, don’t you think?

Douro, Te Amo

In Drink, Out of Town on October 18, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Speaking of the October issue of Bon Appétit, my column in that issue is about the Douro region of Portugal. I was there a year ago this week doing research for the story and wanted to share some of my photos from the trip. The terrain is some of the most beautiful wine country I’ve visited in the whole wide world. Look at those hills, and the river snaking through them. Below is Quinta do Crasto, where brothers Miguel and Tomàs produce some of the region’s most spectacular reds.

Before lunch, we had salted almonds and olives, both plucked from trees on the property, which has been home to a working winery since at least the seventeenth century.

Oh, and they make a pretty mean 1970 Quinta do Crasto Colhieta Tawny Port, which was never released commercially, but Miguel uncorked for our lunch. Luscious nutty and butterscotch flavors. I want to time travel back to that afternoon.

Their friend winemaker Luis Seabra from Niepoort was also at lunch, and shared what was my favorite bottle of white on the trip—the 2008 Niepoort “Tiara” Branco, made from unpronounceable grapes like arinto, codega, donzelinho, viosinho, rabigato and more. It was GORGEOUS, and in no way was I biased by my tiara fixation.

And let’s not forget the cheese…

But nothing quite beat coming home to see this little guy dressed as a bee for his second Halloween.

Sex After Sixty

In Drink, Fashion, Food, Media, Recipes on July 23, 2010 at 11:38 am

Without doubt, what I love best about this blog are the people it has lead me to, total strangers who have become virtual friends. And at the top of that list is a woman I greatly admire, Mary L. Tabor. And so today, it is my great honor to talk with the writer about her seductive new memoir, (Re) Making Love: A Sex After Sixty Story. First, buy the book by clicking HERE. Then, settle in for a delicious conversation with Mary, complete with her recipe for finding lasting love…

FOODINISTA: Your first book, a collection of short stories, is The Woman Who Never Cooked. Who is that woman? How does she differ from you?

MARY: I am hidden inside the fiction and oddly or maybe not so odd, I included three memoir pieces that I don’t identify as such. That’s the first tip-off. In the fiction, I used food and adultery as metaphor for the grief I bore through my mother’s, my father’s and my sister’s illnesses and deaths. I wasn’t sure who I was. I didn’t know when I wrote “The Woman Who Never Cooked,” the title story, that I would become that woman. The story relies on cooking, despite its title, and scrolls through recipes from some of my favorites: The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking, The Ramognolis’ Table, Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts, Chez Panisse Desserts, Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, Gourmet’s Best Desserts, Silver Palate Desserts.

I stopped cooking after D. in my memoir left me. Was I prescient? I don’t think so. I do think that cooking and love and family are inextricably entwined.

I’m cooking again. I know that’s a good sign.

FOODINISTA: What is the great seduction dish of all time?

MARY: It begins with a joke and ends with a kiss. I read this recently somewhere: “Vacationing in Vermont, someone picked up the local paper to check out the forecast. It read: Today: Sunny, 76. Tonight: Not so sunny, 55.” I laughed and thought of eating lobster at a lobster shack somewhere in Maine. That’s near Vermont, right? Geography is not my long suit. For me, boiled lobster is the ultimate seduction dish. And I’ll never forget watching Darryl Hannah eat one shell and all in a Rom-Com I love: Splash. But I hear she’s a vegetarian so that was a very complicated lobster.

Complicated is good where love is concerned.

If I were going to seduce a man, I would make Pierre Franey’s (the 60-Minute Gourmet whose passing left a hole in my favorite rag The New York Times that Mark Bittman has done a great job of filling) chocolate mousse and his Strawberries Romanoff (strawberries steeped in Grand Marnier, orange peel and topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream).

Dessert first. Then make love and think about food later when you’re starving.

FOODINISTA: Your new memoir (Re)Making Love is about finding love after sixty, but there are rather beautiful truths for women of any age. I particularly loved the chapter about your hair. What can a haircut say about a woman? Does long hair at 24 mean the same thing at 64? Incidentally, after a bad breakup in my 20s, I cut off all my hair and moved to Paris. The short hair played well over there. It did not have the same effect when I moved back to San Francisco.

MARY: I remember when Mia Farrow cut her hair but wasn’t that after she hooked up with Frank Sinatra? I remember Jean Seberg, really cute haircut, in Breathless, but, golly, she did also play Joan of Arc.

I do think the French, despite all the bashing we Americans sometimes get from them, have an esthetic that focuses on beauty and sensuality in a way that we Americans can learn but don’t grow up with: The reason your short hair in Paris was a hit.

I first cut my hair after my second child was born: Went into the bathroom and cut my ponytail off with a scissors. Something was going on with that crazy move—and I don’t think it had to do with my kids—first husband maybe?

I then let it grow and cut it again when a corporate job and raising two kids on my own was my stated reason, but I had also met the man I later married: my second marriage.

In 2002 when I let my hair grow again—what I refer to as the trial of the hair: Have you ever grown out curly hair?—the result gave me a new sense of my sensuality. Long and white, this hair will not see the scissors again.

So, if there’s a difference, it’s not age, it’s Paris.

FOODINISTA: Is La Perla the best revenge?

MARY: Feeling beautiful inside is the best revenge. A good bra on the way there helps like this one from La Perla:

I don’t have this bra but, if I did, I’d dance around the kitchen in it and pretend I was Lady Gaga.

Will he love you when you’re 64? He will, with or without the bra.

FOODINISTA:  In (Re) Making Love there were three kitchens and two husbands. Tell us about your dream kitchen and your dream husband.

MARY: My dream kitchen would have a Wolf range top, two Miele wall ovens, a Subzero fridge and freezer and a stainless steel island with lots of electrical outlets. And the sink would have a window over it.

My dream husband would cook with me in that kitchen and he’d be the man who wrote this description of my memoir: here’s an excerpt of what the man I love actually wrote to help promote the book:

“A series of men appear—all identified as a lower-case first initial—while the upper-case D. weaves out and in, as both he and Mary maneuver through the separation. Along the way are the Internet dates, emails, T.S. Eliot and Nietzsche, romantic comedies and the Grimm Brothers, photographs, recipes, dreams, Obamas, and yes, even the kitchen sink. Her journey moves from her home in Washington, DC to Missouri to Australia and eventually to Paris, a visit that offers a stunning surprise that changes her life.”

Gotta love him, and I do.

FOODINISTA: Please share two recipes for love—one philosophical, one we can cook.

MARY: Philosophical recipe:

Never forget the Laws of Thermodynamics. C.P. Snow provided this shorthand to remember the laws: 1. You cannot win. 2. You cannot break even. 3. You cannot get out of the game.

But if you stay in the game, you can dance even when it seems that the dancers have all gone under the hill.

Now go to the farmers market, buy corn and tomatoes and lots of basil.

Slice the tomatoes, sprinkle with some grated parmesan and asiago cheese, preferably from The Cowgirl Creamery, around the corner from me. Add a chiffonade of basil, salt and pepper. Then make Angel Hair Pasta and Pesto. I refer to this as my McDonald’s meal ’cause to me this is fast food fast and it says summer.

1 or 2 bunches basil (about two cups, leaves only)

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or more; I don’t measure; just look)

4 cloves of garlic

the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford

Put the garlic cloves, the basil and the cheese in your food processor. Give it all a whirl while you pour in olive oil until you see green of summer like grass in a field.

Boil angel hair pasta (the best homemade brand you can find or use DeCecco) ever so briefly. Put the pasta in a beautiful bowl, scrape all the pesto on top, pour a quarter cup or so of the pasta water on top. Toss and serve with corn and tomatoes.

Serve with one of my son’s imported wines: I like S.C. Pannell’s 2007 Sauvignon Blanc or try the best buy ever, my son’s Woop Woop Shiraz.

Don’t forget to tell jokes and kiss while cooking: You will taste both in the pesto. And remember Robert Hass the poet who says in “The Privilege of Being,” “Many are making love. Up above, the angels/ in the unshaken ether and crystal of human longing/ are braiding one another’s hair, which is strawberry blond … .”

The Spanish Affair

In Drink, Fashion, Food, Recipes on July 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I fell hard for Spanish cuisine four years ago when I tagged along on my then-boyfriend’s business trip to Barcelona. While Mr. Foodinista talked bandwidth with the Spaniards, I wandered the streets of El Born, popping into tapas bars and museums, falling in love with the smoky, sweet, sultry flavors—to say nothing of the people, who break at 11 am each day for a coupe of cava. I don’t know why we don’t cook Spanish more often. But last night—because I had snagged the last four bottles of the ’98 Lopez Heredia rosé from my local wine shop and knew exactly with whom to share them—we rolled out the alfombra roja. (That’s red carpet in Spanish, a language I don’t habla but one that is highly google-able.)

I wish I’d taken more pics last night—of HJ’s gorgeous graphic-print dress, of Booth’s flamenco-inspired Louboutins, Dudley’s palest lavender linen shirt or Anne’s hot pink Vivier sandals. But most of all of the food! Particularly of Adam’s homemade churros—dusted in cinnamon sugar—that are to die for. Here are the few pics I did manage to snap and the menu.

Bellota Iberico Lomo + Mahon Cow’s Milk Cheese (above)

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Spanish Chorizo

Marcona Almonds

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Barcino Cava

Andalucian Gazpacho

Mixed Lettuces with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Valdeon Blue Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette

Fideos with Mussels, Clams and Shrimp (from Mario Batali’s Spain: A Culinary Road Trip)

1998 Lopez Heredia Rosado

Adam’s Churros & Spiced Hot Chocolate

And best of all? Check back tomorrow to find out what ranks as the very best hostess gift I’ve ever received. Ever. Thank you, HJ & Bill!!!

The Refrigerator Personality Test

In Food on April 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

“Show me what you store, and I’ll tell you what you are,” wrote Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons in a column last year entitled “The Refrigerator Personality Test.” I’ve known Russ for over a decade, and worked with him for at least half that long, but after reading that column learned a little more about this superb human being. Like that Russ is sentimental and hangs onto hot sauce for 20 years. That he is perhaps also fickle in love, which explains the fleeting flirtation with a tube of cast-aside yuzu-koshu pepper paste. I’ve never forgotten the story, and was reminded of it again this morning when I was looking for something as simple as a jar of Dijon mustard (we’re out) and instead found a random of assortment of condiments that included four spicy mustards of varying heat, jars of capers, lemon curd, fig paste, pomegranate syrup, two jars of Nuttzo (god forbid we run out, but seriously, it’s great in a smoothie), almond butter, pistachio and walnut oils, Sriracha, tubes of anchovy and tomato paste and several bottles of apéritifs and rosé in the refrigerator door alone. They are joined by less esoteric tubs of mayonnaise, ketchup, maple syrup, soy sauce, Diet Dr. Pepper and butter.

My refrigerator shelves reinforce that I am far less imaginative than Russ, whose fridge boasts caramelized onions, olives he’s cured, undeveloped rolls of film, Spanish pickled anchovies and Cougar Gold canned cheese. In my own icebox, I find enough dairy to start, well, a dairy: milk, buttermilk, cream, eggs, plain yogurt (sheep and cow), mascarpone, and more cheese than I could ever eat (which is a lie; I will eat it all: parm, goat, feta, blue, pecorino, Swiss, Vermont cheddar, fresh ricotta, cream cheese, shredded pepper Jack; string cheese for Tiny G). There’s more rosé, Madeira, several bottles of Japanese and Belgian beer, a bottle of Henriot, half finished jar of chocolate sauce, a jar of my aunt Margaret’s homemade peach preserves, two kinds of hummus, puréed squash and ground chicken for Tiny G’s lunch, his sippy cup of milk unfinished from this morning, bacon, a ribeye (for Mr Foodinista’s dinner while I’m at book club tonight), radishes, green onions, cured green olives, a bag of flax seeds, half a red pepper, broccoli, asparagus, basil (most other herbs come from the garden but we need to replant basil, which got attacked), cold cuts of roast beef, a couple bottles of mineral water, huge jar of Bubbies bread and butter chips, blood orange juice, tortillas, strawberries, cantaloupe and a bowl leftover cherry tomato and bocconcini with basil salad from last night’s dinner.

Now that I write that all out, it sounds like a LOT. I guess it is a lot. But in reality the depth of our fridge is pretty shallow, which I love. Items are less likely to get lost and go to waste. (Our freezer drawers are another story for another post.) And after cataloging the contents above, I think I’m going to try to cook my way through our condiments. And cheese, of course. Any ideas? And while we’re at it, what’s in your fridge????

Eat Cheese, Drink White

In Drink, Food on March 22, 2010 at 7:39 am

While traveling in the Languedoc last week, I ate a LOT of cheese. The region produces mostly Roquefort, goat and Tommes. After almost every lunch and dinner, we were served a cheese course, like the one above featuring a disc of perfectly tangy goat with the Languedoc cross in ash. And every time, we were offered a glass of white wine to pair with the cheese, even with Roquefort. When one of my companions asked for red with her Roquefort, our host seemed genuinely confused. In fact, white wine is almost always a better pairing with cheese as it doesn’t overpower more delicate cheeses and provides a crisp counterpoint to rich and salty flavors. My favorite pairing was a slightly sweet muscat with Roquefort but I also loved the acidic and fruity white wines of the region paired with goat cheese.

Baked Brie with Apricot Rosemary Chutney

In Food, Recipes on February 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

I made a Baked Brie with Apricot and Rosemary Chutney several weeks ago on a similarly drizzly day when we decided last minute to have our friends Booth and Adam over for cocktails on their way home from work. It’s a riff off an old Bon Appétit recipe, but instead of using phyllo dough, I use puff pastry sheets—from the frozen section and instead of using one huge wheel of brie, I use two smaller ones. The recipe makes way more chutney than you’ll need, but I enjoy spooning it over burata on toast or serving with a grilled pork chop.

Baked Brie

Apricot & Rosemary Chutney, recipe follows

2 small wheels of Brie, chilled

17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets (2 sheets), thawed

1 egg white

Apricot and Rosemary Chutney

From Bon Appétit, January 1996

2 ounces dried apricots, chopped

1 large red onion, chopped

1 cup water

2/3 cup cider vinegar

2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

3 ounces dried tart cherries (3/4 cup)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted

To make the chutney, combine all ingredients except almonds in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until most liquid has evaporated and chutney is thick, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Mix in almonds. Transfer chutney to bowl. Chill until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover, keep chilled.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll thawed pastry sheets and place on baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place a wheel in the center of each sheet of dough. Top generously with chutney.

Fold pastry over itself and pinch at center to close, trimming any excess dough. Garnish with rosemary leaves. Brush pastry with egg white.

Bake cheese until pastry is deep golden brown, covering loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about 25 minutes. Keep one for yourself, give one to a neighbor. Enjoy!

PS…most recipes will have you cut off the rind. Go ahead and cut off the rind. Unless, like me, you like the rind in which case leave it on!

Clam Chowder Satisfaction

In Food, Out of Town on December 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Yesterday morning my sister and I ran 8 hilly miles through the misty vineyards and woods in St. Helena. We were hellbent on undoing any good we might have achieved, and so hightailed it to Hog Island Oyster Co at the Oxbow Market in Napa for lunch. The dozen oysters—Hog Island sweetwaters—would have been virtuous enough had we stopped there. But we didn’t. Instead we piled on with a pint each of Lagunitas IPA and steaming bowls of clam chowder, which consisted of Manila clams, bacon, potatoes, carrots and celery in cream. Mr. Foodinista, who did not run 8 miles, must have been experiencing fondue withdrawal from the other night. He opted for a grilled cheese sandwich featuring Cowgirl Creamery Gruyère and Fromage Blanc with housemade pickles. I may have indulged in (read: demanded) a gooey delicious bite…

T Minus 362 Days

In Drink, Food on December 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm

As soon as the last plate of prime rib had been cleared on Christmas night, my husband declared that he was already starting the countdown to Christmas 2010. The one-two punch of fondue on Christmas Eve followed by Christmas dinner at my parents’ is by far the best meal sequence of the year—every year. We start Christmas evening with osetra caviar (this year we splurged on Caspian instead of domestic) and Champagne (Salon ’97).

Then my dad roasts a prime rib using a classic recipe out of James Beard, which calls for steady low heat. This year my husband made Yorkshire Puddings from an old Gourmet recipe. My mom has a great popover pan, which produces perfect individually sized puddings.

Here is indisputable proof that my father makes the best prime rib on the planet, and that Mr Foodinista has a way with a carving knife:

This year with the prime rib we enjoyed a 2003 Far Niente Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon along with a bottle of 1999 Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select from my alma mater (yours truly used to work at Cakebread Cellars right out of college over a decade ago), and a bottle of 2003 Eisele Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon from my friend Christiane’s family winery. We finished off the evening with some stilton and vintage port. And ibuprofen. I mean, let’s be serious.

And so the countdown to next year’s festivities begins! For a look at last year’s, click HERE.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 260 other followers