Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Ten : Results and a Recipe...

This will blog post numero uno of the day as I'm still playing catch up here and hope to be finally fully caught up by the end of today.

Lets get right to this week's results then!

Contestant Number #1- Grayson : Our stinky stinker Grayson unfortunately misses the boat here when paired with eggplant, why you may ask? Unlike the Italian Taleggio, Grayson is modeled on, when melted and combined with veggies, pasta, or something else, it takes the cake and overpowers the dish. Granted if you have a grilled cheese with Grayson alone, I think you would enjoy it and find it quite spectacular, but it's not a "mixing" cheese, it sure is a cheese that comes to the party and lets you know it's there and it is ready to TAANGO.

Contestant Number #3- Redwood Hill's Raw Milk Feta : This salty star is supremely fantastic and if you wanted to make an eggplant salad, it sure would be a good contestant but eggplant raw is simply not appealing, too bitter with a lack of flavor depth. When our dear eggplant is cooked, the keys to its flavors are unlocked and boy are they dynamic and complex. Unfortunately, I do not feel that the feta opens up when heated, its nuances are lost and somewhat melded together into one briny block.

Contestant Number #2 - Eden : Therefore by deduction folks, our Sweet Grass Dairy Eden takes the cake this week. Not only is this cheese made in the state with the largest production of eggplant in the US, it is also the most successful. Why you may ask? Well this cheese provides the ideal mixture of grassy tang, herbaceous pop, salty creaminess and semi-firm goodness in a pairing with our dear eggplant.

This week's recipe is a simple melange of flavors, easy but guaranteed to delight and be the right sort of dish to prepare as nights get cooler and days get shorter...This dish is an Eggplant Tomato Mushroom ragu served over a Parmesan Sundried Tomato Quinoa

1 1/2 lbs of eggplant
1 lb of tomatoes
1/2 lb of chanterelle mushrooms or portabellas if you're feeling like you don't want to spend a fortune
1 box of quinoa
1/2 lb of sundried tomatoes
1/2 lb of Eden
1/3 cup of Parmesan
Fresh Rosemary & Thyme
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Sherry Vinegar
Red Pepper Flakes
White Wine

Preheat oven to 350. Dice up the eggplant, tomatoes, and mushrooms and one full shallot. Place in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil, a small drizzle of white wine, sherry vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, pull out and grate Eden over the top of a creamy herbal cheesy topping. Place back in the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes or until the cheese and all the veggies are nice and golden brown. While cooking the eggplant, in a sauce pan, saute a handful of diced sundried tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme, and a clove of garlic. On another burner you should be making quinoa, cook till very al dente. Now toss in the pan with the sundried tomatoes etc and pour a bit of wine into the sauce pan and your 1/3 cup of Parmesan, cook low and slow for about eight minutes and now you've got somewhat of a quinoa risotto to place under your eggplant ragu. Pull out your eggplant ragu from the oven and top your quinoa with a nice helping of eggplant and a few nice large shavings of Eden and some red pepper flakes for a nice kick. Enjoy this delish dish with a nice glass of Malbec.

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