Today was the inaugural Back to Basis Good Food Fest. A festival on Gansevoort Street celebrating the harvest with a nice number of local restaurants, producers, and farmers -- a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon if you ask me!! Especially one as gorgeous as today.
I got four tickets which allowed me four tastes of different foods, unfortunately there weren't that many vegetarian options available and what was available was a LOT of eggplant bruschetta options. Don't get me wrong, I love eggplant but I wasn't in the mood for strictly eggplant today. Yes I had two different eggplant bruschettas -- one from the Farm on Adderley in Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, a resto I know and love; and the other from Counter, a resto I've been wanting to try down in the East Village. Then I had the classic goat cheese pairing -- a simple beet salad with goat cheese crumbles and red onions, straightforward, simple and delish. Lastly I split a veggie flatbread from Colicchio and Sons, nothing to write home about though!
However, my favorite part about the festival was learning about a Hudson Valley creamery known as The Amazing Real Live Food Co located in Pine Plains. Amazing Real Live makes cheeses that are strictly probiotic. We tried their Saint Maure style ash ripped cheese which was spectacular, a true specimen of the Hudson Valley. They also had on offer an aged firm cheese that was nice. Along with those two cheeses, Amazing Real Live makes a variety of farmer's cheeses, a camembert and some queso blanco style blocks. The standout definitely for me was the Saint Maure style cheese, I'd definitely seek a log of that for a later date and probably would have purchased one today if I was going straight home from the fest but since I wasn't, I knew this was a cheese that would announce its presence by its scent if it was not refrigerated. But a great thing to know for next time!!!
Moving off of that discovery, today, I'd like to introduce a guest post known as the Viandiste. Viande in French means meat and even though I know a whole heck of a lot about cheese, since I do not eat meat, I thought I'd invite someone to write who knows meat...So enjoy the second part of today's post about football, meat, and cheeseburgers...that being said, I could easily tell you about cheeses for a veggie burger....
And now the guest post Viandiste -
What is more quintessentially Sunday in the fall then football and tailgating? Waking up early amidst friends dressed in gameday uniform, sometimes with war paint. The smell of charcoal from the grill, the company of friends, and the tasting of everything from wings, to ribs, to franks, to chips and salads. But how did tailgating turn into 200,000 fans in Jacksonville showing up 2 days before the actual Florida vs Georgia game every year?
It was an inevitability that tailgating become synonomous with sport but how did tailgating become such a huge tradition?
History tells us that the 1869 New Jersey football game between Rutgers and Princetion was the birthplace. Lots of people were on hand with their wagons, food, and voices in tow. However, if you can believe it even before that event at the Battle of Run during the Civil War in 1861 supporters of the Union showed up with baskets of food and enthusiastically cheered the soldiers on by shouting, “Go, Big Blue!” A true though somewhat disturbing story...
One of my favorite tailgate delicacies, American Comfort Food, backyard, late-night, lunchtime, anytime choice is the CHEESEBURGER. The debate continues as to where these lovebirds met - Pasadena, CA, Louisville, KY, Denver, CO in the early 1920's. From a random suggestion from a passerby, to a drive-in, to the stuff of local restaurant legend. Yesterday (Septemeber 18th) was even unofficially National Cheeseburger Day soon to be a bigger deal we hope with more publicity by the American Diary Association.
So what is the best cheese for your cheeseburger? The answer depends on your toppings and overall goal. For a great melt follow the wise Philly Cheese Gods and go the processed or can route. What they lack in flavor they make up for with undeniably superior meltability. They contain added emulsifiers which help prevent the separation of water, fats, and proteins when heat is applied. Processed cheeses are also the way to go if you want to really showcase the flavor of the meat. If you're the type that wants a litle more flavor with the same effect go with (Swiss/Alpine cheeses) Gruyere, Comte, Brie, Taleggio, Boursin and Fontina are also good options.
If you need more of a bite an aged Cheddar or Provolone, Monterey Jack, or even a Parmagiano-Reggiano would work. Although they may seperate when heated it may provide a better balance.
Recent burger war trends lean towards the Maytag Blue, Saga Blue and Roquefort for contrast. This is definitely risk vs reward as sometimes it can overpower the other flavors, while at other times it can be an out of body experience.
Whatever your route - old fashioned original, new age, or fusion always respect your ingredients, eat happy, add bacon, and cheer for the NY Giants :)