Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 1043: East Ender Cheese

On Thursday mornings and early afternoons on the central grassy Plaza of Montauk, Long Island is a farmer's market highlighting all the most fabulous summertime produce of the East End - plump juicy heirloom tomatoes, fresh lobsters, homemade bread, homemade lemonade, fairy tale eggplant, local wines, cheeses and much much more.

So what cheese was a must for our Labor Day weekend celebrations?

How about Mecox Bay Dairy's Sunrise?

A washed rind aged cow's milk cheese crafted in Bridgehampton, this is the perfect afternoon snacking cheese. Nutty and buttery with an earthy grassy bent. Approachable, yet dynamic. Perfection with a glass of Osprey's Dominion Cabernet Sauvignon on one of the last summertime afternoons. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 1042: The new in thing

Kale is in. 

That's not news to you I'm sure.

But it is popping up on menus all around town served as a kale Caesar. Dark leafy kale greens paired with the creamy salty citrusy Parmesan anchovy dressing and grated cheese - it's the perfect light meets heavy salad. 

Simple to prepare but delish and perfect with a glass of Channing Daughter's Pinot Grigio.

First step - massage kale with lemon juice for ten minutes. It will get the bitterness out of the dark leafy greens. Next step, sauté a shallot. Combine with mashed anchovies and olive oil, sea salt, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper and half a cup of grated Parmesan. Massage dressing into kale and top with an additional drizzle of lemon and sea salt. Top with grated Parmesan and enjoy with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 1041 : My Newest Cheese Crush

Gosh it's been a while since I had a cheese crush, wow!

But fret not, I have a new crush....and what is it you are wondering at the edge of your seat I am sure.

It is Birchrun Hill's Farm Fat Cat. Raw cow's milk cheese aged for a minimum of two months with a fantastic natural rind and the most wonderful cakey cream line. This is raw farmsteads barnyardy to cheese to die for. Earthy yet creamy, decadent yet with an edge, Fat Cat has a nice nutty butteriness to it with a warming roundness. You can't beat this with a nice glass of medium bodied white like Channing Daughters Cuvée Tropical or I could even see enjoying this with a cold brew, perhaps a nice Pale Ale.

Fat Cat is definitely memorable for all the right reasons, craveable and unique, the things a cheese crush is made of.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 1040: Entertaining? The classic and easy hors d'oeuvres

Having some friends over for cocktails?
Want easy and delish hors d'oeuvres to serve?

So here are two suggestions:

1. Stuffed cremini mushrooms with Narragansett Creamery ricotta, extra virgin olive oil, basil, and sea salt. 

To prepare :

Preheat oven to 450
Rub mushrooms with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary
Combine ricotta, basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt in a bowl. 
Stuff each mushroom with a nice dollop of ricotta.
Place in oven for 15 minutes or until the ricotta is golden brown and melted.
Pull out and enjoy.

2. Fresh strawberries with basil and Consider Bardwell's Mettowee

Mettowee is a fantastically creamy pasteurized gost's milk cheese. Chalky and fresh, fluffy with a nice grassy tang. 

Slice strawberries in half, place a leaf of basil on top and a sliver of Mettowee. Fruity, herbal and creamy all rolled into one! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 1039 : My favorite summertime appetizer

As summertime is dwindling, it's time to celebrate the bounty of summer again!

What better way to do so than with ricotta, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, and basil stuffed zucchini blossoms? No way better!

Easy to prepare and delish!

How to make them?

Combine fresh ricotta, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and chopped basil and then place a spoonful in each of your zucchini blossoms. Sauté over low heat until golden brown. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Gris.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 1038 : Quintessentially Summertime

Burrata is summertime in cheese form to me -  there's something about the freshness and decadence that just is perfect with a glass of bubbles or a crisp rosé.

Found on many menus with the traditional Caprese pairing - tomatoes and basil, the Spotted Pig currently has a truly seasonal preparation -- sautéed summer squash, heirlooms, pine nuts, basil leaves, drizzled with lovely olive oil. Sure, just a simple riff on the classic salad but that little change makes a world of difference - the rustic, vegetal, green qualities of the summer squash are complemented by the juiciness of the tomatoes and the round creaminess of the cheese. Complemented by a glass of Prosecco -- perfection on a summer eve in Manhattan.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 1037 : Burke and Wills

Location - the old Sunburnt Calf on 79th street between Amsterdam and Broadway. A railroad space once full of boozy brunches and easy Australian inspired dishes. Converted less than a week ago to Burke & Wills, billed as an Australiasian bistro with seasonal fare with a front bar area, I was excited to see what the new space had to offer.

Walking into the rustic and warm space, the bar area already felt completely different than its predecessor -- more refined yet down to earth -- the perfect Upper West Side sort of feel. Continuing to the back dining room - wow it felt like a totally distinct restaurant. A cool hued room with a significant amount of rustic wood touches and fantastic little paintings and found drawings surrounding the exterior walls with a wonderful sky light roof -- design wise the space was off to a good start.

So what did we have?

We split the bass ceviche with coconut milk, kaffir and fresno chilis which was flavorful and fresh. A unique pairing of flavors that clicked. We also had the grilled montauk squid salad with sylvetta (a peppery arugula like lettuce), crispy artichokes, sesame and an artichoke vinaigrette. I tend not to love squid but these were grilled wonderfully -- complemented excellently by the crisp artichoke leaves, the bright peppery bite of the lettuce and the nuttiness of the sesame, it was delish.

Then I had their black kale salad with shaved pecorino, fennel, fava beans, roasted pumpkin seeds and tahini dressing. Now if that doesn't have my name on it, right? All my favorite things combined into one dish, done very well.

A welcome addition to the neighborhood. I'm excited to come back!

Burke & Wills
226 west 79th Street
New York

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 1036: My new favorite pairing for August

Bijou. Jewel. One of my favorite geotrichum rinded aged goat's milk cheeses from Vermont Creamery. Modeled on a Crottin but totally it's own wonderful creamy morsel of goodness. 

Marsh Hollow's Pumpkin Jam. Crafted from locally sourced ingredients, this round sweet yet savory and rustic jam is the perfect compliment to the crisp, citrusy, grassy, chalky cheese. Not the traditionally expected pairing but absolutely wonderful - this is a case of opposites attracting. 

What to drink with this?

Medium bodied white wine, with a nice fruitiness that will strike a cord with the roundness of the jam yet still tango with the crisp brightness of the cheese. The perfect glue.

An excellent example of a pairing that brings out the nuances of each element.

Happy August!

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