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Archive for the tag “cheese”

Pretzel Crisps Make Fun Appetizers

Check out new Pretzel Crisps by the makers of New York Style Bagel Chips and Pita chips!

They’re perfect for fun appetizers.  Above left is smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill atop an “Everything”-flavored pretzel crisp.  Above left is jalapeno cheddar and salami atop an Original flavor.  More pairing ideas on the website.

I’m not a huge pretzel person, but I preferred this shape (and ease of adding other flavors) compared to regular pretzels.  I served them with a cheesy sage dip at a recent dinner party and people seemed to enjoy them.  Thanks to Shaina for sending some samples my way.

Central Park Picnic: Retrospective

My nostalgia for warm weather continues.  Thankfully I’m currently in the Bay Area which is at least thirty degrees warmer than New York (though still thirty degrees shy of my ideal).

Last July, with temperatures delightfully high, I had a date one evening with my friends Adam and Jenny for a New York Philharmonic concert.  We agreed on a picnic before the music started.  Jenny brought a cold bottle of white wine and some fresh apples and plums.  I had thrown together some packages pretzels, dried fruit, etc before leaving home.

My random assortment was immediately overlooked upon seeing Adam’s contributions.  Homemade eggplant carbonata.  Heirloom tomatoes with garlic to top homemade olive oiled herbed crostini.  A cheese plate assembled by the fromage section of Whole Foods.  Something salmon, I think.  Several other things I am forgetting.

It was wonderful.  I highly recommend being friends with Adam.  (And Jenny, the wine was classic.)

Next time I will up my game!

central park nyc

Fondue in Vermont Last Autumn

Lately I’ve been missing being outside.  Scurrying among buildings and subway stations in the cold does not count.

So this photograph is a lovely escape.  I took it in September when we were in southern Vermont, visiting our good friends Emily and Ellen who had moved there from New York City two months prior.

The weekend was packed with beautiful sites, good conversation and delicious eats- including this table of appetizers one evening before dinner.  Ridiculously rich gouda fondue, homemade croutons, organic apple slices from the orchard we’d visited that morning, green olives, and a full-bodied red wine.

All this we enjoyed around a fire in their backyard as their labradoodle, Scout, begged for samples.  Aaaahh.

These days I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like for daylight to stay past 5pm.

Kernel Season’s Popcorn and Popcorn Flavorings

For people looking for a filling and guilt-free snack, popcorn is a safe bet. At 24 calories per cup, you can have five cups of air-popped popcorn for under 130 calories.

Of course, if you put butter or caramel on top, those numbers go up quite a bit.

Kernel Season’s has an extensive line of Popcorn Seasoning Flavors.  A little goes a long way so they won’t throw your diet out of whack.  The flavors are:
White Cheddar
Butter
Nacho Cheddar
Parmesan and Garlic
Ranch
Sour Cream and Onion
Salt
Caramel
Kettle Corn
Jalapeno

I’m pretty simple with my popcorn so Salt and Parmesan and Garlic were my favorite flavors.
Kernel Season’s also has its own Popping Corn.  The kernels are about twice as big as regular popping corn kernels.  I couldn’t believe it!

Maslow 6 Wine Seminar on Cote de Beaune, Burgundy

What’s a better way to spend a weeknight than at a wine tasting?

This past Tuesday was made quite enjoyable thanks to Maslow 6.  In a loftlike space in Tribeca, Maslow 6’s wine director, Mollie Battenhouse, presented 9 wines from Burgundy’s Cote de Beaune.  Mollie is as educational for other wine professionals as everyday wine lovers; she promotes dialogue–even disagreements–and intertwines history, geography and stories to keep everyone engaged.

We tasted 4 chardonnays and 5 pinot noirs, all from different villages with distinct noses and flavors.  Each attendee was given a helpful packet that included wine descriptions, maps, and even an order form to have your favorite wines delivered to your apartment the following day (thanks to new storefront at 211b West Broadway).

Quite fortuitously I was seated next to the cheese and pate tray, which I later discovered had been selected in a bit of a rush by the husband of Maslow 6’s founding partner and CEO, Keri Jackson Kunzle.  He has a knack for it. I met Keri, her husband and his mother (visiting from Hampshire, England) and felt I could have talked to them all for hours.  Same goes for the dozen or so others I met!  I’ve been to many lovely wine tastings, but never has the social atmosphere been as genial, welcoming and full of successful and interesting characters as at this seminar at Maslow 6.

Picnic Backpack with Cooler

This Picnic by Ascot Hampton Ultimate Picnic Backpack Cooler is now hanging in our closet, thanks to some dear North Carolina friends.  Add some wine, cheese, fruit, a frisbee and a park and there you have an afternoon.

Add this to my growing list of Reasons to Anticipate Spring.

Stuffed Spanish Olives via AJ Gourmet

Olives by La Novia Del Sol (via AJ Gourmet Foods) are not your typical jarred olives.

They render fancy olive-bar olives (even Mario Batali restaurant olives) rather… uninspiring.

Really, how can you beat Feta-Stuffed Green Spanish Olives?

Perhaps with Orange-Stuffed Olives?

Strike that, my favorite is the unabashedly-picante Habanero Pepper-Stuffed Olives.

Olive lovers rejoice!

AJ Gourmet Foods, $5.99 per jar (discounts for larger quantities)

American Cheese Sampler by Murray’s

Do you love American Cheese?

Those picturing plastic-wrapped Kraft Singles must try Murray’s Go Local Cheese Sampler Gift Box.

Box includes:
Luscious Green Hill from Sweet Grass Dairy in Georgia
Earthy Clothbound Cheddar from Cabot Creamery in Vermont
Herbaceous Hoja Santa from The Mozzarella Co. in Texas
Supple Tomme de Brebis from Hope Farm in Vermont
Crunchy-sweet Stravecchio from Sartori Cheese Co. in Wisconsin
Coarse, grainy Z Crackers from the Savory Pie Co. in New Jersey 

Note: These American Cheeses do get moldy if left in your fridge for months.  Which is actually rather comforting.

Murray’s Cheese, $75 (Sale for 10% off, Sourcecode 28EB1201, through 12/7/08- two more days only!)

Recipe: Green pea thyme dip

There are two types of people: those who follow recipes exactly and those who don’t.

I don’t think I have ever followed a recipe exactly. Ever. Inevitably I change an ingredient or two or five, I swap the spices, I change the cooking method, or I change the final presentation. I view recipes as a jumping off point.

This style of cooking is intimidating to many people. I think it becomes easier the more you cook as you get comfortable.

This pea thyme dip was, typically, an adaptation. It is delicious and pretty, too.

Green Pea Thyme Dip

Adapted from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

2 cups peas: fresh, thawed frozen, or canned

1/2 square vegetable bullion (I love Rapunzel’s vegan version), dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Tbsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp finely grated Pecorino Romano (sheep’s milk cheese)

Salt and pepper to taste

If using fresh peas, steam in a saucepan with a bit of water for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Put peas in medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Blend with immersion blender. Alternatively, use a food processor or traditional blender. Serve as a dip with fresh vegetables, crackers and baguette rounds.

Primo Naturale Salami: Good on a cheese plate

There are two kinds of people: those who consider a cheese-only cheese plate sufficient, and those who are looking for a little more.

I love cheese, don’t get me wrong. But when I’m drinking wine and chatting with friends, I’m a lot happier when there are a couple of other choices on the cheese plate.

Primo Naturale Salami is a great addition because it complements cheese, is substantive for those who are getting impatient for a real meal, and… who doesn’t like salami? (Don’t answer that.) Add a bunch of grapes, some crackers, and a few olives, and voila- you’re host[ess] with the most[ess].

Another reason I love this brand of salami is because of its coatings: black pepper (quite spicy, which I love) and, my favorite, herbs with wine. [The prices on the website are for cases of 16, so don’t be alarmed. There’s also a wishlist function!] Plus, it’s nitrite-free, nitrate-free and antibiotic-free, even if it’s not, you know, free.

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