Tag Archives: Cheese

Do This!: Local Legends: Celebrating Regional Cheeses & Wines

Artisanal Cheese Pairings

Join Artisanal and Greenmarket, GrowNYC for this very special series of events exploring the delicious bounty the New York region has to offer. The events will feature award-winning local cheese and wine makers presenting their farmstead cheeses and hand-crafted wines as you discover perfect pairings from our local terroir. Proceeds from these events benefit the Greenmarket Youth Education Project, which introduces the concepts of seasonality, local food, and sustainable agriculture to over 4,500 NYC school children each year.

Event Line-Up

Friday, October 21st from 6:30-8:30pm — $75
with Jonathan White from Bobolink Dairy and John Martini from Anthony Road Winery and Fromager Jessica Wurwarg 

Thursday, November 17th from 6:30-8:30pm — $75
with Eran Wajswol of Valley Shepherd Creamery and Ann-Marie Borghese of Borghese Vineyards and Fromager Jessica Wurwarg

Wednesday, December 14th from 6:30-8:30 — $75
with Angela Miller from Consider Bardwell and Charles Massoud from Paumanok Vineyards and Max McCalman

Sign-Up HERE

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Do This!: Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza

Jessica Wurwarg Shares Some Great Pairing Information

Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!

When: Saturday October 15
8:00 p.m. until the cheese and chocolate runs out…

Where: MikNic Lounge
200 Columbia St. between Sackett and Degraw
phone: 917 770-1984

What: Free Tasting {yes, FREE}
Learn about a selection of amazing cheeses and chocolates and how to pair  them with wines, beers or spirits
Did I mention it’s FREE? So get there early before the supply runs out!
Local artist, Chris Mancuso, will also be doing an on-the-spot painting.

Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese Guru)
Colleen Riley (Sweets Master)

Miki Mosman (Miknic proprietor)

RSVP to wurwarg@gmail.com so they can make sure to have enough good bites on hand.

Public Transit Directions: Take the B61 Bus or the F to Bergen or Carroll.

See Amazing Past Cheese Events with Jessica:
Historic India House Shares Spectacular Cheese and Space
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!

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Do This!: Summer Cheese Extravaganza!

Jessica Wurwarg Shares Some Great Pairing Information

Summer Cheese Extravaganza!

When: Saturday July 23
7:30 p.m. until the cheese runs out…

Where: MikNic Lounge
200 Columbia St. between Sackett and Degraw
phone: 917 770-1984

What: Free Cheese Tasting {yes, FREE}
Learn about a selection of amazing cheeses and how to pair  them with wines, beers or spirits
Did I mention it’s FREE? So get there early before the supply runs out!
Local artist, Chris Mancuso, will also be doing an on-the-spot painting.

Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese Guru)
Miki Mosman (Miknic proprietor)

RSVP to wurwarg@gmail.com so they can make sure to have enough good curds on hand.

Public Transit Directions: Take the B61 Bus or the F to Bergen or Carroll.

See Amazing Past Cheese Events with Jessica:
Historic India House Shares Spectacular Cheese and Space
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!

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recipe goodness :: southern breakfast casserole

Southern Hospitality Casserole

It’s Masters week in Augusta! My dad and I were lucky enough to attend on Monday thanks to our Atlanta-based friends who scored some tickets for us — I do believe my dad will die a happy man now. I hear these are the hardest tickets in sports to come by, so recognizing ya’ll won’t be attending, I thought the next best thing was to bring the South into your home.

Southern hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced in other areas of the country {then again, it’s not hard to be impressed when you live in New York}. My dear friend Ann wanted to make sure we had a “meal that would stick to our ribs” and get us through a full day of hitting the links, so she rose with the roosters and baked this amazing egg casserole for us. The great thing about this recipe is that it should be prepared the day before, so you can do all the dirty work ahead of time and just throw it into your oven in the morning. The result: a delicious and easy Southern hospitality-breakfast that  will impress your guests.

Southern Breakfast Casserole
350º | Bake 1 Hour | Prep Night Before

10 slices white bread
1 lb ground sweet sausage
2 cups sharp shredded cheese
2 cups mild shredded cheese
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  1. Remove crust from the bread and cut into squares.
  2. Saute sausage and drain well on paper towel.
  3. Arrange half of the bread squares in the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Top with sharp cheese, then sausage, remaining bread squares, and then mild cheese.
  5. Dissolve mustard in a little of the milk. Beat eggs and add the milk, mustard, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour mixture over all the layers.
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Bake uncovered in a 350º oven for 1 hour or until firm and browned.

If you really want to get creative, I bet this would be darn good with rosemary-sourdough bread or mixed with a little spicy sausage! Or for you vegetarians out there, some hearty mixed mushrooms would be amazing. Enjoy ya’ll!

A Yankee’s Breakfast:
Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg

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Barcelona Digested: Food for Foodies

And so comes the end of my Barcelona digestion. The recap of everything there is to love about Mercat de la Boqueria, how chocolate is central to Catalonia and where to go when you want to eat like a local, can only be ended with a summary of the places you must visit if you’re someone like me. Someone who takes more pictures of her food, than any 15th century painting or statue. The best thing about Barcelona is its astounding mix of traditional and avant garde — for that reason, it might just be one of my top 10 favorite cities to eat in.

Tapac 24 {Tapas and Great Breakfast | L’Eixample}
Tapas bar of acclaimed chef Carles Abellan, owner of Comerc 24. Great place to grab a full breakfast if you’re craving more than a typical croissant or boccadillo. It’s just off Passeig de Gracia, so an easy stop in this area before or after you check out the block of discord and Gaudi’s famous architecture. I had the most delightfully crispy edged egg, with a gooey yolk that ran all over a pile of roasted potatoes and chorizo. Um, yes. Why don’t they eat more breakfasts like this in Barcelona?

Breakfast at Tapac 24

Federal {Australian Farm-Fresh & Great Breakfast | Poble Sec}
Poble Sec is a new up and coming area, and is home to some of the best new restaurants {Ferran Adria of El Builli fame just opened Tickets and 41º here}. Federal is Australian-owned and serves an amazing full breakfast, which is hard to find in Boccadillo-loving Barcelona. The kitchen closes at 4pm on Sunday and there is always a wait, so plan to get there no later than 3pm. I had the most amazing coconut-banana bread w/ honey labne and a free-range egg with a yolk the color of a setting sun. Amazing.

Coconut-Banana bread with labne honey

Free range eggs straight from heaven

ABaC {High-End Dining |Tibidabo}
ABaC is the Per Se of Barcelona. Very quiet dining, inventive cuisine, extremely attentive service.  This should be on any high-end dining list and is worth every penny. I’d tell you everything I ate, but would ruin the surprise — just know that there was frozen “lipstick” involved.

ABaC: Maresme peas royal with Iberian consommé and citrics, barnacles and sea cucumber

La Botifarreria de Santa Maria {Spanish Meat Market | Born}
If you’re looking to smuggle some acorn-fed Iberico ham, Serrano ham or sausages in your suitcase, this is your place. If meat is what you’re looking for, come here and take in all the varieties — there’s even a Coca-Cola infused sausage.

Cured Meat!

Honey and Cheese Market {Market}
Stop by this market every other Friday and Saturday outside the Santa Maria del Pi church. Another great place to pick up some local goods for gifts — sample honey from eucalyptus, thyme, oranges, lavender, you name it and pair it perfectly with some delicious local goat and sheep’s cheeses.

Hone and Cheese Market

Other previous written-up foodie favs:

Cacao SampakaArtisanal Chocolates to die for

Mercat de La Boqueria The best market on the planet. Clearly, since it’s in every Barcelona Digestion that I wrote.

Everything you want to read about Barcelona:
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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Winter Fancy Food Show: San Fran Specialties Digested

There were no shortage of snacks to sample at the specialty food show in San Fran this weekend. Much like the Summer show I attended in New York, the spread ranged from candies, cheeses, chocolates and coffee to fine meats and preserves from over 1,300 exhibiting food producers from around the world.

Straight off the flight from the Big Apple, I made my way to the food show, with an empty stomach and press badge in hand to see what new discoveries could be found and to pay a visit to a few favorites I savored last time.

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My Favorite Specialty Foodies and What to Love:

Bella Cucina {Salts, Spreads, Oils and Preserves from Atlanta}

The packaging will catch your eye immediately – beautifully jarred and labeled, these products will delight any gift recipient and your kitchen counter alike {hence the name}. More importantly I sampled several of what’s inside Bella Cucina’s jars – aromatic savory salts, artichoke lemon spread {their best seller accounting for 17% of all sales}, mint pistachio pesto, roasted sweet peppers grown especially for Bella Cucina – and wished I could buy several of them on the spot. As someone who can appreciate unique flavor combinations and beautiful packaging, Bella Cucina won me over immediately.

Justin’s {All Natural Nut Butters from Boulder}

I love peanut butter period. But give me a spoon of chocolate hazelnut butter, honey peanut butter or maple almond butter and you have just upped the ante on a simple snack time favorite. I always loved the day my mom made me a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch, so it just makes sense to bring these flavor combos together in one jar, except it’s not always in a jar. Justin’s sources high quality organic California nuts and has brilliantly packaged their product both in a jar and in a squeeze packet to take these delights on the road. I think it’s time to move your old friend Skippy aside for a spread or squeeze of Justin’s premier PB product.

Poco Dolce {Chocolate from San Fran}

So much chocolate in this world – is it possible to create a new and BETTER chocolate? Apparently yes. I was guided through aisles of food booths to Poco Dolce with assurance that these chocolates were the best around. I concur. With flavors like burnt caramel, sesame toffee tiles {winner of a sofi Gold award}, and super chile, owner, Kathy Wiley, elevates chocolate squares to new levels exciting your taste buds with both sweet and savory flavor combinations. Also try her toffee squares — bite sized toffee covered in bittersweet chocolate. If you’re not an SF local, fear not, see here for places to get your hands on those bites.

Fra’Mani Handcrafted Foods {Artisanal Cured Meats from Berkley}

Just take a look at the picture of this beautiful mosaic of head cheese.  And beside this well-photographed delicacy, Fra’Mani was generously tasting a range of their other flavorful cured meat products – little ham, rosemary ham, roasted turkey galantine. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching – why not replace those roses with a fragrant bouquet of artisanal cured meats? It’s the way to say I love you in 2011.

Beehive Cheese Co. {Handcrafted Cheese from Utah}

I first had Beehive’s Barely Buzzed by chance when it was paired with a wine at a tasting up in Livermore, CA. The cheddar cheese is hand rubbed with a Turkish grind of Colorado Legacy Coffee Company’s, lavender buds and olive oil, which makes your head spin in delight — perfectly named I would say. At the time we were with a group of eight people, who were all commenting more on the cheese than the wine and we made note of what we were sampling in an effort to find this delightful slice again. Previously it was not easy to come by, but distribution has expanded to many Whole Foods Markets, so next time you are rolling down the aisle looking for an exciting addition to your cheese plate, pick up Barely Buzzed for a deep caramel flavor or Big John’s Cajun Rubbed for something with a little kick.

Creminelli Fine Meats {Artisanal Cured Meats from Salt Lake City}

I first discovered Creminelli at the New York Wine & Food Festival in October. With a glass of cabernet in one hand, I sampled some of their finest salumi – lacy thin cut mortadella, hot sopresata, dark & rich wild boar sausage and their award-winning Barolo-infused salumi {winner of this year’s Good Food awards). So imagine my delight to stumble upon them next to the Beehive Cheese Co. Good cheese & meats hanging out together {both from Utah} – all I needed was a glass of vino and a comfy chair to make my day.

Kicking Horse Coffee {Coffee from Canada}

One of my all-time favorite coffee producers of the year – if you haven’t tried it, you must. Not a new discovery for me, but I had to stop by to say hello and for a quick cup of joe to rejuvenate my jetlagged, sampled-out self.

  • Great Brew: most importantly, this cup of joe was delicious {and just what I needed after a lot of walking, talking and sampling}. It’s just making its way down from our friendly northern neighbor, so check their website for a retail store near you.
  • Great People: Buying only Fair Trade coffee, the company supports its farmers, regardless of the world market. As the largest cash crop in the world, this really does make a Kicking impact.
  • Cool Names: Kick Ass {dark}, Three Sisters {medium}, 454 Horsepower {dark}, Z-Wrangler {medium}, Decaf {dark}, Cliff Hanger Espresso {medium}. Clever coffee, what’s not to love.
  • Cool Packaging: 100% recycled cans {surprisingly most coffee cans are not fully recyclable — yeah, that little plastic top is no bueno}. Black cans with primary color tops catch the eye and look cool hangin’ out next to your coffee maker.

The Skim: If you haven’t caught on to the specialty food trends, then wake up and smell the artisanal hand-pressed coffee. 63% of American consumers purchased specialty food in 2010, up from 46% in 2009 and farmers markets have grown to become the fourth most significant source of specialty foods. Knowing where your food comes from and passionate support for the creativity and handcrafted quality that goes into small scale specialty foods, is driving the emergence of new food entrepreneurs to historic levels.  Mark your calendars, the Summer Fancy Food Show will be held in Washington D.C. July 10-12, 2011.

Dolled Up Delicacies:
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats

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Historic India House Shares Spectacular Cheese and Space

Cheese Spectacular at The Indian House

So if you didn’t make it out last night for the FREE cheese event presented by Jessica Wurwarg at the India House Club, this is what you missed. Inside the historic NYC landmark building, a crowd of cheese lovers and freebooters gathered in the warm red room beside a roaring fireplace, cozy seating and a table full of some of the most delicious cheese Jessica brought to share. Typically this club is private {although the Blue Bar is open to the public} but sometimes we luck out and events such as this come along, providing an opportunity to not only learn something about cheese, but gain access to a significant city space. The India House Club was built in 1837 and used for banking and trade purposes, but became a private meeting house in 1914 {don’t you just wonder what sort of wheeling and dealing took place here???}. It currently houses the largest and most valuable collection of maritime art in NY — you can feel the historic significance just standing there.

So what kind of cheese was shared? A delectable selection of sheep’s, cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses. Any of these would be great additions to your holiday cheese platter. The Camembert was like butter, it was so rich and creamy and the Hoch Ybrig is not only fun to say, but is a great nutty swiss that anyone is sure to like. All can be purchased at Artisanal Cheese, except the Seal Cove Pyramid that can be snagged at Saxelby Cheesemongers in Essex Market. The evening was a fun post-work getaway and it was FREE {yeah, yeah, I know I already mentioned that, but stay tuned for more great free events you don’t want to miss.}

Generous Cuts of Spectacular Cheese

Hudson Valley Camembert. Sheep and Cow’s Milk. Old Chatham Sheepherding Company; Old Chatham, NY.
This is a luxuriously creamy and buttery young cow and sheep’s milk camembert-style cheese with a bloomy rind.  The creaminess comes from the sheep’s milk. The Hudson Valley Camembert pairs well with a sparkling wine or a light crisp white.

Seal Cove Pyramid. Goat’s milk. Seal Cove Farm; Lamoine, ME.
This is a young, slightly tart but rich pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from talented Maine cheese makers.  The vegetable ash on the outside makes the cheese less acidic and allows it to age slightly but remain soft, delicate and creamy.  The Seal Cove Pyramid will pair well with light floral and crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blancs.

Hoch Ybrig. Cow’s Milk. Canton Schwyg, Switzerland.
Hoch Ybrig is an alpine cheese, a typical finely crafted hard cheese made in the mountains of Switzerland.  The cheese’s washed rind adds a heartiness to the creamy, nutty and sweet flavors of this robust yet delicate cheese.  This cheese pairs well with a variety of beers and red and white wines alike.

Blu del Mencenisio. Cow’s Milk. Turin, Piedmont, Italy.
This is a soft slightly creamy blue cheese with spicy notes.  It is from the Moncenisio Pass, mountains in Piedmont, near the French border.  With this cheese, as with many other blues, the saltiness tends to be more pronounced.  This cheese will pair well with sweeter or dessert wines or heavier stout-type beers.

Another Cut of Cheese Please:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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Do This!: Cheese Basics @Artisanal

Artisanal Cheese Classroom

 

Whew — all these fantastic cheese events, so little time. Grab a friend and start the holiday season out with some fun at this unique, hands-on exploration of the world’s finest artisanal cheeses is the perfect overview for any beginner. From the history of its accidental creation to its intricate styles and complexities, cheese is back, and no one knows it better than Jessica Wurwarg.  Follow Jessica as she unravels the intricacies of milk types, ripening processes, flavor profiles, and wine pairings.

What: Artisanal Center Cheese Basics Class
When: Tuesday Nov 23 at 6:30-8:30 PM
Price: $75 per person {SIGN-UP HERE}
8.ate@eight Discount: $10 off with code JESSICA
Where: Artisanal Cheese Center
483 Tenth Ave between 36 and 37th Sts.

Get Cheese Inspired:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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Do This!: Eataly is Big Box Batali

 

Eataly Grocery: Jams, Honeys, Coffee, Chocolate...and More!

We may not have a Wal-Mart or SuperTarget in NYC, but we do have Eataly, a new take on Molto Mario that brings both imported and locally sourced artisanal Italian products to Manhattanites {and the droves of tourists lined up around the corner} in a very big way. Housed inside the old Toy Building, Eataly is grocery marketplace, coffee bar, food court, culinary classroom and a headache all under one roof. Don’t get me wrong, I love Eataly and everything it’s about, but if you thought making your way through the aisles of Fairway was bad, then prepare yourself for patience-testing as you navigate through awe-struck photogs, non-english speaking patrons and hour-long waiting periods for a table. I’ve been to Eataly twice since it opened and the best advice I can share: plan to cook Eataly-bought ingredients at home, or be willing to eat during the early bird special. I did both, so here’s the experience relived.

Walk in and bypass the Lavazza coffee bar, which will inevitably have a long line because it is right by the front door. Not far past that long line you will discover another very slick walk-up coffee bar with a large and shiny imported coffee machine that not only looks cool, but makes a mean cup of Giuseppe.

Walk Up Coffee Bar

What goes better with un cafe than beautifully decadent desserts?

Italian Pastries and Sweets

Puglian Style Mozzarella!

But after you’ve sampled a taste of Italy, make your way to my favorite part of the store, the salumi and formaggi section. Here, the best of Italian food craft is married with locally-sourced ingredients, to bring you fresh cuts of meat and cheeses, including handmade mozzarella, literally made before your very eyes. If you chat with Sal for a bit, he might even share some warm mozz right from the pot!

Sal, Your New Cheese Friend

Grab some fresh produce, which I thought all looked very nice and was reasonably priced. If you’re not one who wields a knife with ease, then pay a visit to the brilliant vegetable butcher, who will wash, clean and prep your veg in any way you would like. Why oh why has no one done this before?!?

Eataly's Fresh Produce

Vegetable Butcher -- Your Other New Friend

As if this isn’t impressive enough, as you walk deeper into the brightly lit concrete walls of this Italian megastore, you soon stumble upon another brilliant display of fresh pasta — cut, twirled and presented in a myriad of ways to make cooking fresh pasta at home, not only easy, but exciting. And if you want to really go over the top with your squid ink tagliatelle, then you can also buy white truffles at $3,400 / lb, or the more affordable black truffle for $420 / lb {what a steal!}

Eataly Fresh Pasta Counter

Want to stock up on some dried pasta for those cold winter nights? Eataly has at least 6 rows of pasta in various shapes and sizes.

Pasta di gragnano

Of course if you’re willing to wait, or eat lunch at 11:30 like we did, I highly recommend snagging a seat at one of the ristorantes to taste what all this Italian Artisanal goodness is really about. We opted for the pizza-pasta section, because it was hard not too after all the amazing s’ghetti we walked by. The meal did not disappoint. Neapolitan style pizza, simple spaghetti al pomodoro and the best dish of all, fusilli al ragu with a blend of veal, pork and beef bolognese. DE-LISH.

Wood Burning Pizza Ovens

Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Fusilli al Ragu

The Skim: Patience is a necessity when making an Eataly excursion, but you will be rewarded in every bite — whether you stop for a quick coffee fix, to stock up on the makings of your own homemade feast or successfully snag a seat for an in-store bite. Grocery must: At $3.80 for a ball of fresh mozzarella, it’s not only creamy goodness, but a steal! Menu must: Fusilli al Ragu is molto molto buono!

Map: 200 Fifth Ave {@5th Ave}

The Real Deal Italiano:
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
Aria Sings a Harmonious West Village Wine Bar
Travel Bite: Puglia on a Plate

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Do This!: Free Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!

Free Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!
Saturday November 13
7:30 p.m. until the cheese runs out…

The Red Hook Bait and Tackle
320 Van Brunt St. (at Pioneer St.)

Learn about the cheeses and chocolates
and how to pair them with wines, beers or spirits.

RSVP to wurwarg@gmail.com to attend, so they can make sure there is plenty of cheese and other good things. Did I mention this extravaganza is FREE! Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Matt Bonano and Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese People)
Colleen Riley (Chocolate/Dessert Person)
Edie Stone (Bait and Tackle Person)

Map: 320 Van Brunt St.
Public Transit Directions: Take the B61 Bus or the F to Smith and 9th St.
RSVP: wurwarg@gmail.com

Cheese Plating in Progress

So Much Cheese, So Little Time:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

Set inside the private room at Del Posto, Murray’s Cheese threw a Sunday soiree where wine was flowing and some of the best artisan cheese and salumi was being hand cut and shared freely with eager New York City Wine & Food Festival fans.  Here were some of my favorite slices — all of which can be cut and carried home from Murray’s Greenwich Village or Grand Central locations.

La Quercia: Rossa Heirloom Proscuitto
After talking to the owner of La Quercia, Herb Eckhouse, for awhile, I walked away with several slices of the most creamy, silky prosciutto I’ve ever had and a new appreciation for buying domestic. Made from 100% Iowa-raised Berkshire Pork, this special breed’s short muscle fibers and fat creates a smooth and buttery bite, better than any slice I’ve found elsewhere…yes, even compared to some from Italy. Find it HERE

A lot of us visit Italy and dream of bringing back a little piece of that lifestyle, but Herb and Kathy Eckhouse actually did this after living in Italy for a former job. Over a coffee at an Italian cafe and a few slices of prosciutto, a friend fleetingly said “if you make something this good, you’d make a lot of people happy.” It’s been 10 years since that comment and now this couple has mastered that delight, using the best, responsibly raised pork to highlight the bounty of Iowa and share an artisanal prosciutto product that is pure enjoyment.

Want more? You can actually buy a subscription to a whole pig and over the course of 2 years of breeding and aging, you’ll get various shipments of the best quality pork money can buy — from head to tail. Contact Kendra@laquercia.us for info.

La Quercia Prosciutto

Farms for City Kids Foundation, Spring Brook Farm: Tarentaise
Spring Brook Farm is doing something really special in cheese — they’re involving kids. 100% of the proceeds from this fresh cow’s milk Vermont cheese supports the Farms for City Kids Foundation, which brings children to the farm for a one week immersion in farm-based curriculum, giving kids a hands-on experience and understanding of microbiology, food preservation, health and nutrition. If that’s not reason enough to try this, how about the fact that they won First Place in the Best USA Cow’s Milk Cheese category at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin!

Farms for City Kids, Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise Cheese

Vermont Butter and Cheese: Cremont, Bonne Bouche, Creamy Goat Cheese, Sea Salt Butter
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Vermont Butter and Cheese — remember when I gushed about trying their cheeses at the Fancy Food Show?  Just because I’ve sampled their spread before, didn’t mean I wasn’t going back for seconds. That luscious Double-Cream Cremont mixed-milk cheese that I previewed at the Food Show, is only a few months on the market and is already outselling their previously most popular Bonne Bouche. It’s a beautiful thing when best gets even better. Put this is on your next cheese platter, right next to all the other extraordinary cuts I’m introducing you to. Find it HERE

2010 Best Goat Cheese in America

Creminelli Fine Meat: Casalingo, Tartufo, Barolo, Wild Boar. Americano and Della Musica Sausage
That’s a whole lotta meat. And this is why I love what I do. I snagged a slice {or maybe two} of the Wild Boar sausage. It was earthy, salty, meaty goodness. And it was made here in the fine U.S of A. I’m catching on — no suitcase or jet lag needed to enjoy the artistry of authentic handcrafted Italian salumi. Using only choice cuts from select breeds raised on small family American farms, Creminelli Fine Meats are creating a great meat eating experience. Find it HERE

Creminelli Fine Meat Wild Boar Sausage

Cellars at Jasper Hill: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Landaff Creamery Landaff
To close out a lot of nibbling, I stopped by one last table and was glad that I did. Let me first start by saying this Cabot Clothbound Cheddar was something truly unique because it actually tasted subtly like roasted peanut butter. I’m sure that’s not the first thing you would compare a cheese too, nor is it likely the most appealing way to describe a cheddar. But for that very reason, I was stopped in my tracks and forced — yes, forced — to go back for another bite to make sure my taste buds were not deceiving me. It’s made from one herd’s milk, sold to Jasper Hill when the cheese is only 3 days old, bound in cloth and and aged for 10-14 months in their new 22,000 sq. ft., 7-vault facility in Jasper Hill, VT.  This may not be that exciting to most of you, but it excites me. No one else in the U.S. has a facility of this scale and is doing what they are — that can only mean one thing for us cheeselovers. More. Incredible. Artisanal. Cheese. Find it HERE

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Jasper Hill, VT

So there you have it. Good American cheese and salumi that does not involve plastic-wrapped single slices. Thank you Murray’s for indulging us with some truly delightful handcrafted bites.

This Whole Post Excites Me, Tell Me More:
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Class
NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

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recipe goodness :: flaky cheese straws, as easy as being barefoot

Inspired by her planned trip to Paris, my roommate purchased the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. And eager for the departure, we sat down one evening to plan a meal to bring a little taste of French cuisine to the comforts of our NYC apartment. The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for cheese straws is simple, but outstanding! I would encourage everyone to keep a box of puff pastry in the freezer at all times for an impromptu addition to your next dinner party or to simply add a little flavor flare to a mid-week meal. And you could really substitute a number or herbs and cheese to take these straws in your own direction (rosemary and parmesan, chili powder and aged gouda, or cinnamon and sugar for a breakfast/dessert straw)

Barefoot Contessa’s Cheese Straws

Prep Time: 5-10 mins | Cook Time: 10-15 mins
Makes 22-24 Straws

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge
1 extra-large egg (large is fine)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board or counter until it’s 10×12 inches. Beat the egg with 1 TBS of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/4 cup of Parmesan, 1/2 cup of Gruyere, 1/2 tsp of the thyme, 1/2 tsp of the salt and some pepper.

Step 1. Roll flavorings into puff pastry

With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11-12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Step 2. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cheese will burn. Cook and serve at room temperature.

Step 3. Bake, cool and enjoy!

What Else To Put on the Plate:
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn

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NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

NY Craft Beer Week is an annual celebration of New York City and its craft beer community. The week’s events range from neighborhood beer walks and bar promotions to tasting festivals, food pairings and beer dinners. So when I was invited to the NYC Brewer’s Choice event at City Winery this week, I grabbed my drinking stein and shoes and headed downtown for what was sure to be a hop-ping good time. City Winery rolled out the wine barrels and rolled in the kegs to throw the best beer bash I have ever been to {even if you count college}. The space was packed with beer aficionados and regular eager amber samplers like myself, who had about 20 breweries to sip suds from and several artisan food purveyors generously pairing our brew with some tasty bites.

Patience and a penchant for tipping back a glass swiftly is what it took to power through the crowds and extensive selection in order to cover the spread thoroughly. There were definitely some highlights and unique brews worth making note of and keeping on your short list for the next time you visit the local pub.

Crafting Crowd

Empire Brewing Company: Roasted Pumpkin Ale (Syracuse, NY)
Made with over 100 lbs of fresh roasted pumpkins from Critz’s Farm in Cazenovia, NY. The pumpkins are added to the mash and then the beer is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and clove. Deep amber in color, this autumn ale is the perfect cross between a cream soda and a pumpkin pie. It is a DE-LIC-OUS draft!

Ballast Point: Navigator Dopplebock (San Diego, CA)
Brandy barrel-aged, this brew was deep brown with a thick foamy head and strong chocolate and coffee flavors. It was easy to drink and the brandy added a complexity that paired very nicely with the 70% Mast Brothers dark chocolate they were serving.

Ommegang: Cup o Kyndness (Cooperstown, NY)
Appropriately named after a line from Scottish poet, Robert Burns’, poem Auld Lang Syne, this Belgian-Scotch style ale was a wee bit smokey and reminiscent of, well, a glass of scotch. One of the more unique pours of the evening, I would highly suggest this on a cold, rainy evening or when you’re looking for something a little different to warm the soul.

Stillwater Cellar Door (Baltimore, MD)
A light golden color, Cellar Door, exhibited hints of tangerine and sage, two delightfully refreshing flavors that made this brew a selection I could sip on a stellar summer day or as a perfect pairing with some salty cheeses or seafood.

Turns out I’m actually bad about taking pictures of drinks, so you’ll have to settle for snapshots of some of the highlights from the food pairings.

Betty Brooklyn, a brooklyn based private chef and caterer, whipped up some amazing deviled eggs with pancetta topping off the delicacy. The yolk was incorporated with some of the rendered pancetta fat homemade mayonnaise and dijon to create a salty, creamy, smoky pillow of flavor in one bite.

Betty Brooklyn: Deviled Eggs

Mama O’s Premium Kimchi was cookin’ up some crazy good kimchi chili and kimchi salsa. That makes so much sense — hot peppery, gingery, pickled Korean flavor goodness meets American classics — why hasn’t anyone done that before!

Mama O's: Kimchi Chili and Salsa

Orwasher’s Bakery crafted some creative crusty breads using Six Point Ale, combining old world technique with new world flavors to create a super soft center surrounded by a crust that echos when you tap it…just how good artisan bread should be!

Orwasher's Artisan Rustic Beer Breads

Clearly a evening to remember — if I can after all that beer. So next time you visit your local Cheer’s, ask if they carry any of these craft drafts and give these suds a sip or two to suit your mood.

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Do This!: Summer Cheese Extravaganza!

Jessica Cutting the Cheese

Summer Cheese Extravaganza!
Saturday July 24
7:30pm until the cheese runs out…

The Red Hook Bait and Tackle
320 Van Brunt Street
We will give you cheeses and some desserts too!
We’ll tell you about them and help you pair with wines, beers or spirits.

And YES! The tasting is free!! So get there early before the supply runs out.

Matt Bonano and Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese people)
Colleen Riley (Chocolate/Dessert Person)

Check out more cool cheese events:
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!

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Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion

You don’t have to call it “fancy” to get me to go to a specialty food show featuring 2,400 artisanal food purveyors from around the world, each exhibiting a wide range of products, including coffee, cheeses, handmade chocolates, premium olive oils and other delicious treats {sounds like breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert to me}. With press badge in hand, I headed to the United Nations of food exhibitors and wandered up and down aisles labeled Africa, India, Italy, Syria, Greece, New York and just about every other corner of the Earth. I spent the day sampling, chatting and taking notes at NAFTA’s Fancy Food Show — so much to eat and so much to share, but I’ll try to give you the best nibbles to digest.

sofi Awards Outstanding New Products:

More important than just showing off their products, these specialty foodies enter their goods for a chance to win in various sofi award categories, considered the highest honor in the specialty food industry. Gold Winners are announced at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill Restaurant and receive a gold statue to proudly display at their booth, slightly reminiscent of an Oscar in a chef’s hat. Check out the hottest new specialty food products here, all nominated for a 2010 sofi {winners in each category have a gold box around the image}.

2010 Big Trends:

  • Sweet & Savory — salt & pepper chocolate; toasted almonds w/ truffle salt, peach rosemary jam
  • Indian is IN — chai, cashew, tandoori
  • Fall Flavors — sweet potato butter, chocolate, chips
  • Fig is Big — fig compote, balsamic, crisps
  • Superfruits — kombucha berry, hibiscus, acai

My Favorite Specialty Foodies and What to Love:

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Kicking Horse Coffee {Coffee from Canada}

  • Great Brew: most importantly, this cup of joe was delicious {and just what I needed after a lot of walking, talking and sampling}. It’s just making its way down from our friendly northern neighbor, so check their website for a retail store near you.
  • Great People: Buying only Fair Trade coffee, the company supports its farmers, regardless of the world market. As the largest cash crop in the world, this really does make a Kicking impact.
  • Cool Names: Kick Ass {dark}, Three Sisters {medium}, 454 Horsepower {dark}, Z-Wrangler {medium}, Decaf {dark}, Cliff Hanger Espresso {medium}. Clever coffee, what’s not to love.
  • Cool Packaging: 100% recycled cans {surprisingly most coffee cans are not fully recyclable — yeah, that little plastic top is no bueno}. Black cans with primary color tops catch the eye and look cool hangin’ out next to your coffee maker.

Vermont Creamery {cheese & butter from Vermont}
All the cheese I tasted was DE-LIC-IOUS, but let me tell you about a little cheese called Double-Cream Cremont.  Cremont is a mixed-milk cheese combining local fresh cows’ milk, goats’ milk and a hint of Vermont cream. It is luscious and should be on your next cheese platter or just pick it up for a mid-week treat. Try pairing it with a crisp white wine or Belgian Ale.

Rogue Creamery {cheese from Oregon}
Award winning blue cheeses ranging from sweet to smoky flavors. I sampled several and loved them all. These blues are a great punch to any cheese platter and pair really well with Rogue stouts and ales or a sweet dessert port.

Cypress Grove {cheese from Cali}
Long before the Fancy Food Show, Cypress Grove’s Humbolt Fog was on my top 3 list and often made an appearance on any cheese platter I threw together. Today I sampled several delicious sister cheeses, but one that stood out was the Truffle Tremor. That’s right, truffle+goat cheese = earthy, creamy goodness {quite worthy of a tremor}. Try it! Plus these clever friends made a wedding cake out of cheese! I only wish my picture turned out better so I could share…but check out an image here.

NEWTREE {chocolate from Belgium}
Fresh, unique extracts for well-being; playful product names; a medley of flavors to tempt your mood.  The premium chocolate not only tastes good and leaves a lasting impact on your taste buds, but with flavors such as pink peppercorn, ginger and lavender and descriptors such as sexy, tranquility and eternity, these bars offer a unique experience. NEWTREE also replaces a lot of the refined sugar with other fiber to lower the sugar content by 30% compared to average levels.

Anette’s Chocolates {chocolate from Napa, Cali}
Combining beer, wine, brandy, bourbon with chocolate and brittles, Anette’s puts together some pretty unique and delightful confectionary wonders. My favorite: Firey Beer with Spanish Peanut Brittle. These guys have been winning awards for their brittles since 2004, so they must be doing something right!

Sweet Marguerites {chocolate from Maine}
A small operation does not mean small in flavor. These little artisanal chocolate gems were such a treat it’s hard to pick a favorite, but with unique flavors such as Sweet Potato Caramel, Malted Bacon or Fleur de Sel, filled with dark caramel and macadamia nuts, you can be sure anyone receiving these as a gift would not be disappointed.

Food Should Taste Good {salty snacks from Massachusetts}
Forget the chips that leave your fingers orange, Food Should Taste Good is the fastest-growing natural salted snack brand in America and rightly so. With flavors such as The Works!, Jalapeno, Cheddar, Olive, Sweet Potato, Blue Corn, Multigrain, Lime and Chocolate, there are a variety of bags to suit your taste. And with all natural ingredients that you can pronounce, these chips provide a healthier way of snacking. P.S. they are also gluten free, cholesterol free and low in sodium, but you would never know it by how they taste…GOOD.

Rick’s Picks {Pickles from NY}
You may have already heard of these guys who are taking the pickle world by storm, but with creative minds they just keep coming out with new and exciting sweet, savory and spicy pickle combos. Launched this week, a new spicy crinkle-cut pickle chip called Hotties is brined in a blend of sriracha, dried habanero and minced garlic. After winning 2 sofis in 2009, it’s clear Rick’s Picks knows a thing or two about pickling and would be a welcomed addition to your next BBQ.

The Skim: For just a $35 entrance fee, you don’t need to be a professional to gain access and enjoy all the sampling from thousands of specialty food purveyors. The event lasts three full days, which is probably necessary to avoid a belly ache and make the most of all the goodness worth trying. And even if you already know some of the brands, many of them are launching new flavors or product lines at the show, so you’ll be the first to sample and be in the know of cutting edge food trends. If you couldn’t make it this year, put January 16th {in SF}, or July 10th, 2011 {in D.C.} on your calendar.

Want to Learn About More Artisanal Cheeses?
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes

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Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes

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I love cheese, I love wine, and I know that generally I love them together. But what I don’t know well is how to choose the right wine to complement and enhance the flavors of a cheese, so that when tasted together the result is widened eyes and a taste-bud induced “mmmmm.” But tips of what to look for to successfully pair cheese and wines, as well as an introduction to the history of cheese making and varietals, can easily be learned during one of the many unique culinary courses held at The Artisanal Cheese Center.

Last night I attended Jessica Wurwarg’s Perfect Pairings class, expecting at the very least to come away having enjoyed some fromage and vino, but the evening was so much more than that. Upon arrival “students” {aka cheese lovers} are welcomed in a reception area with a glass of cava, a selection of cheeses and Artisanal’s famous fondue {we were off to a good start already}. We all mingled a bit, introduced ourselves and tried not to eat too much cheese {is there even such a thing?!} before the actual class began.

Once in the classroom, we all took our places around the “U-shaped” table setting, each presented with our plates of cheese, glasses of wine/beer and papers providing name, origin and bio detail about each cheese, wine and beer we would be sampling together. We also received a a score sheet {sort of like a bingo card with cheeses listed down the side and wines/beers across the top} to score how we liked each cheese when paired with the spectrum of sparkling, white, red and dessert wines and the beer.  I felt armed with all the information I needed in case a wine-induced memory lapse left me unable to recall all the important details Jessica was about to share.

Perfect Pairing Set-Up

As she kicked off the class, Jessica introduced us to the CheeseClock, an essential guide to presenting and tasting cheese starting at 6 o’clock on the plate at the mildest selection and moving clockwise in order to end with a more pungent, strong cheese. She also suggested that when we take a sip of each wine, we hold it in on the tongue and “chew” it for a few seconds so all the taste buds get a chance to take in the flavors of the wine. Cheese and wine tasting technique: check. Now on to learning how to create the perfect marriage. There are four important concepts to note for a successful pairing, and like wine tasting, there are four approaches to understanding the differences in each cheese.

4 Basic Concepts for Successful Pairings:

  1. Region — cheese comes from milk, which comes from what the cow/sheep/goat eats, which reflects the earth where the food {and grapes} come from, so try pairing wines and cheeses from the same region.
  2. Complementary — find similar notes of acidity, nuttiness, earthiness in a wine and cheese
  3. Contrast — try pairing salty with sweet {think peanut butter & jelly — a match made in heaven}
  4. Sparkling w/ High Fat — the light bubbles can cut a high fat/creamy cheese and really open up the flavors

4 Things to Take-in When Tasting A Cheese:

  1. Look — rind, color
  2. Touch — soft (younger), hard (more aged)
  3. Smell — as in wine tasting, see what flavors you sense before taking a bite
  4. Taste — try tasting the inside of the cheese separately from the rind to get everything the cheese has to offer. Cheese ages from the outside in, so sometimes you can get an array of strong to simple flavors out of a single cut of cheese.

One of the most important take-aways from the class is that we all have different taste buds and taste can be highly subjective, so what one person enjoys most might not be the case for the person sitting next to you. This quickly proved out as we dug in and started trying each cheese with each of the wines and sharing feedback as a group as to which were our favorite combinations — completely mixed results! In general, the feedback tended to follow the 4 basic concept guidelines, but we quickly learned that perfect pairing is not a science and like any dining experience, it is up to you to choose flavors that inspire your palate.

I left inspired to explore these new learnings and also interested in seeing how different people react to different combinations. The class was a great way to spend 2 hours on an otherwise uneventful weekday evening and I came away with great information and an introduction to new cheeses I have never tasted before {let me tell you, we had some amazing selections!} I feel ready to try this out with a group of friends and see what kind of discussion ensues.

It’s not too late to sign up for other classes at The Artisanal Cheese Center. For a limited time enter promotional code SEAT upon checkout and you can grab two seats for $99 total {original retail value of $75 per person}. You can’t buy this much cheese and wine for under $50 per person, so this is not only an incredible deal, but also a great evening for a date or night out with a good friend!

If you liked this, you might also like to read these posts:
Do This!: Summer Cheese Extravaganza!
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Why Buy the Cow, When You Can Get the Milkshake for Free?
recipe goodness :: spinach, strawberry & halloumi salad to knock your socks off
Lamb Takedown @ The Bell House – Ewe Will Love This!

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8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!

8.ate@eight #2: who cut the cheese

The rain held off and there was a perfect summer breeze in the air, which set the scene for another memorable evening with new and old friends. Lots of cheese, wine, beer and hand-prepared food to share, so without further ado…here’s the scoop>>>

Farm Fresh Cheese was the feature fare for the evening. To lighten things up to follow, I prepared a few citrus-centric dishes, including a grilled fishus delicious. I paired the movie with the setting instead of the food this time around. Our new friends gathered terrace-top overlooking the NY skyline and our lovely neighbors across the way, so it seemed only appropriate to roll tape on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Welcome!

Cheese Menu:

Cheese & Wine Paring
Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert (Old Chatham, NY)
Buy: Artisanal
w/ Delapierre Brut Cava (Spain)

Beringse Witte (Hamont-Achel, Belgium)
Buy: Formaggio Essex
w/ Brooklyn Local 1 Pale Ale

Ardith Mae Dairy’s Begelo (Hallstead, PA)
Buy: Union Square (Fri), 77th St & Columbia Univ. Greenmarket (Sun)
w/ Shaya ’08 Verdejo

Monte Enebro (Avila, Spain)
Buy: Artisanal
w/ Shaya ’08 Verdejo

Roncal (Navarra Region, Spain)
Buy: Artisanal
w/ Perrin & Fils ’07 Cotes du Rhone

Valley Shepherd Farms Crema de Blue (NJ)
Buy: Union Square & Borough Hall Greenmarkets (Sat)
w/ Muscat de Saint Jean de Mineverois

Accompaniments:
Grandma Wilklow’s Homemade Berry-Berry Jam
Buy: Borough Hall Greenmarket (Tues & Sat)
Tremblay Apiary Creamed Honey
Buy: Union Square Greenmarket (Fri & Sat)

Dinner Menu:

Soup
Chilled Lemon-Rice Soup
w/ Cousiño-Macul Sauvignon Gris

Entrée and Sides
Grilled Wild North Atlantic Halibut w/ Chili-Lime Dressing, served over a Lentil, Orange & Feta Salad
Carrot Ribbon & Arugula Salad w/ a Lemon-Ginger Dressing
w/ Cousiño-Macul Sauvignon Gris

Dessert
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake w/ BBQ’d Summer Berries
w/ Tourangelle Touraine Rosé

Movie
Rear Window

Jessica Wurwarg, friend and Artisanal cheese expert {discount code and more about her cheese&wine classes here}, kicked off the evening with a beautiful array of local and artisanal cheeses. Each was paired with a selection of wines and a local Brooklyn ale to complement the flavor profiles and bring out the best in each cut. The cheese was also accompanied by locally produced Grandma Wilklow’s berry-berry jam and what I like to call semi-solid gold, Tremblay creamed honey, to add a contrasting sweetness to some of the more salty, earthy notes.  If you haven’t had creamed honey before, run, don’t walk to the Union Square Greenmarket or check it out here. This isn’t your typical honey-bear liquid gold — creamed honey goes through a controlled granulation process, which results in a finely crystallized form that spreads like butter, melts in your mouth and takes on creamy characteristics.

Jessica Cutting the Cheese

Cheese Plating in Progress

Jessica Shares her Cheese & Wine Knowledge

Cheese & Jam & Creamed Honey, oh my!

8.ate@eighters

While everyone was finishing off their cheese and multiple glasses of wine, beer and more wine, I served up a small bowl of chilled lemon rice soup to cleanse the palate. Conversation ensued and I fired up the grill to get the rest of the meal prepared. I wanted to keep things simple and light to cut all the creamy proteins we just enjoyed, so I grilled up a North Atlantic Halibut that had been hangin’ out in a lime, red chili, olive oil and herb marinade for a few hours. The fish was grilled in a tin foil pouch to lock in the moisture and infuse the fish with all the fresh juices. On the side I served two salads: the first was a lentil, red onion, feta and orange salad that had a bit of a mediterranean flare to complement the fish, and the second was a very simple arugula and carrot ribbon salad with a fresh lemon-ginger-sesame seed dressing that really kept things light and not too filling.

Chilled Lemon-Rice Soup

Grilled Wild North Atlantic Halibut w/ Chili-Lime Dressing, served over a Lentil, Orange & Feta Salad

Everyone seemed to be quite relaxed after all that wine and food, so while the conversation carried on, plates were cleared and the projector was set-up to bring a little Hitchcock into the evening.

8.ate@eighters After Sunset

It’s never a bad dinner party when Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart Show Up.

Grace Kelly and James Stewart Showed Up for Dinner

While the movie rolled, I got to work plating mini cheesecakes {my grandma’s recipe} and BBQ’ing a selection of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries to serve over the top.

Summer Berries ready to be BBQ'd

Violet's Lemon Cheesecake w/ BBQ'd Summer Berries

Midway through the movie, dessert was served, some caught a little shut-eye and we closed out the evening with the suspenseful Rear Window.

Settling in for the Rear Window Viewing

Thanks:

Thank you to Jessica for selecting wonderful cheeses & wines to kick off the evening and for sharing so much knowledge with the 8.ate@eight table. Thank you also to Kristin for helping to set-up and do dishes — my least favorite thing to do was completely eliminated by the graces of a good friend!

Stay tuned for news of the next dinner party. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com. See you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
Silencing of the Spring Lambs

Recipe Goodness:

Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries

Makes 20 Cupcake Sized Mini Cheesecakes or one 9″ Spring Form Pan
Bake 350° for 25-30 mins.

Crust:
1 1/4 C  Ground Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 C  Finely Chopped Walnuts
1/2 tsp  Cinnamon
1/2 C  Melted Butter

Filling:
16 oz
Cream Cheese
2 TBS  Heavy Cream
1 tsp  Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
3/4 C  Sugar
1 Lemon, Juiced (reserve for after prior ingredients combined)

Berry Topping:
1 Pint Strawberries
1-6-oz Container Blueberries
1-6-oz Container Raspberries
1-6-oz Container Blackberries

Chop graham crackers and walnuts in a food processor until medium to fine crumbs form. Mix in a bowl with cinnamon and melted butter. Press crumbs into the bottom of foil muffin wrappers placed in a muffin pan or into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan if you prefer one cake. {Tip: Foil wrappers are better than paper to prevent any chance of leaking or absorption}

In a separate mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients {except for the lemon juice to avoid curdling} and blend. After the ingredients have been creamed thoroughly, add the lemon juice and blend to combine. Pour filling into each cup until 2/3 full to leave room for oven rising {or pour entire mixture into spring form}. Bake at 350° for ~25-30 minutes. Filling should be firm and a toothpick should come out clean when tested at the center. Let cakes cool completely before putting into the fridge for at least 5 hours to chill and rest before serving.

To serve with BBQ’d berries, rinse and dry fruit and place in a foil pouch to place directly on the grill. Let berries cook over low heat about 3-5 minutes, or until some of the juice is released to create a sauce and the berries are softened. Remove pouch from the grill and place on a sheet or plate to avoid leaking. Remove each cheesecake from the wrapper and place upside down so the crust is on top. Scoop berries over the cheesecake and serve warm.

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Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg

If you were unable to grab a seat at the next 8.ate@eight supper club, fear not, you can still cut the cheese with expert Jessica Wurwarg. Jessica will be teaching 3 fantastic classes at The Artisanal Premium Cheese Center during the week following our supper club dinner.

For a limited time enter promotional code SEAT upon checkout and you can grab two seats for $99 total {original retail value of $75 per person}. Sounds like a perfect evening for a date or night out with a good friend!

PERFECT PAIRINGS: CHEESE & WINE
Monday, June 14th @ 6:30-8:30pm
SIGN-UP

CHEESE BASICS
Thursday, June 17th @ 6:30-8:30pm
SIGN-UP

CHEESE & WINE: PAIRING CHEESE & WINE AS A PROFESSIONAL
Saturday, June 19th @ 3:00-5:00pm
SIGN-UP

The Artisanal Premium Cheese Center 483 Tenth Ave, 2nd floor, NY, NY 10018.
Please call Verna at 212-871-3141 for reservations

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