Category Archives: 1 Recipe of the Week

Recipe of the Week

1950s-Style Cheese Log

1950s-Style Cheese Log

From the 1950s through the 1970s, cheese balls felt right at home sitting next to a dry martini.

For the cheese ball:
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
8 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons port wine, sherry, cognac, or whiskey
1 to 3 tablespoon room temperature butter, if needed

For the coating:
¾ cup combined chopped roasted nuts and chopped dried fruit of choice

For serving:
bell peppers, carrots, radishes, grapes, and Ritz crackers

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process or beat until light and fluffy in texture, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the grated cheddar cheese and process for 30 to 45 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl. It should be very smooth and completely combined. If it is not, process or mix another 30 seconds.

Add the garlic and the liquor of choice. Process until the mixture is completely smooth and the mixture is thick and fluffy – about one full minute or more. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl.

If the mixture has become runny (like salad dressing or yogurt), add 1 tablespoon room-temperature butter at a time and process or beat until completely incorporated, fully processing or beating between each addition.

Scoop the mixture into a mound. Place a large piece of plastic wrap about 12 by 16 inches on a work surface. Using a large spoon, transfer the mixture into a mound in the center of the plastic wrap.

Shape it into ball or log using plastic wrap. Lift up 2 opposite sides of the plastic wrap and cover the sides of the cheese mixture. Place your cupped hands against the plastic wrap, and gently press the mixture into a round. Lift up the remaining plastic, one piece at a time, and cover all sides of the cheese round. Shape it into a ball. Collect all the plastic pieces at the top and twist them together, creating a bundle that looks like a tied sack or pouch.

Wrap the plastic-wrapped cheese ball completely in aluminum foil and shape again with your hands. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 6 days.

Before serving, pour the coating into a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, unwrap completely, and place on the topping. Gently roll to coat. Pat the sides and top well to ensure a full coating. (Wrapped in plastic and then foil – but without rolling in the topping, a cheese ball will keep for up to a week.)

Place the cheese ball on a serving tray or platter with a selection of vegetables, crackers, clusters of grapes. Set out small cheese knives or butter knives for spreading and serve.

Makes 1 4-inch cheese ball, serving 6 to 8
(adapted from Kitchn)

Recipe of the Week

Wild Mushroom Galette

wild mushroom galette

Wild Mushroom Galette

In medieval England mushrooms were considered excrementa terrae, or excrement of the earth, because of their mysterious growth and the fact that they lack visible roots. Modern European cultivation of the mushroom goes back to 1600, when French agriculturalist Olivier de Serres suggested a method in his work Le Théâtre d’agriculture et mesnage des champs (The Theater of Agriculture and Tending for the Fields), the textbook for French agriculture of the 17th century. A standby in French homes, a galette is a sweet or savory flat, freeform tart. 

For the dough:
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces

For the filling:
1 pound assorted mushrooms – shiitake, oyster, porcini or Portobello
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir the buttermilk and 1/3 ice water together in a small bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl and using fingers work the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle the cold buttermilk mixture over the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork to distribute evenly. Gather the dough together and chill.

Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 1/8-inch think circle and transfer to the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, wipe the mushrooms and thinly slice. Heat the oil in a wide skillet of medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat, add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and season with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Spread ¾ of the cheese over the dough, then the mushroom mixture, then top with the remaining cheese. Dip a pastry brush in water, giving the edges of the crust a light coating and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and cheese is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Recipe of the Week

Dates Stuffed with Mascarpone, Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds

Dates

Dates Stuffed with Mascarpone, Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds

Hades fell head over heels over Persephone, and she was tricked into eating pomegranate seeds so she’d have to spend a portion of each year as his queen in the underworld. A deceitful maneuver, yet some would see an element of dark romance in the story. Some say that a pomegranate was the original forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

12 Medjool dates
1 tablespoon pistachios, toasted and chopped
seeds from ½ pomegranate
2 tablespoons mascarpone
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest

Remove the pits of the dates by slitting each open, keeping the date whole. Mix the pistachios, salt and pomegranate seeds with the mascarpone and the lemon or orange zest. Make sure you leave at least two tablespoons of pomegranate seeds for garnish. Using a teaspoon, carefully stuff each date with a little of the mixture. Place on a platter and garnish with pomegranate seeds before serving.

Serves 6