My interview with a very cool new foodie website, FoodCandy.com.
Yields 6 to 8 servings.
14 oz Idiazabal cheese, coarsely grated
¼ cup breadcrumbs
8 oz ham steak, chopped into ¼ inch cubes (optional)
1 whole head of garlic
2 cups whole or reduced fat milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb shell pasta (medium)
1/8-teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
NOTE: You can use any sharp, flavorful cheese in this recipe. I like Idiazabal for the smoky and meaty flavors. You can buy it from Despana Brand Foods (if you live in NY) or online at http://www.tienda.com.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position rack in center of oven.
Cut the top off the head of garlic (about ¼ of the way down) to expose the cloves. Season the exposed surface with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly in foil and place in center of oven until cloves become soft, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin. Mash the garlic into a smooth paste and set aside.
Melt one teaspoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubes of ham and sauté until ham is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, heavy cream and garlic paste and simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up any skin that forms on the surface.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add pasta, cooking until al dente (about 6 to 7 minutes, depending on pasta). Drain well and rinse with cold water.
Once milk and garlic mixture has reduced by about half, reduce heat to low and add 12 ounces of the grated cheese (reserve 2 ounces of the cheese for topping), a few ounces at a time, stirring well to ensure cheese melts. Add the ham, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
Finally, add the cooked pasta and stir well until evenly coated. Pour into a 13x9x2 ovenproof dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces of cheese and ¼ cup breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes until browned. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
The Essex Street Market in the lower east side of Manhattan has been around for some time, supplying groceries and produce to neighborhood residents. But now other Manhattanites have reason to make the trek to this ever-evolving market, for what other reason but CHEESE.
Daphne Zepos was first to the scene when she opened the Essex St. Cheese Co., selling one (yes, just one) cheese – Comté Saint Antoine, a cow’s milk cheese from the Jura mountains in France. Daphne is a big believer in the quality of the Comté she gets – it is hand selected by her cheese partners in France and the UK, and is perfectly aged to meet her high standards. It’s a seriously versatile cheese, and for those wary consumers out there, it’s a great intro to true artisan cheese. Greg Blais, formerly of Bedford Cheese Shop, manages the stall and is happy to hand out samples and chat to you about the cheese (sold at $14.99/lb).
A few stalls down is a relative newcomer to the cheese retail scene, Anne Saxelby (formerly from Murray’s Cheese Shop). Her stall, Saxelby Cheesemongers, is solely dedicated to American artisan cheeses. Her focus on this category means that Anne carries fantastic cheeses that might not be picked up by bigger retailers. Anne had me try the Cow’s Milk Tomme from Twig Farm in Vermont ($19.99/lb). A raw cow’s milk cheese, aged at least 3 months, this perfect looking tome produces fruity and buttery flavors that are at once sublime and completely approachable. Anne’s stall is complete with an aging room (“cave”), and tasty looking breads from Sullivan Street Bakery.
The Essex Street Market is located at 120 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002. For vendor hours, contact them directly at (718) 389-0207 (Essex St. Cheese Co.), and (212) 228-8204 or visit http://www.saxelbycheese.com/ (Saxelby Cheesemongers).
Tuesday May 23, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Waldemar & Nadia present an evening of cheese and wine at Aroma Kitchen & Wine Bar. Cheese makers all around the world are busy turning their herd's splendid springtime milk into fabulous cheeses. Join us in tasting the very best the season has to offer, paired with wines selected from Aroma's diverse and extensive cellar. Hang out in Aroma's subterranean private tasting room, while you learn about these seasonal gems in a sociable and lighthearted atmosphere. Tickets are $45 per person. Please call (212) 375-0100 to reserve a space. Aroma is located at 36 East 4th Street (between Lafayette and Bowery). Aroma: relaxed. intense. italian. http://aromanyc.com/.
Listen to Waldemar & Nadia talk to Lucinda Scala Quinn about cheese and their new business on the Eat Drink segment of the Martha Stewart Sirius Satellite Radio show! The show was recorded live yesterday, but they are replaying it on the following schedule:
Friday, May 19, 4:00-5:00 a.m. EST
Saturday, May 20, 5:00-6:00 p.m. EST
Monday, May 22, 10:00-11:00 a.m. EST
On Saturday we had a fabulous cheese and wine tasting at the Discovery Wine store, highlighting the region of Navarra, Spain. Despana Brand Foods provided the cheese (if you haven’t checked out Despana yet you are missing out!) and we paired them with two wines typical of the region.
This hard sheep’s milk cheese is the first Spanish cheese to receive protection (D.O. status) by the government in March 1981. Made with raw milk from the Lacha and Rasa sheep, this cheese is made in seven different municipalities in Navarra that are located in the Valley of Roncal. With an irresistible flavor of nuts and olives and a rustic and almost porous texture, Roncal is aged no less than 4 months. Pairs well with young, lively red wines.
Originally two hard sheep’s milk cheeses made outside the Valley of Roncal, produced under different names, Urbasa and Idiazabal. In 1989, the Spanish government fused the two to create the denomination cheese Idiazabal. Made from 100% Lacha sheep’s milk, either raw or pasteurized, this cheese is traditionally smoked after its first two months of maturation, which provides it with a meaty, piquant quality. Pairs well with Tempranillo and Garnacha blends.
You can purchase Roncal ($15.50/lb) and Idiazabal ($14.95/lb) cheeses at Despana Brand Foods, 408 Broome Street (w/Lafayette), New York, NY 10013. Tel: (212) 219-5050.
Artazu Artazuri Rosado 2005
An enticing, complex rosado (rosé) made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache). This varietal is widely planted throughout the western Mediterranean, with the largest concentration in Spain. Navarra is fast becoming one of the most important wine producing regions of Spain, and is most famous for rosado wines made in this style. Refreshingly crisp, with light raspberry and strawberry aromas, and a long dry finish.
Marco Real Garnacha 2004
A lively red wine made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache). This wine highlights the spicier side of the varietal, brimming with black cherry and clove undertones. Stainless steel fermentation, with 15% of the assemblage aged in French oak for 6-8 months, lending even more complexity to the final product. This wine is a great example of Garnacha from Navarra, with excellent balance and soft tannins, making it ideal for near-term consumption.
You can purchase Artazu Artazuri Rosado 2005 ($10.99) and Marco Real Garnacha 2004 ($11.99) at Discovery Wines, 10 Avenue A (bet. 2nd St and Houston St), New York, NY 10009. Tel: (212) 674-7833.
Waldemar and Nadia are making it their mission to bring the wonders of artisan cheeses to gourmands from all walks of life. With over ten years of combined cheese experience, their knowledge, freshness and unpretentious attitude invariably captivate their audience. Waldemar started his cheese career at San Francisco's renowned Market Hall Foods and Pasta Shop, then moved to New York to become Head Fromager at the Artisanal Bistro and Fromagerie. His cheese expertise has led him to appearances on Sirius radio's EatDrink program, PBS national television, and a feature in Martha Stewart Living Magazine.
Nadia studied finance at MIT and spent six years on Wall Street before her fascination with cheese pulled her into an entirely new career. Nadia started the blog Cheesaholics Anonymous to answer everyday questions about cheese. She then trained in the discipline of cheese aging and went on to become Fromager at Artisanal Bistro.
Waldemar and Nadia met, and the dynamic duo discovered their vision and dedication made for a great match. Whether it's a private party, a corporate event or a restaurant tasting, Waldemar and Nadia bring their passion for cheese to the table every time. Waldemar and Nadia have regular appearances on the Martha Stewart Sirius Radio EatDrink show, and have had their events featured in Time Out and New Yorker magazine.
To contact Waldemar & Nadia, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-246-3499. To learn more about Waldemar and Nadia, visit their website at http://www.waldemarandnadia.com.
Click on Events to learn more about what Waldemar & Nadia have been up to.
On Tuesday, May 16, 2006 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm kick off the spring with the first in a series of seasonal cheese and wine events at Nolita House. Come join mâitre fromagers Max McCalman, Waldemar Albrecht and Nadia Muna Gil for a truly memorable evening of cheese pairing, conversation and appreciation in a relaxed and unpretentious environment.
The event will feature an array of nine of this spring's best artisan cheeses from around the world, paired to perfection with selections from the Nolita House renowned wine and beer list. Some of the pairings include a New York State Riesling with a French Comte, an Argentinean Malbec with a Dutch Roomano, and a Belgian Beer with a Spanish Serena. Guests will move from station to station sample pairings at their own pace while engaging in cheese "Q & A" with distinguished experts and other cheese enthusiasts.
Save the date and bring a friend to discover what spreading the curd is all about. Tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door. All guests will be entered to win either a signed copy of Max McCalman's latest book; a private tour of the Artisanal Cheese Center's cheese caves or dinner for two at Nolita House Restaurant & Bar. To purchase tickets please call (212) 625-1712.
Nolita House is located on the Mezzanine Level of 47 East
Houston Street between Mott & Mulberry Streets. The closest subway
stops are the B, D, V, F at Broadway/Lafayette and the 6 at
Join Waldemar & Nadia, Discovery Wines and Despana Brand Foods for a celebration of the culinary products and wines of Navarra, Spain. Located in the north of Spain, Navarra boasts a long and rich history of agriculture and gastronomic culture. This ancient kingdom has captivated all who visit, from the pilgrims who traversed the mountainous El Camino de Santiago, to Hemmingway running the bulls in Pamplona. Join us for a tasting of cheese, wine and tapas, and find out why people are falling in love with Navarra.
This event is free and open to the public, on Saturday May 13th from 5pm through 7pm at Discovery Wines Store, located at 10 Avenue A, between Houston and 2nd Street. Tel (212) 674-7833.
Cheese is a living thing, and like most living things it needs air to breathe. All those lovely organisms that give the cheese its flavor and help the cheese mature will die if cut off from oxygen. And if they die you end up with a dead cheese that may actually be unsafe to eat, and at the very least will taste stale.
So to keep your cheese healthy, wrap it loosely in wax paper (or even better, the paper the cheese monger wrapped it in). Avoid cling film, and try to keep the rind exposed so the cheese can continue to respire. Lastly, avoid storing your cheese near smelly foods in your fridge, to prevent the cheese absorbing those flavors as it breathes. For more tips on how to store cheese at home, check out the Dec 2, 2005 entry "How should I store cheese at home?"
Oh, and Melinda, you can tell Jason that I’ve obtained an exclusive as to why people say the moon is made of cheese. Some say the craters are reminiscent of the holes in Swiss cheese, while others went to great lengths to take a closer look... click here
Hey people, it’s OK to be cheesy when talking cheese…