# of divers

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ducks in a row?

Following a much needed block of time of doing nothing in the middle of nowhere, 
arrives a much to do of this and that, sort of Tuesday.

The secret of getting things done is to act.
-Dante Alighieri 

But the whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.
-Oswald Chambers

Happy day


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hip-Swinging, Rock 'n' Roll Fondue

The July installation of the monthly Queso Diego meeting called upon the meltiest of cheeses for the scrumptious occasion.

Members gathered at City Farmer's Nursery, our one-stop, organic gardening shop, for the grand and over the top meltdown.

Photo by Larry Stein

Here, over fifty fermented curd-loving folks gathered around the perimeter of eight fondue pots and a boundless spread of sweet and savory dippers in the grip of frenzied, fondue fun. 

The kind of fun that people will do unspeakable things for.

Photo by Larry Stein

The garden fresh veggies

The perfectly-cubed breadbits, pretzels, meats, potatoes, chippolini onions, asparagus, and sausages.

Photo by Larry Stein

The dried fruits, pound cake, shortbread, madeleines, wafer biscuits, ladyfingers, marshmallows, strawberries, bananas, grapes, and meaty strips of pork-heavenly, bacon.

Photo by Larry Stein

We fluttered and flurried about, making no haste in our preparations knowing well that good food takes time.

The cheeses aplenty:
Gruyere, Cheddar, Fontina, Swiss, and then some.

We were even treated to cheese-stuffed empanadas with a savory-spiced chutney.

Our slow descent into curd chaos was accompanied by a fair share of homemade brews, honey mead, and a select few bottles of red and white.

All followed by a dessert fitting of cheese royalty. A butterscotch fondue packed with almond brickle chips, and bits and bobs of English Toffee.

Our pièce de résistance, dessert fountain was deliriously executed in chocolate,

and much enjoyed by this festive bunch of 'cheesy' folks.

While playing the understudy and waiting in the wings, I came out from the 'fun'due woodworks to reveal my cheesiest costume from the bygone era, a Memphis Flash of fondue, the big dipper himself...

Only I was a fierce, lip-snarling, female Elvis, who was fixin' to fry up some sage for my goat cheese and nutmeg, steaming, hot pot of burning love.

I believe the King himself would have been pleased with our church of cheese. 

A fantastique meltique for the Queso Diegans.

Until we meet again my cheesy friends.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Tea and Cheese If You Please

Tea is the most widely consumed aromatic beverage the world over, just beneath water.

Cheese is about as hot in the culinary world as is the very temperature of said freshly-served tea.

Dare I suggest a slight kindle to the belly and soul by pairing the two for a surprise of a gloomy-weathered treat?

I believe I just did.

Perhaps you already know that tea leaves are rich with tannins, the astringent compounds that lend their flavors and colors to the steamy refreshment.

You may not however, be aware that these compounds are the very same tannins found in wines creating a wide-ranging complexity when pairing both fine teas and cheese.

Marry them, I say.

That’s right boys and girls.

Pair them together for a lovely course following dinner, just before dessert, or present the hottest party platter at your next fête.

The seductive pairing of a decadent cheese with a warm, steamy tea will be enough to send anyone running for the foothills.

even the Cheshire Cat

Still uncomfortable with this unlikely duo?

Know that the milk will serve to neutralize the structure of tannins and reduce its acidity.

Know that the contrast between the astringency in tea (its drying sensation), will go marvelously with the fats present in cheese.

Still foreign sounding?
Consider this... 
We add milk to our tea already.

To unfold the latent power of your naughty cheese bits, pass the kettle please.

Pairing suggestions:

Consider complementary or contrasting flavors.
For example, a salty cheese (chevre) + sweet tea (green or white).

Or, for some nut on nut action, match a Dragonwell, the meaty green tea with a walnut finish, to a young and nutty Gruyere.

You can easily smooth out the acidity of a mildly grassy tea (Sencha) with a creamy goat cheese.
Add several cucumbers and a slice of Melba Toast for a perfectly-perfect morning breakfast.

Pair soft, mild, creamy cheeses (Brie) with bright and crisp black teas (Keemun, Ceylon OP)

Pair salty (Stiltons, blue varieties) with slightly sweet and floral teas (Earl Grey)

Adventure beyond the cheddars, jacks, and the teas of black and green.

Instead, indulge and give the exotic a go:

China white with a Comté reserve hard cheese

Wok-fired green tea with a Montgomery cheddar

An enchanting red nectar tea with a mild Brie

Pair a cinnamon plum with a salty blue

 (for a real treat add niblets of chocolate shavings)

Mix the caramel notes of a fine black tea with the sweet, nutty flavors of Midnight Moon from the Cypress Grove Creamery

Oh, this list could run the span of an entire blogsite!

I trust that you'll soon find that the great range in flavors from tea only serve to compliment and contrast with the varying flavor range of cheeses.

Remember to vary your cheeses and tea flavors from mild to wild (strongest).

Experiment with tea temperatures and your range of cheese (soft to hard, salty to sweet)

Don't forget the green tea bubble cheesecake for dessert

Recipe here:

Garnish with a wee scoop of lychee sherbet, mango sorbet, or red bean ice cream, and follow with a fancy game of croquet.


Believe me when I say, you will feel all the more brainy for doing so. 

Oh, you clever cookie...

Let yourself get creative with the tea and cheeses, for in the end goodness is for your mouth to decide, and you may very well find that your mouth will glimmer with teatime glee, adding a whole new layer to the very question of...

teatime anyone?

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