Today we enjoyed some Winnimere cheese. Quite the stinker, it's very creamy and rich and delicious.
And it looks pretty cool too! Almost like a calzone.
There's a ton of flavor packed into this one, you could add some jam or chutney- but I found it great with just some plain 'ole water crackers.
After running out of crackers I seemed to get more and more hungry as I was scarfing this cheese down. So I began to chomp on the rind part a little bit. While not "frowned upon", it's typically the part you would peel off before taking large chunks of this cheese and swallowing them whole.
It was brought to my attention later that Winnimere's outer rind is partly tree bark. So perhaps slice that bit back before you "go to town" on it like I did. Anyone want to count my rings?
There is something funky that happens on occasion, if you eat enough cheese before bed- funky being the key word in cheese and a good way to describe the DREAMS you will have afterward.
There are plenty of articles on "cheese dreams"- here is one.
Today, a special shout-out of appreciation to: Sahara Grill We got a delicious lunch today from the great Middle-Eastern spot Sahara Grill right in center city.
For years they've been the best go-to place for
Falafel, Hummus, Shawarma, you name it-
and are just a few short steps from City Hall.
Chicken Shish Toauk Sandwich
Here is a photo of THE BEST LENTIL SOUP you will ever have. I've tried making lentil soup quite a few times as you may have read- but I doubt I'll ever get close to the perfection that is their recipe. Short of slipping all the kitchen guys a truth serum, I may never know the secret.
But at least the real thing is only 2 blocks away for about $4.
Another highlight of Easter weekend was a great meal at
Pub & Kitchen, where our pal Mike is a sous chef. Always an inventive and creative menu and a good way to spend an afternoon when you're craving something perfect and different, and are a bit hungover from oysters and wine.
First a little "hair of the dog"
And for my dinner-
~ kale pesto, brown butter, pork sausage ragout~
Cheesy and filling, I ended up taking half of these bad boys home to enjoy for lunch the next day. Rich with great pesto flavor, I'd recommend this or any and all of the menu.
For Easter weekend this year, we began Saturday morning with a search for the best spot to watch some soccer matches. Our friend came to town and was hoping to catch the Munich game. Sadly, it was only playing at one German bar with barely any standing room left. (You best get to Brauhaus Schmitz super early if you want to get a seat for soccer!)
So, after hopping around to a few more pubs, we settled in at Misconduct Tavern in center city. There were a bunch of other games on. Plus- brunch specials!
If Eggs Benedict is on the menu, I will always order it, no matter what. There's something about the magnetic pull of Hollandaise sauce that speaks to my soul. Pairs nicely with a good Hefeweizen.
Our next stop was Oyster House a few blocks away. We started with some sparkling wine and went all out on the oyster platters. A combo of east & west coast:
And THEN we got an order of their special BARBEQUE oysters. At first glance, they may sound strange. But once you sip on that smoky goodness there really is nothing like these. Amazing!
A very full meal that for under $15, gets you a main entree of chicken, shrimp or other seafood choices, and a side of some California roll, mixed tempura and rice. Also it includes a side salad and Miso soup!
Here's a shot of my Shrimp Teriyaki and Tempura Side.
This evening I tried my hand at some hearty Lentil Soup.
Sadly we were almost all out of red lentils, which are generally a bit prettier to use when including in soup, in my opinion. I mixed them with some black lentils and rinsed this little Halloween-colored combo:
Before adding the lentils, I cooked a chopped onion in a pot with some curry powder, garlic powder and other spices.
(Use spices of your choice, to taste).
Once the onions are softened, add lentils and about 4-6 cups of vegetable broth. Chicken broth can be used as well. Depending on the amount of soup you are preparing and how thick you'd prefer it to be, the broth amount can vary. I ended up using about 6 cups, and had 3 cups of lentils. This made a very generous amount of very thick soup that lasted for days! Cook time will vary as well, for a thicker soup it may take over an hour. If you'd prefer it not to cook down as much as I did though, it should be done in about 45 minutes.
Here's a photo of the near-finished product:
The soup with mostly black lentils came out a grey-ish green color that as you can see, is not very appetizing. It's healthy and tastes great- however next time I'm definitely making sure we have enough red lentils on hand before prepping!
Here's a prettier picture of some bubbly goodness- my glass of hard cider.
Very simple and quick, it calls for only 4 ingredients. Bread specifically should be any French or Italian loaf. The one I used was a deeper loaf, almost the shape of a football.
Cut through the loaf diagonally both ways, creating a crosshatch pattern. Slice as close as you can to the bottom of the loaf, creating as many crevasses to pour in the other ingredients...
Using a spoon, drip in all the pesto and spread the shredded cheese into all the "nooks and crannies".
Pour the melted butter over the top surface, and wrap in a large piece of foil.
After about 20-25 minutes baking in the oven, unwrap and let cool. There you go- serve to friends and have fun pulling apart the cheesy goodness.
This was what I'd describe as an appetizer version of Monkey Bread. It's inexpensive and easy to make for a gathering. My only change for next time I make this would be to use a shallower loaf such as a long baguette, that way there is more surface area and space for "MAXIMUM CHEESE SOAKAGE"
For a proper Swiss fondue, it's important to get some GOOOOOD cheeses. Luckily Di Bruno Brothers is close by and they always have great suggestions for the melty-est best cheeses. We tried out different pairs of cheese and made fondue twice this week. After both meals I can say that the
Gruyere and Emmental (Swiss) Cheese are good bets. Others seemed to take much longer to melt, though tasted JUST as delicious.
Here are the cheeses we tried out this week:
The biggest difference between regular 'ole fondue and the real-deal Swiss recipe is
DRY WHITE WINE.
Along with the set came some handy recipe cards.
Once your ingredients are prepped and the bread is ready...
(a good French baguette is my favorite for dunking-but any harder bread will do)
The first step is heating up the fondue pot. Our kit came with a gel plate that is lit up and placed under the pot. Best to follow instructions on your fondue kit, as each one is a bit different.
Once it is warmed up, flavor the pot with a sliced garlic clove. Pour in the white wine, about 2 cups- and wait a bit for it to simmer...
Once the wine is bubbling, have the cheeses on hand...
Gradually add the cheeses a little at a time, by the handful. It's also helpful to have a little bit of cornstarch to mix in with the cheese for thickness.
And don't stop stirring!
Fondue is lots of fun to have for a small hangout evening with friends. We set the fondue pot in the middle of the table and took turns stirring and sipping beers.
It could take a while, ours was about an hour- depending on the cheeses and heat level on the pot (which is adjustable)- but soon enough the cheese will be perfectly melted.
the best part of all.
Isn't it beautiful?
Now let's all move to Zurich and eat this for dinner every night.