notes from maggie's farm
|Le Train Bleu Restaurant courtesy of Wikipedia|
I was surprised to find what I was looking for, the cheese plate(!), was one of the least expensive plates on the menu, at 16 euros. And, though we may only have Paris in our imaginations today, we can have that cheese plate ANY day.
Building the Perfect Cheese Plate
a few guidelines
1. The odds: As in decorating, the cheese plate is a great place to employ the odd number rule. Offer 3 or 5 types, or even consider one large serving of a favorite, notable cheese.
2. You got served: If just one of several elements of an appetizer 'buffet', serve 1-2 ounces per cheese per person. For example, if there are 16 people to be served, build a cheese plate with one pound (16 ounces) of each cheese, whether 1 cheese, 3 cheeses, 5 cheeses, or more. If served as a dessert plate, or as the sole appetizer, begin with 4-6 ounces per person, per cheese.
3. Stick with a theme: This is less a guideline as it is a help for the host or hostess in choosing among thousands of options. Country of origin, milk types, aging processes, producer, texture, wine pairing, are all good places to start.
4. Arrange cheeses from mildest to strongest, with large sections of rinds pointed in (so cheese can be accessed for serving).
5. Consider accompaniments carefully. I prefer breads to crackers, and love a fruit and nut bread for some cheeses. Crackers are perfectly acceptable, of course, but be certain to choose a cracker that doesn't interfere with flavor, while having enough body to stand up to the cheese. Fruits, nuts, olives, chutney's, mostardo's, quince paste or fruit 'cheeses' are all popular and interesting additions, served on the plate, or on the side.
5. Serve cheese at room temperature, removing from refrigeration at least one hour prior to serving, and allow each cheese it's own serving knife or utensil.
6. Find a reliable cheesemonger. This last step is one of the most important, as a helpful cheesemonger will help you with all of the steps above. They should be well informed, and you will find them passionate about cheeses, knowledgeable about the best pairings of food and drink, and will educate you in the best ways to serve, and store, each variety. A gourmet grocery store is a good place to start, but if you're as lucky as we are in the Austin area, you'll have a favorite and friendly neighborhood cheese shop. The folks from Antonelli's Cheese Shop can't be beat for selection, knowledge, and service. Whether you're a local, or simply a cheese lover, visit their website for a 'taste' of what they have to offer, and as a valuable cheese-knowledge resource.
- Cucumber with Black Pepper Boursin Pecan Spread
- Radish with Salted Herbed Butter Spread
- Pear and Pepper Candied Bacon on Blue Cheese Thyme Spread
|courtesy of oscar.go.com|
Cajun cuisine is a "table in the wilderness," a creative adaptation of indigenous Louisiana foods. It is a cuisine forged out of a land that opened its arms to a weary traveler, the Acadian.Further, Folse describes the Creole culture, and their cuisine,
The Creoles were the offspring born in New Orleans of the European aristocrats, wooed by the Spanish to establish New Orleans in the early 1690s.... Today, the term Creole in New Orleans represents the native born children of the intermarriage of the early cultures settling the city.These include the Native American, French, Spanish, English, African, German and Italian and further defines the cuisine that came from this intermarriage.Creole food is the more genteel product of New Orleans kitchens, historically, and utilizes cream sauces, shrimp, oysters and crab, and is more delicately spiced. The differences are further delineated , quite thoroughly, in the article, French Quarter: Dining: Creole, Cajun, or Somewhere in Between?, and Folse is fond of summing the issue up, succinctly, by saying,
"Cajuns eat in the kitchen. Creoles eat in the dining room."
The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note.The idea of the Liebster Award is to recognize up and coming bloggers who's work is among those that inform, delight, and reward us, regularly. There are many in our blogroll who qualify! To help narrow that field, the Liebster is intended for the newest of blogs, those with less than two hundred followers (yet). The blogs that follow are all well on their way, and some may have arrived at that or more; I'm not certain how many followers each has, but how fun it is to capture them before the huge growth spurts they will all inevitably enjoy.
|Photographer gets the leftovers. Yay, me!|