Food Buzz


Friday, March 12, 2010

Is there such a thing as TOO much cheese?

If there is such a thing, it happened last night.  I anticipated that our class would revolve around cheese because on Tuesday, Chef was excitedly talking about all the cheeses that the director of the department would be purchasing for her in time for our class last night.  Little did I know just how many cheeses we would try and in how many forms!

Teams made the following dishes:
Croque Monsieur (a french grilled cheese and ham sandwich with a bechamel sauce)
NY cheesecake (we don't get to try it until Tues, that's a good thing)
Chile Rellenos (stuffed with potatos and cheese)
"Super Nachos"
Cottage cheese pancakes with warmed maple syrup
Poached pear in red wine reduction with mascarpone
Beet avocado and burrata cheese salad
Apple, endive and blue cheese salad
Mini-Caprese salads on toothpicks
Cheese plate

Our team was in charge of the pancakes (a walk around appetizer) and the cheese platter.  We also served our cheese torta that we made on Tuesday - isn't it beautiful? (as a reminder, it's layers of goat cheese/cream cheese and garlic that has been blended, with layers o sundried tomato pesto and basil pesto):

We learned a little history of the cheeses (I can now name blue cheeses from 5 different countries) and found a local purveyor to buy great burratta (this rich, creamy mozzarella  can be found at Marios in Glendale).

Onto the recipes... I've provided the recipe for the pancakes and the poached pear dessert.  The pancakes were light and airy as a result of folding in the egg whites... As Chef said  "they slide down your throat."

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
3 eggs separated
1/4 tsp salt
1T sugar
3T flour
1 cup plus 2T cottage cheese

1. Separate the eggs making sure not to get the yolk in the whites
2. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks
3. In another bowl, beat the yolks with the salt, sugar and cottage cheese
4. Stir in the flour
5. Fold in the beaten egg white in two additions
6. Drop by spoonfuls onto a hot greased griddle
7. Turn carefully as they are very fragile when browned.
8. Serve with warm maple syrup

Poached Pear in Red Wine Reduction

yields 8 pears

8 pears
1/2 bottle red wine
1 c sugar
mascarpone cheese
1 c water
8 squares of milk chocolate

1.  Peel the skin from the pears leaving the stem intact
2. Cut a flat bottom so the pears can stand in a large pot
3. Cover with wine, 1 c water and 1 c sugar.  Cover the pot and cook until the pears are tender.  Be sure to baste while the pears cook.
4. Remove pears and boil the paching liquid until the wine is reduced to a syrup and coats a spoon.
5. When the pears cook, remove the core from the bottom.
6. Serve with sauce and a dallop of the cheese and a square of chocolate.

the final beautiful product:

Chow for Now! :)

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