Wine and Cheese Night

After a visit to Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store in the states – M and Carn.H came up with the brilliant idea of Wine and Cheese Night. Why? Because we had each picked up a couple of cheeses last weekend and they needed to be eaten ^^ E and A also joined us for the night, so we had a good number starvacious guests for the spread.


The Cheeses:

Gruyere – Aged 6 months, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Double French Brie, Mobier, Buffalo Milk Parmesan, Pecorino Abbruzzo, and lastly, Asiago w. Rosemary and Olive Oil.

My personal favorites was the Double French Brie (from Trader Joe’s) and the Buffalo Milk Parmesan (from Pricesmart) However, my opinion is pretty biased since I’m not a fan of brittle and sharp cheeses unless they have been melted into a lovely gooey mess (which loses its appeal the moment it solidifies LOL~) I tend to go for creamy cheeses like Brie or Harvarti, so the Buffalo Milk Parmesan was a pleasant surprise from my norm. It had a salty crunchy flair that gave it both an interesting texture and flavor. It’s a type of cheese that powders easily but doesn’t become… for a lack of a better term… sludge-like, after it’s been in contact with saliva. I think everyone was pretty impressed by this cheese. Except for C, who has an aversion for cheese after being force-fed chunks after chunks of cheese with warm milk during her childhood – the poor girl… At least her bones are strong!

It was pretty apparent which cheeses failed just by looking at the leftovers – the Gruyere and the Pecorino (made from sheep’s milk). But the other 4 were top contenders ^^ M quite likes the Asiago and Carn.H’s fav is the Parmesan. I’ll have to ask E&A for their final votes lol~

The Meats:

Soppresata – Calabrese, Genoa Salami, Malbec Marinated Salami, Smoked Pastrami, Thick Cut Prosciutto

The Soppresata – Calabrese (from Bosa Foods) is by far my favorite. Supple, tender thinly sliced with a bit of a kick. The Genoa (also from Bosa) is very similar, only without the kick and more fatty. The Malbec was thickly cut … by moi lol~ in my defense – the little clumps of fat wouldn’t cut cleanly with the pearing knife I happened to be using so I really was left with little choice. The wine marinade was barely noticeable and the meat was a little on the tough side. Not bad, but not impressive in the least. The Smoked Pastrami (Famous Foods) actually reminded me of roast beef. A well tenderized one lol~ But it was a little too meaty for me. The Prosciutto (also from Famous Foods) was dark in color and more jerky like than I am used to. But to each their own, right? Not being a BIG fan of cold cuts it may be safer to go with the opinions of the others. Which was … *drum roll please…* pretty much a tie between all of them lol!

Bacon Halibut Bites

Recipe here

While very flavorful and quite tasty I made one vital mistake. I used thick sliced bacon when I probably should have used the thinest I could lay my hands on. The delicate fish flavor was completely lost in the meaty envelope. But you can’t really go wrong with bacon.

Likelihood of re-cooking: 20%  
Culinary mindset: bites

For Other Recipes, click here

Tiger Shrimp and Mushroom Picks

Recipe here

Probably my favorite of night. I had deliberately undercooked the shrimps but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be TOO undercooked. Luckily, they turned out just perfect after resting ^^

Two slight changes were made to the ingredient list – rather than portabellini’s, I used Shitake mushrooms pre-marinated by Papa Herb – and – I omitted the parsley.  For the balsamic sherry vinegar, I simply mixed sherry with balsamic vinegar ^^
☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆
Which went quite well IMBO. (in my biased opinion ^^)

Likelihood of re-cooking: 80%  
Culinary mindset: appy

For Other Recipes, click here

Pumpkin Seed Sour Dough

I’ve never tried anything from Pane-e-Formmagio before, but how can anyone resist pumpkin seed? The sour dough had a great dense, but spongy, bounce and well balanced flavor.

Pane e Formaggio on Urbanspoon

To accompany the bread I made a quick pesto strawberry tomato bruschetta.

The strawberries added a light acidic summery feel that was refreshing. I thickly silvered 8-10 fresh strawberries, cored and diced a few tomatoes before tossing in a tbsp of pesto and a large dash of balsamic (then s&p) Because it was so quickly thrown together, the flavor wasn’t bad but could probably use a bit of tweaking for a better rounded flavor ^^

I also made a light edamame hummus. Because edamame doesn’t cream as easily has chick peas, I found it necessary to add more liquid than normal when blending. To re-thicken and to flavor the bean I added a fair amount of almond butter, one clove of garlic and s&p. The result was a very light tasting spread.

It tasted exactly as I planned, but you could say it was a failure b/c M was expecting a strong edamame flavor rather than the nuttiness of the almond. Perhaps I should rename the spread so the expectation is different LOL~

In addition to our array of cheeses, we also picked up a block of Aged Smoked Cheddar (Bosa Foods) for toasting. This is probably the 8th time we’ve bought this cheese in the span of 2 years lol~ It has a lovely smoked flavor and is great for baking. ^^

Our wines of the night ^^

Funnily enough, we started off with reds rather than whites… We were going to make it a little more sophisticated and jot down flavor notes and impressions (for both the cheeses and the wines) but prepping the food took much longer than I had expected and everyone ended up helping out lol! So thanks to C for cooking w me, M for cutting the cheese (literally speaking ^^), Carn.H for making the meats look pretty, A for labeling and E for keeping us company ^^

Below, I’ll share my very basic impressions of the wines for the average non-frequent wine drinker ^^

2010 Malbec – easy to drink and smooth. It had a very subtle earthy flavor.

If your not a huge fan of reds, like me, the Malbec may still be a tinge too “strong” but still ok to drink lol~

2010 Merlot – the oakiness and earthy tones were much more apparent in the merlot, but like the Malbec there wasn’t a lot of tannins so it was also an easy to drink red.

For those not familiar with the term tannins – it is a natural compound found in grape skins, branches and seeds which plays a strong role in aged wine. Just recall the bitter saliva sucking experience from eating the thick skins large seeded grapes ><

With 89 points, I found this Sauvignon Blanc to be very dry with mild flavors and an aftertaste I wasn’t especially fond of. Then again, I just have an aversion for dry wines 0.o

Wait a minute… This wasn’t the wine we drank on Saturday! You’ll have to excuse our mistake since we normally take tons of food pics but not so much the wine – and – it was 1:00am last night when I made Carn.H dig out our empty bottles so that I could actually finish this post.

There we go! The Flip Flop Pinot Grigio – to be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the wine… It had that poorly flavored water feel to it. Oddly enough it got slightly better as it approached room temperature.

It’s actually quite cute b/c one pair of flip flops is donated for every bottled sold ^^ A little gimmicky sure, but in the words of an unnamed telemarketer “why not?” lol~

Guess who visited the office today?

Gotta love his paws ^^

As I had told our guests that night … For those of you who want dessert – Sorry! I don’t have any! LOL! My original plan was to get a cake from Maxim’s but we ran out of time. But everyone was quite stuffed so I guess it was for the best ^^

*wow* that was a lot to cover in one post! I hope no ones fallen asleep b/c that would make me sad…

– C.Herb –
Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (( _ _ ))..zzzZZ

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