Tagged cheese

Vegetarian porcini mushroom fettucine

Last week, my wife mentioned that we haven’t tried any sort of pasta since I began my Epicurious.com-based cooking experiment. I added a couple of noodle recipes into the queue, and tonight made the Fettucine with Porcini Mushroom recipe.

It’s a nice and simple recipe with just a few ingredients, and it’s quite easy to prepare. I had a bit of trouble finding the shallots at my local Hannaford, but they were worth the hunt. They give the sauce a real ‘French onion soup’ kind of taste that makes salt unnecessary. The porcini mushrooms were definitely not cheap ($5.99 for a 1 oz package), but the flavor is excellent.

One thing about the recipe that was surprising is how important a nice, sharp Parmesan is to making the dish work. I used a shredded Italian cheese blend, but the mozzarella and other cheeses reduced the bite that it was clear the Parmesan was supposed to provide. It left the dish a little more bland than I would have liked, but with a good aged Parmesan, this would be absolutely delicious.

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Forget primetime TV, it’s cheddartime TV!

Long has man sought out those things which lie to the very extremes of the real and physical world in which we dwell. More recently, as in the past 15 years, this search has taken the form of finding the most absolutely devoid-of-content, useless websites on the World Wide Web. Now, the search is over. Nothing can possibly compete with CheddarVision.tv, a website that literally lets you watch cheese age. And as if that isn’t useless enough, the website counts the current time down to the millisecond, and you can submit suggestions to name the cheese on the site. Watch the time-lapse, complete cheesy saga below, or visit the site for real-time cheddar action!

cheddarvision.com, cheddarvision.tv, cheddar, cheese, watch cheese age, aged cheddar

Fondue: Something French-sounding* that’s actually good!

* Although it is of Swiss origins. Don’t believe me? Check the Wikipedia. C’mon, the French don’t do anything right.

Last year (or earlier) I bought my parents a fondue set, which they recently dropped off at my house, apparently after giving up (more Frenchiness) on the idea of ever putting it to good use. Since the cooking pot portion of my fondue maker has itself been lost (tres French, again) for over a year, the addition of the new set once again made it possible for me to cook up some tasty melted cheese. Of course, since I’d never used my own set, it was technically the first time I’d made fondue, making me a true novice fonduer.

Fondue? Hellz yeah, I fon-did!
Fondue cooking

I got some advice on cooking the cheese (which should be a mixture of Gruyere and Emmenthaler) from a local market, but unfortunately, their suggestion was ‘Use a double-boiler, no matter what.’ Now, I don’t so much have a double-boiler, or even any pots that fit nicely into other pots, so I had no choice but to ignore the well-meaning advice of my local gourmand (only the French could translate the word ‘foodie’ into something even more pretentious). Instead, I put the fondue pot right on the burner and fired up the stove.

Your standard fondue recipe calls for about a cup of white wine, brought to a simmering boil, with a bit of garlic in it. I went with a Riesling, which is a nice sweet wine of German origin. I picked the one with the screw top, which is a nice feature to preserve cooking wine, and probably makes the vineyard a ‘maverick’ in rule-worshiping Deutschland.

Once you’ve got the wine boiling, I found the best thing to do is slowly reduce heat in small increments until the wine stops boiling, then bring the heat back up just a smidge. Now here’s the key: you need to shred your cheeses, and you need to add them slowly, in small amounts, allowing each previous amount to melt before adding any more. I spent about 15 minutes in total transferring the cheese into the pot, and the result was a (surprisingly) non-burned and tasty fondue. Stirring constantly is obviously also a big help.

Now, here’s what I learned about what you can’t do with fondue: reheat it. After about half of our bread was gone, there was still plenty of cheese, but the fondue candle wasn’t holding a candle to the frigid temps in our house, so it had solidified but good. I tried putting the mix back on the stove, but all I got was boiling wine and a burned chunk of cheese. So, the lesson to be learned is this: either learn to eat like a ninja, or bite the bullet and spend the 2 bucks for a pack of heating gels. Other than that, though, I have to say it turned out pretty tasty, and actually isn’t too hard or complicated to cook. It requires patience, but chances are almost 100% that you have more of that than me in the kitchen.

fondue, fondue pot, france, french, swiss, cheese, emmenthaler, gruyere, double-boil, double-boiler, kitchen, cooking, cook