As we enter the season of decadence, I can’t help but crave Roquefort. It’s as luxurious as fur, and it pairs well with so many things associated with the winter season: ripe pears, dates, figs, honey, walnuts. After a big meal, this triple-crème sheep’s milk blue becomes the evening’s star, especially when served with a glass of nectar-like Sauternes.
With the possible exception of Cheddar, no cheese is as misunderstood as Gouda. Nascent cheese enthusiasts are encumbered with the misconception that Gouda is some lesser form of cheese, one that either comes smoked or “regular.” This perception of commodity has hampered Gouda’s reputation in America, but the reality is that the nation’s best cheese shops offer Goudas that rival the best cheeses in the world.
Aside from my annual 5 or 6 cannollis from Isgro's during the Italian Market festival and the occasional Reese’s peanut butter cup (my weakness) I really don't have much of a sweet tooth. The one area that I stray from my general malaise with sweets is honey. For tea when I have a sore throat, for hot toddies when I pretend to have a sore throat, for making my own mead, and especially for drizzling on any variety of awesome cheeses.
Very few meals remind me of my childhood as much as a tuna melt. My mother was the primary chef in our household, and she excelled (still does) in all areas of Italian cuisine. On the rare occasion that my father cooked, my brother and I were treated to distinctly American dinners.
If you're the type of cheese enthusiast who takes their love of cheese beyond the shop and starts to do a little research of your own, there's a pretty good chance you've seen the word affinage thrown around a bit. Affinage translates as refining and it refers to the crucial last steps in cheese making that deliver a huge reward for a little extra time and attention. It is a process that requires more than a passing knowledge of cheese and takes years to perfect.
Leftover pizza dough is a wonderful thing. It is so great because you can use anything in your refrigerator and prepare a delicious, impromptu pizza from start to finish in less than half an hour. This week I showcase four of my favorite “Franken-zas”, made using extra dough and whatever I have lying around.
To any epicurean, pesto is the essence of summer in a jar, a delight to the senses in smell, taste, sight, and texture. Pesto originated in Genoa, in Italy, in the region of Liguria, as a way of enjoying summer’s fresh herbs long after the harvest. Di Bruno Bros. Pesto sauce is made in Italy, from 100% fresh Italian ingredients.
As the seasons change, so do the styles of my pizzas. Warmer weather calls for lighter crusts and toppings that are more refreshing than heavy winter meals. For this week’s pizza I have decided to celebrate the warmer weather with a lighter crust focused on goat’s milk cheeses, olives, oil and baby greens.
Classic pizza recipes are never boring, especially when the finest ingredients are used. For this week’s pizza, I chose to make a traditional pizza dish that never fails to satisfy myself and guests. For every pizza, balancing a cheese with toppings is of course the key to success. For this pizza I really wanted to use Taleggio, a wash rinded cow’s milk cheese from Italy. Taleggio has a distinct tangy acidity to it up front, with creamy, nutty notes in the finish. Because it is also such a great melter, taleggio is a perfect pizza cheese.