This post is sponsored by Wisconsin Cheese which is hosting The 2013 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown where you can win a $4,000 Gourmet Kitchenware Package. What really got me excited to participate was the opportunity for me to come up with the best grilled cheese I know how to make. And while I’ve made gourmet grilled cheese on my Gourmet Grilled Cheese night, I’ve never mastered the straightforward all-American grilled cheese. Until now.
Call me a freak, but I get excited about cauliflower. It’s got great texture and, when cooked properly, can yield lots of big flavor. Most often I roast it in the oven or I caramelize it in a pan; not very often do I boil it, but even boiled cauliflower can hold its own.
On Sunday, I was asked to bring a “vegetable side” to Craig’s aunt and uncle’s Easter brunch. I imagine most people, when presented with this request, would make a crowd-pleaser like mashed potatoes or roasted carrots or mashed potatoes with roasted carrots mashed up in there too which actually sounds kind of good but no one really makes that. Me? I went for a cauliflower gratin.
You may not be surprised to learn that when it comes to what I eat, at any given moment, I can be a bit of a control freak. In fact I have a theory that most food people are control freaks: what better way to control what goes into your body than to become an expert on the subject? It’s rare to find a food person grabbing handfuls of snack food willy-nilly off a snack cart. Give a food person the opportunity to select his or own snack from a larger selection and a careful decision will be rendered. That makes us discerning, but also kind-of obnoxious in terms of going with the flow.
So lately, I’ve been going with the flow. The other night I met my friend Lauren for dinner and when she suggested a restaurant I’d never heard of–Casellula off 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen–I said “sure.” Turns out that’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time.
On Saturday night, with 45 minutes left to go before our friend Dara was due to drop by for drinks, I made a drastic decision. I decided to make gougères.
This seemed like a drastic decision because: (a) I didn’t have the right cheese in my refrigerator and (b) I’d have to dirty the kitchen and a bunch of dishes just before the arrival of a guest. Things would be messy, things might burn. This was dangerous drink-hosting and I was living right on the edge. That’s what made it all so exciting.
You may remember May 12, 2009 as the day in history when I served cheese for dinner. I wrote a post about it called Cheese For Dinner and 47 of you left comments because you were so shocked and disturbed by the idea. Cheese for dinner? How can you eat cheese for dinner?
Actually, most of you had the opposite reaction. “I love cheese for dinner!” one of you wrote. So, last week, traipsing through Murray’s Cheese on my way back to the apartment I decided to revisit the concept. I picked up two kinds of cheese, a box of salad greens and a pear from the bodega close by and prepared myself for the return, the return of CHEESE FOR DINNER.
Craig, as you may recall, performed the wedding of our friends Mark & Diana; as a thank-you gift, they got him (& me!) the greatest gift he, a lifelong cheese lover, could possibly imagine: a membership to Murray’s Cheese Cheese-of-the-Month Club.
Now, thanks to iPhone video technology, you can share the experience of opening up this month’s delivery with us. Click ahead for the cheesy action.
When I get invited to dinner parties, these days, I pretty much make it a policy not to take pictures. This takes the pressure off the host or hostess, who may be nervous that their food blogging friend is scrutinizing every bite, preparing to skewer them for all the world to see on his food blog the next morning. Mostly, though it takes the pressure off me: by not taking pictures, there’s no expectation that I’m going to blog about it. So if you’re wondering why the sweet potato souffle you cooked for me didn’t make it on to the blog (that’s just a hypothetical) it’s most likely a function of my policy. Unless, of course, you cook me the lasagna in the photo above.
Hyperbole is a dangerous tool for food bloggers. Yes, it’s easy to call something “the best” this or “the most amazing” that but do it too often, and you start to lose credibility. “If everything’s the best,” you might think, “then what makes this one any more special?”
Fair enough, ungentle reader, fair enough. But sometimes something just IS the best and then what do you do? Do you pretend it’s not the best and just call it what it is–in this case, a cheese casserole–or do you call a spade a spade and hang it all on the line and admit that this really is the best casserole ever? Allow me to martyr myself, then, hanging myself by my own hyperbole: the casserole you see above, a casserole called Cheese Love, is, by my reckoning, the best casserole ever. EVER!!!!