Tag Archives: cheese

Goldfish monster

Want to know how to make your usually sweet baby into a complete monster? Feed him/her just a few Goldfish crackers–or the health food store equivalent, Cheddar Bunnies, which really aren’t any healthier, right?–and see what happens. I promise that as you give him/her one cracker after another, that coo will turn into a roar if there’s not another piece in waiting. And oh yeah, if you’re like me, you’ll be shoving little handfuls into your mouth as well. And you’ll do all of this while pushing the stroller, even though you said that as a mother you would not allow incessant snacking or food in the stroller–especially at the same time! Oh, the power little cheddary crunchy bites…

Needless to say, we’re hooked. Mindless stroller munching is behind us, but a few of these little crackers go a long way as an appetizer while I get Otto’s dinner ready. Now I’m inspired to try a new kitchen adventure: homemade goldfish. And it’s possible thanks to the recipe (and writer’s own first experience with these and her toddler) over at Smitten Kitchen.  I can’t wait to try.

On a sort of related note…on that same snacking walk, we stopped by the butcher shop and had our fair share of Effie’s Oatcake samples. They were so good we had to have more, and more, and more, and more.  I looked up a recipe for those as well and found it here. I can only imagine how delicious these would be fresh out of the oven. With a chunk of stinky cheese on top, of course. Mmmmm that sweet/savory thing is just so very good…

Cheese Paska

If you’re a cheesecake sort of person, then this Easter favorite is for you. I’m one of those people that prefers stinky to sweet cheese, with the exception of marscapone in tiramisu. I could eat a whole pyrex dish of tiramisu if I could–but even that can’t be too sweet. All that’s to say that this isn’t one of my favorite dishes, but it’s a major part of the spread and there are members of my family that go absolutely bananas over it. Like my nephew…last year he filled a cereal bowl with it and tucked in while devouring a book at the same time.

I don’t have my mother’s recipe on hand, but this one in the picture is hers! (Even though I skip this course every year, it’s so pretty on the table.) In going through a stack of clipped recipes the other day, I came across this one, which appeared in Gourmet Magazine (sigh…how did that magazine ever die while so many silly food mags survived???!) many years ago. My mother doesn’t make hers with brandy and I think she skips the raisins too. From what I recall, she adds in lemon zest instead. I’ll check with her in the morning–I’ll likely be calling a few times because it’s the big day for baking my first Paska (I promise to post that recipe in the coming week) and I’ll likely need some coaching!

If you’re looking for a mold, you can find one like my mother’s here. Just make sure you spring for the wooden one…I can already see the scrunch in her face at the mere thought of using the plastic version. She also makes it in terra cotta pots, which work nicely if you want to make a bunch of mini cheese paskas–or, as the case may be, single servings.

Summer supper: Cottage Cheese Salad

This Maine vacation is the first I’ve had that has truly reminded me of my childhood summers spent at my baba’s house in Broadalbin, NY. I keep pointing out things that are similar: families out on evening walks, roadside ice cream stands, the chill that comes over us in the evening, and the delicious smell of fresh cut grass and rich dirt. The other night on a walk, I was telling Adam about our baba’s dinner routine almost every night: there was no dinner. It was more of a snack, since the main meal was served around 1 or 2, just before we headed down the road for an afternoon at the lake.

One of the snacks we could always count on was Cottage Cheese Salad. I know…sounds weird because cheese isn’t usually the main ingredient of a salad, but hear me out. We would chop up scallions from the garden, and maybe some radishes, mix it with a container of cottage cheese, and maybe add a bit of sour cream to thicken it a bit. That’s it. And it was always served with rye bread from Judy’s Bakery in Gloversville (and never white bread, something my grandfather referred to as gum).

These days, I like it with those crispbreads with caraway seeds, and if I need something a bit more substantial, I mix in a hard-boiled egg. It also works nicely on egg noodles. My mother now makes it with a cottage  cheese she gets at a European-style shop in Toronto (I think they call it farmer’s cheese there) and it’s a little dry and much less salty, but still as delicious. And vacation or not, it’s a staple in our kitchen.

A Family Casserole, Reinvented

To this day, one of my favorite brunch dishes is broccoli, egg, and cheese casserole. Growing up, it was an after-church mainstay. Bound together by gobs of cream of mushroom soup, this casserole may well be my original comfort food. And I know certain siblings of mine feel the same way. Valya once wrote about it for an English class assignment so mouthwateringly well that the teacher asked for the recipe. (I’m guessing my mother found it on a soup can label: combine cooked broccoli, boiled eggs cut in half, a can or two of soup, and sprinkle with cheddar and bake until bubbly.)

Fast forward to sometime last year when I was on a bit of a hard boiled eggs in soup kick. I got to thinking how good a broccoli and creamy mushroom soup would be with eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches for dipping. I finally made it a few weeks ago after getting dumped on by a deluge of rain. It was the perfect antidote. Where a casserole was nice for a sunny Sunday meal, this would become my dark rainy night version.

As easy as it could have been to combine some sort of broccoli soup with a few cans of mushroom soup, I gave myself the added challenge of creating a homemade version of Cambell’s goodness….something with more mushrooms and organic milk. Turns out I didn’t have to work too hard; this recipe (thanks Amy!) worked like a charm, although for my purposes I split the recipe in half and used more mushrooms so the flavor would really come through when blended with the broccoli. (If you have a family recipe that involves cream of mushroom soup–and let’s admit it, everybody does–this should work for that too.)

On another note, how ridiculously good does that sandwich look?! I have to toot my horn here, I’m afraid. It was that good. I finally made Jim Lahey’s bread and don’t think I can use anything else for my sandwiches. Continue reading

My fantasy super bowl party

Today over at Put Some Punch In That Bowl, I posted a punch recipe for the big game–or Super[punchBowl as we punch ladies like to call it–on Sunday. The irony, though, is that I will never host a Super Bowl party. Not this year, and perhaps not ever. And that’s not for lack fo want. I love an opportunity to host anything, and especially something that is a random free-for-all of delicious bites.

Why? Well, it’s Adam. For him, the Super Bowl, or any other sporting event, is best enjoyed alone. Maybe with me, but only if I don’t talk too much. (Really, though, I just leave him alone and craft or something and come in for the last 15 minutes so I know what to talk about the next day at work.) He likes to concentrate on the game and order in some nachos. That’s his Super Bowl party, and he’s happy with it. Given that his quirks are so very few to begin with, and that he’s otherwise very social, I have no choice but to respect his wishes on this one. He wins. What to do instead? A Fantasy Super Bowl Party, of course! Here’s what I’d serve:

In honor of all my Pittsburgh cousins, there would be Steel City Potato Skins and Pittsburgh Cheese Steaks.

For all the cheeseheads in Adam’s family, we would order lots of squeaky curds from Carr Valley Cheese and Emeril’s foolproof Macaroni and Cheese (but made in little muffin tins). And because I’m alwys looking for a real food alternative to my beloved crunchy Cheetos, I would make up a batch of French-style Cheese Puffs.

It’s not a Super Bowl party without onion dip. I’d forego the soup mix method and make this Caramelized Onion Dip with homemade potato chips.

And just because Buffalo wings are always necessary, there would be this healthy-ish, deconstructed version with Roquefort dip.  

For dessert, I’d make Tequila Bars to go with whatever Margarita Punch is left. And Caramel Corn with Bacon and Brownies too. And just because something gelatinous and football shaped would be fun and colorful, perhaps something inspired by The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn.

(Packerspops image via Etsy)

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