Thursday, January 3, 2013
I really shouldn't take Ted to the market. It's a recipe for coming home with too much of whatever looks good, and with a far bigger price tag than anticipated. You see, for Ted grocery shopping is fun. Clearly this is because he rarely shops for anything.
I am the designated shopper in our family.
Before you get all excited and envision Ted piloting the cart around the Giant Eagle, let me tell you that we weren't at the Giant Eagle. We weren't at Costco either. Nope. We were at Penn Mac, a store filled with such deliciousness that even a confirmed non-shopper like Ted could find something to buy.
And buy he did.
Ted loves cheese. I love cheese too, but I have more self control at the cheese counter than he does. Again, this is probably because the thrill of buying cheese is not so great for me because I do it all the time.
But I digress. Two or three cheeses into his cheese shopping spree, Ted asked if we needed "just one more". Being the pleaser that I am, I said "whatever you want" and left to buy crackers. (I find the best thing to do when Ted is "shopping" is to busy myself elsewhere in the store.)
When will I learn? I should not have left Ted alone in the cheese department. One more wedge of cheese turned into three more. At a half pound each, that's a lot of cheese.
I would be lying if I did not admit that we enjoyed the cheese. Several times. But like all good things, we got sick of it. How many times can you pull those same little nubs of cheese out of the refrigerator and still get excited?
Just as I was feeling overtaken by leftover cheese, I opened my email to find a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. Deb had come up with something to do with all that cheese. Yay!
Fromage Fort is deceptively simple. Using your trusty food processor, you just grind up all those little bits of leftover cheese, along with some white wine and a little something green -- parsley, chives -- whatever. And that's it. Spread it on little toasts or crackers and you're done. You could even use it as a spread on a sandwich, which would be decadent, but oh-so-yummy.
It's like the very best of the cheese counter, all in one little bowl.
Recipe: Fromage Fort
(Smitten Kitchen, 2012)
From Deb at Smitten Kitchen, (because she says it so much better than I could):
"There are no rules as to how you put this together. Maybe you want more wine, or less. Maybe you want a heavy hand with salt and pepper, or you want the natural flavors of the cheese to shine through. If you’re using a lot of hard cheeses, a pat or two of butter will help smooth things out. Personally, I go easy on the garlic (one tiny clove) because it really blooms as the cheese sits, and I don’t want it to take over, but maybe you would like that. The only thing I think it important to keep in mind is that even a small amount of blue cheese tends to dominate. I used 25% of the weight in blue, and the result was essentially a blue cheese spread. Fortunately, we love them. But if that’s not your thing, limit it to just a small spoonful or a few crumbles."
1 pound mix leftover cheese, harder cheeses grated, softer ones cut into chunks
A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
1 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen.