Tag Archives: havarti

IdiditIdiditIdidit!!!

27 Dec

Every year, the day after Christmas is my immediate family’s opportunity to have our extended family over to our house for Boxing Day.  People get to unload their leftovers and bring horrendous white elephant gifts and I get to make yummy hors d’oeuvres to round out the table.  My creations included crostini with a peppered salami/spiced green olive tapenade I blended up in the Cuisinart and a slice of creamy Danish havarti.  Popped them into the oven for 15 minutes @ 200º to melt the cheese.  If you don’t have a baguette or even an oven, repeat the recipe but with crackers (I prefer Bremner) and a microwave.

Pancakes slathered in my homemade jam and topped with homemade whip cream.  They were so cute and little you could eat ’em like cookies.

I only made a few of these next ones and they disappeared in maybe 15 minutes.  Rolled out some philo pastry dough very thin, then used a snowflake cookie cutter to make some shapes, placed a few bleu cheese crumbles in the middle, a half of grape tomato on top, sprinkled with black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Into the oven @ 350º for 10-12 minutes.  Cayenne pepper doesn’t faze me anymore so I totally forgot that others in my family might still have taste buds, so basically tonight I made my aunt cry and slightly choke.  But they were REALLY yummy.

One of the perks of being the cook is you are allowed to demand drinks.  So while I juggled the pancakes and the snowflakes, my brother poured me a snifter full of La Trappe Quadrupel from De Koningshoeven.  It has a light cognac colored pour with very little head.  The aroma is lovely: a very refined banana scent that isn’t artificial but mellow. The flavor is a lighter version of the aroma and boozier and smooth but not slick over the palate.  As I quenched my thirst and danced around the kitchen to some motown tunes amongst the swirl of culinary activity, I started delighting from the trickle of yummy sounds coming from the dining room.  I already knew the pancakes were good but I hadn’t really known how the crostini or the snowflakes would come off.  My excitement about personal creations increases exponentially when I get feedback from people other than myself.  My dancing got a little funkier after the positive reviews and was accompanied by a little chant of “I did it! I did it! I did it!”.  Honestly, there is nothing in this world that makes me happier than feeding people and giving them yummy things to drink.  I leave the calming effects of speeding in a happy-making category unto themselves.

Bomb Lasagna

11 Dec

Mozzerella is a great thing — it makes pizza happy and caprese a perfect snack — but I feel it’s a misplaced addition to lasagna.  I’ve never been a fan of lasagna because I never found the combination of mundane ragu and a relatively flavourless cheese that thrilling.  So, over this Thanksgiving break I gave it a try with very slight variations.  For my ragu I started off with browning up some garlic, shallots and chopped andouille sausage in a little olive oil with some splashes of Beckwith cider and a can of whole, peeled tomatoes.  The cider gave it a mild sweetness to counter the spicy sausage, yielding a frankly delightful meat sauce.

A casserole dish was buttered up, layered with the kind of lasagna you don’t have to boil before you bake, then the ragu, ricotta blended with a little heavy whipping cream/cayenne pepper and then slices of creamy havarti on top and halved grape tomatoes.  The havarti was neither too sharp nor too mild and worked it’s quasi-spiciness with the andouille ragu.  The most common reaction from friends was, “this is a BOMB-ASS lasagna!” and then some fighting over bites.  I suppose it was a success.

p.s. it went really nicely with Alesmith’s Grand Cru

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