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New Food: Dates

15 Feb

We went to Andrew’s parents’ house to watch the Super Bowl. I could not care less about the Super Bowl or the commercials, but I did care about all the snacks. Andrew’s mother made a ton of food, including dates stuffed with goat cheese, some wrapped with prosciutto.

Dates grow on date palm trees, which are native to northern Africa and the middle east, which is why many regional middle eastern dishes incorporate dates. Many Italian and Greek dishes do as well.

Ripe dates are a dark reddish brown color and about and inch or so long. They are wrinkled and their skin is a little waxy. Not the most attractive fruit by far. But pretty tasty. The date is sweet and the salty goat cheese was the perfect stuffing. It was a really good salty/sweet appetizer.

Want to know a random date fact?  A full grown date palm  tree can grow to be 82 feet tall. That is more than 16 times as tall as me 🙂

Week 21: Chutney and Cambozola Cheese

25 May

A friend of mine recently made an appetizer that was absolutely amazing – tomato-ginger chutney with roasted garlic and cambozola cheese. She got the recipe from the Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook.

According to wikipedia, chutney is “a loan word incorporated into English from Hindi-Urdu describing a pasty sauce in South Asia and other South Asian cuisines.”  Wikipedia also points out that “there is no limit to the number of chutneys as it can be made from virtually any vegetable/fruit/herb/spices or a combination of them.”

This chutney was made with roma tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, onion, ginger, and garlic. My friend served the chutney with toasted crostini, roasted garlic, and cambozola cheese. I’d never had roasted garlic before and was surprised that the consistency is like butter and it spreads so easily on the bread.

This appetizer was so tasty! We made a little assembly line and piled the crostinis high with chutney and cheese. What a fun night!

Week 20: Poached Egg and Grana Padano Cheese

18 May

My friend Rachel and I recently went to Sorriso, an “Italian Trattoria, located in Boston’s Leather District, offering traditional Italian Cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.” It was a Thursday night, so the Happy Hour crew was abundant at the bar. Our waiter walked us farther back into the restaurant, where it was much less crowded and more quiet.

We decided on calamari for an appetizer and then shared the English pea risotto for an entree. The risotto was made with grana padano cheese and was topped with a poached egg.

Grana Padano is one of the world’s first hard cheeses and was created about 1,000 years ago by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey. It is known to be one of the most famous cheeses of Italy and has a grainy texture and a taste similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano. I couldn’t much taste the cheese directly in the risotto, but the dish was delicious so I guess I liked it!

I like eggs, but am not a huge fan of runny yolk, so I’d never had a poached egg. Wikipedia says that you make poached eggs by cracking an egg into a bowl then sliding it into a pan of simmering water. You then cook the egg until the “white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft. The ‘perfect’ poached egg has a runny yolk, with a hardening crust and no raw white remaining.”

I’m not sure if the yolk taste was less strong because it was mixed with the creamy risotto, but I really liked it. I think since I liked it so much, I will have to try eggs benedict (without the meat) sometime soon…

Week 19: Tallegio Cheese

16 May

I’m a little late with this post, but last week Andrew and I went to the Foundry on Elm in Davis Square for a beer and a snack. We decided to share a flatbread pizza that was topped with roast garlic, mushrooms, and tallegio cheese.

Our beers came, we sipped and chatted, the pizza arrived, and a strange smell encased us. Holy freaking stinky cheese. Honestly at first we couldn’t figure out where the stink was coming from. We looked accusingly at the groups at the tables around us. We looked accusingly at each other. Then we looked at the pizza. Holy crap, it reeked.

So I googled “tallegio smell” and found this hilarious post from Cheesewench. She describes tallegio as “the stinky, milky, creamy, beefy, cheese of footy aroma that comes to us from northern Italy.” She then describes the very unique aroma:

The smell…….oh sweet mother of cheese……the smell was……hard to describe, but I’ll give it a shot. So imagine if you will the Bulls locker room at the end of game 7 of the series, that went into double overtime, and then they lost anyway so you have that smell of sadness and despair, and then all their jerseys go into one laundry bag. It kind of smelled like that laundry bag. And dirty socks. Tasty though.

And that description is pretty much perfect. Taste was just great, but holy crap, what a stink. I’m actually not sure I would get this pizza again because it stunk so bad. But it was tasty, so I guess that’s all that matters.

Photo by Liz Morgan, Foodspotting

Week 12: Gulab Jamun

21 Mar

My cousin Justina suggested I try Gulab Jamun. It’s an Indian dessert that is common at weddings. According to wikipedia:

It is made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids, traditionally, khoya, an Indian milk product (buffalo milk) is rolled into a ball together with some flour and then deep fried. It is then put into in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater, kewra or saffron

I’m a big fan of Indian food, so when Andrew and I heard great things about Annapura in Porter Square, we thought that it’d be fun to grab dinner one night and make sure to order this dessert.

For dinner, I chose Aloo Gobi Mutter, which is cauliflower, potato, and peas cooked with tomato, onion, and Himalayan herbs. It is served with basmati rice and was delicious. We also got the biggest piece of garlic naan you’ve ever seen. (I took a picture, but it was lost forever when I traded my blackberry for my amazingly awesome new iPhone.)

So, of course, we needed to try the Gulab Jamun for dessert. Because I lost the photo I snapped, I’ll have to use this one I found online, but its pretty much just what our dessert looked like:

Now, if you recall, Gulab Jamun is made from “an Indian milk product” that I assumed would be like cheese. The menu at Annapurna said they were “condensed milk and homemade cheese balls fried in butter with syrup.” Cheese balls! Fried in butter! With syrup!

I was thinking cheese as in cheescake, cheese as in a cannoli. I was wrong. I don’t know what the problem was really, except that it wasn’t sweet, dessert cheese, but it wasn’t mozzarella stick cheese either. The consistency was all weird and it just didn’t taste good. Andrew thought the syrup was way too sweet, but I didn’t think it was too bad. I would have drank a bowl of that syrup if it meant I didn’t have to eat another one of those sticky, crumbly balls of paste.

You can only guess how this meal ended: I laughed hysterically at the table while Andrew fearlessly ate the syrupy paste balls while saying, “Pull it together, Kim. Stop laughing.” It’s a miracle he puts up with me.

Week 2: Goat Cheese

14 Jan

I may be taking some liberties with this week because I’m honestly not sure if I’d ever had goat cheese before. But I’m willing to overlook this minor technicality.

For a work outing, we went to Flatbread in Davis Square, which is not only a restaurant but also a bowling alley. According to their website, they serve local organic produce and free range meats and all of their major ingredients are made in house and cooked in a wood fired cauldron or in a hand built wood burning earthen oven. It’s a pretty great place.

We got the veggie special pizza which consisted of roasted squash, caramelized onions, cranberries, goat cheese and herbs. It was fantastically delicious. According to the Whole Foods website, goat cheeses range from “creamy, mild spreads to pungent, crumbly discs to reinterpretations of favorite cow’s milk cheeses.” I didn’t think the goat cheese tasted much different than other soft cheeses I’ve had. It was hot (obviously, it was on the pizza), so it was gooey and soft and delicious.

The pizza was fantastic, bowling was fun, and Flatbread is a funky, fun spot. I love these messages painted on the brick walls:

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