November 22nd, 2010

cap, captain miss america

Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

[info]lawchicky asked me for some cheese plate recommendations for Thanksgiving.

Since we don’t do a cheese plate for Thanksgiving, I don’t have photos of these cheese, but I do have many links. I tried to stick to cheese I see in normal grocery stores that have nice cheese sections, since I know that living in New York City, I can get some weird cheeses that aren’t available in many places in the US! You may not be able to get all of these, but you should be able to get some. I picked four cheeses from four categories each: soft cheese, semi-soft cheese, hard cheese, and blue cheese. If it’s not in the blue cheese category, it’s not a blue cheese! I tried to avoid ones that you’re already likely to have, like cheddar, gouda, and so forth.

Soft Cheeses
St. André.
St. Marcellin.

Semi-Soft Cheeses
Bel Paese.
Port Salut.

Hard Cheeses

Blue Cheeses

Here are also some more novelty-ish cheeses you might like, if you are into that:

Red Dragon (Y Fenni).
Winey Goat.
There are also a number of Wensleydale cheeses that are sold blended with fruits (cranberry or lemon, usually) that you might like if you like fruit and cheese.

A helpful note: Most hard cheeses are lactose-intolerant friendly. If you have a friend who is lactose-intolerant coming for Thanksgiving, make sure to include a traditionally-made hard cheddar, Asiago, Manchego, Emmental or other hard cheese on your cheese plate, as these cheeses are aged longer and contain a lot less lactose than softer cheeses. A lot of American name brand hard cheeses aren’t made this way, so check to see if the cheese has an age on it– cheeses that are aged for more than 2 years are usually good.

I hope this helps anyone who needs to do cheese shopping for Thanksgiving or upcoming winter holidays!

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cap, captain miss america


I just did a little friendscut-- plain old housekeeping; I just defriended a bunch of journals that haven't been updated in several months or more, where I don't recall seeing comments from those folks.

As usual, like 95% of what I post is public, so it's unlikely you'll be missing out on much-- the last time I posted something friends-only was over two months and fifty posts ago. So you'll still be able to read and comment on almost everything. Cutting journals that haven't been updated recently is purely for my own streamlining/organization/security purposes. If you want to stay on my flist-- are still around but not posting, just let me know!
cap, captain miss america

Thanksgiving Tip of the Day: How to Soup!

At our Thanksgiving, we always have a soup course, and one of my favorite things to make is a root vegetable puree soup. These soups are easy to make, can be made ahead of time, and you can mix and match your root vegetables.

This year, I’m using turnips for mine, but you can use beets, rutabagas, celery root, potatoes, parsnips, or carrots, and some other vegetables are yummy cooked this way. I’ve done a similar soup with cauliflower and with asparagus, and both worked well.

Here is what you will need
About 3lbs of root veggies.
About a half-gallon of whole milk or veggie stock if you like vegan soup
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasonings: bay leaves (1 or 2), thyme or rosemary (about 3-5 sprigs), and whole garlic cloves (2 or 3) are good in this.
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup of olive oil if you like vegan soup

Here is what to do
Cut the root veggies up into 1″ chunks. They don’t have to be perfect, since most veggies are round. But pretty close is good, like this:

Put them in a pot and fill the pot with milk or vegetable stock:

Add in your seasonings and cook it on high just until it boils. Then lower the temperature back down to medium and set the pot top askew, like this:

That will keep the temperature high but allow some of the steam to escape. Cook it like this for about 20 minutes, then start checking your veggie chunks. They should be soft enough that a fork will go into them easily, but not so soft they’ll fall apart. The timing will be a little different based on the size of your chunks, the type of veggie, and hot hot the pot is, so check every few minutes starting at 20 minutes; they should be done between 20 and 40 minutes.

Once they’re done, take the cooked veggie chunks and split them up evenly into batches that will fit in your blender. Remove any twig-like seasonings from your milk or veggie stock (thyme or rosemary, or things like whole peppercorns) and split the hot liquid into the same number of even batches. Take the butter or oil and split it into the same number of batches, and add it to the hot liquid for that batch.

Now blend each batch one at a time. Add the vegetables and the hot liquid to the blender and just hit the highest setting. It should be blended in a matter of seconds. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor will work for this, too.

Here’s what it should look like when you are done:

You can store this for several days in the refrigerator. It’s great with croutons, bacon bits, nuts, or dried fruit. Deep frying thin slices of root vegetables can also make a nice garnish for it. When you need to reheat it, just stick it back in the pot, and have a little spare milk or veggie stock to thin it if you need to. You can also reheat it one bowl at a time in the microwave, but I find stovetop reheat to work better for large batches.

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