Saturday, November 17, 2012

QuesoBeso Cheese Tasting Events - Winter 2012

QuesoBeso - Bringing Holiday Cheer with Cheeses! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fondue Potatoes - easy genius!

How to make potatoes interesting.  This is constantly my dilemma as, in general, I'm not a big potato fan. I can however appreciate them as a gluten free carbohydrate that balances out the plate.  Besides, other people seem to really like them. 

I was shopping in Whole Foods and hoping to find potato inspiration with the beautiful heirloom varieties on display. In the middle of the potatoes, was a large pile of pre-wrapped chunks of Emmental cheese. If you know me, you know I went for the cheese.  If you know Emmental cheese, you know fondue was on my mind.

I was pretty sure I had a big jar of Cornichon pickles at home and my mind kept spinning with how to make it all come together.

A glass of wine and these beautiful red swirled beauties as inspiration and voila! Fondue potatoes.

Fondue Potatoes
Serves 4 as side dish

10 Small potatoes, delicate small heirloom variety if possible
15 Cornichon pickles, thickly sliced
6 oz Fondue cheese (Gruyere, Emmental, Comte) grated
Juice from the cornichon
white pepper & salt

Preheat the broiler to 450F.
Steam the potatoes in a metal steamer over boiling water until just tender.  Time will vary depending on the potatoes you choose.  Use a tooth pick to test doneness starting at 7 minutes. 
Thickly slice or cut into large dice the potatoes and put into a broiler safe dish.
Lightly salt and pepper the potato slices.
Sprinkle 3 Tablespoons of the liquid from the cornichon jar onto the potato slices. Be sure to stir up the jar to capture the mustard seeds in the liquid.
Toss in the cornichon slices.
Cover with the grated cheese. 
Place the dish under the broiler for 5 minutes. Check ever minute until it reaches your desired melty, gooey, cheesy brown, goodness.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Please, no photos...

I don't have a lot of pictures on my blog.
I'm not a photographer.
I'm a cook and recipe writer.
Recently I've found that most pretty blogs really annoy me.  I don't think I'm much for the visual world of recipes. I must be odd that way, but I find myself scrolling past the pictures laying out each ingredient beautifully. I go straight for the recipe, the heart of the blog piece.  For me the recipe is all that matters.  Who cares what her kitchen looked like when she was cooking?  I certainly don't.  All I want is an inspiring recipe, something a little different.  
I also require well written recipes.  And I can spot a bad recipe in 5 seconds flat (Read the first paragraph of the Method.  Now look at the ingredients list.  Are the ingredients in the order they are used?  If not... I'm outta there.).
I suppose I'm living up to the title bestowed upon me years ago. This Culinary Vixen will continue to argue about the merits of good pictures vs. good food.
Stepping off my soap box now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stumbling into the pairing world... wide eyed.

     I know a lot about cheese, maybe not as much as the big experts who make cheese or run big cheese shops, but I have done my research, read up and played cheese monger at a farmer's market for two years. You'd think with all my experience cutting, slicing, sampling and selling cheese I would know a bit about pairing it with wine, but nope, I had yet to dive into the pairing world, until quite recently.

     I hosted a kick-off party to celebrate QuesoBeso's new relationship with a wine store here in Manhattan Beach. I am now stocking them with American artisan made cheeses that are unavailable anywhere else in the the South Bay of Los Angeles county. Ten cheeses had been chosen as the initial selection for the store and include: 4 chevre, 3 cow, 1 sheep and two with all three milks combined.
     To get wines paired with the cheeses, I asked Joe at Manhattan Fine Wines for help. He went right to work. Some cheeses made the choice of red vs. white wine easy (the Cape Foulweather chevre was begging for a sparkling white). While others really surprised me (Pedrozo Dairy's Peppered Northern Gold with a rose?). By the end of our whirlwind of pairings, Joe had chosen 10 very different wines to go with the 10 very different cheeses.
     For me, the unreal magic of the pairing world came when we arranged the wines into tasting order and placed the cheeses with their matching wines  It wasn't at all what I expected, peppered and mineraly cheddar at the beginning with the whites, a big goat in the middle working up to the mixed milk and truffled sheep cheese? It defied my cheese logic.  But WOW! Was my cheese logic wrong! What's needed is a trust in traditional wine / food pairings, using the flavor profile of the cheese as your guide. I'm convinced that this is a great starting point which will ensure you are on the right track of a great cheese and wine pairing.
     The tasting event was a huge success, everyone was amazed at the synergistic flavor experiences of each of the pairings.  Each on it's own would make a meal more special, choose two or more pairings and they become a cheesy event on their own!

Here is a list of the pairings of wines and cheeses available at Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, CA. The wines are all under $15 per bottle!

  • River's Edge Chevre's: Cape Foulweather & Graham Beck Brut Sparkling (South Africa)
  • Pedrozo Dairy, Peppered Northern Gold & Touraine 2011 Rose Val de Loire (France)
  • Pedrozo Dairy, Northern Gold & E. Guigal 2009 Cotes du Rhone (France)
  • Carr Valley's: Mammoth Cheddar & Pere & Files 2009 White Bourgogne (France)
  • River's Edge Chevre's: True Love & La Yunta, 2011 Torrontes (Argentina)
  • Carr Valley's: Gran Canaria & Jack Hammer 2011 Pinot Noir (California)
  • River's Edge Chevre's: Silt Coos & Tres Picos 2009 Garnacha (Spain)
  • Carr Valley's: Caso Bolo & Perrin & Fils 2009 Cotes du Rhone Village (France)
  • Soledad Goats "Oh My Goat!" & Masi Capoflorin, 2008 Rosso Del Veronese
  • Carr Valley's: Black Sheep Truffle & Oberon 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Special Cheese Delivery!

I am so torn about our very good friends' upcoming move to Oregon. I
will miss their proximity, but I so look forward to the gourmet
adventures that await us!

On a recent visit to their new home they were kind enough to offer to
pick up some cheese to deliver back to me here in Manhattan Beach.

The Rogue River Blue was sold out, but my number two choice was
available - Caveman Blue. Creamy, meaty blue cheese with a lingering

I brought it out at the recent QuesoBeso tasting event and the 1/2
wheel sold immediately! That's good cheese!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

QuesoBeso is supplying cheese!

My cheesy venture to bring artisan American cheeses to Manhattan Beach
is happening now! I'm stocking my favorite wine shop with cheese!

Now available for cheese catering, cheese parties, private cheese consulting...

Be sure to 'like' the QuesoBeso Facebook page to be invited to future
tasting events!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Make it Big! It just makes sense.

Our Sunday night pot roast dinner was interrupted by an invitation and while we did eat a bit of the roast, and it was lovely, most of it was saved for later in the week.  Last night we had the leftovers and I have to say, the thing cooks say about foods getting better over time... it is just SOOO true. 
So, why don't I always make a double batch when I'm making anything that is braised, slow roasted. And come to think about it,  any soup or stew too! 
I've been cooking for a long time. I suppose some lessons take longer than others? 
New house rule: MAKE IT BIG! Carefully save the leftovers in the freezer or refrigerator. Take advantage of a night off of cooking knowing the dinner waiting in the freezer is even BETTER than the fabulous slow cooked meal you made over the weekend!