April 10, 2006

Tea and Cheese or Death! Tea and Cheese or Death!

Cheese and I have a glorious and erratic relationship. I love it in all its forms...squishy, stinky, pre-processed, aged 10 years, shredded, grated, melted, mixed with garlic and herbs...

However, it unfortunately doesn't always return my adoration. Y'know. Lactose intolerance and all that. (Damn my Asian-ness and its genetic shortcomings in the area of spoilt milk products!)

Regardless, I had a point. And my point was that Skip likes wine. And I like cheese. And you should try both together. Which is why Skip should follow this post with an appropriate set of pairings, whereas let me tell you, the Vienna/Herndon locations of Great Harvest have an absolutely amazing Guinness and Gouda bread, which you really need to try because I'm all for cheese and beer.

Moving on! I realize it can be difficult to acquire delicious cheeses when you're out in the boonies. Fortunately, your bloggers here at theGourmetro are urban-suburban creatures from the East coast, gifted with a wide variety of food-shopping options. And so, a primer on what those of you in less gourmand-filled areas are missing (most of these are available at Wegman's, Whole Foods, or even your friendly local Giant for Washingtonians. Unless otherwise noted. And of course, for the diehard fromagephile, Cheese Supply.

I may not be a true connoisseur (yet), but that don't mean I don't know what's tasty. :P

PARRANO: Parmesany/Gouda-esque cheese, nice salty, nutty thing going on.

OLD AMSTERDAM GOUDA: Aged 2 years. Please pass the Guinness.

PRIMADONNA GOUDA: Aged 3 years. I think this calls for a Cabernet? I'm making this up out of whole cloth. WHAT SHOULD I BE DRINKING WITH MY CHEESE, SKIP?

CRANSLEYDALE (Also known as Wensleydale with cranberries): Sort of sweet, sort of tart, creamy British cheese. Pretty crumbly, good on salad.

D'AFFINOIS: Basically a double-cream Brie. Comes in an herb format which I have on my list of "to try".

PENNSYLVANIA WHITE NOBLE: Limited-edition cheese available through Green Valley Dairy. Cheddary, sharp, and tangy/grassy.

That's a basic primer. Now, the classic Anh response to artisan cheese...GRILLED CHEESE!!!

Grilled Cheese a la Tran:

  • Two slices of bread (I'm a big fan of Martin's Whole Wheat Potato...I can pretend it's good for me, unlike normal potato bread...)
  • butter
  • several thin slices Cransleydale
  • several thin slices Primadonna, Parrano, Old Amsterdam or some combination thereof
  • mixed greens
  • a light vinaigrette - easiest to put together is balsamic, olive oil, and a teensy bit of salt and pepper
  • conversely, saute some baby spinach in butter for the greens portion of this dish.
  • Toast bread LIGHTLY. Like, when I'm sayin' light, I mean light like a Norwegian after two minutes in the sun. While bread is toasting, toss greens in vinaigrette and set aside. DO NOT DRENCH THEM. Just "lightly coat," whatever your definition of light may be...
  • Butter frying pan lightly. Places thin slices of cheese on one side of bread, and greens on the other, whether they're the mixed greens or the sauteed spinach. Put pieces together in appropriate sandwich format. Pan-fry til cheese has melted. Serve with strawberries or other seasonally appropriate fruit, lapse into food coma.
  • Wash dishes, repeat.

Have I mentioned how much I love cheese?

On a places-to-go note, I love me some Teaism. I hit up the one in Dupont Circle occasionally, and I highly recommend the Japanese Sweet Green Tea for nice spring days. Salmon bento box ---> also good. But OHMY, the best thing was the Salty Oat cookie. Amazing. DCist attempted a reproduction here, but as we can see, there is some flack from Teaism's owners in the comments section, which rumor has it is pretty much how they roll. Unfortunate. But although they seem over-protective even when their fans are preaching the Gospel of Teaism, I'm not entirely sure I can give up the occasional green tea and cookie, unlike S'Bux, which is in fact the devil, but the devil's everywhere in the suburbs of D.C.

A nice alternative is Ching Ching Cha in Georgetown, if all you want is tea and food. But if you're planning to sit around with a laptop and do work, Ching Ching Cha's atmosphere is so serene, you'll probably feel intensely guilty. So, you know - choices.

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piouswench said...

You're lucky I'm Church of England!

I say we try the salty oat cookie recipie out after kickboxing on Saturday. Sounds like a good day to me - work out in the morning, sit around and eat cookies like fatasses in the afternoon.

moniq68 said...

Teaism is actually a bunch of jerks about sitting around with a laptop, unless you hide downstairs (Penn Quarter location) or you buy something every hour or so. At least, that's the case when Michelle (the owner/biggest psycho/menopausal bitch ever) is there.