Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CHEESE, PLEASE!

Monday nights have become Cheese Plate nights, due to Caro’s lovely choosing of several nice cheeses for the last course of our dinner.    She’s always kept several really special ones in her fridge, or under the little bell, for a tiny bit of treat with some of her WW meals.

I was totally convinced that I DIDN’T LIKE Bleu Cheese.   It looked odd, it really didn’t smell pleasant, and since my my earlier experiences with it were of unexpected chunky globs in not-really-tasty salad dressings, or the unpleasant whoosh of air when a lid was opened on the box, I held firm.

Until one night a couple of months ago, she brought down several cheeses and cut us each a small bit of each onto pretty plates with a dab of our OWN just-made fig preserves and some dried fruits.    I took the little knife provided with my plate, sampled them all-but-one, and heartily approved.

Then, I experimentally cut the tiniest sliver from the TOP of the little wedge of bleu, avoiding the small flowerings of mold beneath---admiring their beautiful configurations, like millefiori in clay, but still a bit apprehensive about all the reasons I’d collected over the years NOT to like the cheese.

And it was simply divine.   Salty and rich and firm for a moment, then melty and soft and (dare I use the overused unctuously?) rich.    So now I’m hooked---I crave a taste of the Gorgonzola marvel every now and then, and will go up and unsnap the Tup for a teensy taste.   

Last night was cheese night, and after the char siu chicken, rosy and delicate as peach-cheeks, and gently perfumed with five-spice, the lo mein and the stir-fried cabbage, we had cheese, prettily arranged, and served with the marvelous Cherry Chutney which had been simmering away, sending its gentle fragrance of big maroon cherries and vinegar and Autumn sweetness through the house all afternoon.

From One O’clock:

Belletoile Triple Crème Brie
Morbier with ashes between layers
Dried date
Caro’s just-made Cherry Chutney
Dried Fig
Port Salut
Gorgonzola
Laudel Double Crème Brie

Center is Fontina
And a sweet little chapeau of Champagne Grapes

Naturally, he caught me wiping a drop of cherry sauce from the plate edge.  

7 comments:

Nail said...

I felt the same way about bleu cheese until our trip to Louisiana in July. Hubby ordered a "Lettuce Wedge Salad" and it had crumbles of bleu cheese and bacon around the edge of the plate. It looked so pretty that I tasted it and have loved it since! Now, when I make our salads, they usually have a few crumbles of bleu cheese, bacon bits and walnuts (which I have recently discovered go great on salads). Love you!!

Patsy said...

Sounds so good!

Tonja said...

OK, so now I must go out and get some blue cheese! You made it sound just too divine!

Beverly said...

I am so glad you discovered this new love, Rachel. I would have been sad if I had known that you did not love it.

I have never met a cheese I didn't love. And, I don't included processed cheese food in my love group.

My father loved cheese, and he shared with me as far back as I can remember. My mother used to say that I would eat anything my father ate.

Have you ever tried limburger? My father and I called it the stinky cheese, but we both loved it. My husband says it is too pungent to have in the refrigerator - even in a sealed container. I like it on pumpernickel and accompanied by dried apricots.

Caro said...

Love the Limburger! (I had some earlier that day with the still warm cherry chutney.Mmmmmmm.) I had it on my plate, but alas, being new to the whole stinky cheese world, I could not get them to try it.

( As a matter of fact, Mama had made up a little gift box to look like a Swiss Colony package for my birthday. Inside was a block of Limburger, a wedge of Manchego, several of the little Laughing Cow wedges.... you know the gift boxes always had some sort of wedges, and a handful of those little candies that look like strawberries. A gift from the Swiss Colony wouldn't be complete without it.)

Must go in search of cheese.... :-)

steelersandstartrek said...

I'll take a cheese plate over a fancy dessert most any time. Gosh, I am a fool for the stuff. Like you, Rachel, I was a late-bloomer for bleu cheese. In my youth I had equated it with the off-taste of store bought blue cheese dressing (not the stuff in the jars that actually uses medium grade stinky, but alas something passing for cheese flavored bad buttermilk -- Kraft or Wishbone types of things.) I think my gateway was a homemade bleu cheese sauce that either went with wings for a football party or some other application. Whatever it was, I was hooked. Now, in the same manic hunger mode as happens when I think about scovile units and spicy foods, I love finding the stinkiest ammonia laden cheese the stores are permitted to carry.

My first exposure to Limburger nearly sent me through the floor. It was at a friend's house for a nice little dinner, and a cheese plate came out. After being assured I'd like it a LOT, I picked up a slice of Limburger and brought it to my nose to see what I was in for. Kim and the other couple screamed in panic DON'T SMELL IT. It was like somethng out of a sitcom.

Nearly fell backward in my chair.

Maggie McArthur said...

Oh Rachel, tell Caro that's a fruit and cheese plate of my dreams. Mmmmmmm Morbier! And Port Salut and ESPECIALLY gorgonzola, so great with fruit.