It is a sunny and brisk Sunday afternoon, and after a morning full of gardening (for me), and window cleaning (for him) we sit exhausted on the couch. It is almost high noon, and although we are both feeling peckish, we are not tooo hungry. What is a tired old chef to do? Grab some delicious cheese, that’s what.
Luckily we had some delicious cheese in the fridge that I had just purchased from Chez Fromage Etc in Fenwick this past week. Five minutes later, Shiraz and I were at the table with a selection of Québécois cheeses, (and one AMAZING Wisconsin cheese), alongside ripe Bartlett pear, Fig jam, and crostini. I love a good cheesy lunch. It slows things down a bit, gives you time to chat and just basically allows you to revel in some yummy cheeses that you just don’t have every day.
This lunch all came about because earlier this week, Patrick and I headed to see Nathalie Kita at her shop for a selection of cheeses to pair with our Good Earth Wines. A little bit of training on our part is on the horizon so we can share some delectable cheeses and wines with you on the Good Earth Patio when it is open. (TBA).
Nathalie is a true treasure, ready and willing to open ANY cheese so we can taste and savour it. And I can tell you, she has a wide variety of Canadian, French, and American cheeses, just to name a few.
So after a few tastings, I trundled home with the following morsels:
Allegretto: a semi-firm salty, nutty sheep’s milk cheese
Le Baluchon: an organic raw milk cheese
Le Doux Péché: a fantastic creamy brie, a mix of goat and cow’s milk
Rasperry Bella Vitano: A Wisconsin cheese, amazing! Salty, tangy, and delectable. Very much like a Parmesan cheese.
It was a good variety of cow, sheep, semi soft, brie style, and hard cheeses. Although I didn’t have a blue cheese, I would always suggest to have one on hand especially if entertaining.
So what to do with some of that leftover cheese you may ask. With the summer just around the corner, and the gentle shade of trees beckoning, take lunch outside and enjoy this delicious recipe. Pair it with a dry Riesling or Rosé wine (The Good Earth Riesling will be available May, 2010).
The Feta-less Greek Salad
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly ( place in cold water for 10 minutes to take away any harshness)
- 3-4 ripe tomatoes, diced into 1″ pieces
- 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
- a handful of your favourite olives, kalamata olives are great for this recipe
- a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, stemmed and lightly chopped
- 3-4 Tbsp of good quality Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- Brie cheese sliced, some Allegretto or Thornlea Asiago cheese shaved, some fresh goat cheese crumbled. (Amounts of cheese are to your taste and liking!)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Sliced fresh crusty bread. Baguette will do just fine.
In a large bowl, toss onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, olives, and some salt together. Let sit for at least a 15 minutes. Add olive oil, balsamic, and goats cheese. Gently toss. If plating individually, place salad and dressing on plate. Add shavings of Allegretto and slices of Brie. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Finish with a small sprinkling of fleur de sel if desired. Serve with warmed bread.
If serving family style, place salad into an attractive platter. Place Brie around the the edge of salad. Shave generously with Allegretto cheese. Place olive oil and fleur de sel on the table so guests may help themselves. Serve with warm bread.