Oh, hi there! I do still exist, after all.
I’ve been digging out from under a pile of unfinished projects around the house and resume re-tooling/networking/hustling, but here I am. And my creative juices are flowing again!
Long story short, I’ve left my job (all good feelings, but it was time) and am looking for something new, this time back in the legal world. I know! So crazy.
But, I know why we’re all here: Let’s talk food. And, more specifically, cheese. A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation, as I sometimes do, for a cheese tasting. A French cheese tasting. With four different producers, all eager to share their wares with me and talk about how they produce the best cheeses in the world. I thought, why on earth not? It’s time to jump back in, and there’s nothing like some amazing cheese and the people who love it to inspire me. So, I said yes. And thus began the great renaissance of my cooking and blogging mojo (or so I hope!).
I walked in at 11:30, and was promptly offered a glass of red wine. Now, I don’t normally drink that early in the morning, but who am I to reject such hospitality? I mean, when in France (or at least, when among French cheese producers)…
So, I had some wine, and I sampled some amazing cheeses, and I met a group of the nicest European foodies you could ever hope to meet, one of whom was considering a move to Austin (I gave him some good restaurant tips). And then I came away with literally pounds of amazingly good French cheese and butter to experiment with. Nothing like that for inspiration! Everyone was so excited about my haul — the kids dug into the Mimolette Vieille from Isigny Ste Mère first, eating it by the chunk. Likely they were attracted by the cheese’s bright orange color (imparted with annatto, I’m told), but they loved the nutty flavor and kept coming back for more. They know good cheese, my girls!
I had more brie than anything else, so that’s where I started. I made an impromptu brie omelette for the kiddos that very evening, using farm-fresh eggs, a little cream, a pinch of salt, a hearty dollop of unsalted butter from Isigny Ste Mère for the pan, and a few generous slices of Brie L’Indulgent (a triple-cream brie) from President.
Simple is best, especially when you’re working with quality ingredients. I did sneak* a couple of small bites and the omelette was melt-in-your mouth amazing. Turns out I have some retained skills with a spatula!
*Okay, I straight-up stole them. Je ne regrette rein.
The next night, I had a little more time to plan, but I still needed something that would come together quickly, since Amelia has swim class on Wednesday evening, and we would need to eat directly after that. Pasta with Brie and Tomatoes did the trick, and it was a hit all around.
It’s a bit rich to call this a recipe, as it really is just some stuff I threw together to make a quick meal, but it was so good that I will definitely make it again! Plus, it includes my new favorite secret weapon for spicing up a meal without much effort: dried shallots.** Think of it as a template.
**So versatile! Add them to salad dressings, sauces, etc. for a pop of flavor. I get mine from Penzeys, and make sure to always have them on hand.
- 8 oz pasta (preferably short pasta with texture to grab the sauce; I used casarecce)
- 4 oz Brie, rind removed, cut into slices bite-size chunks
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
- 1 tsp dried shallots
- pinch salt
- Cook the pasta in generously salted water, according to package directions, until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.
- Pour the hot pasta directly into a heavy, heat-proof bowl, and add the Brie, tomatoes, shallots and salt. Add a splash of pasta water and cover the bowl with a plate or lid to retain the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes so the cheese becomes nice and melty.
- Remove the plate or lid and give the pasta a good stir, so that the melted Brie thoroughly coats the pasta and the tomatoes are divided evenly, adding another splash of pasta water if needed. Adjust seasoning and add a nice crank of pepper (that is, if your kids don't object to such things as strenuously as my oldest does these days.
- Serve immediately with a nice salad. Voila le dîner!
Stay tuned for more cheesy deliciousness, as I work my way through all these goodies!