Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cheese, Limes, and Other Cooking Adventures

You may have noticed that the name of this blog is The Cheese Stringery. This is no accident. While I originally intended this blog to be a poetry focused blog (and still deals in poetry from time to time)… one of my first loves in life, especially in a gastronomic capacity, was cheese. In fact, my love is so great that, despite an dairy sensitivity, I can’t bring myself to give it up. Sure, occasionally I just focus on goat cheese thereby avoiding the lactose issue, but sometimes goat cheese just won’t satisfy. Probably because, as much as I love a good chevre or feta, and sometimes a goat cheddar will suffice, nothing really compares to a really good, really true cheddar. An aficionado of cheese, I tend to buy some every week. Sometimes I get in a rut and just buy chevre for a while or just buy feta, and occasionally I feel sassy and buy a few new cheeses in tasting size just to see what I have been missing.


Most recently, I was at my local market and there were a couple cheese tasting stations and one was for Coastal Cheddar (imported from ye old Britain). As you know, since I just told you, I love cheddar. But this Coastal Cheddar was like cheddar at its most refined, most pure, most perfect. While still maintaining hard cheese integrity, it is soft. White and a little creamy. And most importantly, sharp. This cheese is really sharp. Delightfully, beautifully sharp. Since having discovered this (rather pricey) cheddar, I have tried multiple similar looking but cheaper incarnations that never quite hold up.


So there you have it… the perfect cheese. Coastal Cheddar. $6 for a tiny tiny little piece. And totally worth it.



Seemingly unrelated… I have been sick. I don’t get sick very often and when I do it typically passes. This, however, took weeks to build. I felt tired and sometimes headachey, but had few other symptoms. Then there was frequent sneezing. Then there was a day of pure nausea. That passed and I felt better a day later. But a week later, yesterday, I woke with a sore throat that felt like someone had taken a razor to my throat and serrated the edges. I could feel it in my ears. And I was stuffy and felt sort of stoned and my eyes burned. A big old mess.


Always one to try the natural cures first, I made myself two hot toddies. This is a remedy I’ve used for many years and have typically found it to fix everything in one night. Jack Daniels. Honey. Lemon. Hot water. I made myself two. While sipping this delicious nectar my throat cooled. I drank lots of water. Spent the whole day on the couch working my way through the delightfully bad tv show Prison Break on Netflix Watch Instantly. (One of the most brilliant inventions for those who are stuck at home, sick in bed.)


But these things are not the point. The point is,  discovered something about lemons and limes that I am sure you have known for a long time and wonder why nobody had pointed out to me. That if you roll it on the counter with the palm of your hand, you release the juices.


Yeah. You knew that already, right? Well I didn’t. Deal with it. Life changer. And also… made a way, way better Hot Toddy. So that, for the briefest of moments, my throat felt better.


However, now I am out of whiskey and have lost my voice (but it doesn’t hurt right now!)… so I sound like Betty Boop (or so I was told).



Among other food news, I got a new selection of recipes. As you may or may not already know or have divined, I work in a synagogue. That means that I spend 40 hours a week surrounded by Jews, who I love, and their endless runway of food. Baked goods are always prevalent, but there is also a cooking class on Sundays that bring in more real food food. As such, I got a pile of Jewish recipes. I decided to try something simple, something not cooking, the Israeli salad. I did this mostly because, when having drinks with one of our oh-so-lovely Hebrew teachers, he raved and raved about the Israeli salad and how he missed the food in Israel.


I have never been to Israel, but after listening to him talk about it, I kind of miss the food in Israel too.


Either way, the salad is simple. Cucumber, scallions, red pepper, tomato, parsley diced over a bed of lettuce (your choice, I presume) with a lemon/olive oil/salt & pepper dressing. (Yet another opportunity to roll yr lemons!)


It’s simple, certainly. But refreshing and delicious. I think the magic would be increased during the summer, because it’s so refreshing. And I also thought, for me, cilantro or basil would probably be preferable to parsley. I also thought a bit of lime along with yr lemon would be a nice touch. And maybe some garbanzo beans for substance.


Ok… so I am a modifier. I modify all of my recipes. All the same, delish!


Happy eating!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your Trouble is Ballooning

Something cool!

Your Trouble is Ballooning by Amber Nelson

38 pages
80 pages
6 x 7.5"
Split side with A. Minetta Gould
cover art by Kelly Packer
Official release date 01/11/2011
preorder in mid December

Advance praise from Stacy Doris, author of Knot:
Amber Nelson works in the tension between meaning and making.: a music of shifts and sleights. Intention is not imposed but what emerges, not the isolate personal "I" but the pulse of American culture and history. "In the correspondence of assassination/ In the simmer green floor that jettisons" –- please read!

About the book and its author:
Your Trouble is Ballooning is comprised of eight sections of dense and lovely mysteries. Nelson is the co-founder and editor for alice blue. She has recent work published in H_ngm_n, Coconut, and Columbia Poetry Review. Another chapbook, Diary of When Being With Friends Feels Like Watching TV, will be available from Slash Pine Press.