Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Walker House Update-10-23/Cheese History/Recipes

Just inspired to write...so here are a few points of interest....along with a little cheese history from the Cheffy Boy...

The Walker House is rocking...construction projects produce a new image everyday...

I will be in Wisconsin on the Fifteenth, and I am attempting to recruit my buddy Chef Dave Bulla from Pittsburg, PA. Dave, his wife and I have a history together and I would love to have the three of us together. Dave is going to meet me in Mineral Point on November 20th for a week-long, hands-on interview for my Executive Sous Chef position. I hope Dave likes it in Mineral Point, he would be an asset of the dream I have in mind...

Anyway, just putzing around on the computer trying to get tired enough to go to sleep and found an article that I had written when I was staying with David and his wife in Austin, Texas. The article was about Cheese. I thought that was pretty ironic.

This article came from newsletters that I used to write...I have gotten away from the recipes and history writing somewhat and have become more of the kitchen reality writing so it was kind of fun to find this...I am even giving away some recipes, which is something that I haven't done in years....This article is dated May 2001, I took a short hiatus to Austin with my Rottweiler Harley for a couple months, and I was staying with Chef Dave and his wife.

To read some more of the newsletters and stuff go to "The Chef's Office Newsletters" you can sign up for the sporadic CheffyBabbles also, or just go give 'em a peek...

Cheese History Stuff

"...A little history on cheese ...
Most authorities consider that cheese was first made in the Middle East. The earliest type was a form of sour milk which came into being when it was discovered that domesticated animals could be milked.
A legendary story has it that cheese was 'discovered' by an unknown Arab nomad. He is said to have filled a saddlebag with milk to sustain him on a journey across the desert by horse. After several hours riding he stopped to quench his thirst, only to find that the milk had separated into a pale watery liquid and solid white lumps. Because the saddlebag, which was made from the stomach of a young animal, contained a coagulating enzyme known as rennin, the milk had been effectively separated into curds and whey by the combination of the rennin, the hot sun and the galloping motions of the horse. The nomad, unconcerned with technical details, found the whey drinkable and the curds edible.
Cheese was known to the ancient Sumerians four thousand years before the birth of Christ. The ancient Greeks credited Aristaeus, a son of Apollo and Cyrene, with its discovery; it is mentioned in the OldTestament.
In the Roman era cheese really came into its own. Cheesemaking was done with skill and knowledge and reached a high standard. By this time the ripening process had been developed and it was known that various treatments and conditions under storager esulted in different flavours and characteristics.
The larger Roman houses had a separate cheese kitchen, the caseale, and also special areas where cheese could be matured. In large towns home-made cheese could be taken to a special centre to be smoked. Cheese was served on the tables of the nobility and travelled tothe far corners of the Roman Empire as a regular part of the rations of the legions.
During the Middle Ages, monks became innovators and developers and it is to them we owe many of the classic varieties of cheese marketed today. During the Renaissance period cheese suffered a drop in popularity, being considered unhealthy, but it regained favour by the nineteenth century, the period that saw the start of the move from farm to factory production. How's that for a little bit of useless but interesting info...
Cheese dishes
Here is a little bit of Chef Mike fusion, mixing my love for Mexican staples with that of traditional Italian...
Fettucini alla Carbonara
This is not the traditional dish, although similiar, like all else it has that little Cheffy twist to it.
The traditional recipe calls for pancetta bacon and I substitute chorizo for the pancetta, cause that's thekind of guy I am...I love chorizo, something about that spicy pork fat I think...ha ha
If you would prefer to use bacon or pancetta, feel free, it's your world baby!!!
3/4# Fettucini or spaghetti
4-6 ounces of chorizo, pancetta or lean bacon
3 cloves of garlic, halved
1/3 cup of white wine
1/3 cup of heavy or whipping cream**
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook your chorizo and garlic, roughly 4-5 minutes, oruntil it is done.
Drain, reserve 3T of your sausage fat, discard your garlic.
Prepare your pasta, drain and rinse, return to dry pan.
When your sausage is done and you have drained it and returned it to the hot pan with the 3T of drippings add the wine. Allow the wine to simmer for 3-5 minutes, add your cream. In a double boiler, whisk in the egg and the egg yolk,whisk in 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and cook until the sauce thickens slightly.
Pour the chorizo-cream mixture over your fettucini and toss well. Re-heat.
When reheated toss with the egg cheese mixture. Toss to coat.
Fix the kidz a peanut butter sandwich, sit on the floor of the kitchen and eat it all...
Some things are just not meant to be shared...mmmmmmm....ha ha
**Cheffy Notes:
You can thicken low fat or skim milk to replace the heavy cream.
One other thing I like to do is omit the sausage, keep the garlic when I am making the cream sauce and add asparagus tips and artichokes...
mmmmm, not to mention a helluva lot healthier...
Cheddar Cheese Dumplings
Ingredients for 4 servings:
16 oz Cheddar, Shredded
2 Large Eggs
1 c Unbleached Flour
1 t Salt
1/2 c Butter
1/2 pt Sour Cream
Mash the cheddar cheese and then add the eggs mixing well.
Stir in the flour and salt.
Drop by tablespoons into the rapidly boiling water or chicken stock
Cover and boil for 15 minutes.
Drain and serve with melted butter and sour cream.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley or paprika,if desired.
Good Stuff Maynard..."
OK...enough babbles...will be back soon...