Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How To Make The Perfect Cheese Board

You have guests coming to dinner, and you think, what is easier than a delicious cheese plate for an appetizer? After all, everybody loves cheese! Reality strikes when you realize just how many cheese there are to choose from! How to pick?These kinds of gourmet dilemmas are enough to keep a foodie away, so read on and we'll help you figure out how to pick cheeses for your cheese board that are bound to delight.

You want to have perhaps 4 to 5 cheeses, and you want them to be different, or else your cheese board will be boring. The trick to putting together a cheese board is to balancesome key elements like flavor, texture and color. Milk type is the most obvious factor that changes the flavor of a cheese, but other things like age and addedingredients also come into play. Some basics to keep in mind are:

MILK TYPE: cow's milk cheeses are typically the mildest of all cheese. Goat and sheep's milk cheeses have a very characteristic flavor and aroma, which some people love and others not so much. You typically don't want to have more than one goat or sheep's milk cheese in your board, unless you know the palates of your guests very well. You can also experiment with a mixed milk cheese, which combines two or more milks.

AGE: A young cheese, one that's served about 2-3 weeks after production is typically much subtle in flavor than one that's been aged. A young cheese is usually a soft cheese, so that's another useful tip to keep in mind. Older cheese is crumblier and harder, like Parmigiano.

TEXTURE& COLOR: This varies dramatically, and you'll find that most people-pleasing cheeses are those that fall into the category of soft cheese and white cheese, likeBrie or triple cream cheese like Delice de Bourgone. Something fun to do is picking cheeses with a color palette that suits you. While some people might like an all-white cheeseboard, others might enjoy having a colorful one, with a fun orange cheese like Mimolette, or a striking black cheese likeash-topped Coeur de Berry.

COUNTRY: Indisputably, the country most famous for cheese is France. You could make up an almost limitless combination of cheese boards just with French cheeses! And we encourage you to do so! You'll find a wide array of French cheeses that cover all the categories we've talked about. However, it would be criminal to ignore the many other wonderful cheese selections from countries around the world. Create a fun, country-themed arrangement of cheeses, like a "Cheese from Spain" cheese board; or mix and match for an inventive "international" cheese board. An example? Pair a soft white Brie from France with a wine-soaked red Murcia Al Vino goat cheese from Spain, a fruity Taleggio from Italy, and a delicious crowd-favorite aged Cheddar from England.

Just remember, these aren't hard rules, just guidelines! The important thing is to have fun and pick cheeses you like. A cheeseboard also gives you the perfect opportunity to try a new cheese, since you have three or four staples in case it's a miss. Have fun, pick your favorite wine, and nibble away!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to Cook Delicious Greek Moussaka

Moussaka is a very popular dish in the Middle East of which Greece is part of. If you ever have the chance to dine in a Greek restaurant you'll undoubtedly find moussaka on the menu and I recommend you to try it. But you don't really have to go to a restaurant to try out this tasty dish – you can prepare it at home with ease. It consists mainly of minced meat, eggplant and a tasty topping of cheese sauce. Here is how you cook a delicious Greek moussaka in no time.

For the meat sauce you will need the following ingredients that you can find in any store: 500g (1 pound) of minced lamb or beef (the original recipe is with Lamb because that seems to be popular in Greece but I prefer this dish with beef); 1 well chopped onion; 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil; 2-3 tablespoons of dry white wine; 425-450g of tomato paste; 1 tablespoon of well chopped parsley; 2 teaspoons of well chopped mint leaves; a half teaspoon of both ground white pepper and ground cinnamon;

For the cheese sauce you will need: 90-100g of butter; 2 cups of milk; 1/3 cup of regular flour; 2 lightly beaten eggs and a cup of grated Romano cheese; You will also need 3 eggplants but before you start cooking I'll have to give you a little piece of advise – do not cook this fine meal in an oven that hasn't been cleaned in a while. According to expert oven cleaners in London, the build up grease and debris on the inside walls of an oven can affect the taste of your meal. That is why before you start cooking you must make sure that your oven is thoroughly cleaned.

So here is how you cook moussaka. Slice the eggplants into 1 cm slices and sprinkle them with salt. Leave them on side because now you'll have to prepare the meat sauce. Heat up some olive oil in a pan. When the temperature is right add the beef and the chopped onion. Keep cooking them until they are well browned and don't forget to stir. Add the white wine, the tomato paste and all the seasoning. Bring the sauce to a boil and after that reduce the heat. Cover the pan for a while but occasionally stir. While the meat sauce is cooking you can prepare the cheese sauce. Heat the butter in a small pan and add the flour – use low heat and stir for two minutes. After that add the milk and keep stirring until it looks smooth. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes until the mixture gets thick. Remove the pan from the stove and add the cheese and eggs. Beat the mixture until it looks smooth and fluffy.

Cook the sliced eggplants in a pan until they look golden. Take a baking dish and arrange half of the the eggplants inside. Cover them with half of the meat sauce. Add the remaining eggplants and cover with the rest of the meat sauce. Spread the cheese sauce over the top and put the baking dish in the preheated oven (180 degrees C/ 350 F). Bake for about 45 minutes or until the meal looks golden. When you take the moussaka out let it cool down for about 15 minutes – after that you can serve and enjoy.

I am sure that you will like the taste of moussaka but I hope that you took the warning from the expert oven cleaners in London seriously. The whole effort would have been for nothing if you cooked this wonderful meal in a dirty oven.