Artisanal Cheese Center's Red, White & Bleu Event

The Artisanal Cheese Center started out as a small cheese cart at Picholine Restaurant. Maitre Fromager, Max McCalman, was the man behind the cart educating diners on the different cheeses, answering questions, and offering advice on wine pairings. As word spead about the exceptional cheeses, they recognized the opportunity in front of them and decided to build thier own cheese-aging caves.

The caves specialize in affinage (AH-fee-Nahj) - the ancient craft of maturing cheese to peak ripeness. As thier webpage explains, "Just as a wine grows in complexity and flavor with aging, this same nurturing process improves the quality of our cheeses. Aging, though, is just one important step in quality. Milk quality, which is often seasonal, is the first step in the quality chain. We look for cheeses made from the highest quality milk that are produced by the best cheese makers throughout the world, so that the finishing-by-aging in our caves consistently delivers the best cheeses available."

In 2007, the Artisanal Cheese Center separated from the restaurant business and now provides the some of world's finest cheese to their nationwide customer base! (You can order hundreds of thier cheeses online at ...Yes, that's my shameless plug to order some of their cheeses...because they are so impressivly fresh and delicious, and I honestly believe anyone would agree!

I was lucky enough to be invited to Artisanal’s American Cheese Day, an invitation-only media event held on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at the Artisanal Cheese Center in New York City...

The celebration offered tastings of over 120 delicious American artisan cheeses paired with American beers and wines. The cheeses were separated by the region which they came from, and each region featured an array of soft, hard, bleu, bloomy rind, and washed rind cheeses. All different milks were showcased, as well as varying ages.

Luckily for me, every one that I tried, I enjoyed! Maybe I chose wisely, but most likely they were all just that good!

Everything was truly fantastic and I learned so much about cheese! The people I met were great, the cheeses were all amazing, and I even had opportunity to chat with Max who invited me to come take one of his artisanal cheese classes!

I'm so greatful to have had the opportunity to attend this event and can't wait to learn even more from Max!

* * *

Contents of the awesome goodie bag I received...

The fresh mozzarella put to good use...

Pin It

Mediterranean Omelette

I love omelettes for breakfast...or even dinner!
This version is Mediterranean style and is filled with tomato, mozzarella cheese, and pesto. 

You'll Need - 

Three Eggs
1 Tablespoon of Milk 
1/2 of a Medium Tomato
Mozzarella Cheese

Crack the eggs into mixing bowl and add about a tablespoon of milk. Season with salt and pepper the beat the eggs until they turn a pale yellow color.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat with cooking spray in the bottom. When the pan is nice and hot, pour in the eggs. Don't stir! Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.

With a heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there's no liquid left.

The eggs will look like a big pancake and should easily slide around on the nonstick surface. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.

Now gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left.

Spoon a little bit of pesto on the eggs, add the tomato and sprinkle with cheese. 

With your spatula, lift one edge of the egg and fold it across and over, so that the edges line up. Cook for another minute or so.

Gently transfer the finished omelet to a plate. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs if desired.

Pin It

Wo Hop

Wo Hop is a Chinatown landmark...establised in 1938. There are two locations for Wo Hop and they are right next door to eachother. 15 & 17 Mott Street...15 is upstairs and 17 is down! I read somewhere that upstairs joint is for tourists and suckers, so obviously we went downstairs!

They serve totally Americanized Cantonese food and they've earned fame with late night eaters...Wo Hop only closes for three hours each morning (7:00 am - 10:00am) but all other times you can go there to cure your chinese food cravings!

They turn tables quicky and the waiters are certianly not strangers...It's good service but if you're in the mood to sit and relax, be prepared to feel a little rushed.

A glimpse into Wo Hop...

Tons of sapshots and business card tacked to the walls

And...I left my mark :)

Whatever you order, you will not leave hungry! We didnt get that memo before we went and totally over ordered! As you can see, the portions are huge and the food is heavy.

This is what we had...

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Shredded Beef, Szechuan Style

Sliced Chicken

Roast Pork Lo Mein

While it might not be gourment cuisine, it's actually pretty good, it's open SUPER late and it's cool to expierence a restaurant with seven decades in Manhattan!

One day, when your starved (or hungover!) check it out...but beware, it's cash only!

Pin It

Cobb Salad

Everyone loves a good Cobb Salad...
How can you go wrong with bacon, egg, avocado & cheese! 

The "traditional" Cobb salad has roquefort or blue cheese...
for this one I used cheddar. 

The Cobb Salad is the invention of restaurant manager, Bob Cobb. In 1926, at The Brown Derby, he created this recipe as a way to use up leftovers. 

For more history of the Cobb Salad, check out the History of Salads and Salad Dressings

Be as creative as you want with the ingredients in your Cobb Salad...use up those leftovers!! 

This is what I had on hand...

Black Olives
Cheddar Cheese
Hard Boiled Egg

Wash all your veggies and chop into bite sized pieces. Place your chopped lettuce in a bowl and arrange remaining ingredients on top of the bed of lettuce. Use your dressing of choice and enjoy!

Pin It

A World of Spice: HOT!! (At the Astor Center)

A few months ago I took a cooking class at the Astor Center. The topic was A World of Spice: HOT!! It was the first edition of a three part series, highlighting seasonings that share a flavor profile. The first on hot, the second on sweet, and the third on savory.

We started the day off with a tutorial from Michael Krondl. We learned that heat comes in many forms, some spices give off a searing sensation like hot Hungarian paprika, some offer a fast kick of heat like the Sichuan pepper, and others provide a dull burn like  green peppercorns. We smelled and sampled different varieties of dried capsicums (Spanish pimentón, Aleppo pepper, chili powder, cayenne and others) as well as peppercorns (black, white, green, red, Sichuan and Melegueta)

Once we had a good understanding of each ingredient we broke into teams and created one huge and deliciously spicy meal! 

Michael Krondl

The fist appetizer we made was...

Goat Cheese with Piment d'Espelette and Herbs 

The second was...

Romesco Dip


The romesco dip & goat cheese with french bread & raw fennel

For a salad course we made...

Daikon Salad with Sichuan Peppercorns and Chilies

 Dressing for our salad - vinegars, peanut oil, sugar, salt, dried Thai chilies, fresh red chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and fresh ginger! SPICY!!!!

We also cooked two entrees! The first was...

Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Melegueta Pepper and Spicy Plums

The second entree was...

 Le Bifteck Aphrodisiaque





Last but certainly not least was dessert! 

Balsamic-Roasted Pears with Pepper, Honey, & Roquefort 


yummy wine pairings...

I had so much fun at this class! Michael was a great teacher, we learned a lot about spicy spices and had a great time cooking and eating together!

The only bad news is that the Astor Center has stopped doing hands on cooking classes :( 

They do offer cooking demos with wine pairings so maybe I’ll check one of those out sometime, but I’m sure I’ll miss doing the cooking myself. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I found this recipe on Skinny Taste and gave it a shot!
It was fairly easy to make and it turned out great! 

You'll Need - 

Chicken Cutlets
Deli Ham
American Cheese
Scrambled Egg
Bread Crumbs
Cooking Spray

Start by pounding out the chicken cutlets and pile on two pieces of ham and 1 slice of cheese. 

Next, fold up the chicken wrapping it tightly around the ham and cheese and secure with skewers...

To bread each bundle of chicken simply dip the chicken in the scrambled egg and then roll around in the breadcrumbs making sure to get a nice even coating! 

Place the open side up on a greased baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Pin It

Ground Beef Quesadilla

You'll Need- 

Taco Meat (click for my recipe)
Flour Tortillas
Light Shredded Cheese 
LAND O LAKES Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt

I LOVE these! Only 60 calories per tortilla and 7 grams of fiber!! 

Start by spreading a small amount of the butter on the outside of your first tortilla. When the pan is nice and hot add the tortilla (butter side down) and add a small layer of cheese. Once the cheese is nice and bubbly take the tortilla out of the pan and set aside. Butter and add the second tortilla to the pan and top with another small sprinkle of cheese and then the taco meat. Cook until the cheese is bubbly. Next, with the cheese side down, place the other tortilla on top and press down so they melt together. Keep cooking and flipping until the outsides are nice and crispy!

Pin It