Thursday, February 9, 2012

Say "Cheese" on Valentine's Day

Flowers are nice, but cheese is ... cheesy? Why not have both? 

At the same time.

Once again, Virtual Potluck teamed up with Taste to serve up some beverages to go along with our special Valentine's Day menu. This is the third and last meal we're putting together.

On this week's menu, we have:
  • An appetizer featuring mushrooms made by Milisa.
  • I'm handling the intermezzo, below.
  • Vanessa is in charge of the entree - steak frites.
  • And for dessert, Nelly whipped up some hot chocolate poached pears.

I chose a simple cheese plate this time around. Or not so simple, perhaps.

I've heard lots of theories about how to assemble a cheese plate - by country - by style - by other attributes. But really, if you're making a cheese plate for you and your sweetie, just pick cheeses that you like. It doesn't matter if someone else thinks the cheeses don't go together - if you like them, put them on the plate. It really is as simple as that.

If you're arranging a cheese plate for guests, you might make different selections. But for you and your sweetie, throw the rules away. Serve what you like.

For our cheese plate, I started with two different blue cheeses - a Danish blue and a buttermilk blue. We like blue cheese. I also included cubes of Emmenthaler as well as as some marinated feta cheese. And for something frilly and fancy, I had some Tete de Moine cheese that I curled into flowers.

Pretty, isn't it?

So, now maybe you want to know how to make them, right? 
Okay, first, you need one of these:

It looks like this, assembled.

If this seems like an unusual item to own, well, yes, it is. I won this in a contest at Culture Cheese Magazine a while back, or I might never have bought one. So far, I've only used it for cheese, but I've been meaning to try it with chocolate.

The cheese goes on the spike and you start cranking:

Thin layers of cheese curl up just like this:

Here's a closer look:

And closer. The layers are very thin and delicate.

And that's it. I usually pinch the small end a bit to hold it together better. When you eat the cheese flowers, they sort of melt in your mouth - just dissolve. It's a different way to eat cheese, that's for sure. And they look pretty on the plate, no doubt.

And how about a drink with dinner? If you're not familiar with it, Taste is a mixology show that features cool cocktails from the creative minds at, an independent television and radio network founded by brothers Myron and Otis McDaniel..

The resident “booze head” is Otis, who showcases classic and not-so-classic cocktail recipes. After tending bar at college parties, Otis honed his bartending skills at local taverns on the nights he wasn’t moonlighting as a bouncer. And now, he's serving drinks in a limited engagement here with Virtual Potluck

Here are this week's drinks:

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