cheese on parade

We know we’re not alone when we say that cheese is one of the few foods that we simply cannot live without. Cheese and their loyal comrades, the crackers, are understandably the go-to party starter for most busy hosts because few things are as easy to pull together in a pinch, with such universally fulfilling results. But the question is, could it be more interesting with little added preparation? We thought it would be an amusing exercise to experiment with different combinations and pairings – and then host a contest – a cheese pageant, if you will, to suss out the winners.  As pageants go, ours too, would be based purely on subjective judgement.  In this case, that of our guests, based on beauty, delectability, and compatibility.

Cheese pairing menu

Combined rankings:
1st the honey berry goat
2nd the bacon & blue
3rd the caramel plum pie
4th the earthy epoisses
5th the peppy radish
6th the sweet & salty
7th the autumnal ginger
winners of the cheese pairing contest
What we learned:
  • To gentlemen, on looks alone, bacon is a thing of beauty, not so much to the ladies
  • Ladies’ palates delight in the caramel plum pie, while the gentlemen found it too sweet.
  • All are agreed on two things:
  1. general apathy on all points for the sweet & salty
  2. love in all three categories for the honey berry goat (remarkable because the rice cracker it was on was spurned across the board, & melba toast recommended)
  • As with most things in life, one with beauty and personality wins outright, but a good personality and compatibility without beauty is a close second.


cilantro pesto with fig & cherry chutney

cilantro pesto with manchego and chutney
Cilantro. It’s one of those polarizing herbs. Some people love it while others think it tastes of dish soap. Jacque was pretty much in the latter camp but when an aromatic bunch was included in her recent CSA box, she was determined to use it. And share it. Margie suggested pesto and an interesting appetizer that also calls for cheese and a fig + cherry chutney. A strange sounding combo that she promised would unite marvelously. Jacque took care of the green stuff, adding cashews instead of pine nuts and Margie substituted an amazing cranberry Anarchy in a Jar  for the condiment.  Sweet and salty / sharp and sour. Converted!

button linking to recipes

recipes from a lazy picnic

picnic menu by larksandjapes.comAs we mentioned in our road trip post, we wanted to keep our getaway weekend as relaxed as possible. Nothing like a few girlfriends and glasses of wine to calm “I do” day jitters. To save precious time, we kept our picnic menu fairly simple, preparing as much as we could the night before, leaving mostly only assembling and packing up for the morning of our excursion. With the exception of a short-lived coffee scare  (the beans were whole with no grinder in sight, but a vintage blender came to the rescue ) our portable plan went off without a hitch.

cake in a jar - mason jar fruit cobbler [Read more…]