Monday, May 31, 2010

Spring Rolls for the beginning of Summer

I was invited to Ojai for a Memorial Day weekend afternoon of food and friendship. Ojai, as you may know, is a gorgeous green valley of orange and lemon groves surrounded by beautiful hillsides with vineyards and oak forests leading up to rocky peaks. Down in the valley is a little village that epitomizes California charm. Our hostess, Catherine has a lovely home overlooking the valley, and that's where she invited a group of friends for a fabulous Italian influenced meal. I hadn't gotten the Italian message so I brought along a package of frozen Vietnamese Spring Rolls from Spring Kitchen. Well, good food is good food, so the spring rolls made a nice appetizer before the pasta and baked fish, despite the cultural dichotomy. I have three packages of Spring Kitchen spring rolls in the freezer, in three different flavors. Actually, I have two now, since I brought the shrimp spring rolls to this event. Pork and chicken and pork and shrimp are the other flavors and I'm saving those for the next party and a future blog post. Tina whipped together a dipping sauce with a Hoisin base and some other things she found in the fridge but if you order some spring rolls for your next party you can use the easy recipe for a dipping sauce at the Spring Kitchen site. We loved these spring rolls: easy and delicious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A different kind of grilled cheese sandwich

I picked up a pack of Yanni grilling cheese the other day, made by Karoun Dairies. It's their version of Mediterranean Halloumi cheese, which has the unusual property of not melting at high temperatures. Instead it develops a browned crust making it great for cooking on the grill, or in a grill pan, like the Fissler Crispy Steelux. Wow: it came out great. I cut a slice about one fourth of an inch thick. It has a high enough fat content that you don't need to add fat to the pan. Just heat the pan on a high flame until a drop of water bounces and bubbles in the pan, lay down the slice of cheese, lower the heat to medium and cook until browned (this only takes about a minute). Flip it over by carefully getting a metal turner under the cheese, without disturbing the browned crust. Then allow the other side to brown for about a minute. As you can see from the photo, I ate it with tabbouleh salad, half an avocado and whole wheat pita. So easy and delicious. For extra "cheese" put on a Yanni CD while eating.