Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Snack

We had eaten a light breakfast, and dinner was a long way off. So Bob and I decided a snack was in order. When it was all put together, I knew I had to take a picture to share with you! Not to make you jealous...but I totally understand if it does :-)

Our friend Dianne, who is my culinary mentor, recently went to a three day bread making class in Chicago. She came back with all kinds of things up her chef jacket sleeves. Yesterday she dropped off a gorgeous loaf of walnut bread. This is not a sweet bread. No, it is made with a mixture of flour that includes rye. It has a country, earthy taste that is complimented by the toasted walnuts. Oh my. She also "happened to have" a wheel of Saga Blue Brie. This is a "soft ripened blue-veined triple creme cheese:". Translated...O.M.G! Spread on the walnut bread, well I don't believe I can even describe it. (And yet, you know I'm gonna try.)  The creamy blue brie cheese meets the rustic warm earthy walnut bread; what results is a flavor event in your mouth of such epic proportions that I am still a tad breathless. Ah, but not so breathless that I can't continue to expound upon the experience ;-)

Along with the gastronomical delight of the walnut bread with the Saga blue brie, we had chunks of ripe cantaloupe and thin slices of salami. That was our riff on the prosciutto-wrapped melon. I thought what was needed to complete this assortment was some kind of a pickled dish. Ironically enough, I had just finished preparing Shanghai Cucumbers*.  I planned to have them with dinner later, but they screamed to join the fun. So I put some of those in a small bowl and added it to the array on the board.

To bring all of the wonderful tastes together, I suggested to Bob that we have a glass of one of my most favorite wines. If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's near you; not walk!!!  Demand to be shown where the Villa Alena Moscato D'Asti is displayed! As you can see in the picture, it is in an incredibly fun bottle. And if you like a sweet wine as most moscato's are, you need to make sure to purchase multiple bottles of this wine. One sip and you will understand why I am so adamant! It is sweet sunshine that dances over your tongue and tickles your teeth. It leaves you smacking your lips and wanting more. It transports you to a hot summer day, sitting out on an incredible deck that your husband and dear friends built for you in the hottest part of the summer, holding cold honey colored sunshine in a glass. Whoa! Sorry about that. I believe I just had an out of body experience!

*Let me tell you about the Shanghai Cucumbers. They are so delicious! If you are watching your carbs and want a yummy snack or if you're just a pickled vegetable fiend, these are the ticket! The cucumbers are cool and fresh and have that Asian flare of both salty and a tad sweet. Even if you're not fortunate enough to have a friend that brings you fresh baked walnut bread with Saga blue brie cheese, you ought to try these. They are insanely simple to make and I'll warn you, they are addicting!!!

Shanghai Cucumbers
(from Barefoot Foodie)

1 large English Cucumber
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar (White or Apple Cider will work also)
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds

1.  Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil together.

2.  Slice up the cucumbers and add them to the bowl; toss to mix.

3.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds right before serving.

4.  Eat them all!

I am so happy to have been able to share this snack with you. It feels good to be back to my blog. Thank you to those of you that have stuck with me during my recuperation. Hopefully, I am back!

Please note the lovely cala lilies. I am happy to share those with you, as well. :-)