Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Hurricanes and Cheeses
It turned out that Gustav wasn't as bad as they predicted, by the time it made landfall it was only Category 1. I say only, that is in comparison to a 4 or 5 which was what they were talking about. It was still responsible (or was it) for the deaths of 8 people on the US mainland and a heck of a lot of damage in Louisiana. New Orleans has lots of flooding although not as bad as last time. I say 'or was it', if people didn't get out of the way, is that the hurricane's fault? The levees were overtopped again but they are not scheduled to finish rebuilding them for several years yet. One thing I was pleased to hear, people were allowed to take their pets with them when they were evacuated. Some said they wouldn't have gone without them this time. Photograph courtesy of the US Coastguard/Associated Press. One thing that does concern me, those who evacuated this time will eventually return and say "why did we leave, it wasn't necessary" with the result that next time they may not go and another Katrina situation could develop. However, we now have Hanna and Ike frolicking around in the Atlantic plus Tropical Depression 10. At present Hanna is destined for the South East coast of the States. That's where I used to live. They have been hit hard by hurricanes over the years, but not much lately they are pleased to say. Hurricanes come in cycles of about 10 years according to the weather boffins, I guess we are now in another cycle this year. That doesn't mean hurricanes don't form, there just aren't as many and certainly not many landfalls in some years. Of course the Caribbean Islands get quite a pasting when all these storms go past. Gustav did a lot of damage in Haiti and The Dominican Republic. I was surprised to get a question about Havarti Cheese yesterday. It is a Danish cheese which is also made in Canada, must admit I prefer the original. Wikipedia have a great description of it click here and also describe how it came to be made in the first place. It is a wonderful cheese for toasting too. I just slap a slice on a buttered bun and stick it under the grill. Yummy. Today, Marilyn of French Marilyn's Blog (see link this page) told me of another recipe using Mozzarella. In fact by the sound of it, the recipe is really for Bocconcini which are small cheeses very similar to Mozzarella. In her recipe they are served sitting in a bed of caviar. Not many of us can afford real caviar so one can make do with lumpfish roe or something similar which is not very expensive. It is something I must try, sounds pretty good. Think I have some lumpfish roe and the local grocery sell Bocconcini. Yes I know, lots of people don't like any kind of caviar, Matt isn't that keen, he would rather have a good paté de foie gras. I, on the other hand, take after my mother and love the stuff. Don't know if I told you the story of a flight to England a few years ago, we were travelling Air Canada and I commented that on a Canadian plane we should be serving Canadian wines, not French. Canada does excellent wines these days. We got into chat about the whole subject and finally the chief flight attendant got involved in the discussion. I happened to mention that I had always wanted to travel first class because of the better food, but had never been in a position to do so They said it wasn't much different, but then it turned out they had had paté and caviar for supper which we certainly hadn't. In the end we were brought small bottles of Canadian wine and a serving of paté for Matt and a serving of caviar for me. The rest of the passengers must have wondered at this special treatment. This had not been intentional of course, but on the way home I tried it on again, no success that time. Its Canadian Diabetes volunteer day again today. I already know one job I have to do and it won't be easy as the Word programme on the computer plays me up. Maybe it doesn't like me although I never have trouble with Word on my own PC. Here is a pasta recipe I picked up and which I haven't tried yet. I like both goat's cheese (Chèvre) and sun dried tomatoes so thought I would save the recipe to try. I usually enjoy the recipes of Giada di Laurentis on Everyday Italian too so figure I have a winner here. Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese Source: Everyday Italian Picture from Slowtrav.com Servings: 4 1 (10-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (oil reserved) 1 small onion, chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 cup tomato paste 2/3 cup dry white wine 8 ounces angel hair pasta Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and parsley and stir. Mound the pasta into bowls and serve. Have a great day.