Cucina Valentina

Cucina Valentina

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fruit, Fromage - and Wine, of course...

In my perfect world, I'd wake up and spend hours in the kitchen leisurely creating something I hope will turn out spectacular.  (Doesn't always happen that way, but I do have a great time trying) 

Friends are generally taken aback when they learn that Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite days of the year for the very reason that  I wake up knowing I have all day to make a multi-course feast, and it just, simply, makes me happy.  

Sadly, my hectic weekday life doesn't always afford the time necessary to attempt culinary masterpieces night after night.  When life gets too busy, I have no problem throwing down a simple cheese and fruit platter and calling it dinner.  

Ah, cheese.  Did I mention how much I love cheese?  Imagine my delight when, thanks to a dear friend, I lucked into a Restaurant Depot membership.  

If you are reading this blog, I know you love food as much as I do, and I highly recommend you do whatever it takes to check this place out.  You wont regret it!

Card in hand, I ventured into the sprawling restaurant supply warehouse - aka Disneyland for foodies - and literally stood there, mouth agape, in awe of my surroundings.  

Restaurant Depot spans aisle after aisle, packed with the most dazzling array of pastas, rice, sauces, seasonings and exotic delicacies.  Farm fresh produce in every variety imaginable.  So you have to buy a 20 pound bag of oranges, or an entire crate of cilantro?  Who doesn't want that?  Aside from my husband, that is, who has a hard time navigating our fridge as it is...

I won't even go into the gadgets, utensils and appliances, but suffice to say, the sight of waist-high stainless immersion blenders, Hobart ice makers and gleaming industrial refrigerators with glass doors gave me the chills!

Donning one of the many quilted coats hanging on a rack by the massive refrigerator doors, I ventured into a 15,000 square foot ice box to check out the meats, seafood, poultry, dairy and, low and behold, came face to face with the cheese display.  And not just ordinary cheese.  No sliced American here.  We are talking specialty cheeses from around the world.  I was in Heaven.

There were wheels of nutty, aged Dutch Gouda the size of an economy car's spare tire and bricks of buttery Havarti riddled with maple bacon.  Buckets of New York Ricotta, five pound bags of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and ground Pecorino Romano, apricot infused sharp white cheese from the English countryside and logs of cranberry covered creamy white bliss from goats that roam the rolling green hills of Napa Valley.

Needless to say, I spent way more money than I should have, and later found that cheese, when sealed air tight in plastic, freezes magnificently and thaws quickly, just perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.  

So maybe my cheese platter is not exactly simple, but add some seasonal fruit, cracked black pepper Triscuits, assorted charcuterie and I am good to go!

 Did I forget to mention the wine?  I believe a fall shipment of Dark Star is headed my way any moment now. 

Oh happy day!