Roxie has been my buddy for decades. We were in the same high school and college. She became the longtime editor of Teen magazine and generously gave me my first writing assignment, a story about how to make a giant cookie that looked like a pizza. It was topped with sugary mock pepperoni and grated white chocolate “cheese”. Introduce.
Now retired and living in California’s Central Coast wine country, Rox continues to be an avid home cook. She shares recipes with me from time to time, and it was one of our culinary chats that led me to a great little cookbook, “100 Perfect Pairings” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, $16.95). One of her recommendations from the book was for white cheddar with wine-soaked cherries and herbs, an easy-to-prepare appetizer that’s great for at home, picnics, or an afternoon snack paired with a nice glass of wine. Thanks Roxie.
White cheddar with wine soaked cherries and herbs
Yield: 4 to 6, plus leftover vinaigrette cherry mix to make about 4 more servings
1/3 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Provencal herbs
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher salt
2/3 cup dried sweet cherries, such as Bing, roughly chopped
8 ounces medium-sharp white cheddar cheese, whole or slices, see Chef’s Notes
Crackers to serve
Chef’s Notes: I often substitute a variety of Spanish cheeses for the white cheddar. My grocery store has a 5-ounce pack of sliced Spanish cheese: Manchego, Iberico, and Queso de Cabra.
1. In a medium glass or stain-resistant plastic container, combine wine, oil, vinegar, spices and salt, whisking to dissolve salt. Add cherries and cover; two days in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally. You can refrigerate for up to a week, using one serving for one serving with half the cheese and the other serving for a future serving. The oil can stiffen in the refrigerator; if so, let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so, then stir to combine.
2. Place the cheese on a rimmed plate and spoon the mixture onto it. Serve with crackers on the side.
Source: “100 Perfect Pairs” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, $16.95)
Cooking question? Please contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]