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Dec 17, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Guide to the Holidays 2016: Cheese for Dessert

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

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Nothing says class like an after-dinner cheese course. “Cheese can be a decadent treat that satisfies your need for something creamy and sweet to finish out a meal,” said Larder & Cupboard general manager Cindy Higgerson. “It’s a nice way to end an elegant dinner.” A good cheese board should have a couple sweet accompaniments like honey and dried fruit, some savory choices like pickles and nuts, and crackers or crusty bread along with three to five cheeses. Ask your cheesemonger for help choosing a variety of milks, ages and styles. We asked Higgerson to build us the ultimate cheese course.

1. Green Dirt Farms Woolly Rind aged sheep’s milk cheese
This creamy, decadent Camembert-style is made locally in Weston, Missouri. $18.

2. Kenny’s Farmhouse Awe Brie
A bloomy-rind, soft cheese, this brie goes great with preserves and fruit. $14.

3. Baetje Pumpkin Walnut goat cheese
This fresh goat cheese is nutty and sweet. “It’s good crumbled on ice cream,” Higgerson said. “I’ve even had customers put it in cannoli.” $11.

4. Milton Creamery Flory’s Truckle aged cheddar
With more of a bite, this clothbound aged cheddar offers nice contrast to the creamier cheeses. $27 per pound.

5. Kenny’s FarmhouseBlue Gouda
This is milder than most blue cheeses, offering some funkiness without overpowering. $23.50 per pound.

6. Quince & Apple figs and black tea preserves
Figs and cheese are a classic combination. This fruity preserve pairs especially well with the Truckle. $9.

7. La Quercia Speck Americana
Similar to prosciutto, speck offers a bit of saltiness to contrast and balance the sweeter cheeses and preserves. $11.50.

8. Potter’s crackers
These Wisconsin-made crackers are hand-rolled and hand-cut. “The Classic White pairs with almost any cheese, without question,” Higgerson said. $7.

9. Quince & Apple pear with honey and ginger preserves
The sweet punch of this honey-ginger pear preserve is well suited for dessert. $9.

All products available at Larder & Cupboard

More about Larder & Cupboard

The Weekend Project: Pretzels and Beer Cheese

Friday, October 28th, 2016

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Soft pretzels fresh from the oven are practically an out-of-body experience – especially when paired with beer cheese sauce, pungent mustard and a pint of a good beer.

Bad pretzels, on the other hand, are not worth the energy it takes to chew them. The disappointment of a stale or soggy pretzel can only be soothed with a significant amount of dark chocolate.

Don’t take chances on such despair. Homemade pretzels are not difficult, and with the right chemicals, safety gear and a friend to help shape and consume, this is a perfect activity for a Halloween weekend.

Like bagels, pretzels are made from a simple yeast dough that’s sweetened with malt syrup. After a short rise, they are shaped, submerged in a lye solution, and then baked for a few minutes. While a baking soda-based alkaline solution does produce pretzels with decent chew, a short bath in lye produces a much more robust color and flavor.

 

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Working with food-grade lye (available online) does require a few precautions. Be sure to wear clean rubber gloves, eye covering and an apron or smock to protect against any splashes. Also, work in a well-ventilated area. We took this step outside to avoid any overwhelming fumes.

And before you write this recipe off as too much work – yes, I hate buying extra equipment and ingredients for one recipe, too. I am always open to substitutions, but after hearing the results of other homemade pretzel experiments, the mad scientist in me was curious enough to see for myself. The conclusion in our household was unanimous: pretzels dipped in lye had a much better aroma, chew and color than those made with baking soda solution and were by far the favorite.

We provided you with a lovely, roux-based beer cheese sauce, but if you feel like upping your mad scientist game this weekend, a little sodium citrate will take the creamy texture of your sauce to the next level.

 

The Shopping List*
2 Tbsp. malt syrup
1 Tbsp. (1¾ oz.) active dry yeast
4 to 4½ cup bread flour
½ cup food-grade lye
Coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp. flour or 5½ g. sodium citrate
6 oz. lager
3 to 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Splash of Louisiana-style hot sauce
¼ tsp. paprika

*This list assumes you have kosher salt and butter at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.

 

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Mad Scientist Pretzels
8 servings

1½ cup warm water (approximately 110 degrees)
2 Tbsp. malt syrup*
1 Tbsp. (1¾ oz.) active dry yeast
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 to 4½ cup bread flour
2 quarts cold water
½ cup food-grade lye**
Coarse sea salt

Special equipment: clean rubber gloves, protective eyewear, apron, large nonreactive (plastic or glass) bowl

• In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the warm water, yeast, malt syrup and kosher salt. Let rest 5 minutes until the liquid begins to bubble.
• With the mixer on low speed, add the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Increase to medium speed and knead the dough 5 to 6 minutes, adding more flour if it is too sticky. The dough should be soft, but not wet.
• Place the dough in a large mixing bowl and cover with a dry towel or oiled plastic wrap. Let rise 30 to 45 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
• Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll and gently stretch the 1 piece of dough into a 2-foot long rope. To make a traditional pretzel, form the rope into a U-shape. Cross one side over the other, then twist and fold the ends down to the bottom of the U and press gently to adhere. Place the pretzel on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
• Don clean rubber gloves, protective eyeware and an apron. In a well-ventilated space, add the cold water and lye to a large nonreactive bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the lye dissolves.
• Use gloved hands to gently submerge 1 pretzel in the lye bath 10 seconds. Return to the baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
• Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the pretzels are browned. Remove from cooking sheet and cool on a rack. Serve with beer cheese sauce or coarse-grain mustard.

*Available at Whole Foods
**Available online

 

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Beer Cheese Sauce No. 1
2 cups

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
6 oz. lager
3 to 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Splash of Louisiana-style hot sauce
¼ tsp. paprika

• In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the flour and stir 2 minutes, scraping the sides to completely cook the flour. Add the beer and continue stirring until it warm.
• Add the cheese and stir until melted. Let simmer, stirring, until the beer has reduce and the cheese sauce reaches the desired consistency. A thick sauce takes about 5 minutes.
• Stir in the hot sauce and paprika and serve with pretzels. Sauce will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for several weeks.

 

Beer Cheese Sauce No. 2
Adapted from a recipe from The Modernist Cuisine
2 cups

6 oz. lager
5½ g. sodium citrate*
3 to 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Splash of Louisiana-style hot sauce
¼ tsp. paprika

• In a small pot over medium-low heat, whisk together the beer and sodium citrate until the sodium citrate completely dissolves. Bring to a simmer.
• Whisk in the cheese 1 spoonful at a time until melted.
• Stir in the hot sauce and paprika and serve with pretzels. Sauce will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for several weeks.

* Available online

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

By the Book: America’s Best Breakfasts by Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

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Authors Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman tapped into their network of culinary friends and chefs across the U.S. to discover some of the country’s best breakfasts. Each region gets its due (shoutouts to Prasino and Half & Half, who represented St. Louis), and I headed to Miami to make chef Ingrid Hoffmann’s Colombian pan de yuca.

Tapioca flour comes from the starchy roots of the yuca plant (also known as cassava), which is found in South and Central America. This superfine powder is easy to find in the specialty aisle of most grocery stores. The instructions were simple; mix everything together and knead to combine. The rich yuca buns came out soft, golden and very cheesy. Unfortunately upon cooling, they deflated into flat discs and the cheese and tapioca flour created a gelatinous core, the texture of which some people found off-putting. Next time, I’ll add more baking powder so they puff up more.

The accompanying oatmeal “smoothie” was a bit of a misnomer. A smoothie implies that fruit comes to the party, but with just oatmeal, milk, cinnamon and vanilla, this “smoothie” was akin to a oatmeal cookie batter milkshake. After that soupy mess, I doubt I’ll eat oatmeal any time soon.

Skill level: Easy – there’s nothing too crazy here, and the book goes well beyond the traditional bacon and eggs.
Other recipes to try: Kimchi pancakes, tortilla de papas
The verdict: The smoothie dampened the experience, so Big Bad Breakfast takes the win this week.

 

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Yuca Buns
10 buns

1 cup tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour), plus extra for kneading
1 tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
2 cups finely grated Oaxaca cheese or other fresh white cheese, such as mozzarella
2 large egg yolks

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the tapioca starch, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cheese, egg yolks and cream. Once the dough forms a ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, knead the dough until smooth and not sticky. Add extra cream a tablespoon at a time if necessary to make the dough supple.
• Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Arrange them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake until pale golden, tender, and soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal (Avena) Breakfast Smoothies
4 servings

6 cups milk, plus more if needed
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp. sugar, or more to taste
Pinch of cinnamon, or more to taste
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

• In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and oats to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to prevent the oatmeal from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the oatmeal is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and cinnamon to taste, and cool slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
• Refrigerate the oatmeal in a sealed container for at least 2 hours or overnight. Transfer the oatmeal to a blender, add the vanilla (if using), and puree until smooth, adding more milk for a thinner shake or ice cubes to chill further. Serve cold.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter Publishers

The Scoop: Missouri-sourced cheese shop opens in Hermann

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

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{Der Kase and Cool Cow Cheese owner Tom Blatchford}

A new cheese shop has opened in Hermann. Der Käse (German for “the cheese”), a 900-square-foot shop, opened doors at 100 E. Fourth St., in mid-August. Owner and cheesemaker Tom Blatchford’s shop focuses only on Missouri artisan cheeses and carries more than 30 varieties.

Der Käse features products from cheesemakers such as Baetje Farms, Heartland Dairy, Homestead Dairy, Green Dirt Farms and Blatchford’s own Cool Cow Cheese. He hopes to have representative from these dairies in the store most days. Pairing products are available, too, like wine, fresh bread from Hummingbird Kitchens and locally made pickles, jams and mustards. The shop will also be home to cheesemaking and pairing classes and workshops.

“Wisconsin has so many rules for what qualifies as Wisconsin cheddar, and Vermont has rules for its Vermont cheddar, but Missouri’s like the Wild West for cheesemakers; there are no rules,” Blatchford said. “I want to highlight all these different cheeses being made in Missouri. … This is the type of cheese shop I wish was around when I started making cheese.”

Der Kase is open Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Trendwatch: What’s trending now in the STL dining scene (Part 1)

Friday, August 5th, 2016

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1. A Better Swiss Cheese
You may not recognize the name, but you’ve probably seen raclette (a funky, nutty Swiss-French cow’s milk cheese that melts like a dream) on a BuzzFeed list or foodie Instagram account. You don’t have to go to Raclette NYC (Yes, a whole restaurant is named for the cheese.) to get it. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. has topped winter veggies with the stuff on seasonal menus since it opened in The Grove. Larder & Cupboard has held fondue and raclette classes, and chef-owner Jim Fiala currently melts this gooey goodness over beef tenderloin at The Crossing. Chef-owner Bill Cawthon purchases whole wheels of the stuff and broils until molten, then scrapes it to order over a basket of fries at Frankly Sausages food truck.

2. Fit to Be Fried
It’s never too early for Chinese food – or completely bastardized, completely delicious American-Asian fusion. Places like The Rice House start mornings off with breakfast fried rice (fried rice with the addition of eggs and a breakfast meat). Half & Half offers a spicy version with scrambled eggs, sausage, jalapeno and grilled onion, while Cleveland-Heath goes with green onion, bacon, peas and sesame seeds topped with eggs any style.

 

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3. Get Lit
Neon isn’t just for dive bars anymore. The beer sign classic has a fancy new job as a fun design element lighting up a number of restaurants around town. It’s the red pulsing heart behind the bar at Olive & Oak. See neon inside Friendship Brewing Co. telling guests where to eat with bright pink letters. Vista Ramen took its name from the massive vintage sign that now glows green in its small Cherokee space.

4. Spotlight on Sambal
First there was Sriracha, then pungent gochujang. Now sambal is heating up plates around town. Planter’s House uses the spicy Southeast Asian chile paste to add heat to pickled eggs, as well as the cornbread crumbs scattered atop its summer salad. Seafood got sauced with the condiment at Hiro Asian Kitchen, where it graced the grilled whole squid, and at Guerrilla Street Food, where it livened up a recent pan-roasted salmon special. The Crossing drops the temp a few degrees, mixing sambal into a cooling aioli for its Maryland blue crabcake sandwich, and a house-made version snuck in with strawberries atop ricotta and fresh snap peas at a recent Sardella pop-up.

 

Ready for more? Click here for Part 2 of Trendwatch.  

Meatless Monday: Grilled Halloumi

Monday, June 20th, 2016

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Redefine grilled cheese with seared halloumi. This Greek cheese withstands high heat, so fire up the grill or preheat a cast-iron skillet, then sear about two minutes on each side. From there the possibilities are endless. Layer the cheese with shaved red onion and slices of watermelon for a taste of pure summer, or add it to a bowl of arugula, couscous and tomatoes for a bright salad. Click here for the recipe.

 

-photo by Sherrie Castellano

Meatless Monday: Potato and Parsnip Gratin

Monday, October 13th, 2014

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Some days, we just want a big bowl of warm, cheesy goodness with plenty of carbs, too. This Potato and Parsnip Gratin delivers thinly sliced potatoes and parsnips tucked snugly in a baking dish between layers of Gruyere and Parmsean cheese and a rich bechamel sauce. Fried sage leaves and a top layer of even more broiled cheese add a crunch to the velvety insides. Serve it as a side or dig into it as a truly decadent main. No shame, friends. Get the recipe here.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Just Five: Pimento Cheese Crackers

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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Here are some things I know to be true: The folks at Southern Living magazine like their cheese and crackers, particularly when combined into things like cheese straws. Also true is that I can eat an entire box of cheese straws during the drive home from the grocery store.

To feed my craving (and to avoid getting crumbs all over my car), I adapted that Southern Living recipe to make crackers instead of straws with a bit more oomph in the spice blend. These little fellas are incredibly easy to assemble, and they taste a lot like a certain small orange cracker one might find in a red box. To make true crackers, be sure to roll the dough very thin; if not, the crackers stay a little soft, closer to a thin biscuit. In my home, these “Snacky Crackers” never last more than a day.
Pimento Cheese Crackers
Adapted from a Southern Living recipe
Makes about 5 dozen

1½ cup flour
1½ tsp. ground mustard
½ tsp. chili powder
1 4-oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
2½ cups (10 oz.) finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tsp. kosher salt
A few tablespoons water

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, ground mustard and chili powder. Set aside.
• Pat the drained pimentos dry with paper towels, and mince half, leaving the other half coarsely diced. Toss the pimentos in the flour mixture until lightly coated. Set aside.
• Use an electric or stand mixer to beat together the cheese, butter and salt on medium speed until combined. Slowly add the flour-pimento mixture and continue to beat on medium speed, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together, but does not become sticky.
• Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it out as thin as possible, about 1/8-inch thick. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to score the crackers into 2-by-2-inch squares and place them on parchment-lined baking sheet with a little space between each. Pierce each cracker with a fork.
• Bake 16 to 19 minutes, or until just brown around the edges. Let cool on a rack. Crackers will keep in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Sauce Holiday Countdown: Perfect Partners

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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For the host with the most, Perfect Partners equals the perfect gift. North Light Foods takes the guesswork out of pairings by pre-selecting gourmet cheeses and chocolates to pair with  white wine, red wine or beer. There’s even a guide to help you impress with the perfect cheese tasting party. It’s a gift that benefits the giver, too; never get stuck at a party with boring cheddar and swiss cubes again. Pairing kits: $28 to $38. Planning guide: $12.50. northlightfoods.com 

And now…

We’re giving away two boxes of the Perfect Partners chocolates: one to pair with white wine and cheese and the other to pair with red wine and cheese. We’re also throwing the Tasting Guide to Cheese Party Planning. Click here to enter!

By the Book: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

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I had a plan. After a leisurely Sunday afternoon browsing through Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen, I would cook up an Italian feast. Maybe try my hand at homemade pasta (She offers wonderfully simple instructions with or without a pasta roller.). Or I’d give her Pepperadelle with Turkey Rolls a go. Maybe I’d bake something.

Then the wind picked up. In the next 10 minutes, rain blew sideways; branches crashed into the street; hail pelted the driveway. My lights flickered once, twice, and then died completely. And they remained off for the next 36 hours. Instead of preparing for my feast, I spent the limited hours of daylight purging my freezer of dripping ice cream and thawing leftovers. I ferried all my precious dairy products – half-and-half, milk, the good cheese – to the refrigerator at my office.

 

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With deadline – and darkness – approaching on Monday, I called my parents and offered to cook dinner in exchange for their kitchen. Then I flipped open the book again, this time hunting for something simple and fast. Luckily, Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali’s recipes are delicious and as touted, based on common sense. After a quick trip to the grocery store for some fennel, leeks, a sweet potato and some quality cheese, I whipped up a filling meal.

 

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Bastianich’s Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers was a great seasonal pasta dish that warmed us up on a cold night. Bright orange sweet potatoes and soft green leeks studded the pan sauce, bulked up with plenty of pancetta. Fresh parsley and capers brightened it up, and the whole thing coated the elbow macaroni without weighing it down. A note of caution: Use a light hand when seasoning. With all the pancetta, capers, pasta water and cheese, the dish didn’t need another pinch of sodium.

 

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The bonus dish – Baked Fennel with Sage – was the surprise hit of the night. As I sliced and blanched the bulbs, the potent smell was a tad off-putting to some (Exact words: “It smells like my old fish tank.”). But baking the fennel in a hot oven (and smothering it in fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano), turned the strong, licorice-y vegetable into a mild, earthy side dish that screamed for a slice of rustic bread to sop up all that gooey cheese.

 

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Each dish took only about 20 minutes of active cooking time, and the instructions encouraged home cooks to trust their instincts. But the best part? I returned home to a well-lit apartment where I stored my leftover ingredients in a nice, chilly fridge. Now back to that grand Italian meal…

 

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Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers
6 Servings

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, cut into julienne strips
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 fresh sage leaves
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced (about 2 cups)
¼ cup rinsed small capers (optional)
½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for the pot
¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. pipette or elbow pasta
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.
• In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the bacon or pancetta, the garlic and the sage. Cook until fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes.
• Add the sweet potatoes and leeks and cook, stirring continuously, until both begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the capers, if using. Season with the salt and crushed red pepper.
• Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water and simmer rapidly until the sweet potatoes and leeks are very tender but the sweet potatoes retain their shape, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more pasta water if necessary to keep it saucy.
• Meanwhile, cook the pipette until al dente. When the pipette are done, remove with a spider directly to the sauce.
• Add the parsley and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Increase the heat and boil 1 minute if the sauce is too thin or add a little more pasta water if it is too thick.
• Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve.

 

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Baked Fennel with Sage
6 Servings

½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for the pot
3 bulbs fennel, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
8 oz. grated Italian fontina
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 large fresh sage leaves, chopped

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large lot of salted water to a boil.
• Halve and core the fennel and slice it ½-inch thick. Add the slices of fennel to the boiling water and blanch until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse.
• In a medium bowl, toss together the fontina and grated Grana Padano.
• Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread in the blanched fennel and season with the salt. Scatter the chopped sage over the top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
• Bake until browned and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Alfred Knopf Publishing

Power outages, broken ovens, hungry dogs… What’s the biggest obstacle that was interfered with your cooking plans? How did you adapt? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Sue, whose answer on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Roberta‘s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hay, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. Sue, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

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