Cheese Wrap

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Carol’s Sauerkraut (Charcroute)

½ lb. Bacon, cut into short strips (lardons)
2 Large Onions, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
6 lbs. Good Quality Fresh Sauerkraut
12 oz. Bottle of Beer, Bass or Newcastle works well
1 Granny Smith Apple
4 tbsp. Butter
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 Cups Beef Stock
1-2 lbs. Country Style Pork Spare Ribs, par boiled, meat removed from bone
1 ½ tsp. Dried Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
10-15 Juniper Berries
10-15 Black Peppercorns
1-2 tsp. Caraway Seeds

In a large pot sauté bacon until golden. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until transparent. Rinse Sauerkraut under cold water and squeeze dry. Add Sauerkraut to onions and bacon. Add beer, apple, butter, brown sugar, beef stock, spare rib meat, and spices to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally. Serve with grilled sausages (Bratwurst) and hearty bread (Poilane).


With freezing temperatures outside and no relief in sight we thought we would share our Wasik’s Family Fondue recipe. This time of year is perfect for bunkering in by the fire with good friends, ample wine, and hearty fare. Try this traditional recipe or try some other cheeses to experiment with a tried and true winter warmer.

Wasik’s Cheese Fondue

Main course serves 3.

¼ lb shredded or finely diced Swiss Der Sharfe Maxx
½ lb shredded or finely diced Cave Aged Gruyere
¼ lb shredded or finely diced Aged Beaufort or Emmentaler
1 clove fresh garlic
1½ cups dry white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
2-3 tbsp Kirsch
nutmeg and/or pepper to taste

Rub ceramic or earthenware fondue pot with cut garlic. Add wine and lemon juice. Over a low to medium burner, slowly add shredded cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly with wooden spoon until cheese is smooth and melted. Bring fondue to a bubble briefly. Add seasoning, stirring until blended. Mix cornstarch and Kirsch together to form paste. Add to fondue and allow to boil for another 30 seconds. If mixture is lumpy or thicker than desired, add small amounts of wine and stir. If it is too thin add more cheese. Serve and keep hot over burner.

Dip bread, apples, broccoli, summer sausage, or anything else you can think of in the fondue to enjoy.



A Note on Serving Cheese.


Serving cheeses for before dinner:

Serving a selection of cheese before dinner has become commonplace in America. A nibble of cheese can be a wonderful way to subdue guests’ appetites while the host prepares the meal and some cheeses are absolutely terrific when paired with a cocktail or an aperitif.
The important thing to remember is not to fill your guests up too much. Often one specific cheese served with a special condiment will suffice. Some of my favorite pairings include:

Fresh whole-milk Ricotta with good olive oil and sprigs of fresh thyme.
Manchego with quince paste.
Very aged Pecorino Tuscano with honey.
Parmigiano Reggiano with an aged thick Balsamic Vinegar.
Fresh goat cheese with green or black olive tapenade.
English Farmhouse Cheddar with a fruit chutney.
A mild Brie style with red pepper jelly.

When serving a selection of cheese before dinner, try not to choose more than two or three different kinds. Keep your selection light in both flavor and richness. A good cheese shop will let you sample before you buy so allow time to make sure you like them before you take them home. Your cheesemonger should also give you plenty advice as to what cheeses in his or her selection are running well and should be able to pair them with what ever you are drinking whether it may be beer, Chardonnay, or martinis.

Serving cheeses after dinner:

Cheese is best when served after dinner. Whether its with the last few sips of wine left in the bottle from the main course or an excuse to open a new bottle, passing a plate of cheese around the table after dinner is a great and elegant way to extend an evening with friends. At home we will serve anywhere from three to five cheeses all of different styles, milks, consistencies, strengths and textures. Unlike before dinner, here bolder flavors and richer textures are more desired. An ideal cheese plate served with a Bordeaux might include the following:

A ripened goat such as a Chevre d’Or
A soft-ripening style with a bloomy rind such as Fougerus.
A soft-ripening style with a washed rind such as a Reblochon
A firm style such as an aged Gruyere
A blue veined cheese such as Blue d’Auvergne.

After dinner cheese is always served at room temperature on good crusty bread. I will usually include a plain baguette and a fruit nut bread such as a cranberry pecan loaf Allow the cheeses to speak for themselves with little or no accoutrements other than grapes or another non-citrus friut and of course, copious amounts of wine.