Posts Tagged ‘Murray’s Cheese Shop’

John and I have a long list of animals, minerals and vegetables that we are thankful for this Thanksgiving and holiday season (although John is less enthused about the vegetables). We love our family and friends (even Aunt Emily!), and we’re both really, REALLY thankful that we have the time, energy and resources to keep up this blogging madness.

I could go on in this manner, but instead I’m going to switch it up and offer you the John and Elana Talk About Food version of heartfelt thanks. Here we go…

Elana’s List:

1. I am thankful for our readers that tolerate the nutty things I say and indulge my questionable sanity.

2. For Anfora Wine Bar, where they keep letting me in the door even though I drink all their wine and eat all their fabulous ricotta cheese every time I visit.

3. For the really cool vendors that actually like it when we feature them on the blog: Van Leeuwen, City Cakes, McClure’s Pickles, Kelvin Slush and Astor Wines (check out Astor Wine’s Thanksgiving Wine Guide here).

4. The smoke detectors in my apartment.

5. John and his endurance of my incessant rambling about what I’m planning for the blog and recurring demands for content (Me: So, I want to make a movie that involves little crockery owls making a turkey. Allllll in stop motion animation. Cool? John: uh-huh)

6. Pyrenees Brebis cheese from Murray’s Cheese. It’s off the hook.

John’s Commentary: Elana – Half of the things you have mentioned involve you essentially pestering people for favors. It appears that little brother needs to keep an eye on you more often, so as not to scare anyone off.  Also, I don’t use smoke detectors.  They kept going off every time I slipped on my new Sanchez jersey.
Nonetheless, I’m thankful for:

John’s List:
1. My Pizza Stone

2. Truffle Oil

3. The unusually temperate weather for this time of year

4. The plethora of artisan pizzerias popping up in the area

5. Millionaire Matchmaker

6. My next culinary voyage to Italy in the spring of 2011

Elana’s Commentary: I think it was actually your pants being on fire (liar, liar) rather than the combination of you and the Sanchez jersey that set off the smoke detectors. However, if you plan to “keep an eye on me,” you may need to do better than the following (I’m on the green side):


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Remember on Monday when we made caramelized onions? Your apartment/kitchen/house might be starting to lose the onion smell by now. DON’T PANIC!! You saved those onions, right? Ok, good. Now, we are going to put them on a pizza. With some gruyere cheese.

A few words about this pizza before we begin.

I LOVE it. Ridiculously. I look for excuses to make it. And I force it on others too. It’s very endearing, I’m told. I was first inspired to make this pizza when I had the caramelized onion and gruyere grilled cheese sandwich at the West Village watering hole, Wilfie & Nell. They are quite well known for this particular grilled cheese, and I think they do a bang-up job on it. I loved it. And it seems to me that anything that is good in grilled cheese form is also good in pizza form.

One of the wonderful things about this pizza is that the onions (already caramelized – you held back on the stirring them like a maniac, right?) get nice and crispy as they are baking in the oven on the pizza. Very much like thin cut onion rings. So when the whole thing is done, you get this amazing combination of gooey and salty (cheese) and sweet and crispy (onions). Pile that onto a nicely toasted pizza dough and I don’t know what else you could ask for. Maybe some wine (see the end of the post for Astor Wine’s recommendations).

John had this to say about it: I absolutely love this pizza. The sweet, nutty Gruyere, which is also a great melting cheese, maintains its flavor well even when scorched. It really kicks some tag team ass with the sliced, stringy and cooked onions.  It’s a powerful, yet not overwhelming combo. It also just looks and sounds like a million bucks, which has to add some value if you’re looking to impress somebody.

What you will need (to impress people):

Pizza dough (made or bought)

Gruyere cheese (I like a nice aged one, like THIS ONE from Murray’s Cheese – thanks for the rec, Murray’s!)

Caramelized onions (already made – recipe here)

Olive oil

Sea salt (or if you are feeling adventurous black truffle salt)

What to do:

Heat up your oven (with pizza stone or cookie sheet) to 500 degrees for about a half hour before you drop the hotness in there. While things are heatin’ up, roll out your pizza dough on a peel (utilizing a little cornmeal or semolina flour underneath so your dough doesn’t stick to the peel). Drizzle some olive oil on top of your rolled out dough. Throw on some Gruyere cheese (not too much!) and then top with your caramelized onions. Sprinkle with salt.

Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes. This is a loose time estimate, though, so keep an eye on it. It will be done with the cheese is bubbling, the onions get really toasty and the edges of your pizza crust are toasting a nice amber color.

Take it out and let it chill for a minute or two (if you can) before you slice and eat!

What to Drink:

On a whim, I tweeted Astor Wines and asked them what you should all drink with this fabulous pizza. They have helpfully offered us three fantastic recommendations, and here they are:

1. Côtes du Jura Blanc, Jean Bourdy – 2005

2. Gewürztraminer, Elena Walch – 2008

3. P’tit Rouquin ” Les Vins Contés” VdT, O. Lemasson – 2009

I went with the Geurztraminer, both because it’s named after me, and it’s from Italy. Which means pizza, right?. Perfect recommendations!

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Monday we talked about pulled pork sliders ‘n’ slaw. And we casually mentioned pickles as an accompaniment to this fabulous sandwich. I happen to be of the opinion that a good pickle makes a slider (in this case pork), but also a beef hamburger, much better. Something about that briny, tangy, crispy (and they better be crispy or there will be #$%& to pay) taste and texture with a burger or sandwich that makes it feel complete.

Also, isn’t the word pickle great? You can eat a pickle, get into a pickle, pickle something….noun AND verb.

And that’s just what McClure’s does. They pickle their own pickles! It’s a family-inspired, local-ingredients-preferred, groundbreaking trendsetter in the world of pickling. And they have fantastic design. You know how I love that. I’m a sucker for good package design.

To complement the pork, I chose McClure’s Spicy Pickles (shown above). I wanted a little kick to contrast with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce on the pork. McClure’s spicy spears are juuuuuust right in terms of spiciness. Ever eat something “spicy” and you can’t taste anything because all you can think about is calling the fire department to extinguish your mouth? Yeah, that’s no good. I prefer to have some kick WITH taste. And not burn off my taste buds. I like those. McClure’s manages to keep its crispness, with a nice tang and level of heat, that will keep you reaching for more.

Now, I’m sure that aside from putting them in your sliders, there are TONS of things to do with pickles. But, a while back when we featured the review of Joe Doe restaurant, I maintained that YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FRY A PICKLE. So I did. I fried some McClure’s Spicy Spears, and I’m gonna tell you how I did it.

Before I get into that, a few words on my experience with frying pickles. I managed to set off both smoke detectors in my apartment, my dog had a bit of a panic attack (he’s fine now) because of the beeping noise, and I burned myself. Oh and I made a fantastic mess. So unless you are an old pro at frying things, be careful. Please.

BUT! The pickles were frickin’ good! I swear. The McClure’s spears maintained their crispiness and spiciness throughout the torture I inflicted upon them. They held up admirably. And they had no time to prepare – they never saw it coming. Further, the spice and the slightly garlic-y, but mild fry batter were a good combo. I served ’em up with a cucumber dill yogurt sauce like so:

Fried Pickle Ingredients:

1 pint sliced dill pickles, undrained
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika

What to do:

Drain pickles, reserving 2/3-cup pickle juice. Press pickles between paper towels. Combine 2/3 cup pickle juice and egg. Stir well and set aside.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour with garlic powder, salt, and paprika. Blend well. Dip pickles in egg mixture, then dredge in flour mixture. Fry coated pickles in 375-degree oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Cucumber Dill Yogurt Dip:

two 8-ounce containers of plain Greek yogurt
1 pound cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

What to do:

In a food processor or blender bowl combine the drained yogurt, the cucumbers (squeezed dry between paper towels) the chopped dill, the garlic, the oil, the lemon juice, and salt to taste. Blend or process it up. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Garnish it with the dill sprigs, and serve it with the pita wedges & fried pickles!

Now, who’s coming over to clean this mess up for me?

After we clean this up, check out some places where you can get McClure’s Pickles here (I got mine at Murray’s Cheese Shop on Bleecker) and then you can make a mess of your very own.

And this video really just says it all….

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