Feast time! This month’s edition is all about wine; specifically wine made right here in Missouri. Outsiders: did you know we were in wine country? We are, and although I know the vast amount of you who read my wee blog aren’t in St. Louis, there are lots of things you’ll enjoy, such as:
An absolutely stellar menu from Jenny Cleveland of Cleveland-Heath to pair with some fine Missouri wines for spring. For those of you not local, check out the recipes for Shaved Spring Vegetable Salad, Soft Shell Crab Panzanella, Rack of Spring Lam with Morels and Madeira, and Polenta Cake with Olive Oil Ice Cream (my pick of the bunch); they all look incredible, and all of which can be found in the online issue of the magazine.
There’s this strawberry salad with maple-fig dressing which looks gorgeous: there’s even dandelions in it! Who knew you could just eat dandelions? Not this girl, but then again, Mr. Table sees dandelions as his mortal enemy in the spring and summer, and I just grew up using them for flower necklaces.
You like icewine? Me too. And there’s this icewine sabayon recipe which looks divine, and as if that weren’t enough, it’s paired with pistachio shortbread. Sold.
And then there’s me with my (literally) small recipe using Tomme cheese from Marcoot Jersey Creamery, a farm-fed creamery in Greenville, IL; just about an hour away. Trying to find a weird ingredient having to do with grapes or wine proved troublesome: grapes simply aren’t weird, and the products made from them, like grapeseed oil, don’t need that much demystification. So what goes best with wine? Cheese, people. Especially this one: it explodes with flavor, and it’s crumbly, dry texture would go wonderfully with all sorts of wines (but since I’m not a sommelier, I’ll let you pick based on my description.)
The flavor: the ladies at Marcoot describe it as having a parmesan/aged cheddar feel to it, and I very much agree, although I taste notes of asiago and gorgonzola in it too, although it’s subtle. It’s intensely salty, which is awesome in a cheese, because it really does make you want to put it together with other things. It works well on a plate with walnuts, dates, maybe some strawberries, definitely figs; anything with a good amount of sweetness to it. It’s wonderful on burgers – like insanely good, especially if you’re like me and love grilled mushrooms and onions on your burgers also), and pairs as nicely with coffee as it does wine. Although I saved some for when I wrote this up, and I’m eating it right now, and to be quite honest, it’s great on its own. It needs nothing.
The texture: so, so crumbly. It almost has a grit to it, and crumbles into big, sexy chunks when you stick a knife in it. It grates very well also. If you left a chunk of parmesan unwrapped in your fridge for a few days, this is how dry it would be. Again, that’s a plus, both because of how pleasant it is when left alone, and also how fun it is to cook with.
So what I ended up doing with this was a mini-scone. Scones are often guilty (at least in my opinion) of not having as much flavor as they should throughout. Sure, there’s the little pops of berry in the sweet ones, or the crunch of nuts, the hint of herbs, but somehow all that flour and butter takes over, and it’s like you’re digging to get to the flavors. Not so with these: the Tomme is magical here, and along with the rosemary, really infuses these things with tons of flavor in each and every bite. The walnuts add a nice crunch throughout, and a nice background flavor since the rosemary and Tomme are super assertive. They’re small, which makes them less overwhelming than your average scone, and perfect to serve alongside big salads, grilled meats, or hey, maybe as a little pre-dinner wine snack.
And we didn’t even talk about what’s happening on top, which is maybe the most special thing about Tomme: the way it toasts. Tomme doesn’t “melt” like other cheeses would on top of these: rather, it forms a streusel of cheesy goodness, and it’s the best part of these scones. Another reason why miniature is great here: better streusel-to-baked good ratio.
So if you’re local and you have access to Marcoot’s Tomme cheese (check their website for availability, or give them a call), I strongly suggest you get some whether you make these scones or not; this cheese is not to be missed. If you’re not local, Marcoot does ship cheese; I’ll direct you to their website again for that. If you’d like to recreate these in the best way possible without Marcoot’s lovely Tomme variety, I’d use 4 ounces aged white cheddar to 2 ounces good-quality aged parmesan, with parmesan grated on top. It’s not going to be exactly the same, and you won’t get that true streusel feel unless you use this cheese, but it will still be delicious.
For my Tomme, rosemary + walnut mini scones recipe, head right over here. To flip through the magazine, head over to Feast to view the online edition, and remember: you can always chill out for a half-hour and check out Feast TV’s May edition, which is basically the magazine delivered right to your brain.