Roxie has been my pal for decades. We attended the same high school and college. She became the longtime editor of Teen magazine and generously gave me my first writing gig, a story about how to make a giant cookie that looked like a pizza. It was topped with sugary fake pepperoni and grated white chocolate “cheese.” Imagine.
Now retired and living in California’s Central Coast wine country, Rox remains an avid home cook. She shares recipes with me from time to time, and it was one of our culinary chat sessions 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 is great for entertaining 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 herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon salt, kosher salt preferred
2/3 cup dried sweet cherries, such as Bing, coarsely chopped
8 ounces medium-sharp white cheddar cheese, whole or slices, see cook’s notes
Crackers for serving
Cook’s notes: I often substitute a variety of Spanish cheeses for the white cheddar. My supermarket carries 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, herbs and salt, whisking to dissolve salt. Add cherries and cover; refrigerate two days, stirring occasionally. You can refrigerate for up to one week, using a portion for one serving with half of the cheese and the other portion for a future serving. The oil may stiffen in the fridge; if so, leave at room temperature for an hour or so, then stir to combine.
2. Place cheese on rimmed plate and spoon mixture on top. Serve with crackers on the side.
Source: “100 Perfect Pairings” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, $16.95)
Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]