Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leeks Vinaigrette, Steak-Frites How-To

It's Tuesday again; in fact, it's Mardi Gras. If you're not being treated to a crepes dinner prepared by a French friend who's a superb cook (we are!), you could do worse than this Tuesday Night Bistro menu. The details:

Leeks Vinaigrette
serves two

4 small or 2 larger leeks

1 heaping tsp mustard (grain or Dijon)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic, very finely minced
2 Tbsp leek cooking liquid
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, poached (or "hard-boiled" to medium doneness)

Trim and clean the leeks: Remove tough outer layers (with large leeks you may need to remove three or four layers; save for stock). Remove darker greens, leaving the tender light green parts.

With small leeks, slice each leek up the center, leaving them attached at the root end. With larger leeks, cut the leeks in half the long way, then slice each half up the center. Wash well under running water, separating the leaves to remove any dirt.

Put about an inch of water and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan or skillet. Bring to a boil, and add the leeks--they may not seem to fit at first, but the tops will quickly wilt to allow you to fit them all in. Cover and simmer briskly for 5 to 8 minutes, until they are very tender.

Mix together all the dressing ingredients. When the leeks are tender remove them to a bowl. Add 2 Tbsp cooking liquid to the dressing. Pour over the leeks and toss gently.

To serve, place a portion of leeks in a small plate (a little gratin dish makes a nice presentation). Top with the poached egg, or chopped boiled egg, and a grind of fresh pepper. Serve with crusty bread or a piece of toast.

Some chopped fresh herbs, like chives, parsley, tarragon, or chervil make an attractive additional garnish, optional.

Steak-Frites with Shallot-Red Wine Sauce
serves two

2 "bistro" steaks, 6 to 7 ounces each, about 3/4-inch thick
salt and pepper
butter and oil (grapeseed or canola)

1 small shallot, chopped fine
couple sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tsp butter

for the oven fries:

2 large organic russet potatoes, peeled, cut to french-fry shape, rinsed and patted dry
2 Tbsp grapeseed, canola, or olive oil
salt and pepper
equipment: a large cast iron skillet

Start the fries: preheat your oven to 400 F. When it is hot, place the skillet in the oven for about five minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven (REMEMBER IT IS HOT!!), add the oil and swirl it around, add the potatoes and toss gently to coat with oil. Return the skillet to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the fries so they brown evenly. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Salt only after cooking so they stay crisp.
Note: If the fries are sticking to the pan after 20 minutes, don't force it in trying to turn them. Leave them a few more minutes; they will release from the pan as they start to brown. Also: if you have a convection oven, you can put the fan on towards the end of cooking to really crisp the fries.

For the steak: Salt and pepper the steaks on both sides. Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add about a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of oil. Add the steaks and cook till brown but still rare to medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side (if your steaks are thicker than the suggested 3/4-inch, they will, of course, take longer). Remove the steaks to a warm plate and let rest while you prepare the sauce.

Add 1 tsp butter to the skillet, and the shallots. Cook over medium-low until the shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a wooden spatula. Reduce the wine by half, then add the stock and the thyme, and reduce the sauce by half, or to desired thickness. Pour in any juices that have come off the steaks. Swirl in a teaspoon of butter, and serve.

Great bistro wines: A cru beaujolais, like a brouilly or julienas; an inexpensive bordeaux--cotes de bourg, cotes de blaye, cotes de castillon, montagne st. emilion; or of course, cotes du rhone. In a "locavore" mood, I would happily pour Nan Bailly's Voyageur .

Happy bistro, one and all.

Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday Night Bistro

February calls for desperate measures. Thomas Stearns Eliot opined, poetically, that April is the cruelest month.

On what planet? February, while technically the shortest month, often feels the longest, but not in a long-lingering-lazy-days-of-late-summer sort of way. More of a clench-your-fists, grit-your-teeth, can-we-please-get-on-with-this-already-I'm-at-the-end-of-my-rope-I'm-going-to-climb-in-the-bathtub-with-a-bottle-of-vodka-a-really-big-bottle-of-vodka-and-not-come-out-'til-May sort of way.

A little mid-week luxury, a nice glass of wine, that can make for a pleasant escape from the wearying late-winter drearies. Put on some interesting music. We shuffled these albums:

Joni Mitchell, Blue ("Wish I had a river I could skate away on....")

Les Nubians, One Step Forward ("Why no music? Music, please!")

Pink Martini, Hang On Little Tomato ("Hang on, hang on to the vine, stay on, soon you'll be divine....")

Leonard Cohen, New Skin for the Old Ceremony ("Is this what you wanted? To live in a house that is haunted....")

Paris Combo, Paris Combo ("On n'a pas besoin, de chercher si loin....")

And we prepared really quite a simple meal of bistro classics: poached leeks in mustard-garlic vinaigrette topped with a poached egg; "bistro steak" pan-fried, with a simple red wine and shallot sauce and oven frites. Affordable, local, delicious.

The steak was cut from a piece of chuck--$4.99 a pound Hill and Vale Farm naturally raised beef from the wonderful new Seward Co-op store. I show below how to trim out these flavorful, bargain steaks.

“You must go on. I can't go on. I'll go on.”

Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable.

We'll get there, just, you know, hang on to the vine, little tomato....


By "bistro steak" I mean a cheap, flavorful, often a bit chewy, cut of beef, such as is often served in the bistro classic steak-frites. With good quality T-bones, ribeyes, and New York strips running $12 a pound and up, it's worthwhile to use a little ingenuity in your meat shopping. Some butchers, especially those promoting local product, are now offering less expensive steaks like flat-iron, "charcoal," and hanger steaks.

I noticed a few years ago that beef chuck roasts, which cut across several muscle groups, often contain a nice solid chunk of well-marbled beef. I wondered what that meat would be like simply fried in the bistro steak manner. I tried it. It's now one of our favorite meals. Not every chuck roast contains such a piece, so you have to shuffle through the offerings in the meat case.
Above is the whole roast--about two pounds--and the part we're interested in, steak-wise, is the upper left section. (The rest of it I'll grind for burgers or chili, sliver for stir-fry, or chunk up for stew.) Trimming the outside fat and sinew, and separating along the natural line of the different muscle groups, we get this:

That piece was about 14 ounces--perfect. It was about an inch-and-a-half thick, and I butterflied it, cutting all the way through. The result:
Two lovely "faux onglets"--an onglet is a hanger steak, or "hanging tender".

These are not "silver butter knife" steaks; they are chewy, and must not be over-cooked--rare to medium-rare is best. But the meat is wonderfully flavorful, especially when napped with a little red wine sauce. I'll discuss the details of cooking this meal in my next post.

Get your fry pan and corkscrew ready.

The "locavore" tally:

"Our garden" leeks
Schultz Organic Eggs (Owatonna, MN)
Hope Creamery butter (Hope, MN)
Garlic (
Midtown Farmers' Market )
Steak, Hill & Vale Farm (Wykoff, MN)
Shallots ( Sylvan Hills Organic Farm , Menomonie, WI)
Chicken stock, homemade from Wild Acres chicken frames
Duck fat (from Au Bon Canard ducks, Caledonia, MN)
Bread, homemade, natural leaven, all organic Minnesota flours--whole wheat bread & rye from Whole Grain Milling; Gold n White, Natural Way Mills

Non-local ingredients: olive oil, mustard, champagne vinegar, salt, pepper, wine, canola oil

I'll give it a B+. I could have used one of Nan's wines from
ABV , but I didn't have any in the house. Also, I considered the mustardy, garlicky leek dressing too strong for the subtle Leatherwood Vinegary apple wine vinegar I had in the cupboard.

Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Toast Again

A key factor in any experiment's success is replicability. I was pretty pleased with the Apple-Maple-Yogurt Toast , from my previous post, a sort of...I was going to say poor man's french toast (all the poor should eat so well), but really it's more of a lazy man's, or better yet, clever man's (if I do say so myself) french toast. But I needed independent confirmation of its deliciousness, so I made it again for my valentine this past Saturday. I'm not going to say that Mary is the toughest audience in the world when it comes to food, but she doesn't always react like this:

This dish relies on the best ingredients, simple as it is. No point making it with spongey grocery-store bread or fake syrup. If you've got an honest country loaf, light or dark, and real maple syrup, you're all set. If you've grown the apples and made the yogurt yourself, well, you're a bit of a fanatic, aren't you? Not that there's anything wrong with that....

It was a delightful Valentine's Day weekend. The sun shone, filling the cabin with pleasant light, and shadow. The bird feeder was the site of an incursion of redpolls, first time we've seen them this winter.

The south-facing slopes are actually clear of snow. We saw mud, glorious mud!

Greetings from Bide-A-Wee. Wish we were there.

Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Breakfast Club

Wasn't Ally Sheedy the cutest thing in that movie? Just sayin'....

After that little trip down Memory Lane, you probably wouldn't mind a bite to eat. If you have an apple around, and some good bread and good yogurt (just look back one post) and real maple syrup, this is a treat and a snap to make.

Apple-Maple-Yogurt Toast

Core and peel a smallish apple per person, and cut into eighths. Put a little butter in a skillet and brown the apple over medium-high heat. Toast a slice of bread (I had two rounds from a smallish batard). Butter said bread. Top with apples, yogurt and real maple syrup to taste. Eat while making yummy noises (you won't be able to help yourself).

With brioche or maybe a slice of toasted pound cake in place of the bread, you've got dessert. I would eat that.

The "locavore" tally:

Homemade bread
Apples from our land in Wisconsin
Homemade yogurt from Cedar Summit Farm organic whole milk
Wisconsin maple syrup, a homemade product from a friend of my friend Mike N. (aka "The Northman") over near Appleton
Hope Creamery butter, Hope, Minnesota

I'm actually only going to give this an A-, because the flours in the bread were from North Dakota Mills, and I could have used Minnesota flours; I was trying out a "nearly-no-knead" recipe and wanted to use readily available flour. Nothing wrong with that flour, we use it all the time, but it could have been a wee tad more local. Gotta walk the talk on this stuff....

Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Culture Club

I've cued up Glenn Gould's 1981 recording of J.S. Bach's The Goldberg Variations on the stereo, and I've got the opening lines of Shakespeare's sonnet 116--"Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments. Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds,/ Or bends with the remover to remove..."--in my head, just to, you know, bring a little culture to the proceedings. *

Now I'm going to get out the buttermilk, yogurt, and sour cream, the Cedar Summit Farm cream and whole milk, and mix up some home-cultured delicious dairy products.
(Our friends Dave and Florence Minar and family run Cedar Summit; they are local food heroes of the first order.)

What we're doing here is introducing beneficial bacteria into a conducive medium. Sounds a bit dry (or maybe a bit scary), but that's how we get some of the world's most cherished foods--parmigiano reggiano, roquefort, camembert. These kitchen-cultured efforts don't produce anything that remarkable, but they're nice things to have in the fridge, just the same: crème fraîche, and whole-milk organic yogurt.

One of my culinary heroes, Madeleine Kamman, has this to say about home-made "crème fraîche":

"I am totally aware that 'making' crème fraîche is a favorite sport of the American cook; all I can say is if cooks enjoy themselves making crème fraîche, they might as well go ahead and do it. The taste of any of those products, however, has nothing at all to do with true crème fraîche; sometimes the texture is right, but the taste is never in the least reminiscent of the French or European unpasteurized products." (In Madeleine's Kitchen)

Ever the tactful Frenchwoman, it's awfully difficult to discern Mme Kamman's true opinion; but I get the impression she's not that big a fan of American kitchen sports. Nonetheless: let us carry on.**

In my previous post, the recipe for Crepes aux Poireaux called for crème fraîche to be added to the leeks at the end of softening. You can buy crème fraîche at better grocery stores now, but it's easy to "make" at home. And you know what? I do enjoy it. Furthermore, I feel that, using excellent dairy products as raw materials, I get a pretty good result at the end. I'm sure Madeleine is correct that the crème fraîche that comes from French alpine dairies is better than mine; we just don't happen to have a lot of those in my neighorhood of Saint Paul.

Other uses for crème fraîche: it gives cream sauces a tangy, silky finish; a dollop into vinaigrette produces a tangy, silky dressing; mixed with chopped fresh herbs, spread on a slice of rye bread and topped with smoked salmon, it makes a canapé or brunch dish of uncommon tangy silkiness. It can be used as a topping for fresh fruit, with or without a little added sugar, honey, or maple syrup. It's the basis for the Alsatian tarte flambée, or flammekuche, a sort of pizza topped with onions and bacon.

Anywhere you would use heavy cream or sour cream, crème fraîche could probably stand in, lending the recipe, how should I put it?: I think "a silky tang" says it best.

I don't make crème fraîche every week, or even every month, but when I do make it, I try to make more than I'll need for one use. Having it around--it keeps for at least a couple of weeks--lets me think of more uses for it.

For this experiment, I cultured crème fraîche using both sour cream and buttermilk. Into one cup of cream I added about two tablespoons of buttermilk, into the other, two tablespoons of sour cream.

The other thing I set a-culturing this day was a jar of yogurt. I used about two cups of Cedar Summit organic whole milk, and two tablespoons of cultured plain yogurt. This way, I get organic whole-milk yogurt cheap, and I know it's made from great, local milk. Skim, one- or two-percent milk will yogurt up just the same way. I put all three containers in my oven with the light on, door closed. I had put the heat on for just a few seconds, to get it warm (it's February in Minnesota; the house is at 65 degrees, the kitchen extremities colder). Then the light alone kept it at near 90 F.

I left them in there overnight, and here are the results:

Left to right: yogurt; the sour cream crème fraîche; buttermilk crème fraîche. Both kinds of crème fraîche turned out well. The sour cream version was a bit thicker, the buttermilk job just a wee bit creamier. There were subtle differences in the taste, but not so much that I'd say I prefer one over the other.

The real surprise, to me, was how compulsively eatable the warm, fresh-from-the-incubator yogurt was. They make wonderful whole-milk yogurt in France, and I particularly remember the sumptuous yaourt served with brunch at our beloved Pen Roc Hotel near Rennes in Brittany. While not as rich or creamy as the French product, I think mine was better, for being fresh as can be, and made with that superb Cedar Summit Farm milk (take that, Mme Kamman!).

It was so good it inspired me to whip up a breakfast dish, Apple-Maple-Yogurt Toast, which will be my next entry.


*Gould originally recorded The Goldberg Variations in 1955, a tour de force performance that launched his career. I generally prefer the later recording--a calmer, more tempered and meditative rendering. On a related note (but not very), I have in a drawer somewhere here a manuscript of personal essays loosely united around the topics of trout streams and fly fishing, entitled The Girdle Bug Variations, named for a fly consisting of black chenille body and white rubber legs--cunningly echoing the black and white keys of a piano. As presently comprised, these essays contain no mention of Glenn Gould. It occurs to me now that maybe they ought to. (Some purists say The Goldberg Variations should only be played on the instrument for which they were originally written, the harpsichord; I say if the piano is good enough for Gould, it's good enough for me.)

On the Shakespeare: Those lines are printed as found in the Norton Anthology of English Literature. I remembered them correctly except for two words: I had us instead of me, and that where Will has which. I've fixed it up so as not to spread misinformation on the Internet. "That" sounds better to my inner grammarian than "which" in this context, but I can never remember the rational. In this case, I guess I'll concede that a tie goes to The Bard.

**I really am a huge fan of Madeleine Kamman; she is a brilliant cook and a wonderful writer. Her memoir-with-recipes, When French Women Cook is one of my favorite books...though it always makes me think that the French make better crème fraîche than they do book titles. (I've just noticed that in this book, she tempers her opinions somewhat, noting mildly that "...trying to make crème fraîche is a ridiculous waste of time..." [p. 6]. Apparently you can read the whole dang book at that linked site.)

Text (except the Kamman and The Bard) and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Lovable Leek

Have I mentioned that I love leeks? I believe I have. This versatile allium is a mainstay in cuisines high and low all over the world. The leek is a symbol of Wales , and a constant presence in French kitchen gardens--potagers. The French sometimes refer to leeks as "poor man's asparagus" (l'asperge du pauvre); in the U.S., though, they ain't the poor man's anything. That's one likely reason we don't use them so much.

Things are getting better, though. I've noticed in recent years that lots of vegetables that once seemed exotic--leeks, celery root, bulb fennel--are becoming more and more common, and more and more affordable at the same time.

Leeks are cheap if you grow your own, which is pretty easy to do. Forget about the hilling and trenching that some books recommend, and that make growing leeks sound as arduous as building battlements. I start leek seeds in late winter, sowing them thickly in flats. If I'm ambitious I'll transplant them into potting soil before they finally go in the garden; if I'm not, then I don't, and my leeks will be a bit later, but they'll still be plentiful. Sometimes it seems to take forever for the tiny whisps of leek seedlings to get established and start to grow, but once they do, it's katie-bar-the-door. By late August I'm pulling leeks that are nearly two inches across, and are taller than I am when you stretch out the drooping greens.

In mid-summer I'll often mulch them quite heavily with shredded leaves or half-finished compost. This helps them stand up, blanches a bit more of the bottom, and basically eliminates the need for watering.

Leeks tend to be cheap at farmers' markets, too. They start appearing early in the summer, and continue right through until late fall. I leave my garden leeks in the ground until it's nearly frozen (sometimes even later, if I'm caught snoozing). Then I dig them up and bring them in, just knocking off most of the dirt, trimming the roots and the long greens (the greens can be cleaned up and saved for making stock).

If I have room in our extra "root cellar" fridge, I'll put some leeks in there. This year, though, I've kept them in a cool basement closet. They've kept pretty well there. They gradually dry out, but you just peel the dry layers off and the inner part is fine.

I put leeks into stocks, soups, braised dishes, stir-fries, you name it. One of our favorite dishes is buckwheat crepes filled with fondue de poireaux, "melted leeks," if you will. The basic idea comes from Brittany. An excellent accompaniment--though perhaps not very Breton--is a couple spoonfuls of these oven-roasted tomatoes .

Crepes aux Poireaux
serves four

for the crepes:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
4 eggs

Combine all the flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the milk and water, then whisk in the eggs one at a time. Cover and set aside for at least one hour (the batter can be made a day ahead; any leftover batter will be good for at least a couple more days). The batter should be quite thin--a good deal thinner than pancake batter, which is to say, it should pour easily off a soup. If it seems too thick when you're ready to make the crepes, add a little more water.

To make the crepes, heat an 8-inch crepe pan (or non-stick or well-seasoned iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Add a little butter, then wipe it out with a paper towel. Add 1/4 cup of batter, and turn the pan so the bottom is coated. Cook for about 30 seconds, flip the crepe, and cook for another 30 seconds. Pile up the crepes as they're done and set aside. You should get a dozen crepes.

for the filling:
6 medium leeks, about two pounds
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups creme fraiche or heavy cream
freshly grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese

Clean the leeks well, slitting them up the middle and separating the leaves under the tap to remove all dirt. Use both the white and the tender green parts. Slice the leeks crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces--you'll get five to six cups. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the leeks, salt, and water. Cover and cook gently until the leeks are very soft, about 40 minutes (but possibly longer depending on the leeks).

When the leeks are soft and most of the water is gone, add the creme fraiche and a modest grating of nutmeg. Turn off the heat.

Now assemble and bake: Preheat your oven to 300 F. Put a nice dollop of the leek fondue in each crepe, and top that with a small handful of grated cheese. Roll them up, enchilada-style, and place them in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Then just serve them up. If there's leftover filling, smear it on top of the rolled-up crepes. For added richness, you could glaze the crepes with a little butter or creme fraiche. A French-style sparkling apple cider goes well with this. A salad or slaw completes this simple but satisfying dinner.

The "locavore" tally:

Whole Grain Milling and Natural Way Mills flours (Welcome, MN, and Middle River, MN)
Schultz Organic Eggs (Owatonna, MN)
Cedar Summit Dairy Milk (New Prague, MN)
Roth Kase Grand Cru Gruyere (Monroe, WI)
Hope Creamery butter (Hope, MN)
Home-cultured creme fraiche from Cedar Summit cream
"Our Garden" leeks (Princeton Avenue, Saint Paul, MN)

Non-local ingredients: nutmeg, salt

I'd give this dish an 'A' for local-seasonal integrity.

Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Cheese Course: Cheddar & Chutney

It's not that I don't have a sweet tooth; I most assuredly do. There were kids I knew in grade school who were able to nurse their Halloween stash through till Christmas (unnatural, I know). Mine was gone in a week (yes, I'm lying: it was gone in two days). I am not even that discriminating when it comes to sweets--I can enjoy an opera cake from a fancy Paris patisserie, or a sack of Jelly Bellies; fine Swiss chocolate, or Oreos dunked in a glass of milk . I was close to becoming addicted to the peanut brittle we got from Regina's Candies at Christmas. By no means am I anti-sugar.

But when one reaches a certain age one finds (so I'm told) that one can't consume just any old thing and not pay for it, sooner rather than later. You're called upon to make wise choices about these things, and I find that in choosing how I'd like to end a really nice dinner, I choose cheese.

One recent night, we chose cheddar cheese and chutney. The ten-year-old Wisconsin cheddar came from Bolen Vale Cheese . The chutney I put together out of root cellar holdings, more or less following a recipe from a really interesting book, Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning , from "the gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivante," an ecological research center in southwestern France.

A recipe for "Potimarron and Apple Chutney" had caught my eye. I didn't have a potimarron on hand--it's a smallish orange squash that's supposed to taste like chestnuts--but I
had something that looked quite similar. I think that's actually a red kuri. It had a dense, dry flesh that held up well in the chutney. Those shriveled apples, those are golden russets that we picked up at Maiden Rock Apples last fall. And that is why they are shriveled. But once peeled and chopped they worked very well in the chutney, their mildly spicy, Asian-pear-like flavor intensified by being...shriveled (but we don't throw grapes or plums away when they start to get dried and wrinkly, do we?; no, we give them a new name and a whole new career in a different spot in the grocery store; nothing wrong with slightly shriveled apples, especially russets).

To make the chutney I chopped one medium onion, peeled and chopped the flesh of those two apples, and used about a third of the squash, seeded, peeled and chopped (that yielded about 10 ounces of flesh).

Those went into a saucepan with one large clove of garlic, chopped, a couple good pinches of salt, half a teaspoon of mustard seeds, three whole cloves, a good coarse grind of black pepper, one small hot dried red chili, just about an inch-long piece of cinnamon stick, and a little bit of chopped fresh ginger. I poured in a half-cup of water, brought it to the boil and down to a low simmer, cooked gently till the apples and squash were quite soft and most of the water was gone, about 20 minutes.

At this point I added cider vinegar, about 1/3 cup (a combination of some of our own home-brew, and because that wasn't quite tart enough, a fortifying splash of Leatherwood Vinegary product), and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. I found it needed a pinch more salt, as well. Now simmer another 15 to 20 minutes, until everything is getting nicely melded.

Eventually I decided I wanted a little more heat, so I added a quarter-teaspoon or so of piment d'espelette (a couple of pinches of cayenne would zip it up as well).

Chutneys improve with a few days' to a few weeks' age. We first had this one the same day I made it. There was plenty left over--it made about a pint--and I'm looking forward to chutney and cheese sandwiches. I think this particular version would be very good with roast lamb, pork, or goat.

Making chutneys or relishes from root cellar ingredients is a great way to add interest to the winter table, "locavore" style. The only non-local ingredients that went into that cheese course were the brown sugar and spices.

text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw