Just like asparagus epitomizes Spring in terms of food, for me the pumpkin portrays the perfect Fall vegetable.
Our Farmer's Market looks just as colorful as it did back earlier this year, offering a wonderful variety of delicious fresh vegetables available throughout Fall.
Another great new stall at our Farmer's Market is a cheese stall, offering an interesting variety of cheeses from all over Europe. The cheeses sold here come from organic farmers and believe me this is going to be a stall where I'll be leaving loads of money behind, I already know that!
We really love cheese - even Soeren has developed a wonderful palate for sharp Brie, Camemberts and other such delicacies. There are times when our dinner will consist of two or three different breads with a platter of cheeses and a large bunch of grapes. Each one of us gets a knife and a wooden board and we literally hoard the cheese and fresh bread down, gulping a few juicy grapes for the sweet contrast.
I also enjoy experimenting with cheeses in my cooking. Making a tart or pasta dish with a Gruyère will taste entirely different the next time with, say a Pecorino or an Appenzellar.
This weekend I decided on using a wonderfully aromatic Manchego from Spain, which had aged for about 4 months.
Manchego is probably Spain's most famous cheese. Produced in La Mancha, this cheese is made only from the whole milk of Manchega sheep. The rich, semi-firm product is aged in natural caves for a minimum of 3 - 6 months. It is a semi-firm cheese with a rich golden color. It comes in a 10 inch diameter wheel, 5 inches thick with a herringbone design on the rind.
Flavorwise, the Manchego ranges from mild to sharp, depending on how long it is aged. Manchego is available in three different states of maturity: Fresh (fresco), 3-6 months old (curado), or matured for one year (viejo).
The taste of the Manchego cheese is very distinctive, slightly salty but not too strong. It is creamy with a slight piquancy, and with the characteristic aftertaste of sheep’s milk.
I find Manchego a fantastic cheese to simply nibble on as it is, but it is also perfect for gratins and bakes. The piquant flavor adds a kick to the dish. My own dish using fresh vegetables like pumpkin, chanterelle mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini, combined with a nutty polenta, was sensational with the distinctive aroma this cheese offers.
You will find more detailed information about the Manchego cheese, it's heritage and nutrition facts on the official Manchego cheese website.
Printable version here.
1.2 kg mixed vegetables - I used:
Hokkaido pumpkin - peeled and sliced
chanterelle mushrooms - washed and larger ones cut in half
zucchini - sliced
red bell peppers - cut in strips
2-3 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 ripe tomatoes - sliced
100 g Manchego cheese - grated
300 ml vegetable stock
300 ml milk
50 g Polenta
1 tablespoon rosemary - finely chopped
2 eggs - lightly beaten
In a large pan heat the olive oil and sauté all the vegetables (except for the tomatoes) individually until slightly browned. It is important to sauté each vegetable type individually as each one requires a different amount of time for them to be cooked. The vegetables should be crunchy and not mushy.
For the polenta bring the milk and the stock to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Mix in the polenta and rosemary, then reduce the heat and simmer for approx. seven minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and allow to coll slightly. Whisk in the grated cheese and eggs to the cooled polenta. Generously salt and pepper.
Heat up the oven to 180 degrees C. Coat an oven-proof dish with some olive oil. Layer the vegetables, tomaotes and polenta in the form, taking care that the polenta covers the vegetables.
Bake the gratin for 35-40 minutes.
Enjoy with fresh garlic bread.
On the right sidebar you will find the section "The Know-Hows of Food", where you can refer back to for to several types of vegetables, fruits, spices and other types of groceries and gourmet food. You will also find several cooking and baking methods under the index "How Tos". So, if you are looking for food facts, selecting or storing tips this is the perfect section for you to refer back to.
Wonderfully aromatic and colorfully fresh. This is a perfect dish for misty, moist, cooler Fall days. Soothing to the core and so healthy. Soeren ravished two platefuls, to my pleasure and Tom who normally says polenta and pumpkin are not his things, was pleasantly surprised that polenta and pumpkin can taste so good.
More Vegetarian Cheesy Dishes:
Baked Potato with Ricotta and Chanterelle Mushrooms
Cheese Quesadillas with Two Salsas
Calzone's Super Veg Cheese Sandwich
Cheese Spaetzle from the Allgaeu
Technorati Tags: manchego, pumpkin, zucchini, bell peppers, chanterelle, polenta, cheese, vegetables, vegetarian, food, recipe, photography, nikon d70s
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First