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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mizithra and Me

I have had a torrid love affair with Mizithra since I was 18 years old.  We met through my husband when he took me to supper at the Spaghetti Factory in Nashville, Tennessee. We don't meet regularly, just whenever we come across each other. And when we do, I know Mizithra is coming home with me.  Mizithra is rich.  Dry, with a creamy mouthfeel.  Yes, mizithra is a Greek sheep's milk cheese.  

Now, I am a fan of all cheeses from either sheep or goat's milk.  I love their creamy texture and tangy bite.  I also love that they are healthier (usually) than traditional cow's milk cheeses. Truth be told, I adore all real cheeses.  I don't count blocks of orange cheese product or bags of weird shredded stuff as real, but everything else is fair game. I serve mizithra over pasta with browned butter and garlic.  You can also add a dollop of your favorite red sauce (mine is a mushroom marinara) to balance out the dryness of the cheese if you like.  Add a lovely spinach salad and you are good to go.

Have you reached a love/hate relationship with your jeans and heavy sweaters yet? Most people have and I am no exception.  But, yesterday's weather gave me a bit of a reprieve with temperatures in the mid 50's.  So, was a chance to break out of the jeans and into a dress.  Well, a dress that was worn to look like a skirt.  Don't know what I mean?  It's dead simple...

Take your favorite summer sundress-

Add a soft cashmere sweater to wear over the dress, so that it looks more like a skirt and sweater combo (belted of course! Don't want to lose that waistline.) -

To keep those lovely gams warm, a pair of tights-

Last, but not least, how about a fun flat to keep things lively?

Soooo much better than a pair of jeans, no? The great thing about this outfit is that you already have everything you need in your closet!

Ready to meet my rich and creamy mizithra?

Doesn't he look luscious? Firm, dry, yet creamy.

Mizithra with Browned Butter and Garlic Pasta

5 oz mizithra cheese, finely grated (I get mine at Whole Foods, but you may have a local cheese shop that has it as well.)
5 oz parmesan reggiano, finely grated
1 stick unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1 lb. spaghetti

*I grate both the mizithra and the parmesan using the small hole grater of my food processor, just to make things easy.

Mix the mizithra and parmesan together in a small bowl.  Reserve for serving.

Set the water boiling, per manufacturer's directions.  While the water is boiling, brown butter in a small saucepan by heating it slowly over medium low heat.  When the butter is lightly golden, add the garlic and salt.  Continue cooking until butter is a golden brown and the garlic is lightly golden.  

Honestly, is there any better smell than cooking garlic and butter?

Drain pasta and toss with browned butter.  Plate each serving and top with a liberal amount of  the cheese mixture.

Lest you think I had forgotten all nutrition, I also love a good spinach salad.  Yours can include hard boiled eggs if you wish, but this time I kept it simple.

Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette

8 oz baby spinach
3 thin slices red onion
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 oz sliced white mushrooms


1/4 cup sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Layer spinach, onions, bacon and mushrooms in a large bowl.  Mix sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar in a small bowl.  Slowly (oh so slowly) whisk in the olive oil, so that it makes an emulsion.  Toss to coat and serve!

Complete with a glass of King's Estate Pinot Gris and begin your own affair with mizithra. 


1 comment:

  1. The dish combination looks sooooo good. A pasta plate for garlic lovers! I also like the tip to show me how to wear a summer dress in winter time. Thanks.