Do the cold weather and dark evenings still keep you inside during gloomy and unenthusiastic weekdays?
HOW ABOUT CALLING YOUR FRIENDS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK and inviting them for a little gathering? Light some candles, play your favorite mix of happy sparkling summer songs, pour drinks in the glasses, and, of course, put some food on the table. Great food and warm company are capable of miraculously dissolving the winter blues. The week-long marathon of work will suddenly feel way shorter.
This time I decided to play with contrasting flavors – sweet and savory. I created several contrasting duets, that luckily don’t require a lot of cooking. Who has time to cook on the weekday evening? Am I right?
Do you ever feel the urge to have a bite of something salty right after you had a piece of chocolate? I once dated a guy who secretly confessed that sometimes he liked to eat tomatoes with a bit of honey. Moreover, one of my girlfriends has a guilty pleasure of dipping her french-fries in a milk shake (yuck).
Apparently, as it was recently discovered by the scientists, our taste buds for “salt” and “sweet” are located in the way that creates a flavor layer effect – meaning that the combo of two delicious flavors (such as sweet and salty) yields a delight two times greater than one flavor alone. On top of that, salt is a flavor enhancer so the salt actually brings out the sweet flavor.
Need more convincing? Here it is. Recently I spotted a diet that (attention, please!) insists on listening to our sweet cravings. Apparently, the problem is not eating the sweets, but the ways in which we combine them. And guess what? The best way to eat sweets is to combine them with proteins that are mostly salty, like meats and cheeses.
SO HERE ARE THREE TOP COMBINATIONS I HAVE CHOSEN. Minimum cooking – maximum pleasure. Beverage pairing suggestions are included.
PARMESAN CHEESE WITH ORANGE MARMALADE
Crumbled and a bit crunchy texture of Parmesan cheese, its sharp aroma and milky sourness go perfectly with orange marmalade. Some of parmesan’s key flavor components are really similar to honey, cashew and whiskey. We mixed 1 tablespoon of whiskey with 4 tablespoons of marmalade for a cheese dipping and threw a handful of salted cashews to compliment the duet. A drink choice for it? Whiskey, of course.
PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED MELON WITH A HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
Get the best possible prosciutto di Parma and wrap those thin slices around juicy pieces of a sweet cantaloupe or a honeydew melon. To prepare the vinaigrette, we used 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of running honey, 2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard, and a pinch of salt. We also used a little bit of red pepper flakes to add some color and make it a bit spicier. Sprinkle vinaigrette over those wrapped beauties. And pour some Rosé in your guests’ glasses. Light and fruity wines are usually complement the taste of prosciutto the best.
SMOKED SALMON WITH GRILLED PEACH BRUSCHETTA
This appetizer requires some light cooking and a possession of a grill frying pan. Slice the baguette and grill the pieces on a pan from both sides. Thinly slice two-three peaches, cut them in semi-circles, and grill them as well. (You can always grill more peaches. As I personally discovered this time, grilled peaches are irresistibly delicious)
Spread some Délice de Bourgogne cheese to the grilled baguette pieces, then add slices of smoked salmon, and top everything with grilled peaches. A glass of Pinot Grigio will compliment this appetizer the best.
TEXT – Nina Hazhala
PHOTOS – Angelika Poletaeva
STYLING – Julia Latkins