American Artisan Cheese is back with a vengance!

**cross posted at Menuism

The United States is embarking on a revival of the craft of artisan cheesemaking. Over the past several years, American-made artisanal cheese has won back its place in the hearts of the people. Artisanal cheese can be found once again in cases at wine shops, specialty stores and at farmers’ markets. According to the American Cheese Society, there has been astounding growth in membership as well as the number and variety of American artisanal cheeses entered in its annual competition.

Some folks may dare to say that American artisanal cheese may rival those European classics that have long been thought of as the best of the best. It cannot be denied that American artisanal cheesemakers are becoming well known across the country. With the advent of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and cheese periodicals like Culture, American cheesemakers and cheesemongers are winning over America’s food enthusiasts.
Continue reading

Lebanese Meatballs over Rice. AKA: Kafta ‘qrass bi saalsit el banadoura

**cross posted at

1lb minced beef

1 med/lg onion diced

1 cup spinach; stems trimmed and chopped



Red pepper flakes


Dried mint

1 egg

¼ cup plain bread crumbs or 2 slices bread soaked in milk

Olive Oil/butter

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ cup beef stock


In heavy bottomed large pot, add olive oil and butter to coat the bottom. Season with salt pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin and mint to taste. Brown onions on med/low heat until carmelized and sweet.  I would say it’s about 1 tsp cumin and 1 tablespoon mint. Add spinach and cook down. Move to bowl to cool. When onion spinach mixture cool..add to minced beef. Add egg and bread crumbs. Season again with salt, pepper, mint, cumin and red pepper flakes to desired flavor. Should be fragrant. Do not over mix. Form into small meatballs and brown in same pot. The meatballs are very loose…handle with care.  Will most likely have to brown them in batches. When all meatballs are browned….remove from pot. Add tomato paste and deglaze pot with beef stock. Add stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Then add one can of water to thin out sauce a bit. Add meatballs and finish cooking them in the tomato sauce. After about 30 minutes…check for seasoning. You might need to add more salt/pepper and mint. The Lebanese love mint.  Simmer another 30 minutes or so. Serve over Lebanese rice.  Here is that recipe:


  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1/2 cup vermicelli, broken to small pieces (we used orzo last night)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups water

Brown vermicelli in butter in large pan. Add rice and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

I love this stuff.  It is my go to comfort food…paired with Lebanese bread and butter and side of tabouli…I’m in heaven.