Thursday, August 15, 2013

is he a cypriot -- or merely a cretan?

Mary Martin is trilling away in the living room.  Something about how she is a cock-eyed optimistic.

Well, I could tell Nellie Forbush a thing a two about optimism.  Cock-eyed, or otherwise.

You already know my dialectic theory of Stalinst-Jeffersonian cooking.  (vegging out)  I have always placed myself smack dab in the Jeffersonian school of libertarian dishes.  But we all slip the surly bonds of grace now and then.

Usually, I cook what is fresh in the market.  Combining it with whatever I find in my refrigerator and pantry.  But, now and then, I crave something completely irrational (something as irrational as governmental command economies). 

On Wednesday, it was halloumi cheese.  "What is that?" is a perfectly good response.  It would have been mine several years ago. 

It is one of the most versatile cheeses I have ever used.  A goat cheese with a structure that is perfect for grilling or frying.  I have used it primarily in salads and appetizers.  But it works just as well with vegetables and meat dishes.  It is a natural combination for any food that works well with mint.

I wanted to throw together a spinach salad with grilled halloumi.  Spinach I can get in Mexico.  Even though Mexico is famous for its cooking cheeses, this is not the land of halloumi.

That land is Cyprus.  And it is a bit of a drive to stop by the local Cypriot shepherd's hut to pick up a bit of halloumi.  It was difficult enough finding it in Salem. 

When I asked my favorite import grocer in Melaque if he could get some for me, his response was: "What is it?  First you want arugula, now you want Mediterranean cheese?"  As good as he is at conjuring up treasures for my cravings, I suspect there will be no Cyriot cheese in his queso case in the near future.

But I may have a solution.  I have already hinted that I will be in Miami for the last week of August and the first week of September to celebrate a friend's 60th birthday.

Miami would be a good solution.  Bringing the cheese back to Mexico would be the difficult part.  The solution may be closer to home.

When I return to Melaque, I am heading up to San Miguel de Allende for the remainder of the month.  Babs, Todd, and Shannon keep taunting me with the availability of exotic cheeses in the highlands. 

I am going to put them to the test.  If I can find a pound of halloumi there, I may have to re-think where I want to spend my next few years.

The ante is on the table.  The cards are dealt.  It is time to start placing those chips in the center of the table.  Chips that would go well some grilled halloumi.


No comments: