Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Petite Sandwich Platter ... Amish Country Limburger Cheese & Onion ~ Liverwurst on Melba Toast with Cilantro Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Neon Relish

     Heavy Rich Food Moderation 
     Usually when I publish a bread recipe, it is for a reason.  I made Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread a few days ago, just to feature a couple of interesting traditional sandwich items.
     In this modern age of fast living, it is easy to overlook certain kinds of food, then that food disappears and it becomes a forgotten relic of the past.  This is especially true when health cuisine propaganda enters the picture.
     Just like chickens with their heads cut off, some people jump on any cuisine trend bandwagon that comes along, then they vilify old traditional food items.  Is it okay to eat rich traditional food?  Yes it is, as long as moderation and balance is applied.

     Those who lead less active lifestyles have to pay more attention to their diet and restraint becomes necessary.  Those who work their butt off doing tough physical sweaty jobs can basically eat anything with no ill consequences.
     A person that works out at a gym for one hour per day is more active than a desk jockey, but in no way is as active as a construction worker or a high volume pro cook that is on their feet for 8 to 14 hours everyday.  Folks that work tough physical jobs can usually dance circles around those who only get physical at a gym for an hour every few days per week.  That is just a fact of life.

     When I do sous chef work, I am on my feet 14 hours a day.  Bags of grain weigh 50 pounds.  A case of #10 tomatoes weighs over 25 pounds.  A thirty gallon pot full of stock can weigh over 100 pounds.  All liquids are in 5 gallon containers.  Constantly picking up weights like this on the job, all day long, really builds strength.  I can actually pick up a 50 pound bag of flour with one finger and hold my arm  straight out at arm's length.  This is not bulk muscle strength.  It is called tensile strength.  Tensile strength basically develops as a result of hard physical endurance and not by pumping weights.

     When I worked at a steel mill doing quality control work.  I worked with guys that picked up big pieces of steel, as if it weighed as much as a twig.  The more that I worked with steel and carted steel samples around, the more I got used to the heavy weight.  It is like mind over matter.  After a while, a 5 gallon bucket full of steel scrap samples feels as heavy as a cup of water.  The mind overcomes the thought of the extreme weight and the body follows suit.

     One thing that I noticed about steel workers is that they tend to eat big hearty heavy food.  Stinky food too!  Liverwurst, scrapple, liver & onions, big steaks, tons of bacon and summer sausage were common sights in steelworker lunch boxes.
     One guy at the still mill job liked soft Limburger cheese spread on every sandwich.  Coworkers use to laugh about the odor of dead worn out socks emanating from his lunchbox.
     Fat, protein and carbs really get a worker through a long day of doing hard work in ice cold Lake Michigan steel mill site winter temperatures.  Old traditional heavy duty food is popular with folks who do heavy duty big jobs.  Do these folks keel over at age 40?  No!  They live well beyond retirement age, because their body efficiently digests the heavy rich food, due to extreme physical exertion.
     A desk jockey cannot eat the same food that a steel worker eats without ending up with cardiovascular problems.  This is why a health food nutcase cannot make demands for others to follow.  There really is no one size fits all rule, when assessing how healthy a specific food item is.  It is all relative to the lifestyle of the person that consumes that food item.  Light fat free food is good for some people, but not all.  The same goes for heavy rich traditional food.  For those in between, moderation is the key to good health.

     Liverwurst is a traditional favorite in Eastern Europe, Germany, Scandinavia and all over America.  Liverwurst is usually made with a mixture of pig liver, beef liver and ground veal.  Liverwurst can be soft and spreadable or it can be firm.  In America, Liverwurst is sometimes called "Hillbilly Pâté, Redneck Pâté or Kentucky Pâté."  Basically, chefs joke about liverwurst as being a poor folks version of French Pâté and this is okay.

     When the hand passed hors d'oeuvres start to run out at an event like a 1,200 head New Years Eve Party at a yacht club, the chef tells the Garde Manger Chef to break out the "Cat & Dog Food!"  What this means is that the regular appetizer food is running out and it is time to open up some cans of Goose Liver Pâté, Chicken Liver Spread, Sardines, Deviled Ham Spread and cut open some packaged Liverwurst.  These items are quickly used to make more canapés and hors d'oeuvres for the guests at the party.
     Us cooks had to resort to whipping up "Cat & Dog Food Hors D'Oeuvres!" a few times back when I worked as a saucier at a yacht club for two years.  After rushing the emergency last resort appetizers out to the dining room, the guests naturally dug right in.
     The chef and us cooks used stand by the dining room service doors and watch the guests reaction to hors d'oeuvres that were just served.  Then the chef always made a comment that went something like, "Them rich folks sure do go for that fancy Cat & Dog Food!  Don't they?"  All we could do was laugh and agree!

     Liverwurst has been the saving grace pâté at many cocktail party events over the years.  Liverwurst does taste good and it is very rich.  In Europe, liverwurst is usually served as an open face sandwich.  Liverwurst sandwiches are usually garnished with zesty spreads, zesty mustard, onion, pickles or relish.
     I honestly like snacking on petite open face liverwurst sandwiches, so I made some the other day while doing a long 10 hour college research paper writing session.  Rye bread is the first choice for liverwurst, but Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread tastes good with Hillbilly Pâté too.

     Amish Country Spreadable Limburger Cheese
     Limburger Cheese is the stinky stuff!  Amish Country Limburger Cheese is actually a mixture of White Cheddar Cheese and Soft ripe Limburger.  In other words, the flavor is diluted and this is for a good reason.  Limburger has lost plenty of appeal in the last 50 years and this classic cheese has nearly disappeared from the market altogether.
     There is only one Swiss master cheesemaker left in America who makes Limburger Cheese.  The flavor of Amish Country Limburger is toned down in order to increase the marketing appeal.  Regular full strength Limburger is also available from this cheesemaker in Wisconsin.

     Limburger Cheese is still popular in the Netherlands, most of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Canada and Northern States in America.  Oddly enough, while working in yacht clubs, Limburger Cheese was requested by several of the old school big money high rollers.

     The Limburger & Onion Sandwich is the all time classic way to serve this cheese.  Zesty mustard, like Russian Mustard, is usually served on the side.  Limburger & Onion Sandwiches are popular in German American neighborhood taverns, especially in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois.  Rye Bread is first choice, but a sweet wheat bread tastes good with Limburger too.

     Limburger is made with pasteurized got milk cheese that is bathed in Brevibacterium Linens Bacteria.  This is the same bacteria that causes body odor.  The cheese is crumbly and mild tasting when fresh, but as Limburgers ages, it becomes softer.  Extra aged Limburgers is actually runny.  The strong aroma of Limburger also increases with age.

     Amish Country Old Fashioned Spreadable Limburger Cheese is very nice tasting.  Hints of nuts and natural sweetness combine with rich sharp flavors.  This mild Limburger is modestly aromatic.  Highly recommended for readers who are fans of fine gourmet cheese!

     For more information about Amish Country Spreadable Limburger Cheese and Traditional Limburger, follow these links:
     • Chalet Cheese Co-op (Facebook)
     • Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute - Myron Olson, Chalet Cheese Cooperative
     • WBEZ 91.5 - Louisa Chu - Limburger: This cheese stands alone, but perhaps not for long

     Beer Pairing
     For both liverwurst and Limburger Cheese, an aged Lager or Bock Beer is best.  For some reason, very few American craft breweries make great lagers.  This is because a great lager is aged in wood casks before bottling.  Far too many craft breweries take production shortcuts, just to pump out as much beer as possible.  Profiteering by shortchanging quality is never a path that a good brewer follows.  Many customers may not notice the difference, but some of us do.
     A good aged lager has to be well balanced, especially when the aging process does its thing.  Depending on how long a lager is aged, it can have light flavor, a rich aged flavor or it can be pleasantly dank, heavy and malty sweet.  Lager is a beer art in itself.

     One of the few great craft lagers that I have found is made by the Brooklyn Brewery.  Brooklyn, New York, has a long history of great beer production that nearly faded out of existence in the last few decades.  The Brooklyn Brewery has revived the Brooklyn beer brewing tradition in a big way.
     Brooklyn Brewery Beer is masterfully crafted along traditional lines.  The east coast is steeped in tradition, just like Europe.  The latest and greatest fads never last.  Only trie and true tradition lives on.  This means that beer like extra strong hoppy western craft brews do not really cut the mustard, as far as east consumer tastes are concerned.  A beer has to have balance and authenticity if it is going to be well liked by east coast folks.  The Brooklyn Brewery is capitalizing on this well founded beer brewing philosophy.

     Brooklyn Brewery beer products were recently introduced in Las Vegas.  This beer is available in bottles or cans.  As long as beer cans are not exposed to heat, the flavor is as good as bottled beer, so I have no qualms about canned craft beer.

     Brooklyn Brewery Lager is as good as lager beer gets.  This lager has an agreeable moderately aged rich flavor, the malt balance is perfect and the hops flavor is traditional.  This lager is simply one of the best!  Brooklyn Lager is a lager drinker's first choice.  Highly recommended!
     For more information about the brewery, follow this link:
     • Brooklyn Brewery
     Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread:
     About 16 thin slices of petite bread loaf will be needed for todays recipe.
     Follow this link to the bread recipe in this website:
     • Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread

     Melba Toast:
     Melba toast is like Rusk.  The toast is dry and crisp.  Any king of bread that is not too dense can be used to make Melba Toast.  Thin sandwich sliced bread or very thin slices of petite bread loaf can be used.  For hors d'oeuvres or canapés, very thin sliced petite bread loaves are best.  The bread slices are baked in a 300ºF oven till they are lightly toasted, completely dry and crisp.  About 10 slices of Melba Toast will be needed for today's recipe

     Cilantro Roasted Pepper Spread:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup! 
     Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a food processor.
     Add 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped roasted red bell pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Pulse the food processor, till the mixture is pureed.
     Place the spread in a container.
     Chill until the spread becomes a medium thick consistency.

     Petite Amish Country Limburger Cheese & Onion Sandwiches:
     Cut 16 thin slices from a petite loaf of Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread.
     Spread a thin layer of Amish Country Limburger Cheese on each slice of bread.
     Place thin sliced yellow onion or sweet onion on 8 of the slices.
     Assemble the petite sandwiches.  

     Liverwurst on Melba Toast with Cilantro Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Neon Relish:
     Place a thin layer of the Cilantro Roasted Pepper on 8 slices of Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread Melba Toast.
     Place a thin half moon shaped lice of liverwurst on each Melba Toast.
     Place a small dab of Chicago Style Neon Relish on each slice of liverwurst.

     Platter Presentation: 
     Overlap the  Petite Amish Country Limburger Cheese & Onion Sandwiches across the center of a serving platter.
     Place a row of the Liverwurst on Melba Toast with Cilantro Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Neon Relish on both sides of the petite sandwiches.
     Garnish the plate with cilantro sprigs.
     Serve with German Mustard or Russian Mustard on the side.

    Viola!  Petite sandwiches and melba toast canapés that feature classic rich flavors!  

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