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SND – Who doesn’t love fried cheese?

September 27, 2007

Sarah and Stephanie joined us on Sunday (okay, so this post is a few days late) for gossip and fried cheese. Haloumi with Spiced Leeks was actually one of the first things JM ever cooked for me, so it has a special place in my heart. That, and it’s awesome.

This week’s menu:
Haloumi with Spiced Leeks
Baguette with Olive Oil and Balsamic dipping sauce
Strawberries with Vanilla and Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

Haloumi with Spiced Leeks
Adapted from Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Fast Food.

The hardest part about this dish is finding Haloumi – it’s a firm cheese from the Mediterranean that’s slice-able and fryable. Places where I’ve found it: Whole Foods and the specialty cheese shop around the corner from my house in SF. This cheese lasts for a long, long time, though – so if you find it while you’re out one day, go ahead and buy it. It’ll last till you want to make the dish. Also, use young, tender leeks; they have more white/light green than dark green leaves.

I served this as a main dish with bread on the side; it can also be served with a salad or rice. The hardest part about increasing this recipe is getting the cheese to turn out right – it’s a lot of cheese to fry. Next time I’ll try a bigger pan… or maybe do it in smaller batches.

Ingredients:
(This is the list for 2 servings; just increase as necessary for additional people)

1½ pounds leeks
8 oz. Haloumi cheese
2 tbs olive oil
½ tsp of cumin seeds (I usually double this)
juice of 1 lime (or to taste, this past time, I added more like 1½ limes)
freshly ground peper to taste

1. Slice leeks finely. Cut the cheese into slices about 1/3 inch thick then cut each slice in half to make squarish pieces.

2. Heat the oil in a skellet, put in the cheese and fry for 1-2 minutes until golden brown on one side, the flip the pieces over and fry the other side. This whole process only takes 2-3 minutes.

3. Drain the cheese on paper towels.

4. Put the leeks into the skillet and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until they are just tender. Then add the cumin seeds and stir for a moment or two longer. Add the lime juice and seasoning. Leeks seem to take a while and then suddenly are over-cooked – just watch out; right when they start looking limp, you’re pretty much done cooking the leeks.

5. Put the cheese back in the skillet with the leeks and heat through.

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