– Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam, from Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese –
Dear lord, the past week has been a whirlwind. In case you’ve not seen my 3648276342876 tweets and Facebook posts, my cookbook came out last week. Melt has been receiving some high praise on the web, which is both elating and humbling. To see the book out there in the hands of readers, making the dishes that took so long to craft, savoring each little noodle and string of cheese… well, that’s just about the most gratifying thing ever.
But book promotion is a big job, bigger than I was expecting. I’m accustomed to working behind the scenes. I take comfort in the anonymity of a stove-dwelling life, or gazing into the bottomless pool of light that is my laptop screen–my joy comes from tasting a dish again and again to make sure the flavor is just so, or finding the perfect cadence for a sentence to make it spring off the page and plant itself deep in your prefrontal cortex. But now I’m out there, in front of everyone, and that’s an entirely new role for me to play.
Promoting Melt has been an enormous learning experience. I’ve had to get comfortable with putting myself out there, more so than I already have been, and plop my needs right down in front of people for them to accept or reject. That’s really hard to do. I’ve never been a fan of pitching, and honestly, I also hate being on the receiving end of a pitch. So having to email people out of the blue because I want something from them, well – let’s just say that’s not something that comes naturally to me. It feels weird. It feels contrived.
I don’t have any purpose for writing this except to get these feelings off my chest. And, maybe, to ask if you’ve got experience in this area – overcoming the ick when it comes to selling yourself alongside the tangible product of your passion and hard work. I’ve always had this fear of coming off as a used car salesmen (no offense to any of my used car salesman readers) so it’s hard for me to approach media people and say, “Hey! I should be on your show talking about my awesome book!” What’s the best way to go about this sort of thing without feeling like a tool?
To end this post, I’m going to share with you my very first TV appearance, taped with Garrett last week. It’s for Fox40 in Sacramento. The staff was wonderful, making the whole experience a lot less stressful than I thought it was going to be. I’m hoping you’ll watch and comment with your opinions on how we did. I’m still learning, so I’m willing to listen to well-meaning media advice.
To show my appreciation, I’ve also included a recipe from Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese: Red Hawk Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam. This dish elevates Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk to new buttery heights, with a touch of salty pork and sweet-tart jam that bring you back down to earth, creating an ethereal balance of flavor and texture. A revelation of cheese and pasta.
Thanks for listening.
- Alternative cheeses: Époisses, Langres, any lovely triple cream or extra-creamy Brie
- Wine pairings: domestic Pinot Noir, sparkling rosé, champagne
- Additional pairings for the cheese: honey, panforte, dried apricots
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 full wheel Red Hawk, rind intact, chopped into chunks
- 4 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons raspberry jam (plus more per your indulgence)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through
- a colander and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix pasta, cheese, and prosciutto. Sprinkle with salt and a few good turns of the pepper grinder. Toss until well combined.
- Lightly oil four 8-ounce ramekins and fill them with equal amounts of the pasta, cheese, and prosciutto mixture. Add a scant ½ cup of cream to each ramekin.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place your ramekins onto the sheet.
- Slide into oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the cream has thickened into a nice gratin. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The cheese is supposed to bubble over the edges of the ramekins—that’s part of the charm of this dish. And it’s why you lined the baking sheet with foil.
- Top each ramekin with 1 tablespoon raspberry jam before serving. Add more spoonfuls of jammy goodness if you see fit.