Category Archives: Cheese

Not Your Average Melon

This cantaloupe hides a center of molten mozzarella. Swooning yet?

This cantaloupe hides a center of molten mozzarella. Swooning yet?

 

Melon and prosciutto.

Ho-hum. Been there, ate that.

But not like this.

Not when the cantaloupe cavity is filled with molten mozzarella before being draped with thin slices of salty-sweet prosciutto, and seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and lush olive oil.

“Broiled Cantaloupe with Hand-Stretched Mozzarella Curds and Prosciutto” takes a familiar taste and turns it on its head.

The genius recipe is from the new cookbook, “Around the Fire: Recipes For Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting From Ox Restaurant” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

AroundtheFire

It’s by husband-and-wife chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, with assistance from food writer Stacy Adimando. They are the chefs of the critically acclaimed Ox in Portland, OR.

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Cheesy Zucchini and Olive Bread — For Breakfast or Dinner

A decidedly not-sweet zucchini bread.

A decidedly not-sweet zucchini bread.

 

If given the choice between sweet and savory, I will almost always veer at full speed toward sweet.

But a dinner four years ago at San Jose’s The Table had me backpedaling.

That was when I had Chef de Cuisine Anthony Jimenez’s take on zucchini bread.

It wasn’t served for brunch or dessert, but as an accompaniment to roast chicken. The slab of zucchini bread had been sliced, then griddled until it was slightly crisp on the exterior. Its sweetness had been remarkably dialed down. It was tender with some parts soft, some crispy — and it reminded me very much of Thanksgiving stuffing.

Who knew zucchini bread could be enjoyed quite like this?

Katie Sullivan Morford, for one. A Bay Area food and nutrition writer, she’s written a new cookbook, of which I received a review copy: “Rise and Shine: Better Breakfasts for Busy Mornings” (Roost Books). The lovely photos are by Bay Area photographer Erin Scott.

RiseandShineBook

It’s filled with 75 inventive recipes for the most important meal of the day. Some can be made in a flash, such as “Orange Almond Date Lassi.” Some are remarkably time-saving, such as “Better Than Boxed Instant Oatmeal” and “Make-And-Freeze Buttermilk Waffles.” And some are designed more for weekends, such as “Big Joe’s Huevos Rancheros.”

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The (Cheese) Table

Ribbons of Bohemian Creamery's Capriago cheese cover the top of mushroom-pork ragout with grits at The Table.

Ribbons of Bohemian Creamery’s Capriago cheese cover the top of mushroom-pork ragout with grits at The Table.

 

Last week, San Jose’s The Table was transformed into the cheese table.

The popular Willow Glen neighborhood restaurant hosted its inaugural cheese dinner. This one spotlighted the cheeses of Bohemian Creamery of Sebastapol in a $75 seven-course dinner that included paired beverages. I was lucky enough to be invited in as a guest of the restaurant, which plans to make the cheese dinner an annual event.

Owner and cheesemaker Lisa Gottreich was on hand to talk about her hand-made cheeses, which are sold at retailers such as the Cheese Board in Berkeley and Sunshine Foods in St. Helena, and featured at restaurants such as Ad Hoc in Yountville, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Nopa in San Francisco and SPQR in San Francisco.

Gottreich makes her 13 types of cheeses the Italian-way, with little salt. The goat cheeses are made with milk from her own herd of goats. The other types of milk that go into her cheeses are purchased from nearby farms.

In the far right, Chef-Owner Jim Stump greets cheesemaker Lisa Bottreich in the dining room of The Table.

In the far right, Chef-Owner Jim Stump greets cheesemaker Lisa Bottreich in the dining room of The Table.

The kitchen at work with Chef "AJ'' Jmenez in the baseball cap.

The kitchen at work with Chef “AJ” Jmenez in the baseball cap.

The first course brought her Bodacious five-day-old goat cheese with a bloomy rind in a spring dish of asparagus and Oro Blanco grapefruit that was paired with Sikyo “Mirror of Truth” Takehara Junmai sake. What a great way to start with a creamy, tangy cheese and a floral, clean sake that worked well with the always tricky-to-pair asparagus.

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Chevoo — A Cheesy Story

Chevoo Aleppo-Urfa Chili & Lemon crown focaccia.

Chevoo Aleppo-Urfa Chili & Lemon crown focaccia.

 

Husband and wife Gerard and Susan Tuck would often entertain at their Australian home with plenty of shrimp on the barbie, and creamy, marinated goat cheese to spread on just about anything.

So much so that when Gerard left his job in corporate finance to run a Melbourne-based cheese importer and distributor, he had thoughts of being a really big cheese.

When he and his wife moved to the Bay Area, and Gerard graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, they decided to pursue that dream and start their own cheese company.

Chevoo (pronounced “chez vous” in a nod to the French phrase that means “at your place”), launched last summer. It takes locally-produced chevre cubes and marinates them in extra virgin olive oil and herbs, then packs it all in convenient jars.

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Prepare to Drool Over Food 52’s Cream Cheese Cookies

Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, these cookies are deceptively rich and chewy.

Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, these cookies are deceptively rich and chewy.

 

Cream cheese.

Just say those two words and I immediately perk up.

So creamy, thick, and oh-so-spreadable. It’s tangy, yet still mild enough to smear on just about anything in need of a little decadence.

So, when I spied the recipe for “Cream Cheese Cookies,” it gave me the perfect excuse to buy a brick.

It’s one of 60 recipes you’ll find in the new “Food52 Baking” (Ten Speed Press). It’s, of course, by the editors of Food52, the online cooking resource, and kitchen and home shop, founded by Amanda Hesser, formerly of the New York Times, and Merrill Stubbs in 2009.

Food52Baking

All the recipes have been curated by Hesser and Stubbs, who have culled home-spun favorites, the types of baked goods that don’t require special equipment or days to make. They are the types of treats you don’t have to talk yourself into making, and ones that you are sure to make again and again. Think “Yogurt Biscuits,” “Honey Pecan Cake,” and “Nectarine Slump.” For good measure, there are a couple of savories, too, such as “Black Pepper Popovers with Chives and Parmesan” and “Basil Onion Cornbread.”

Stubbs writes in the book that her mother got this cookie recipe at a Tupperware party in the 1970s.

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