Category Archives: Cheese

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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LV Mar — A Latin Party in Downtown Redwood City

A party on the plate -- and in the dining room -- at LV Mar.

A party on the plate — and in the dining room — at LV Mar.

 

Most nights, LV Mar in downtown Redwood City, offers up a taste of modern pan-Latin cuisine in small and large plates.

But once a month, Chef Manuel Martinez throws a veritable party — offering a prix fixe dinner themed to a different Latin cuisine, complete with a band, dancers and singers.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant to experience October’s showcase on the Caribbean.

Martinez, who has cooked at Left Bank and One Market restaurants, also owns the more casual La Viga in Redwood City. LV Mar is his newer restaurant, which opened in November 2013. He’s been throwing these themed-dinners almost from the get-go.

Chef Manuel Martinez adorned for the occasion.

Chef Manuel Martinez adorned for the occasion.

When you check in at the hostess stand, you’re welcomed with Mardi Gras-like beaded necklaces to wear. All the tables are strewn with colorful star confetti to put you even more in the mood.

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A Different Kind of California Start-Up: Ewetopia

Sirene (front) and Philosopher (back) feta-style cheese from Ewetopia.

Sirene (front) and Philosopher (back) feta-style cheese from Ewetopia.

 

Ewetopia is a start-up. Not in computers or chips. But cheese.

Made with sheep’s milk, of course.

Hence the cute name.

Andrea Mongini and husband Craig Meadows own a veterinary practice. If that didn’t keep them plenty busy already, they also own a sheep dairy farm in Denair, CA.

They just embarked on creating their first cheeses in partnership with one of my favorite producers, Fiscalini Cheese Company of Modesto, maker of the award-winning bandage wrapped cheddar.

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