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Cowgirl Creamery’s Famed Red Hawk Potato Gratin

Friday, 20. December 2013 5:26

A luxurious potato gratin made with an award-winning cheese.

A luxurious potato gratin made with an award-winning cheese.

To know California cheese is to know Cowgirl Creamery.

Pioneer cheesemakers, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, started Cowgirl Creamery in the early 1990s in a dilapidated barn in Point Reyes.

Conley, an alum of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and Smith, who helped found the iconic Bette’s Diner in Berkeley, got the notion to make cheese after working on their days off at Straus Family Dairy, where they fell in love with the lush organic milk and its distinct nuances from season to season.

Wanting to help local dairy farms that were going broke, the two set about to create a way to showcase that wonderful milk in value-added products.

Today, Cowgirl Creamery crafts some of the state’s most extraordinary cheeses. It boasts a cheese shop and restaurant, Sidekick Cafe & Milk Bar, both in the San Francisco Ferry Plaza. It sells at five farmers markets in the Bay Area.  And its original creamery and cheese shop, Tomales Bay Foods at Point Reyes Station, still remains a must-stop for any visitor to West Marin County.

CowgirlCreameryCooksBook

Now comes their first cookbook, “Cowgirl Creamery Cooks” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

There are recipes galore for everything from their beloved grilled cheese sandwich to making your own fromage blanc at home. Moreover, the book is imbued with delightful stories about how their business came to be. Additionally, there are  tips on creating a balanced cheese course, how to properly store cheese at home, and answers to whether you are supposed to eat the rind on cheeses (the French don’t for the most part, but Conley and Smith do).

With holiday entertaining on the minds of all of us, I couldn’t resist trying the recipe for Red Hawk Potato Gratin.

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Category:Cheese, Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (9) | Author:

Enchanting Endive

Friday, 22. March 2013 5:26

Endive salad with creamy Maytag blue cheese.

Endive salad with creamy Maytag blue cheese.

When it comes to bitter, its best buddy is something equally aggressive.

Oh, don’t worry. This isn’t a case of butting heads.

In fact, it’s a recipe for perfect harmony, as one assertive taste needs another, lest one overtake the other completely.

That’s why when it comes to endive, its pleasant bitterness practically begs for something sharp like mustard or vinegar or a piquant cheese.

“Tangle of Radicchio and Endive with Chives and Maytag Blue” proves just that.

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Category:Cheese, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (9) | Author:

Chris Cosentino’s Acorn Squash, Stracciatella & Sage

Tuesday, 4. December 2012 5:26

Roasted acorn squash wedges topped with rich, creamy burrata.

Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto restaurant in San Francisco may be known for his offal-good cooking, but there’s little organ meat to be found in his new cookbook, “Chris Cosentino’s Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal.”

Sure, you’ll find a little bit of tripe, bone marrow and chicken liver, but there’s much more in this book (Olive Press) by Cosentino, of which I received a review copy.

Some of the recipes may have you hunting down specialty purveyors such as for the boar shoulder in “Pickled Boar, Herb Pesto, Grilled Onions & Pine Nuts” or bumming some leaves off your vintner neighbor for “Pan-Roasted Grapes, Turnips & Grape Leaves.”

But most will have you marveling at how just a few key ingredients can elevate a dish to new heights.

You’ve probably roasted acorn squash before. But have you ever served it with stracciatella, dreamy strands of fresh mozzarella soaked in heavy cream?

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Category:Cheese, Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (15) | Author:

Goat Fest, David Chang Visits the Bay Area & More

Monday, 9. April 2012 5:25

Nubian goat kids at Redwood Hill Farm. (Photo courtesy of the farm)

4th Annual Goat Fest

OK, just look at those faces above. How adorable are they?

For a closer look, head to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for the 4th annual Goat Fest, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21.

Redwood Hill Farm of Sebastopol will be bringing some of their “kids” for you to meet.

Enjoy samples of goat’s milk lotions, soaps and face creams, as well as cheeses, yogurts, caramels, fudge, chocolates and ice creams.

There also will be cooking demos and chances to meet representatives from Cypress Grove Chevre, Laloo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream and other goat’s milk product producers.

For more goat fun, you’ll be glad to know that Redwood Hill Farm will be offering tours of its farm on May 12, May 13, June 9 and June 10. Cheese, yogurt and kefir will be for sale, so don’t forget to pack a cooler. You can even milk a goat while you’re there.

The one and only David Chang. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef David Chang Comes to San Francisco in July

The always opinionated and colorful New York Chef David Chang will be the star attraction of an event, 8 p.m. July 17 at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.

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Category:Cheese, Chefs, Enticing Events, General | Comments (8) | Author:

Brazilian Snacks Make Entertaining Easy

Wednesday, 23. November 2011 5:26

Warm and cheesy, these ready-to-bake, gluten-free snacks make the perfect cocktail nibble.

Looking for an easy, last-minute appetizer or fun finger-food for the holidays?

Look no further than Los Gatos-based Mani Pao de Queijo (pown-deh-kay-zho) snack breads.

These airy little rolls, no bigger than a ping-pong ball, come frozen and ready to be baked in a hot oven for 25 minutes

They emerge crisp and golden on the outside, with a texture akin to a sturdier version of a chou pastry for cream puffs or gougeres.

They’re fairly addicting to eat warm, especially with their subtle cheesy flavor, thanks to cotija and parmesan.

They’re made from yuca root flour, making them gluten-free, too.

There’s also a jalapeno version for a little more kick.

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