Category Archives: Cheese

A Grilled Cheese That’s The Boom

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.


Got cheese?

Got bread?

Then you know you have the makings for a simple yet sensational meal.

Especially if the cheese gets all melty and oozy all over that bread.

“The Great Grilled Cheese Book: Grown-Up Recipes for a Childhood Classic” (Ten Speed, 2018), of which I received a review copy, will show you just how special that combination can be.

The cookbook is by Eric Greenspan, a graduate of both the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris. He also trained under such celebrated chefs as Alain Ducasse, David Bouley, and Joachim Splichal.

The Los Angeles chef made a name for himself with his grilled cheese when he opened the Foundry on Melrose in 2007. He was also the owner of The Roof on Wilshire, where a grilled cheese is indeed still on the menu morning, noon and night.


With 50 takes on grilled cheese, this book offers up both simple and fully loaded versions of this iconic sandwich, from the “Monterey Melt” (poached sush-grade tuna and sharp Cheddar), and “Frenchie” (crumbled blue cheese and date marmalade), to “Prime Time” (brie with roast beef and beet-horseradish mayo), and “Redberry Crunch” (Gouda with raspberry chutney and pecan brittle).

“The Boom” is a vegetarian grilled cheese that tastes downright meaty, thanks to caramelized shiitakes and onions that get coated with home-made Worcestershire sauce. That sauce is a breeze to make, too. Not only that, unlike store-bought Worcestershire sauce that uses anchovies, this one is vegetarian, even vegan.

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Modern Cauliflower Gratin — Lighter and More Flavorful

A gratin that won't weigh you down.

A gratin that won’t weigh you down.


Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.

They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.

But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?

Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.

Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

Cooks Illustrated Vegetables

If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.

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Cheese, Please — For the Holidays

Cranberry & Cinnamon goat cheese for spiffing up the holidays.

Cranberry & Cinnamon goat cheese for spiffing up the holidays.


One of the easiest — and tastiest — no-fuss treats for holiday entertaining is cheese.

Just unwrap, arrange prettily with crackers, baguette slices, and maybe some toasted nuts and dried fruit, and you are good to go.

Laura Chenel, the pioneer in artisan goat cheese in Northern California, makes doing so especially festive with her flavored ones. Recently, I had a chance to try a couple samples that are particularly perfect at this time of year.

Her new Cranberry & Cinnamon Medallion is new this year. The 3.5-ounce thick round disk ($3.99) is naturally tangy from the goat cheese, but with a touch of fruity sweetness and warmth from the dried cranberries and touch of cinnamon.

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Baked Brie En Croute — For Your Holiday Entertaining

An elegant brie en croute fit for company -- or just spoiling yourself.

An elegant brie en croute fit for company — or just spoiling yourself.


Who doesn’t love warm, melty, gooey cheese?

Swaddle it in flaky, buttery pastry and it’s even more irresistible — if that’s possible.

That’s what you get with Marin French Cheese’s Baked Brie en Croute.

America’s longest continually operating cheese company that was founded in 1865, Marin French Cheese brings back this popular product for the holidays through the end of this year. I had a chance to try a sample recently.

Its brie, inspired by the luscious triple cremes of France, gets encased in pastry dough made by La Boulangerie of San Francisco. It’s a simple idea. But the execution is top-notch.

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Snapshots, Snippets and Cheese Ice Cream

A scoop of cheese ice cream and blackberry ice cream at Kurt's Farm Shop.

A scoop of cheese ice cream and blackberry ice cream at Kurt’s Farm Shop.


SEATTLE, WA — Yes, I said, “cheese” ice cream. Not “cheesecake” ice cream. But ice cream made with actual cheese. Have I got your attention now? I should — because this ice cream is worth making a special trip for.

Hats off to my friend Tami, who lived in Seattle for a few years, and suggested I make time for the ice cream at Kurt Farm Shop on Capitol Hill. Tucked inside the Chophouse Row building food hall, this sliver of a shop sells cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and glorious ice cream.

The custard base is made at its Kurtwood Farm using Jersey cream and milk from its own cows.

Gotta love the cow art work.

Gotta love the cow art work.

They’re generous with samples. I knew I wanted the Flora’s Cheese flavor from the get-go. The ice cream is super rich and smooth, with a pronounced naturally sweet milky taste. There are actual bits of frozen feta-like cheese in this flavor. It’s cheesecake-like, but not quite as tangy. There’s more of a developed cheese flavor, though, no funkiness. It’s ever so savory and just a twinge salty. It’s one of those flavors that’s an instant classic.

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