Tag Archives: cheese

Late night farmer’s market supper

corn scambleAfter a long  hot day making jam and then selling jam at the farmers market; shopping and making dinner for my family seemed a daunting task. One of my favorite things is gathering my little family together to cook and enjoy an evening meal, watch a little TV (way too much Food Network) and wind down from our day. Tonight however, I was just exhausted so when the texts came in that everyone was going their own way and I was on my own for dinner, I was not sad.

So what does an over tired woman who has cooked most of the day already make for dinner? I put on my pajamas embarrassingly early and went hunting and gathering in the fridge. One cooked ear of corn leftover from last night’s dinner, a fresh box of farm eggs, some local mild goat cheese; yes that looked like it could be supper. I scrambled the eggs with a little milk, melted butter in a small pan and sautéed the corn for a minute then dumped in the eggs and some crumbled goat cheese. Too lazy to make a pretty omelet, I just swirled the egg around until it was softly set and poured it out on a plate. I remembered that I had bought a baguette at the farmers market so I sliced up a bit of bread to go with my buttery eggs and sat down to a simple, quiet meal. Contented sigh…

Clean House, Sloppy Supper

lamb and noodlesI ambled down the isles of Whole Foods this evening in a clueless, hungry dither.  Hours and hours of spring cleaning can wear a woman out no matter how joyful she might be about the carefully stowed away wool sweaters or a magnificently organized linen closet. Random supper ideas flew through my brain; fish, pizza, maybe a salad.  I sampled some cheese and said hello to the charming cheese guy, which reminded me that I had homemade ricotta cheese in my fridge.  I headed to the pasta section and picked up some egg noodles and thought a kugel might be nice. As I passed the meat counter I noticed that they were selling ground lamb from a local farm and suddenly, a lamb burger or lamb sloppy joe sounded good.  Into my shopping basket went the lamb.  Warming to the sloppy joe idea, I grabbed a can of fire roasted tomatoes.  I finally found my way out of the store and once home I unpacked my purchases.
I sliced some onion and cooked it in olive oil with a bit of chopped garlic and added the lamb.  When the lamb was nicely browned, I poured in a bit of dry white wine and then added the canned tomatoes and a sprig of fresh rosemary and a little salt, pepper, and oregano. The mixture smelled delicious but I realized that I had not picked up buns for my sloppy joes.  I had ended up buying the egg noodles despite discarding the kugel idea so I quickly boiled some water and cooked the noodles until tender.  I spooned the lamb mixture over the noodles and then decided I would top the messy dish with the homemade cheese.
The resulting dish was so tasty that I would happily make it again (next time on purpose).  Now that my family is well fed, I am thinking about what room to tackle tomorrow, or perhaps we should get to that yard work…

Cheesy but not cheesy SuperBowl Snack

evil apple nachosWith our beloved Patriots going to battle in the Super Bowl this weekend, the supermarket was filled with every kind of junk food you could dream up (and a few that tested the limits of imagination).  No I will not be buying  pretend cheese food glop to slather over my pizza flavored chips.  I love football and I love snacks but I want to nibble on something delicious while I cheer on the home team.

I tasted some Food Should Taste Good chips at Whole Foods and they were great.  I brought home a bag of their Sweet Potato chips which had much less salt and fat than my usual choice of chip and I had a plan.  When I got home I grated some sharp Cabot cheddar and opened a jar of Evil Apple (my spicy apple & chipotle conserve).  I sprinkled the chips with cheese and melted it in the oven.  I spread the Evil Apple over the cheese and with very little effort had a great game day snack that was healthy, local and full of flavor.  Go Pats!

Drunken Passover Grilled Cheese

drunken passover grilled cheeseI love Passover and all of the symbolism and stories and the special foods the holiday carries.  Passover meant huge dinners with family and friends, somehow managing to squeeze in one or two more chairs for last-minute guests who could not bear to miss the fun.  From the days of being the giggling children at the table impatient for the meal to begin; to teens snickering about wicked sons and stealing sips of wine; to joyfully watching the next generation hunt for the afikomen-Pesach has always filled my heart with delights.    

Since I will eat matzoh anytime and consider it a treat, the main food of Passover is not a boring burden for me.  For many however, anything that can help break the monotony is welcome.  So when I saw that Cabot was making a Kosher for Passover cheddar, I knew that I needed to try to make a Passover acceptable version of my favorite sandwich, the humble grilled cheese.   Since wine is a big part of the holiday celebration, I used it in my recipe but you can use apple juice for the kiddies if you wish.

Drunken Passover Grilled Cheese
Egg Matzo
Kosher for Passover cheddar cheese
Kosher for Passover Port or other sweet wine
Butter

Heat butter in a non-stick frying pan
Slice cheese into thin slices
Pour some wine into a shallow dish or plate
Dip two pieces of matzo in wine until wet through but not soaked & soft
Immediately, layer slices of cheese between matzo pieces
Cook in butter until cheese is melted and matzo is toasty (if you’ll pardon the expression during Pesach)
Enjoy!

They’re So Fluffy!

My friend Michelle who writes the blog Fun & Fearless in Beantown was pouting over the lack of poof in her otherwise quite tasty popovers.  She is a fantastic cook cheddar horseradish popoversand her food photos induce Pavlovian drooling at a glance but she was seeking some help with her puzzling popover problem.  I am never one to let a friend feel deflated, so I am sharing my recipe for Cheddar Horseradish Popovers which has always yielded great results for me with no post oven letdown.  It is the perfect brunch treat for a crowd since you can make several batches ahead of time and freeze them.  Michelle and everyone; I hope you enjoy making these and that they rise to your high expectations!

Cheddar Horseradish Popovers
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon grated horseradish (or more to taste)

Heat oven to 425
Butter a 6 cup popover pan or 8 cups of a standard muffin tin
Mix milk, eggs, butter, horseradish
Measure flour into a bowl w pour spout or large measuring cup
Add to wet ingredients to flour and mix just to combine
Stir in cheese gently
Fill cups of the pan 3/4 full
Bake for about 20 minutes until puffed
Turn over down to 350 and bake another 10 minutes
As soon as the popovers come out of the oven, poke them gently with a fork to release steam

Neep and Cheddar Souffle

turnip souffleNeeps is one of several old English names for Turnips.  Yesterday I bought some magnificent yellow top turnips from Red Fire Farm at the Wayland Winter Farmers Market.   As for the turnips, I married them to a tasty cheddar cheese sauce and some local eggs and made mini Neep and Cheddar Souffles.

I served the souffles with a side of crumbled bacon and crispy shallots cooked in turnip souffle detailthe bacon fat.  If you are serving a vegetarian crowd, you could just make the shallots in butter or olive oil. I hope you will try the recipe below and eat your neeps!

Neep & Cheddar Souffle
3 cups yellow turnip, peeled and cut in one inch chunks
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
pinch fresh-grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Heat the oven to 375 degreesturnip souffle before
Boil the turnips until quite soft, drain, mash, and set aside
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter
Stir in flour and cook into a thick paste
Gradually add milk and cook until well thickened
Take off the heat and add cheddar and spices
Separate the eggs
Add a little of the cheese sauce to the eggs to warm them
Add the eggs to the cheese sauce and mix well
Stir the mashed turnips into the cheese sauce
Beat the egg whites until stiff
Gently fold the whites into the cheese mixture
Pour into 8 1 cup ramekins or 1 8″ round casserole
Bake the small souffles for 20 minutes and the large for about 30 minutes
Serve immediately

Mini Cheese Pretzels

I have been making these delicious little cheese pretzels for years.  They are simple to put together and even freeze well so you can make a big batch and have some on hand to quell a snack craving or to serve as a nibble with cocktails.  Recently I bought some Cabot horseradish cheddar and thought I might try it in this recipe.  I replaced half of the sharp cheddar  normally used in  this recipe with the horseradish cheddar .  The result was an extra snappy flavor that we loved.  These crunchy bites are a perfect companion for a crisp glass of hard apple cider or regular cider for the younger crew.  

Cheese Pretzels
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup finely shredded horseradish flavored cheddar cheese
3-4 Tbs cold water
1/4 tsp baking powder
Egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water for glaze
Sesame seeds for topping (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Mix the baking powder and flour in a large bowl
Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles course crumbs
Add the cheese and stir together
Sprinkle in water and mix gently with your hands until a dough forms
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours
Roll the chilled dough on a floured board into a rectangle 15″ x 6″
Cut into 1/2″ wide strips 6″ long using a knife or pizza or pie dough cutter 
Roll each strip with your fingers until it is round and measures about 8″ in length
Twist into a pretzel shape
Brush with egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned

Frozen baked pretzels can be reheated in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Do not heat in microwave or you will lose the crunch.

Russian Noodle Kugel

Inspired by a MA Farmers Market contest for wild mushroom recipes, I am posting this family favorite.  I don’t have any pictures handy as we seem to eat it before I can document the deliciousness.

Russian Noodle Kugel
1 pound Broad or Homestyle Egg Noodles
1 stick + 2 Tbs Butter
14 ounces Packaged or Homemade Farmers’ Cheese (see Cheese Envy post)
6 Eggs (separated)
1 Onion (thinly sliced)
1 quart wild mushrooms
2/3 cup Milk
Salt, Black Pepper, and Sweet Paprika to taste

  1.  Sauté the onions in 2 Tbs butter until just soft
  2. Add mushrooms and sauté briefly
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste and set aside
  4. Boil noodles until just cooked
  5. Drain noodles but do not rinse and place in a large bowl
  6. Add one stick of butter cut into large chunks to the hot noodles and mix
  7. Add the onion and mushroom mixture to the noodles
  8. Break the cheese into small chunks and mix into the noodles
  9. Add salt as needed
  10. Whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks
  11. Blend the egg yolks with ½ cup milk
  12. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the noodles
  13. Fold in the egg whites gently
  14. Butter (or non-stick spray) a large casserole dish
  15. Pour in the noodle mixture and sprinkle the top with paprika

Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the center is set and the top is lightly

Cheese Envy

While many of my friends were away at the cheesemakers festival in Vermont this weekend, I was home writing and cooking.  As much as I would have liked to go, I had some commitments that I couldn’t break.  To assuage my cheese consuming envy somewhat, I woke up yesterday morning and decided to make some cheese.   I had buttermilk in the house (I use it for biscuits and waffles all the time) and whole milk and those are the only two ingredients needed for a basic ricotta.

I had less than a quart of milk and didn’t feel like running to the store at 7:00 AM so I pared the recipe down to 1/2 a cup of buttermilk and 2 cups of whole milk.   Making it was a breeze.  I simply poured the buttermilk and whole milk into a pan and heated it slowly to about 180 degrees.  The curds and the whey separated.  I then carefully poured everything into a flour sack towel lined strainer with a bowl below to catch the whey. 

Once the curds had drained, I twisted the edges of the cloth to make a neat little cake out of the cheese and continued to let it drain for a bit.  The result was a delicate flavoured cheese that was both crumbly and creamy. 

I divided the disk of soft cheese in  half and added chopped squash blossoms, salt, lemon zest, and a drizzle of wonderful olive oil that was a gift from friends Rob and Laura aka The Two Palaverers.  Next, I make a sweet mix with blueberry honey and a few port soaked berries on top.   I had to stop nibbling at both dishes long enough to take photos but they did serve as an excellent breakfast.  Sitting in my garden, sipping tea and feasting on just made cheese and toasted semolina bread, home seemed a lovely place to be.

Temptation

I have been waiting for figs to come to the farmers’ market but in the meantime Whole Foods in Woburn is having a fig sale (50% off).  Yes I bought all three kinds, Brown Turkey, Black Mission, and Green Sierra.  Also bought a few Habanero peppers.  Going to be some fun in the kitchen this weekend!

For lunch I am eating one of the baby pears I poached in muscat vanilla syrup last night along with a bit of Constant Bliss cheese from Jasper Hills.  I need to dial back the vanilla and cardamom just a tad next time but the pear taste and texture was outstanding.  Forgot to write down the variety so need to check with Wendy at Kimball Fruit today.  Need to keep working on new webpage for food fun while  munching on fabulous lunch.  Webmaster’s pages go bare while I work on clients.