French Hoofbeats – A Capricious Winter Cheese Plate

French Hoofbeats - A Capricious Winter Cheese Plate on http://www.theculinarylife.com

- A French cheese plate that channels cheerful little hoofbeats. -

The dark weeks after the holidays always seem harder than the weeks before, don’t you think? For me January comes in like a freezing wet blanket, with its biting chill and blank, bewildered skies. The frenetic pleasure run of December is gone now. Maybe what I’m feeling is an activity hangover, or perhaps it’s grief over the sudden loss of holiday cheer. The world has traded its vivacious reds and greens for a more muted palette: dark gray, light gray, and that indescribably depressing color of dirty snow.

I’m not one to linger in apathy, though. I subscribe to the “feed a cold” line of thinking, and I treat bouts of seasonal lethargy the same way. And can you think of a better way to dispel the winter doldrums than with an inspired cheese plate?

These four French goat cheeses make up a lively cheese plate, each in their own individual way. Some are tart, others are more subdued. At least one prances between both camps, leaving little hoof prints across both your palate and your heart. If you’re feeling down, I recommend digging up a handful of almonds, a few fresh apples, and a bowl of dried cranberries — then faceplant straight into the middle of this cheese plate, no holds barred.

Just what the doctor ordered. [Read more...]

Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on KATU – Turkey Leftovers (Video)

Turkey Mac-and-Cheeselets on AM Northwest - Turkey Leftovers Video on http://www.theculinarylife.com

 

A few days ago I posted the recipe for our Turkey and Gouda Mac & Cheeselets, a great way to use up those turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving. In the few days since then, KATU in Portland aired a segment I filmed on how to make these cute little portable baked macaroni and cheese dumplings. It’s a long segment that essentially shows the entire turkey leftovers recipe from beginning to end. To print the recipe, go here.

Enjoy!

 

Red Hawk Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam

Red Hawk Macaroni with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam on http://www.theculinarylife.com

- Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam, from Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese -

 Dear lord, the past week has been a whirlwind. In case you’ve not seen my 3648276342876 tweets and Facebook posts, my cookbook came out last week. Melt has been receiving some high praise on the web, which is both elating and humbling. To see the book out there in the hands of readers, making the dishes that took so long to craft, savoring each little noodle and string of cheese… well, that’s just about the most gratifying thing ever. [Read more...]

Three Intriguing Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Three Intriguing Goat's Milk Cheeses on http://www.theculinarylife.com

 - Three unique goat’s milk cheeses – this cheese plate stands out above the rest. -

Goat’s milk has a very specific flavor: many would call it tart, and there are countless simple goat cheeses that play up this personality trait more than anything else. True goat cheese lovers, however, understand that goat’s milk can carry with it a symphony of characteristic ranging from grassy, to meaty, to even a subtle sweetness that rewards those willing to pay attention to nuance of flavor. Which makes for a very engaging cheese plate.

It’s these other traits that we’re focusing on today. Below you’ll find three goat cheeses that stand outside of the crowd, some with swagger, others with more sensitivity. While these cheeses may provide a hint of that tart goaty profile, they are more subtle and complex than your everyday varieties of chevré. Folks who have historically thumbed their nose at goat cheeses might very find this cheese plate the perfect introduction to a whole new world of dairy love. [Read more...]

Four Baby Blue Cheeses for Beginners

Four Beginner Blue Cheeses for Beginners on http://www.theculinarylife.com

- Four beginner blues in a cheese plate for blue newbies. -

Blue cheese is a luscious treat, and those of us indoctrinated into the Sacred Order of the Blue are beholden to the deepest, darkest, most peppery Penicillium mold the dairy world has to offer. Then there are the other folks, the ones who shrink back at the mere mention of blue cheese, the piquant aroma sending them scurrying into another room. This cheese plate is for them.

Here’s a little secret I don’t share very often: I used to be one of those fearful blue newbies, terrified that even a smudge of blue cheese might make its way into my mouth without me realizing, sullying my palate for the rest of the evening with its oily, spicy, pop of flavor that lingered for hours. No bueno.

After a chance meeting with Roaring Forties, a particularly heady variety of blue, I was forever changed into a blue disciple. Now you can’t keep me away from the stuff, and at any given time I have at least a pound of some pungent blue tucked away in my fridge. It’s a star in almost any cheese plate I build.

As an olive branch to those who may be wary of anything blue cheese-related, I dedicate this post to your cheese education. Below you’ll find four varieties of blue that aren’t a sucker punch to the face; rather these cheeses display a gradient of compelling flavors, only a small portion of that range being their blue nature. This cheese plate may be the ones that turn you, dear blue-fearing reader, into a born-again blue zealot, one that tucks a secret wedge away for your own enjoyment so that you won’t have to share it with anyone else. [Read more...]

West Coast Cheese: Milk from Heaven

West Coast Cheese - Sunset Bay Cheese on http://www.theculinarylife.com

- Oregon cheeses are some of the best in the country. Here’s a cheese plate with the stars. -

[Read more...]