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Archive for April 26, 2017

TIP: Spring Produce

We just couldn’t resist sharing this photo from Good Eggs, a purveyor of specialty foods—including the best local produce—in the San Francisco Bay area.

Eat up while they’re in season: The season is fleeting.

Spring Produce

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PRODUCT: Schuman Cheese Wizardry

Fontina Aging Room Yellow Door Creamery

Hand Rubbed Fontina Yellow Door Creamery

[1] Cheeses aging in the Alpine Room. [2] Fontina in a variety of flavorful rubs, $6.99/wedge (photos courtesy Schuman Cheese).

 

As food swami Anthony Bourdain has said, “you have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”

Where do you go looking for real romantics these days? In Wisconsin. Turtle Lake Wisconsin.

Turtle Lake is home to the Schuman family’s largest cheese making facility, which has quietly been importing and manufacturing award-winning cheeses for the past ten years.

Never heard of them? It’s because they’ve primarily focused on supplying wholesale distributors with their superb products for a roster of demanding chefs, food service contractors, private-label markets, hotels, and restaurants around the world.

Now though, they have a new name and some new cheeses that will richly cater to your own discerning taste. Newly named Schuman Cheese (formerly Arthur Schuman, Inc.) has begun to send two of their most intensely researched, developed and tested cheeses to markets where they’re awaiting your shopping cart.

WHAT’S UP AT SCHUMAN CHEESE

Focusing on cheeses people love to cook with and snack on every day, Schuman has created two brand families: Yellow Door Creamery, and Cello for Italian varieties. These unique cheeses are made by hand to European specifications.

Separately, Schuman has formed an exclusive five-year relationship with France’s École nationale d’industrie laitière (ENIL), a series of five regional colleges that operate under the French Ministry of Agriculture and which defines the standards for cheesemaking artisans.

The partnership is devoted to immersing Schuman’s cheesemakers in the same European techniques that make us crave French and Italian cheeses.

Heading up this highly creative, passionate, and scientific effort is Christophe Megevand, who began his career in the French Alps. Having won numerous gold medals in cheese competitions for years, he oversees all of Schuman’s cheese production.

 

His passion for cheesemaking is with him 24/7, and every six months his hand-picked colleague Julien Rouillaud, who has taught at the ENIL for ten years, have led the Schuman company to an evolving educational partnership with a single mission: enhancing the everyday quality of cheese.

YELLOW DOOR CREAMERY

Yellow Door Creamery’s award-winning Fontina, semi-firm and velvety, has been taken in hand and given a new flavor profile.

Each perfect wheel gets a surface massage of distinctive, aromatic herbs directly from the hands of Schuman’s specially trained staff. They’re then cryovac-ed and aged for up to 50 days so that flavors ripen and fully develop.

These are the three you should look for to make your cheeseboards (and your guests) smile:

  • Harissa: just-right heat and the excitement of Moroccan cuisine.
  • Habanero-Lime: an unusual combination that works like a dream, with the tiny pepper’s hot zap…and
  • Tuscan: bursts of the Italian herbals we love, like thyme, oregano, and basil.
  •  
    Soon on the way to join its family is a melodious Bergamot & Hibiscus-rubbed Fontina. It is maturing in the aging room, waiting to reach the same degree of perfection as its relatives.

    All are perfect cheeses to accompany cocktails or wine, and are welcome in the refrigerator for snacks. The cheeses are delicious in popular recipes, from stuffed mushrooms and onion soup gratin to frittata and fondue.

    New Alpine-Style Cheeses

    Starting in May, Yellow Door Creamery’s three new Alpine-style cheeses, long in the making and perfecting, will be introduced to consumers. Christophe, who grew up in the French Alps, is particularly fond of these, even though they are the most difficult ones to make.

    The cheeses are “naked cured” (not brined or aged in plastic), so that they are completely moisture-free, and are cultured and aged completely differently from softer cheeses. They are consistently tested and fine-tuned to produce different flavor notes.

    The three coming to market indicate the specific mountainous regions from which they originate:

  • Valis (valley) typifies the lower Alps, with gentler grassy flavor and a more pliable texture similar to Raclette.
  • Monteau (mountain) is more like a Vermont cheese–a bit stronger and firmer, similar to Appenzeller, with more complex flavor…and
  • Alta (high mountain), with its intensely sweet, nutty flavor, similar to Gruyère.
  •  
    The Alpine selections are great cooking cheeses (think raclette and fondue), and are heaven for grilled cheese lovers. They can also easily be grated over cooked dishes just before serving. Dried fruits and nuts are able-bodied partners.

    Yellow Door Creamery’s Hand-Rubbed Fontina is available at Costco, Sprouts stores, Sam’s Club, and Kroger supermarkets. The Alpine cheeses will launch in stores this summer.

    –Rowann Gilman

     

    RECIPE #1: FIG JAM & HARISSA FONTINA CROSITNI

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 baguette, sliced diagonally into ½-inch slices
  • ½ cup fig jam
  • 6 ounces Yellow Door Creamery Harissa Rubbed Fontina, cubed
  • ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  
    Preparation
    1. PREHEAT the broiler to high. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil on both sides and arrange on a large baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes, just until the baguette is golden-brown and toasty.

    2. REMOVE from the oven and immediately top with the cubed cheese. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt slightly.

    3. PLACE a dollop the jam over the cheese and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

    RECIPE #2: FONTINA-STUFFED MUSHROOMS WITH PICO DE GALLO

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, thoroughly cleaned
  • 6-8 ounces Yellow Door Creamery Habanero and Lime Rubbed Fontina, shredded
  • 1 poblano, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: micro cilantro
  •  
    For The Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green onion, thinly diced
  • 1 tablespoon micro cilantro
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pico de gallo: Toss the ingredients together and set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms; reserve the stems for another use. Lay the mushroom caps top side down on a baking sheet.

     

    Fig Jam Harissa Fontina Crostini

    Fontina Stuffed Mushrooms

    [3] Crostini with Harissa Rubbed Fontina and fig jam. [4] Mushrooms stuffed with poblano chile and Habanero And Lime Rubbed Fontina (photos and recipes courtesy Schuman Cheese).

     
    3. COMBINE the poblano and fontina and generously fill each mushroom with the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are nicely browned and juicy and the fontina is all melted. Let cool slightly.

    4. TOP with micro cilantro and serve with pico de gallo.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pretzel Bites For National Pretzel Day

    What do you bake on National Pretzel Day (April 26th)? Pretzel bites!

    These soft, chewy pretzel bites are a version of the jumbo soft pretzels sold by street vendors, and are easier (well, let’s say more elegant) to eat than pulling apart a six-inches-wide pretzel.

    Warm from the oven and served with a cold beer: There’s no better way to celebrate the day.

    The recipe that follows is from King Arthur Flour. If you want a gluten-free recipe, they’ve also created a recipe for gluten-free pretzel bites.

    There are more recipes below.
     
     
    RECIPE: SOFT PRETZELS

    Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes, resting time 30 minutes, baking time is 12 to 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For About 6 Dozen Pretzel bites

    For The Dough

  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
  • Vegetable spray
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Coarse, kosher or pretzel salt (see Salt Alternatives)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    Salt Alternatives

    Don’t want salt? You can leave it off, or substitute:

  • Crushed chile flakes
  • Cinnamon-sugar
  • Grated cheese
  • Pearl sugar
  •  
    Plus

  • Mustard, for dipping†
  • ________________

    *NOTE: Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

    †DIPPING MUSTARD doesn’t have to be ballpark yellow, even if it’s your standard. Go gourmet with a great mustard from Maille. The company makes 50 different flavors, including seasonal limited editions. For spring, there’s a limited-edition honey mustard collection (photo #5). The mustards can be paired with meats, fresh vegetables, and cheese, mixed into vinaigrettes…and used to dip pretzels, of course!
    ________________

       

    Soft Pretzels Recipe

     Pretzel Bites Recipe

    Glass Of Lager

    [1] Pretzel bites, mustard and beer: a great way to celebrate (photos #1 and #2 courtesy King Arthur Flour, photo #3 courtesy Pizzeria Uno).

     
    Preparation

    You can make the dough by hand or with a bread machine.

    1a. MAKE dough by hand: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or with a mixer for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough, place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

    1b: MAKE dough with a bread machine: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of the bread machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise). Then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag for 30 minutes.

    While the dough is resting…

     

    Maille Honey Mustard

    Maille Honey Mustard

    Maille Old Style Mustard

    [4] and [5] Did someone say Mother’s Day gift? The limited edition honey mustard set from Maille. Mustard with Acacia Honey and Balsamic Vinegar, Mustard with Acacia Honey and Orange Blossom and Mustard with Acacia Honey and Walnut, are available individually or as a boxed set. [6] Are you old school? Use Maille’s Old Style grainy mustard.

     

    2. PREPARE the topping. Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper. If you’re not using King Arthur Flour, do both: grease the parchment with vegetable oil spray to make double-sure the bites won’t stick.

    4. TRANSFER the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces. Roll the six pieces of dough into 12″ to 15″ ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces.

    5. POUR the cooled baking soda solution into a pan large enough to hold the bites. Place the bites into the solution, gently swish them around, and leave them there for a couple of minutes. Transfer them to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and top with pretzel salt or sea salt; or with pearl sugar or cinnamon sugar, for sweet pretzel bites.

    6. BAKE the bites for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and roll them in the melted butter. For cinnamon-sugar pretzels, toss with cinnamon-sugar once you’ve rolled the bites in the butter.

    7. PLACE on a rack to cool. In you’re not going to enjoy the bites the same day, store them, well-wrapped, at room temperature. Reheat briefly before serving.
     
     
    MORE PRETZEL RECIPES

  • Buttery Soft Pretzels: moist, with a brush of melted butter.
  • Classic Soft Pretzels
  • Everything Pretzels
  • Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
  • High Fiber Pretzel Rolls
  • Pigs In Pretzel Blankets
  • Rye Pretzels
  • Sourdough Soft Pretzels
  • White Whole Wheat Pretzels
  •  
     
    PRETZEL HISTORY

    The first pretzels were baked by monks to reward children for learning their prayers, way back in the year 610. The shape represents their arms folded in prayer.

    More pretzel history.

     

      

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