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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cheese/Yogurt/Dairy

TIP OF THE DAY: Fried Cheese For The Cheese Course

Sophisticated diners in the U.S.—and many people in Europe—have long finished dinner with a cheese course and small salad, instead of a sweet dessert.

How about a twist: fried cheese with salad on top—or underneath?

There are many fried cheese recipes; today’s is a Sicilian specialty. Caciocavallo, which means “cheese on horseback,” is a cheese that dates back to Roman times. Two large, pear-shaped cheeses are tied with rope and slung over a wooden board to drain and age.

Believed to have been so shaped to make it easy to transport by slinging over pack animals, the cheese duo evokes the image of saddlebags, hence the name (here’s a photo).

Caciocavallo is hard to find in conventional U.S. markets, although you can find it at Italian specialty stores and online from cheesemongers like Murray’s Cheese.

   

fried-caciacavallo-esquaredhospitality2

Fried caciacavallo cheese topped with salad. Photo courtesy E-squaredhospitality.

 
Or, substitute halloumi, kasseri, provolone, scamorza, smoked mozzarella or queso de freier (Mexican frying cheese). You’ve got plenty of options!

RECIPE: FRIED CHEESE COURSE

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 pound of Caciocavallo, cut into 4 slices
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • Italian bread, sliced
  • Salad of choice (we like arugula, basil, cress, endive, chives or sliced green onions and sometimes, fennel; but you can use absolutely anything, very lightly tossed with vinaigrette to slightly moisten)
  •  

    fried-cheese-eatwisconsincheese-230

    Fried caciacavallo served atop the salad. Photo courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and slices of cheese and lower the heat.

    2. COOK covered for 1 minute; then turn the cheese over and cook covered for an additional minute, or until the cheese is golden in color.

    3. REMOVE the skillet from the heat, add the oregano and pepper and transfer the fried cheese to the serving plates.

    4. ADD the vinegar and sugar to the hot oil in the pan and cook for about 1–2 minutes until some of the liquid evaporates. This creates a sweet and sour sauce.

    5. DECIDE if you want your salad on top or underneath the cheese. Add the salad accordingly.

    6. TOP the cheese with the sauce if the cheese is on top of the salad; or use it to dot the plate if the salad is on top. Use the garlic as garnish and serve immediately with slices of fresh Italian bread.

     

    ABOUT CACIOCAVALLO CHEESE

    Caciocavallo, a popular cheese in southern Italy and Sicily, is typically made from unpasteurized cow’s or sheep’s milk. Two pear-shaped cheeses, about 4 pounds each, are joined at the neck by a rope to age.

    Like burrata, mozzarella, provolone and scamorza, caciocavallo is a pasta filata, a cheese made by stretching and forming the curd by hand.

    It is then aged for two to three months, and optimally for one year. Because the pairs of tied cheeses hang from rods in the air to age, instead of sitting on shelves like other cheeses, more microbes can enter the cheese, where they help to develop sharp, spicy flavors, deep, earthy undertones and fruity aromas.

    The result is a layered, complex cheese that is typically sliced and served with fresh fruit, plus a glass of hearty red wine. The yellow rind is edible.

    There are different types of caciocavallo:

  • Caciocavallo Silano, a PDO* cheese made in the southern Italian regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise and Puglia.
  • Caciocavallo Ragusa, a PDO* cheese made in Ragusa, Sicily.
  • Caciocavallo affumicato, smoked caciocavallo.
  • Caciocavallo piccante, spicy caciocavallo.
  • Caciocavallo primaverile, made from milk gathered in the spring, which has subtle flavors of the aromatic herbs in spring pastures.
  •  
    MORE FRIED CHEESE RECIPES

  • Cashew-encrusted fried cheese recipe.
  • Fried cheese curds recipe.
  • Grilled halloumi cheese recipe.
  •  
    *PDO, Protected Designation of Origin, is a designation of authenticity from the European Union. In the case of Caciocavallo Silano or Ragusa, it guarantees that the milk used comes only from local herds.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Classic Cheese Soufflé

    comte-Souffle-comte-USAfb-230L

    A cheese soufflé, golden, fragrant, cheesy and hot. Photo courtesy Comté USA.

     

    Today is National Cheese Soufflé Day.

    We spent most of our 20’s making soufflés, both sweet (chocolate, vanilla, fruit) and savory (cheese, fish, spinach). The frenzy with which we turned them out was, in retrospect, our own mash-up of Julie & Julia and Groundhog Day.

    Modern soufflés were developed in France in the 18th century. The cheese soufflé, initially one course of a larger meal, evolved in modern times to a light main course, served with a green salad and a glass of rosé or white wine.

    To make a cheese soufflé, grated cheese is mixed into a béchamel (a type of white sauce).

    In the course of making cheese soufflés over and over again, we tried different cheeses, from Comté and Gruyère to Cheddar and Stilton. The cheese you prefer will depend on how mild or sharp you like your cheeses, but start with Comté or Gruyère, two French basics.

     
    There are a few “givens”:

  • You need a straight-sided soufflé dish.
  • You need to butter the entire inside thoroughly so the soufflé will rise evenly instead of sticking.
  • After you butter the dish, coat the butter with grated Parmesan or bread crumbs; then turn the dish upside down and tap out the extra crumbs. It’s just like buttering and flouring a cake pan.
  • You can make an optional collar from parchment or foil, and tie it around the dish with kitchen twine. This enables the soufflé to rise up perfectly, but it isn’t essential unless you’re really aiming to impress picky gourmets.
  • Always place the rack in the center of the oven before preheating.
  •  
    The following recipe uses a 10-cup soufflé dish or six individual ramekins (individual soufflé dishes).
     
    RECIPE: CHEESE SOUFFLÉ

    Ingredients For 4 to 6 Side Servings Or 2 Mains

  • Grated Parmesan cheese and softened butter for soufflé dish
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter for the béchamel (white sauce)
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons, packed)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 large egg whites
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the rack in the center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Generously butter one 10-cup soufflé dish or six 1-1/4-cup ramekins. Sprinkle the dish(es) with Parmesan cheese to coat and tap out the extra. If using ramekins, place all six on a rimmed baking sheet for easy removal from the oven.

    2. MELT the half stick of butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Cook without browning until the mixture begins to bubble, whisking constantly, about 1 minute.

    3. GRADUALLY WHISK in the milk, then the wine. Whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth, thick and beginning to boil, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    4. BLEND the egg yolks, salt and pepper in small bowl. Add the yolk mixture all at once to the white sauce and whisk quickly to blend. Fold in the Gruyère and the Parmesan cheeses (the cheeses do not need to melt—they’ll melt in the oven).

    5. BEAT the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into the [lukewarm] cheese base to lighten. Fold in the remaining egg whites.

     

    sancerre_rose_Wine-thor-wiki-230ps

    Rosé is our favorite wine with a cheese soufflé. Photo by Thor | Wikimedia

     

    6. TRANSFER the soufflé mixture to the buttered dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Gruyère.

    7. PLACE the soufflé in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375°F. Bake the soufflé until puffed, golden and gently set in center—about 40 minutes for the large soufflé or 25 minutes for the ramekins.

    8. REMOVE the baked soufflé with oven mitts to a heatproof platter (or individual plates for the ramekins), and serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Havarti, A Great Melting Cheese

    havarti-danishblue-emmirothusa-230

    A tower of regular and flavored havartis. Photo courtesy Emmi Roth USA.

     

    Americans love cheese: atop pizza, on burgers, in mac and cheese. But most of us don’t know that havarti, a Danish cow’s milk cheese, is a great melter as well as a table cheese.

    The semisoft, rindless cheese with small eyes is popular as a table cheese and a sandwich cheese. Now, get to know it as a recipe cheese.

    We actually know who created havarti: Hanne Nielsen, who operated an experimental farm called Havarthigaard, north of Copenhagen, in the latter half of the 19th century. She kept it close, though; havarti was not introduced commercially until around 1920.

    With its buttery aroma and flavor, the cheese was a hit. As it ages, it becomes saltier and nutty, with a slightly crumbly texture.

    Havarti pairs well with beer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and light-bodied Pinot Noir.

    If you like havarti, also try Danish tilsit, also known as tilsit havarti. It’s a more intensely flavorful version of havarti, but milder than German tilsit.

     
    Like havarti, tilsit is a good melter, excellent on regular and grilled sandwiches, burgers, and delightful melted over potatoes and other vegetables.

    We recommend that you avoid a product called cream havarti, which may sound tempting but isn’t. It’s made from ultrapasteurized milk to raise yields. The process produces more cheese, but alters the taste and texture.
     
    FLAVORED HAVARTI

    Havarti blends beautifully with other flavors. As a result, there’s a wealth of flavored havartis: basil, caraway, chive, coconut, cranberry, dill, garlic jalapeño and red pepper, among others.

    Beyond the cheese plate, how should you serve havarti? For starters, use it instead of other cheeses in your favorite recipes.

     

    WAYS TO USE HAVARTI

  • Breads: Use havarti to make cheese bread, biscuits and muffins.
  • Cocktails: Skewer cubes of havarti as a garnish for Bloody Marys and Martinis. Try caraway or dill havarti.
  • Crostini: Crunchy crostini are a perfect medium for melted or unmelted havarti. While most crostini are savory, for a delicious snack or dessert use plain havarti with sour cherry preserves or Nutella.
  • Grilled cheese and other sandwiches: With regular or flavored havarti. Try plain havarti with Nutella!
  • Fondue: It’s especially fun with flavored havarti.
  • Ravioli: Fill cheese ravioli with havarti in any flavor. Chef Michael Symon makes “Reuben ravioli” with corned beef and caraway havarti.
  • Other cheese dishes: Use havarti in casseroles, gratins, mac and cheese. Consider flavored havarti for even more flavor.
  •  

    crostini-beer-castellohavarti-230

    Havarti crostini with beer. Photo courtesy Castello Cheese.

     
    Find recipes at CastelloCheese.com, whose delicious, award-winning havartis—plain and flavored—are available in food stores nationwide.
     
    Have a great time cooking with havarti!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pair Saké With Cheese

    sake-cheese-curdnerds-230

    Buy the cheese, open the saké. Photo courtesy CheeseNerds.com.

     

    Recently, we were invited to a cheese and saké tasting at the French Cheese Board in New York City. Think you should sip saké only with Japanese food? Think again.

    While it doesn’t seem intuitive, the the traditional Japanese drink, brewed by fermenting rice, has a broad range of flavors and styles that pairs with various foods. Like wine, it’s a global beverage.

    Saké is made from four ingredients: rice, water, yeast and koji, an enzyme. Saké is fermented and brewed like beer, but served like wine. It is also characterized as a wine because of its alcohol content is similar.

    Think of saké as you’d think of white wine. A bolder saké can stand up to spicy cuisine, like Indian food. It can also pair well with French dishes. A milder sake is better with delicate flavors like sushi and sashimi.

    Now for the cheeses: Another reason saké pairs well with cheese is that both contain lactic acid. Most aged cheeses go better with bolder sakés, fresh cheeses (like chèvre) with milder ones. With aged cheeses, we personally like:

     

  • Genshu saké, a style that’s stronger because it is not diluted with water.
  • Nigori saké, cloudy because it is roughly filtered old-style, which leaves microscopic particles of rice in the liquid. We also like its hint of sweetness with stronger cheeses.
  •  
    As with white wine, serve saké semi-chilled, around 60°F.

    The journey to knowledge includes trying what you can get, and seeing how you like it. That goes with both sakés and cheeses.

     
    WHAT CHEESES SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

    Your favorites! We’re serving saké and cheese today, for Mother’s Day, with Truffle Tremor, a truffle cheese; Point Reyes Blue Cheese; Red Hawk, a strong, Muenster*-style cheese from Cowgirl Creamery; and a Brie. The first three cheeses are from Marin County, north of San Francisco; Brie is imported from France.

    If you want to see what pairings others have done, check out the website TrueSake.com, written by a sommelier who recommends his top three cheese pairings with particular sakés; and look for similar content online.

    If you’re not sure about taking this on by yourself, ask your local cheese store to set up a tasting. Here’s a report from CurdNerds on a tasting at Murray’s Cheese in New York City.

    More to discover:

  • Sake 101, an overview
  • Saké terms, a glossary
  •  
    *That’s Alsatian Muenster, not the mild American “munster.”

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Different Egg Dishes

    frittata-applegate-230r

    A frittata, made on the stove top and
    finished in the oven or under the broiler.
    Photo courtesy Applegate Natural &
    Organic Meats.

     

    You can have your breakfast eggs baked in a nest, boiled, fried, poached or scrambled or stuffed.

    You can make breakfast burritos and pizzas, Eggs Benedict and a library of other egg dishes.

    Which brings us to today’s tip: the differences among the egg casserole, frittata, omelet, quiche, strata and torta/tortilla.

    OMELET

    The simplest of this group of egg dishes, an omelet consists of beaten eggs mixed with a small amount of cream, milk or water. The mixture is cooked in an omelet pan until set, then folded around a pre-warmed filling (see “inclusions” in the Casserole section), cooked a minute more and served.

    An omelet pan is important to success. A shallow pan with sloped edges, it can vary in diameter.

    For those who don’t make omelets enough to develop the technique to flip, there’s a hinged omelet pan.

    Omelette is the French spelling. It evolved from the earlier amelette and alemelle, literally a thin plate, from the Latin lamella.
     
    CASSEROLE

    A casserole is a beaten egg dish with inclusions, that is baked in the oven.

    “Inclusions” are anything else you want to include in addition to the eggs: bacon, ham or sausage; cheese; herbs; and any number of vegetables, such as asparagus, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach and summer squash. Toss in leftover veggies, too, like carrots, peas and edamame.

     
    It is the easiest of these egg dishes to make, since it requires no flipping. Just put the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake until ready. See the photo below.

    The word origin is French, from casse, a small saucepan, derived from the Medieval Latin cattia, crucible, a metal container for heating substances to high temperatures.
     
    FRITTATA

    A frittata is an Italian-style omelet, often cooked in a large pan to create multiple portions. Like the rest of the egg dishes featured here, it can have a variety of inclusions; some Italian cooks also include leftover pasta.

    All of the ingredients are cooked at once on the stove top. The frittata is then flipped. (If you don’t like to flip—it takes practice to do it well—then make a casserole.)

    Unlike an omelet, a frittata is not folded; the inclusions are cooked with the eggs, not a separate filling (see the photo above). The frittata is typically finished in the oven or under the broiler.

    The result is dense like a crustless quiche, which is cut and served in wedges. It can be eaten hot or cold, as can the strata and torta (the later is often served as tapas).

    The word comes from the Italian fritto, fried.

     

    STRATA & TORTA

    A strata is cooked on the stovetop and flipped in the pan; then, like a frittata, finished under a broiler or salamander.

    The Spanish torta or tortilla is similar, but always includes sliced potatoes (an option with a strata) cooked in olive oil, and is not finished under a broiler.

    Strata means layer in Italian; “torta” is the Spanish word for cake and some regions use the diminutive tortilla. Before the 16th century, before the availability of sugar in Europe (it originated on the Indian subcontinent and was affordable only by the wealthy until the 18th century), cake often referred to a savory dish.

    A tip: instead of stove top, you can cook the whole thing from scratch in a springform pan. This doesn’t work for a casserole, which is not as solid in consistency (see photo at right).

     
    QUICHE

    A quiche is a savory baked custard pie, made with cream and eggs to achieve a delicate custard texture. It is cooked in a pie shell, although if you don’t want the carbs, you can make a crustless quiche in a pie plate.

     

    egg-bake-kraft-230

    A strata, also called a casserole and an egg bake. Photo courtesy Kraft.

     

    A quiche includes cheese, as well as other ingredients: bacon or ham, seafood (crab, lobster, shrimp), vegetables (leeks, mushrooms and spinach are popular).

    The French word was derived from the German Küche, a diminutive of the word for cake, Küchen.
     
     
    You’ve got a couple of days to research recipes and decide what you’d like to cook for Mother’s Day.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Mexican Parfait

    southwestern-parfait-FSTG-230

    A savory Mexican (or Tex-Mex) parfait. Photo and recipe courtesy Food Should Taste Good.

     

    This Southwestern Tomato and Yogurt Parfait is made in trendy glass canning jars, but you can use wine glasses, juice glasses or whatever you have.

    It’s easy to make the salsa, but if you’re pressed for time you can buy ready-made corn and bean salsa.

    Happy Cinco de Mayo!

     
    RECIPE: MEXICAN PARFAIT Parfait

    Ingredients
     
    For The Salsa

  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes (we used Muir Glen), drained, 2 tablespoons juice reserved, patted dry
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped, seeded jalapeño chile
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnish: cilantro sprig
  • For The Parfait

  • 1 quart plain Greek yogurt
  • Tortilla chips
  •  
    Plus

  • 8 pint-sized canning jars (substitute juice or wine glasses)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MIX the salsa ingredients in medium bowl.

    2. SPOON into each of the jars 1/4 cup salsa, then 1/4 cup yogurt. Repeat with two more layers. Top with a layer of salsa

    3. GARNISH with a sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Mexican Cheese Course

    We’ve been asked how to put together a cheese plate for Cinco de Mayo. Truth to tell, Mexico’s signature cheeses, from fresh to aged, are white cheeses made for cooking. They’re not intended to be nibbled during cocktail hour or as a cheese course.

    To learn about Mexican cheeses for cooking, read our article, Cooking With Hispanic Cheese.

    For a cheese course, we have three recommendations. You can serve one or all:

  • Panela. A fresh cow’s milk cheese, queso panela is used for snacking and in recipes. Similar in taste and texture to mozzarella, it’s commonly served with fruit. You can get creative and toss cubes of panela in a fruit salad or with berries, or serve it with bread or crackers and a light white wine.
  • Queso Criollo. This semi-hard yellow cheese is similar to Munster, but not easy to find in the U.S. If you want to be flexible, substitute a Monterey Jack made with jalapeño or other chile, and a hearty red wine.
  •  

    manchego-membrillo-thebestspanishrecipes-230

    Creative presentation: wedges of Manchego cheese topped with wedges of membrillo and a sprinkling of chili powder. Photo courtesy The Best Spanish Recipes.

  • Manchego. The famous sheep’s milk cheese from Spain (the breed of sheep is manchega) is also popular in Mexico, served for dessert with dulce de membrillo (quince paste*) and marcona almonds†. The cheese can be aged from six months to two years; the older the cheese, the more complex. Serve it with Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine.
  •  
    We’re already getting hungry for this cheese plate!
     
    *Quince paste, often made in a loaf form, is a sweet, thick, jelly made of the pulp of the quince fruit. It is sliced and served with the cheese.

    †Marcona almonds, imported from Spain, are a variety of sweet almond. They’re slightly shorter and plumper in appearance compared to the almonds typically found in U.S. markets. But you can serve any raw or roasted almonds with manchego or any cheeses.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Torta Española, Spanish Omelet

    spanish-torta-paperchef-230r

    A torta española. The omelet can be customized in endless ways. Photo courtesy PaperChef.

     

    Our review of Diestel Ranch turkey chorizo inspired us to whip up a torta española for breakfast.

    One of the most popular uses for crumbled chorizo is in a torta española, or Spanish omelet. Made with eggs, potatoes and onions, the recipe is customized with whatever ingredients you have on hand: cooked meats, sausage, other vegetables and herbs.

    In Spain, it is served at any time of the day: for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or as tapas with a glass of wine. We sometimes serve a slice with a green salad as a first course.

    To Americans, a torta will resemble a crustless quiche; but it’s made without cream or milk, and is cooked in a skillet rather than baked.

    It’s an easy recipe, the most taxing part of which is flipping the half-cooked omelet onto a plate and then back into the pan. But you’ll have fun doing it.

    Prep time 15 minutes, cook time 30 minutes. If you happen to have leftover boiled potatoes, you can use them and save 20 minutes of cooking the raw potatoes.

     
    RECIPE: TORTA ESPAÑOLA (SPANISH OMELET)

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 eggs, scrambled in a large bowl
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or parsley, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Customize: diced bell pepper (green, orange, yellow and/or red), grated cheese, ham or chorizo, diced tomato (fresh/sundried), etc.
  • Garnish: chopped green onions or extra cilantro or parsley*
  •  

    Preparation

    1. ADD the vegetable oil to a large skillet until the pan is filled halfway. Heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the potato slices and onion, making sure they are well-covered by the oil; add more oil if necessary. Cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes and onions are soft. Drain the oil and combine the potato mixture with the eggs and herbs. Add the salt and mix well.

    2. ADD the olive oil to a separate, nonstick, skillet, 10 inches by 2-1/2 inches deep. Heat over medium-high heat and add the potato, egg, and onion mixture. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom of the omelet is very light brown.

    3. USING a flat ceramic plate, cover the frying pan and flip the omelet over onto the plate. Immediately slip the uncooked side back into the pan. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the other side is a very light brown.

    4. REMOVE the omelet to a plate and cut into 4 wedges for breakfast, smaller slices for a first course.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Truffle Cheese

    One of our favorite cheese experiences is truffle cheese. It provides all the pleasure of a shaved truffles dish at a fraction of the price. The cheese makers use bits and pieces that have fallen off the precious truffles during handling.

    Truffle cheeses are typically made from a blend of cow’s milk and sheep’s milk or cow’s milk and goat’s milk. One of our favorites is made from only goat’s milk. Any truffle lover who tries these cheeses gets hooked.

    If you can’t find the cheeses locally, you can get excellent-quality varieties from iGourmet.com, which sells individual cheeses plus a truffle cheese assortment.

    Here are two we’ve been enjoying recently.

    TRUFFLE TREMOR

    Bloomy-rinded, semisoft Truffle Tremor, from California’s Cypress Grove Chevre, is imbued with truffle aroma and flavor, dotted with black Italian summer truffles (Tuber aestivum Vittadini) truffles throughout. Elegant and sophisticated, it is a luxurious table cheese.

    Among its many awards over the years are First Place at the American Cheese Society Awards in 2014, First Place at the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest and the Super Gold at the 2014 World Cheese Awards.

    It’s a perfect marriage of ripened goat cheese and truffles, delivering floral, herb and mushroom notes. Made 200 miles north of San Francisco, it’s an earth-shaking masterpiece.

       

    truffle-tremor-beauty-230

    A slice of heaven: Truffle Tremor. Photo courtesy Cypress Grove Chevre.

     
    Since its creation, Truffle Tremor was only made in a three-pound wheel; you’d buy a wedge—or the whole wheel for $75.00. Now, it’s also available in a one-pound mini ($25.00).

    It’s available at many fine cheese stores, and online at CypressGroveChevre.com.

    For Mother’s Day or other special dinner, we like to serve a slice of the cheese with a green salad (lightly tossed in vinaigrette), or with sweet accompaniments. For a Truffle Tremor dessert plate, for every eight ounces of cheese serve:

  • ½ cup candied ginger
  • ½ cup candied pecans
  • ½ cup candied orange peel (recipe)
  • Optional raisin or walnut bread
  • 1 bottle dessert wine or equivalent dessert beer
  •  
    Or, a simple drizzle of honey (how about truffle honey!) with slices of baguette will do nicely.
     
    Note For Connoisseurs

    Truffleur is another great, semisoft American truffle cheese, produced by Tumalo Farms in Oregon. This is another goat cheese, infused with native Oregon white truffles, then aged three to four months.

    It’s rare to find a white truffle cheese. The flavor and aroma are distinctively different from black truffles. Because the cheese is relatively mild, the truffle flavor really comes through at the finish—wonderful! Since it is made with the local truffle harvest, this cheese is seasonal, usually available only December through February. So mark your calendar.

    Semihard, in addition to the cheese plate it can be used to make a spectacular mac and cheese, or to melt atop a burger.

     

    fromager-d'affinois-truffle-wedge-cheesesoffrance-230

    Fromager d’affinois with Périgord truffles. Photo courtesy Fromagerie Guilloteau.

     

    FROMAGER D’AFFINOIS

    From France, this variety of fromager d’affinois, a Brie-like double-crème cow’s milk cheese, is a beautiful blend of the creamy cheese with the subtle earthiness of the truffles.

    The black truffles are from Périgord—the best truffles in the world. It is a seasonal product that is in store for the holidays from October to January and then again in March through May.

    You can find it now in most gourmet/specialty stores, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s (as a unit size under their label called the Truffle Brie) and some Costco stores. Learn more at FromagerDAffinois.com.
     
    HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CHEESE

    These tips should be followed with all fine cheese:

    Forget the plastic wrap: Re-wrapping soft-ripened cheese in wax paper or parchment paper will allow the cheese to breath as it continues to ripen.

    Keep the cheese cold (33°-35°F) and remove from the fridge at least one hour before serving.

     

    BEER WINE PAIRINGS WITH TRUFFLE CHEESE

    These are the favorite pairings from the folks at Cypress Grove Chevre:

    Beers

  • Barleywine
  • Trippel
  •  
    White Wines

  • Gewürztraminer
  • Riesling
  •  
    Red Wines

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel
  •  
    Dessert Wines

  • Demi-Sec Sparkling Wine
  • Moscato
  • Port
  • Sweet Sherry
  •  
    ALL ABOUT TRUFFLES

    Check out our comprehensive article and glossary of the different truffle types.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Siggi’s Skyr, Icelandic Yogurt

    We remember when Siggi Hilmarsson’s skyr (pronounced SKEER), Icelandic-style strained yogurt, first appeared on the shelves of Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village.

    Hailing from Iceland, the transplanted New Yorker found the yogurts in the U.S. too sweet and not thick enough—even the Greek-style yogurts. So in 2004 he started to make his own, in his kitchen. Today, Siggi’s skyr is available nationally, to the delight of many.

    This is not bargain yogurt. It’s even pricier than Greek brands—and it’s thicker than Greek yogurt as well. The reason is, more milk is required to produce the same quantity. You get what you pay for.

    Greek-style yogurt is thicker than American-style yogurt because more water is strained out of the whey—it’s triple strained. But skyr is drained even more. Think of it as quadruple-strained yogurt. One cup of Siggi’s skyr requires four times more milk than a typical American brand.

    The result is so thick that a spoon stands up straight in the cup; yet it has 0% fat (some flavors are lowfat, 2%). The concentration of milk also delivers more calcium and protein.

     

    bowl-w-arils-230r

    A bowl of Siggi’s skyr with pomegranate arils. Photo courtesy Siggi’s Dairy.

     
    IS SKYR YOGURT OR CHEESE?

    In Iceland, skyr is typically fat-free because all the cream is been removed to make butter.

    If you look for information on skyr, you may find it referred to as a cheese. So is it yogurt or cheese? It depends on the recipe of the individual producer.

    The recipe arrived in Iceland from Norway in the Middle Ages. It most likely was originally made as a cheese, with rennet. These days, some ism some isn’t. Siggi’s is yogurt.

    The difference between a cultured dairy product, such as sour cream or yogurt, and a fresh cheese that looks just like it, such as fromage blanc or quark, is the addition of a coagulant, such as rennet.

    With cottage cheese and ricotta, you can see the curds. With fromage blanc and quark (and most other cheeses), you can’t, because of the particular recipe. You also can’t tell the difference by tasting it. The textures of sour cream, yogurt, fromage blanc and quark are very similar.

    Don’t confuse these fresh cheeses with yogurt cheese like labneh.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE IN YOGURT

  • Regular yogurt is made by combining milk with live cultures. It is available plain and flavored, made from whole milk (5% fat), lowfat (1%) and fat-free (0%).
  • Greek yogurt follows the same recipe, but is triple strained, removing a portion of by the whey. This creates a thicker yogurt that is higher in protein. It may or may not be tangier than regular yogurt, depending on the processes of the particular brand.
  • Skyr, Icelandic yogurt, is even thicker than Greek yogurt. Think of it as quadruple-strained. It is made from skim milk (0%)—the cream is skimmed off to make butter. In Iceland it is often made from raw milk, which is not legal in the U.S. for fresh dairy products.
  • The more concentrated (strained) a style of yogurt is, the costlier it will be because it contains more milk and less water.

    Check out our Yogurt Glossary for much more on the different types of yogurt.

     

    coconut-w-toastedcoco-pumpkinseeds-230

    Siggi’s coconut yogurt topped with toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds from the pantry. Photo courtesy Siggi’s Dairy.

     

    SIGGI’S FLAVORS

    In addition to its much thicker body, Siggi’s flavors have far less sugar. Mainstream flavored yogurts can have up to 25 grams of sugar per serving. Siggi’s varieties have 9-11 grams, resulting in 10-20 calories less than brands like Chobani and FAGE. While that doesn’t mean a lot for one portion, for frequent yogurt eaters it adds up.

    The products are made with rBST-free milk that comes from family farms in New York State and Wisconsin, and are sweetened with fruit and a touch of agave nectar or cane sugar, instead of fruit preserves. The result is a more elegant flavor
     
    FLAVORS WITH 0% FAT

  • Blueberry
  • Mixed Berries & Açai
  • Orange & Ginger
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Pomegranate & Passion Fruit
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    FLAVORS WITH 2% FAT

  • Coconut
  • Mango & Jalapeño
  • Plain
  • Pumpkin & Spice
  • Vanilla
  •  
    The company also makes squeezable yogurt tubes in Raspberry and Strawberry, and filmjölk—Swedish-style drinkable yogurt—in Plain, Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla.

    The brand is all natural, certified gluten-free and certified kosher by OU.

    Siggi’s is eco-friendly. The front of the label tells you the grams of sugar, protein and calories. The label itself is paper, and can be easily detached ffrom the plastic carton for separate recycling.

    For a store locator visit SiggisDairy.com.

     
    MOTHER’S DAY GIFTING

    For a yogurt lover, pick up one or two containers of each flavor and tuck them into an Easter basket or a nice serving bowl.

      

    Comments

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