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Archive for Cheese-Yogurt-Dairy

TOP PICKS OF THE WEEK: Muuna Cottage Cheese, Oui Yogurt & More

Muuna Strawberry Cottage Cheese
[1] Muuna’s cottage cheese cups with fruit on the bottom come in 6 fruit flavors (photo courtesy Muuna).

Oui By Yoplait - Strawberry
Yoplait’s new French-style yogurt line will have you saying “Oui!” (photo courtesy Oui By Yoplait).

Reuse-a-Pop

[3] Reuse-A-Pop is a mess-free opportunity for you to make your favorite flavor push-up ice pops (photo courtesy Russbe).

 

1. MUUNA COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT

We were probably the last person in New York to buy Breakstone Pineapple Cottage Cheese before they discontinued it. It was the Ascension Of Yogurt Era, and grocers eliminated slower-moving SKUs to give the space to the hot ones.

Now, a new brand called Muuna is offering all the fruited cottage cheese our heart desires (photo #1). The line is lowfat and creamy, with the fruit on the bottom that you mix up, like a carton of sundae-style yogurt.

It’s also rich in protein: 15g of protein per 5.3-ounce cup.

The fruit is not the typical preserves at the bottom of of the cup but actual chopped fruit, in your choice of:

  • Blueberry
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  •  
    There are also two plain options: 2% and 4% milkfat.

    The line is all natural, non-GMO, rBST-free and certified kosher by cRc.

    Welcome back, pineapple cottage cheese—and hello to you other flavors. You’re our Top Pick Of The Week.
    ________________

    *See the different types of yogurt.
     
     
    2. OUI BY YOPLAIT YOGURT

    Our co-Top Pick is the new Oui by Yoplait line of yogurt (photo #2). It’s different from every other container of Yoplait you’ve had.

    Eating yogurt from the perky glass jar, you could imagine you’re in France. The jar (repurposeable or recyclable) makes you look cool and in-the-know. And the yogurt does not disappoint.

    The company calls it saveur d’autrefois, the taste of yesteryear.

    Yoplait’s foray into premium, French-style yogurt (also called custard-style and Swiss-style) is on point, hitting the trending consumer checklist for all natural, non-GMO and reduced sugar products. The eight flavors include:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    A final endorsement comes from the secretary of our building, with whom we shared our samples. She is a native of Greece who eats Greek yogurt every day. Her feedback: “Outstanding!”

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OK.
     
     
    3. RUSSBE REUSE-A-POP BAGS

    Russbe creates reusable lunch containers, but that’s not a product we have need for.

    What we do need, and love, are the Reuse-A-Pops bags for creating homemade frozen juice pops, puréed fruit, yogurt, and other frozen pops.

    The push-up bags (photo #3) with zipper seals ensures no messy leaks or spills. Freeze, enjoy, wash, reuse. At $6.99 for 12, you can’t go wrong.

    We just enjoyed our first batch: watermelon (from watermelon juice), cantaloupe (from puréed melon) and yogurt-garlic-dill (who says ice pops have to be sweet?). Yum!

     

    4. DI GIORNO CRISPY PAN PIZZA

    We live in a neighborhood where crisp, thin-crust pizza is what grown-ups eat. When people order from Pizza Hut, it’s for the kids.

    We have a reputation to uphold, and hesitate to be seen carrying a deep-dish pizza into the building, no matter how much we need that specific comfort food.

    But there’s a solution for our cravings: DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza, a frozen pizza from the supermarket in its own pan.

    The one-inch-plus-deep crispy crust pie, with extra cheese and plenty of toppings, comes in four flavors:

  • Pepperoni
  • Four Cheese
  • Supreme
  • Three Meat
  •  
    We like everything on our pie (or as much of it as we can get). We went for the Supreme: pepperoni, sausage, green and red peppers and black olives.

     

    DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza

    [3] Pan pizza in four flavors stays in the freezer. Twelve minutes in the oven delivers steaming, aromatic comfort food (photo courtesy DiGiorno).

     
    In just 12 minutes we pulled the pie—a crunchy outside and a soft inside— fragrant and bubbling from the oven.

    Now, we just have to clear out the freezer to make room for more DiGiorno boxes.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Best Summer Cheeses & A Recipe With Ricotta

    If you still want your cheese plate on a hot summer day, these are the hot weather cheeses recommended by Janet Fletcher of Specialty Food Magazine, combined with some of our own.

    You can read her full article here, and create a more complex cheese course with the recipe below.

  • Crescenza. This oozy, briefly-aged cow’s milk cheese is modeled on the Italian stracchino (photo #1). Serve it with walnut bread, crusty bread or grilled bruschetta slices, with slices of grilled polenta, or for dessert with with peaches, nectarines or pears.
  • Feta. Serve it with kalamata olives, pickled beets and onions, and toasted pita wedges.
  • Fresh goat cheese. It’s sublime with artisan toasts, and a bowl of fresh cherries.
  • Fresh ricotta. Look for the drained version, which sits better on a cheese plate (photo #3), and serve it with berries and other fruits.
  • Fromage blanc. This fresh cheese was born to serve with fruit (photo #4), or on toasted bread with a drizzle of honey (more).
  • Mozzarella and burrata. Set it sliced (or a bowl of bocconcini), with sliced or cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves or pesto, kalamata olives and toasted crusty bread.
  • Pecorino marzolino. When a few weeks old, this young pecorino resembles a more acidic mozzarella (photo #2). Serve it with Italian crudités: fresh celery hearts, fava beans, sliced fennel and sliced raw artichokes dipped in olive oil. Turn it into an antipasto platter with salami, olives and peperoncini.
  • Queso fresco. This fresh cheese, typically crumbled onto Mexican food, goes nicely on a cheese board with avocado slices, hearts of romaine, pumpkin seeds and radishes.
  • Ricotta salata. The ricotta is salted (salata) and typically pressed into the classic ricotta mold (photo #3). Serve it with raw or marinated green bean, regular or pickled baby beets, and grilled zucchini.
  • Ripened goat cheese. Look for American favorites such as Bonne Bouche from Vermont Creamery or Coach Farm’s Green Peppercorn Cone. French classics include Sainte-Maure, Selles-sur-Cher and Valençay. Serve with raisin or walnut-raisin bread.
  • Stracchino. Serve with raw vegetables—avocado, celery and fennel slices plus radishes; as well as with the suggestions for crescenza, above.
  • Washed rind cheeses. These are heavier but recommended because they are made with milk from animals feeding on “primetime pasture,” which produces the richest cheese. Look for cheeses such as munster and livarot made from spring-summer milk, or ask your cheesemonger for recommendations.
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    RECIPE: CHEESE COURSE OF RICOTTA WITH MARINATED BERRIES & TOMATOES

    You can turn the cheeses above into a complex cheese course recipe, as well. In the example below, we adapted the idea from the inspiring Florida chef, Chef Adrianne.

    Fresh ricotta is whipped and flavored, then combined with marinated cherry tomatoes and strawberries. You can substitute fresh goat cheese or feta.

    Chef Adrianne further does a side-plating (photo #5), a practice among modern chefs who don’t think everything has to be centered on the plate.

    You may side-plate, or arrange everything into the center in a conventional plating.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Lemon Oil

  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  •  
    For The Salad

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (substitute white wine vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes, mixed colors, halved*
  •  
    For The Berries

  • 1 pint strawberries or berries of choice, trimmed, rinsed and halved*
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons white or raw sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime zest
  • Optional: crushed mint leaves
  •  
    For The Ricotta

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, chilled
  • 2 teaspoons lemon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • Microgreens or torn basil leaves)
  • Grated fresh lemon or lime zest or panko bread crumbs†
  •  

    Stracchino
    [1] Stracchino, a briefly-aged cow’s milk cheese (photo courtesy Beanie Bumbles).

    Pecorino Marzolino
    [2] Before it’s aged into a hard cheese, fresh pecorino is a summer delight (photo courtesy Demagi).

    Molded Ricotta
    [3] While you may know ricotta only as loose curds, like cottage cheese, it is also made in molds of this shape, which allows the liquid to drain producing a firm cheese (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Fromage Blanc
    [4] Fromage blanc with berries (photo courtesy Vermont Creamery).

    Whipped Ricotta With Tomatoes & Berries

    [5] Whipped ricotta and fruit as a cheese course. It is plated in a style currently favored by chefs: side-plated, following the curve of the plate.

    ________________

    *If the cherry tomatoes are jumbo, you can halve them.

    †The objective is to add a small amount of contrasting crunch, so you can also used crushed crackers or chopped nuts.
    ________________

    Preparation

    You can make the lemon-infused oil several weeks in advance, storing it in a cool, dark place.

    1. INFUSE the olive oil with the zest. You may already have flavored olive oil. If so, give it a taste test. To make your own, scrub the lemon surface thoroughly and pat dry thoroughly.

    2. USING a very sharp paring knife or peeler, remove the zest from the lemon. Note that you only want the bright yellow part of the peel, not the white pith immediately under it. Pith will turn the oil bitter.

    3. PLACE the zest and oil in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Do not allow it to warm enough to simmer or develop small bubbles along the side of the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let the oil cool to room temperature with the zest. Strain out the zest and transfer the lemony oil to a sealed jar.

    4. MAKE the vinaigrette. Blend the vinegar, oil and pinch of salt in a container with a tight lid, and shake well to emulsify. Add the cherry tomatoes to the container and turn to coat them. Set aside, turning occasionally to coat all sides.

    5. MARINATE the strawberries. Unless they’re bursting with sweetness, marinating adds flavor that nature didn’t. Place the strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle the sugar over them. Toss to make sure all of the berries are covered with the sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour. Then add the balsamic vinegar, citrus zest and crushed mint. Cover the bowl, turn upside down to coat, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

    6. WHIP the ricotta in a food processor with the olive oil and salt. Blend until light and smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

    7. ASSEMBLE: Drain the tomatoes and strawberries and remove the mint leaves from the latter. Scoop 5 balls of the ricotta onto a plate, using a cookie scoop or spoon. Leave an equal amount of space between the ricotta, for the tomatoes and strawberries, and add them to the spaces. Sprinkle lightly with zest or crumbs, and serve with a peppermill.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    [1] If you have to ask, you can’t afford it: a bounty of white truffle shaved onto scrambled eggs (photo George Guarino | Eataly Chicago. [2] The affordable version (photo courtesy Saveur, along with their recipe to make perfect scrambled eggs).

     

    For the wealthy gourmet, there are truffled scrambled eggs that consist of the richest, butteriest, farm-fresh eggs scrambled and topped with pricey truffle shavings.

    You can pay a supplement of $100, $200 or more, depending on the amount of truffle. After all, for the 2016-2017 winter truffle harvest, white Alba truffles from Italy, considered the zenith of truffles, cost a small fortune:

  • The smallest size were $229.50/ounce, $3,672.00/pound.
  • Large truffles were $2,880 per ounce, $11,520 per pound.
  • Extra-large and colossal were even more!
  •  
    Black Périgord truffles, our personal favorite from France, are a bargain by comparison:

  • Small Périgord truffles were $100/ounce, $1600 per pound, and up.
  • Large Périgord truffles were $805/ounce, $3220 per pound, and up.
  •  
    If you’re drooling at the prospect but lacking in cash, you can feel better because fresh truffles won’t be back until November.

    TRUFFLES FOR REGULAR FOLKS

    We’ve gotten around our challenged purse for years with the following work-arounds. Delicious scrambled eggs can be made with:

  • Truffle butter. You can buy it for less than $12 for a three-ounce tub. It provides the aroma of fresh truffles, and some of the their flavor.
  • Truffle oil. If you don’t want to cook your eggs in butter (but in our opinion, there’s no substitute for butter with scrambled eggs), Urbani white truffle oil is about $30 for 8.4 ounces. Black truffle oil, by comparison, is $18.75 for the same size.
  • Truffle salt. Replace your regular salt with truffle salt. It isn’t a huge impact, but every little bit helps if you’re using the butter or oil. We use Casina Rossa’s Italian Truffled Sea Salt from Italy. It’s $36.75 for 3.4 ounces. That’s a lot, but since you use a pinch at a time, it lasts a long time. You can split the jar with a fellow cook.
  •  
    All prices are from Gourmet Food Store.

    And of course, each of these products has uses beyond scrambled eggs.
     
     
    GOT TRUFFLES?

    If you’ve been saving a jar or can of truffle shavings, it’s time to put them to good use.Another variation of truffled scrambled eggs follows, courtesy of Maille mustard.

    Ideally, you need to infuse the eggs the day before.

     

    RECIPE: TRUFFLED SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MUSTARD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 jumbo organic eggs
  • 2.5 teaspoons Maille Mustard with Chablis white wine and black truffles
  • 2 teaspoons black truffle shavings
  • 1/2 cup sweet almond oil
  • 2 teaspoons silvered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3.5 tablespoon cream
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon espelette chile powder*
  • Bread of choice (we like brioche)
  • ________________

    *Espelette, a.k.a. piment d’Espelette, is from the Basque area of France and Spain. Substitute Aleppo pepper if you can find it: It has the smoky sweetness that epelette brings to the table. Otherwise use cayenne, but the heat and flavor profiles are quite different. Cayenne is much hotter (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) so use less. It is much more neutral in taste, without the smokiness.

    Preparation

    1. BREAK the eggs into a large bowl at least 1 hour in advance, or overnight. Add the truffle shavings and mix gently. Place in the fridge in a tightly sealed container to infuse. The next day…

    2. BEAT the eggs, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and the espelette, add the sweet almond oil and the mustard.

    3. ROAST the almonds in an anti-adhesive frying pan until golden, then chop them. Melt the butter in a casserole dish. Add the eggs and cook slowly with a wooden spatula or spoon, so that the eggs do not stick to the pan. When the eggs are scrambled…

    4. STOP the cooking with the liquid cream and add the slivered almonds.

    5. SLICE the bread into fingers and toast in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of almond oil. Coat slightly with some mustard and sprinkle with black truffle shavings. (Note: We simply made toast, understanding that a short cut means shorter flavor.)

    6. ASSEMBLE in the dishes of choice, with the toasted bread fingers.
     
     
    MORE TRUFFLES

    What Are Truffles

    Types Of Truffles

    D’Artagnan Truffle Butter

     

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Maille Truffle Mustard

    Espelette Pepper

    [3] The dyed black eggshell is dramatic, but we’re happy serving our truffled eggs on a plate, in a ramekin, or for fun, in a champagne coupe (photo courtesy Maille). [4] Maille Chablis Mustard With Truffle (photo courtesy Not Quite Nigella). [5] Espelette pepper from a chile grown in the Basque region (photo courtesy Pepperscale).

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Cheese Omakase, A Cheese Tasting Dinner

    Like sushi? Like cheese? In honor of National Cheese Day, June 4th, combine them both.

    We don’t mean the Philadelphia roll, the only mainstream sushi with cheese (Philadelphia cream cheese and smoked salmon, to be precise.

    But last year, Rachel Freier, a cheese monger at Murray’s Cheese Bar in Greenwich Village, created a whimsical yet sophisticated 10-course cheese dinner—an omakase, as it were.

    Inspired by an omakase she had recently enjoyed at a sushi restaurant, her 10-course tasting dinner did not seek to emulate sushi, although one course is an homage.

    Here’s the cheese omakase menu, which is simple enough to copy at home:

  • Amuse Bouche: Milk punch made with chamomile, sweet vermouth and some sweet hay from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. It was inspired by a visit to the dairy, where, Freier said, “We sat on a hay bale inside a hay dryer just licking the air it smelled so good.”
  • First Course: A dish called Salting the Curd, made from squeaky fresh curds with fried curds (not shown in photo).
  • Salad Course: A goat cheese salad that featured St. Maure, a bloomy-rind goat cheese from France’s Loire Valley that Murray’s coats with ashes to help it ripen. Looking like a piece of pressed sushi, the rectangle of cheese sits atop a shiso leaf. Instead of soy sauce, there’s a vinaigrette made from pickled cherries and honey, and instead of wasabi, there are wasabi peas. Freier paired the course with a Loire Valley chenin blanc.
  • Pasta Course: Reverse ravioli, two squares squares of mozzarella (instead of pasta dough), filled with tomato sauce, garlic and basil. It was paired with lambrusco, a red wine from Italy (not shown).
  • Frisée aux Lardons With Poached Quail Egg: A spin on the classic, cubes of cheese rind (Spring Brook Reading raclette from Vermont; and Hollander, a sheep’s milk cheese from the French Pyrenees) standing in for the bacon lardons, along with some sautéed mushrooms.
  • Alpine Fondue: A blend of three mountain cheeses, Etivaz, Vacherin Fribourgeois and French raclette. Served with toast fingers and the cornichons, dates and julienned green apples.
  • Palate Cleanser: A shot of whey mixed with apple, ginger and spinach (not shown).
  • Main Course: A mini pot pie filled with Ardrahan, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from Ireland. Pungent washed rind cheeses are meaty and brothy (some call them stinky) and should be paired with a hearty wine: In this case, Bordeaux.
  • Cheese & Fruit:Tarte tatin” with cheese; Norway’s national cheese, gjetost, with the apples and crust of the tarte tatin. Gjetost is a caramelized cheese, cooked from goat’s milk cream. It substituted for the caramelized apples of tarte tatin. This course was paired with Eden ice cider.
  • Dessert: Ice cream bon bon, a stilton center, enrobed in chocolate.
  •  

    Cheese Omakase

    Cheese Sushi

    [1] Some of the courses in the omakase dinner (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [2] A close up on the “sushi” course: Saint Maure cheese from France, the second item in the top photo (photo courtesy Chopsticks and Marrow).

     
    Here are close-up photos of the courses.
     
    MORE

    Cheese Glossary: The Different Types Of Cheese

    Sushi Glossary: The Different Types Of Cheese

      

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    TRIVIA: National Egg Month

    May is National Egg Month, a time for some consciousness-raising.

    We look for Certified Humane eggs and don’t mind paying the premium for them. You’ve no doubt heard the horror stories of mass egg production.

    We buy from Pete and Gerry’s whenever we can: eggs produced on small family farms with a commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens.

    Pete & Gerry’s eggs are also USDA Organic, OU kosher and B-Corporation Certified: committed to sustainability.

    They shared these fowl facts with us:

  • There’s no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color of the egg is actually determined by the color of the hen!
  • Young hens produce smaller eggs. The medium-size eggs come from pullets, hens that are less than a year old.
  • The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell. This makes them easier to crack (no fragments to fish out) and, for hard-boiled eggs, easier to peel.
  • What creates a double yolk? In a young hen that is just learning how to lay eggs, two eggs merged before the shell was formed.
  • All eggs aren’t equally flavorful. Aside from freshness (e.g., farmers market eggs), the tastiest eggs come from free-range hens they have real access to grass, where they can peck for worms and other insects that contribute to the flavor.
  • Fresh water, the space to roost and access to earth so they can dust-bathe are also essential. Cage-free and conventional hens spend their lives crammed together indoors. Cage-free hens aren’t confined to sit in a tiny cage, but are crammed onto the floor of a building with no room to move.
  • What’s the deal with cholesterol? In the 1980s, news warned against the consumption of eggs for people with high cholesterol. But the new news is, research has returned to the side of egg consumption. Don’t steer clear of eggs because of cholesterol. (If you have an issue, consult with your healthcare provider).
  •  
    That’s good news, because…

  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse, with 7 grams of high-quality protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, including the disease-fighting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the macro-ingredient choline. Yes, there are 5 grams of fat, but only 1.6 grams are saturated fat (types of fat). And all for just 75-78 calories per large egg.
  • The sell-by date, is not the expiration date. The eggs should be edible for a 3-4 weeks after that date. If you’re not sure an egg is still good, crack it. Your nose will perceive an unpleasant odor if the egg is no good.
  •  

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    Tufted Araucana Chicken

    These eggs are all natural in color. The colors come from different breeds of hens. Those breeds don’t produce eggs as economically as breeds that produce white and brown eggs, so they are not sold commercially, except by some farm stands (photo courtesy The Egg Farm). [2] This tufted arcauna chicken, originally from South America, lays pale blue eggs (photo courtesy Awesome Araucana.

     
    Now for the fun trivia:

  • Why are eggs sold by the dozen? In England and other European countries from as early as the 700s and continuing until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. There were twelve pennies to a shilling, which meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
  • By the Elizabethan period (1550-1600), selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice. The English who emigrated to North America brought the system with them. Other countries have their own standards.
  • The world’s largest egg was laid in England in 2010, measuring a hefty 9.1 inches in diameter (photo).
  • The average American eats 250 eggs per year. If you eat a three-egg omelet every morning, so that means roughly 1,095 eggs per year .
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    TIPS

  • To crack an egg: The best technique is to tap it on the counter, not on the rim of the bowl. You’ll avoid fragments, splinters, or whatever you call those exasperating little pieces that drop into the bowl.
  • To check if an egg is fresh or stale, raw or hard boiled: Just spin the egg on the counter. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.
  • Egg sandwiches: A fried egg sandwich with bacon was popular in our youth. These days, one of our go-to quick meals for breakfast, lunch or light dinner is a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich on rye toast. We buy the eggs pre-boiled and peeled (a great time saver!) and use an ever-changing variety of seasonal fixings (a favorite: roasted red pepper (pimento) with baby arugula) and mayo flavors. For weekend brunch: a slice of smoked salmon.
  •  
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

    If you think of eggs as either white or brown, check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. There are 10 choices in chicken eggs alone!
     
    SOME EGG-CELLENT LINKS

  • Egg Salad Recipes & The History Of Egg Salad
  • How To Make The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Egg Nutrition
  • Quail Egg Recipes
  •   

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