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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: Make Gougères, An Elegant Hors d’Oeuvre

gougeres-pancetta-thyme-fontina-gougeres-aidamollenkamp-230

Fragrant, warm and irresistible. Photo
courtesy Chef Aida Mollenkamp.

 

Gougères (goo-ZHAIR) are airy French cheese puffs, savory choux pastry that is mixed with grated cheese and baked.

The cheese is most often a hearty Swiss mountain cheese: Gruyère, Comté or Emmentaler and a hint of nutmeg is added to the recipe. Served warm from the oven, gougères are simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvres—a perfect choice to serve with Champagne, other sparkling wine, or any wine or craft beer.

In fact, we received the recipe below from Moet et Chandon, courtesy of Cooking Channel’s Aida Mollenkamp.

There are many variants of the recipe, from plain cheese to mix-ins. Here, Chef Mollenkamp adds pancetta and fresh thyme, and opts for a mix of Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano and Fontina cheeses instead of one of the Swiss cheeses.

Prep time is 15 minutes, total time is 50 minutes. And it’s worth it! You may want to double the recipe in case your crowd clamors for more. (You can freeze any extra dough.)

 

PANCETTA, THYME & FONTINA GOUGÈRES

Ingredients For 32 Cheese Puffs

  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk or water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs plus 1 yolk, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 ounces shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 375°F and arrange racks in the upper and lower third. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.

    2. PLACE pancetta in a medium nonstick frying pan and cook until crisp. Remove pancetta to paper towel-lined plate and set aside to drain. Meanwhile…

    3. COMBINE 1 cup of the milk or water with the butter and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, dump in all the flour, and stir vigorously until flour is incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until dough comes together in a ball and feels dry to the touch, about 2 minutes.

    4. TRANSFER dough to a food processor fitted with a blade or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Pulse or beat in five of the eggs, one by one, letting each egg completely incorporate before adding the next. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the Parmigiano cheese then add pancetta, remaining cheese, and thyme; pulse or mix on low until thoroughly incorporated.

     

    gruyere-roth-kase-230

    The versatile Swiss cheese Gruyère, named after the Swiss town of Gruyères. Photo courtesy Emmi Roth USA.

     

    5. DROP tablespoon-size portions of dough on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Whisk remaining egg yolk with the remaining 1 tablespoon milk and brush tops of cheese puffs then evenly sprinkle reserved Parmesan cheese over top.

    6. PLACE in oven and bake, rotating halfway through, until puffed and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (Can be made up to 4 days ahead. Store, covered, at room temperature.)

    TIP: Freeze the pancetta for 5 to 10 minutes to facilitate dicing. If you can’t find pancetta, use Canadian bacon or cooked ham instead (don’t crisp it in the pan, though).
     
    MORE GOUGÈRES

    Here’s a classic gougères recipe with Gruyere and nutmeg.

    Goat cheese fans: Substitute a semi-hard chèvre.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Egg-Stuffed Peppers

    We’re always looking for new brunch recipes. This one, a different take on stuffed peppers from Heidi of FoodieCrush.com, lets you prep ahead and let the oven finish the dish.

    “Colorful, sweet bell peppers are the mainstay of the show,” says Heidi, “but the flavor melds of butternut squash with thyme and sweet hint of brandy are what makes this meal memorable.”

    RECIPE: BAKED EGGS IN STUFFED PEPPERS

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 3 sweet bell peppers, red, orange or yellow
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  •  

    Baked-Eggs-Peppers-FoodieCrush-GoBoldwithbutter-230

    A refreshing variation on stuffed peppers. Photo courtesy FoodieCrush.com | Go Bold With Butter.

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a large dice, about 2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. CUT peppers in half and remove ribs and seeds. Place cut side up in shallow microwave safe bowl or dish. Add 1/3 cup water to bowl. Sprinkle peppers with kosher salt and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

    3. HEAT large skillet over medium high heat and melt butter and olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add butternut squash, thyme leaves and kosher salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add brandy.

    4. RETURN to heat and cook for 4-5 more minutes until brandy has cooked down and squash has softened and is easily pierced with a fork. Keep warm and add Ricotta and Feta cheese. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

    5. POUR marinara sauce in bottom of 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Place peppers cut side up and spoon 1/2 to 3/4 cup of butternut squash mixture into each pepper, creating a hollow for egg. Bake peppers and squash mixture for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Remove from oven.

    6. CAREFULLY BREAK egg into small ramekin or measuring cup and slowly pour into each pepper taking care not to overflow egg. Repeat until each pepper is filled. Season with freshly ground black pepper and bake peppers for 10-12 minutes or until whites of eggs are set. Serve each pepper with marinara sauce and extra feta cheese as desired.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Egg-spressions

    May is National Egg Month. How many of these egg-spressions do you use?

    This content was developed by Dictionary.com, one of our favorite resources for words and word fun.

    Egghead

    This term entered English as a reference to a bald person. But it gained traction in the 1952 presidential campaign as a pejorative term for “intellectual,” used to describe Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson (who was bald) and his followers. Stevenson responded cheekily, “Via ovum cranium difficilis est,” roughly translated as “the way of the egghead is hard.”
     
    Egg Someone On

    This expression, meaning “to incite or urge; encourage,” has nothing to do with eggs. Instead, it derive from the Old Norse word eggja with a similar verbal meaning.
     
    Egg Sucker

    A flatterer or sycophant.
     
    Go Suck An Egg

    American slang, meaning “get lost.”

     

    farmers-eggs-pullet-freshdirect-230

    Originally, “egghead” referred to a bald person. Photo courtesy Fresh Direct.

     

     

    1079140_sxc-AndreaKratzenberg

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Photo
    by Andrea Kratzenberg | SXC.

     

    Have Egg On One’s Face

    This expression conveys humiliation or embarrassment, resulting from having said or done something foolish or unwise. It came into usage in the mid-1900s, and its origins are uncertain. One theory is that it evolved from teenage slang, and that it referenced a messy manner of eating that might leave food around one’s mouth.
     
    Lay An Egg

    This expression means to be unsuccessful, especially in front of an audience. Its origins are obscure, but its association with failure had been firmly established in the lexicon by the early to mid-1900s, as evidenced by Variety magazine’s famous headline from October 30, 1929, the day after the stock market crash: “Wall St. Lays an Egg.”

     
    Nest Egg

    This phrase been around since the late 1500s. When it entered English, it referred to an actual egg placed in a nest to induce a hen to continue laying eggs; it was often used in figurative contexts to refer to an object used as a decoy or an inducement. Today, it refers to money saved for emergencies, retirement, etc.

     

    Put All One’s Eggs In One Basket

    English speakers have been using this turn of phrase, if not heeding its wisdom, since the mid-1600s. This idiomatic expression means to venture all of something that one possesses in a single enterprise. It is often used in negative constructions, such as “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” to caution against the risk of such behavior.

     
    Teach Your Grandmother To Suck Eggs

    This curious expression emerged in the 1700s, meaning to presume to teach someone something that he or she knows already (i.e., elders know more than their juniors imagine). Its first recorded use was Henry Fielding’s “Tom Jones,” published in 1749.
     
    Walk On Eggs

    This expression means to walk or act very cautiously, especially so as not to offend or upset anyone. The expression first appeared in the 1740s as “trod upon eggs.” By the mid-1800s, people were walking on eggshells in addition to eggs. Around 1990 this changed, and the expressions “walking on eggshells” skyrocketed in use, while “walking on eggs” waned in popularity.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tex-Mex Queso Dip

    queso-dip-kraft-230

    A classic queso dip. Photo courtesy Kraft
    Foods.

     

    Unlike turkey for Thanksgiving or ham and lamb for Easter, there are no “traditional” Cinco de Mayo foods. Anything Mexican or Tex-Mex goes.

    What is a regional holiday in Mexico commemorates the 1862 victory of a small and poorly-equipped Mexican militia led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over the much larger French army at The Battle Of Puebla. It temporarily stopped the French invasion of the country.

    Cinco de Mayo is actually a bigger event in the U.S., thanks to promotions from Mexican restaurants and Americans’ love of Mexican food.

    If you don’t want to go all-out, you can have salsa, chips and a Margarita or a Mexican beer at home. Or, make a warm, creamy queso dip (queso is the Mexican word for cheese), also known as chile con queso.

     
    According to Bobby McGee of Jardine’s, our favorite fine salsa producer, queso dip is a Tex-Mex invention of the 20th century. It can take the form of a spread or a warm dip with tortilla chips.

    Cheese has always been a costly ingredient. To stretch the cheese, some clever cook added chopped vegetables.

    In the best recipes, a semisoft cheese is melted into a smooth mixture with, for example, sour cream and/or butter for a smooth texture and cornstarch for body. Chopped vegetables or salsa are added for “stretch” and flavor.

    Shortcut recipes mix a block of Velveeta or American cheese with a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes & Diced Green Chilies. Instead of processed cheeses like these—or buying supermarket brands made with them—whip up your own, more flavorful, queso dip with asadero, Cheddar or Jack cheese.

    Asadero is a semisoft cheese often used for melting: a smooth, yellow cheese reminiscent of Provolone, with a bit of zest and tang. It’s often sliced or shredded to use for quesadillas or other sandwiches, and it’s a favorite for nachos and queso dips.

    Check out the different types of Mexican cheeses.

    Here’s a recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Michelle of BrownEyedBaker.com:

     

    RECIPE: QUESO DIP

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeds and stems removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and stems removed, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained (about 1 cup)
  • 12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  
    Plus

  • Tortilla chips, raw vegetables or hot flour tortillas for dipping
  •  

    chile-con-queso-browneyedbaker-230

    A delicious, from-scratch queso dip. Photo courtesy BrownEyedBaker.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, serrano chiles and jalapeño; cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

    2. WHISK the flour into the pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Slowly pour the milk into the pan while whisking, and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and tomatoes.

    3. REDUCE the heat to low, and add the grated cheeses a ¼ cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until it is completely melted. Repeat until all of the cheese has been added. Stir in the sour cream until completely combined. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. Leftover queso can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and reheated when you’re ready to serve.

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Pink, White & Green Deviled Eggs

    Make these gorgeous pink deviled eggs ahead of time for easy holiday entertaining: They’re perfect for Easter brunch or snacking.

    You can make all of the eggs pink, half pink/half white, or tint some pickle brine light green for a tricolor selection.

    Mix and match your toppings from the list in the recipe or whatever else appeals to you.

    Prep time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: PICKLED PINK DEVILED EGGS

    Ingredients For 20 egg halves

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or chives
  •  

    Pickled deviled eggs in Easter colors. Photo and recipe courtesy American Egg Board.

     

    For The Marinade

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) beets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Capers & chives
  • Crab meat & fresh dill
  • Diced red bell peppers and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Small cooked shrimp & chives
  • Smoked salmon
  • Steamed asparagus tips
  • Sweet pickles, sliced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
  •  

    aunt-nellies-beets-sliced-jar-230

    You only need the beet liquid, so enjoy the
    beets in a salad, on a sandwich (instead of
    tomato) or as a side. Photo courtesy Aunt
    Nellie’s.

     

    Preparation

    Deviled eggs can be made up to 12 hours ahead. Refrigerate them, covered.

    1. CUT eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to medium bowl. Reserve 20 white halves; finely chop remaining 4 white halves.

    2. MASH yolks with fork. Add finely chopped whites, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well. Add dill; mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

    3. DRAIN beets, reserving juice (about 2/3 cup). Set beets aside for another use. Combine beet juice, water and vinegar. Arrange egg whites cut side down in shallow container. Pour beet mixture over eggs. Cover tightly. Refrigerate at least several hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

    If you want two or three colors, divide the eggs among the beet brine, plain pickle brine and tinted pickle brine. If using brine, you don’t need the water and vinegar.

    4. REMOVE purple egg whites from beet mixture, pat dry with paper towels. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Garnish as desired.

     
    RECIPE TIPS

  • Don’t use the freshest eggs. Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief “breather” allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.
  • Easier peeling technique. Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell. To peel a hard-boiled egg, gently tap it on the countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Starting peeling at the large end, holding the egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.
  • Easy mixing and filling method. Combine the filling ingredients in a 1-quart plastic food-storage bag. Press out the air and seal the bag. Press and roll the bag with your hands until the mixture is well blended. Push the filling toward bottom corner of bag. Snip off about a 1/2-inch of corner. Squeeze the filling from bag into the egg whites.
  • Picnic or tailgate tip. Prepare the filling in a plastic bag, as above. Transport the whites and yolk mixture separately in a cooler. Fill the eggs on the spot, pressing filling out of snipped corner of bag.

      

  • Comments

    RECIPE: Curried Egg Salad

    curried-egg-salad-louisemellor-safeeggs-230

    Curried egg salad on toast. Photo courtesy
    Louise Mellor | SafeEggs.com.

     

    To mark the end of National Egg Salad Week, we made a delicious curried egg salad recipe.

    And we did it the easy way, purchasing pre-cooked and peeled hard boiled eggs from Trader Joe’s.

    While we were at it, we picked up some pre-grilled chicken breasts across the aisle, and made a batch of curried chicken salad as well. We did some blending, and decided that we preferred egg salad and chicken salad separately, rather than combined.

    A different on a traditional favorite, this curried egg salad is fresh and invigorating. The recipe is by Louise Mellor for SafeEggs.com.

    Find more egg recipes at SafeEggs.com.

    CURRIED EGG SALAD RECIPE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT hard boiled eggs into small dice.

    2. COMBINE the eggs with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

    3. FOLD in arugula and serve salad on whole wheat bread or with crackers.

     

    EGG MYTHS

    Davidson’s Safest Eggs are whole raw eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell, using special equipment. Pasteurization kills the salmonella, as does cooking unpasteurized eggs.

    We go out of our way to find Davidson’s Safest Eggs when we’re making Caesar salad, mousse, steak tartare and other recipes that require raw eggs that are not cooked—not to mention making raw cake batter and cookie dough safe enough to enjoy.

    Many people believe different myths about egg safety. Here, Davidson’s puts them to rest:

  • Myth: If the shell of a fresh egg is smooth and un-cracked, it’s safe to eat raw. Nope! Even the most perfect-looking fresh egg can harbor Salmonella germs inside. If the egg has a crack, even a hairline, bacteria from the environment can enter them.
  • Myth: If you wash eggs before use, they’ll be safe. Nope! That’s because the Salmonella bacteria, if present, are usually inside the egg. The microbes come from the reproductive tract of the hen and are passed to the inside of the egg before it hits the nest.
  •  

    trader-joes-package-elvirakalviste-230

    All peeled and ready to eat. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Myth: You can pasteurize fresh eggs at home in the microwave. Nope! A brand like Safest Choice uses a patented process based on extensive scientific development and precision controls. Per the FDA, the equipment to pasteurize eggs isn’t available for home use, and it is not possible to pasteurize shell eggs at home without cooking the contents of the egg.
  • Myth: Organic eggs and brown eggs are safe from Salmonella. While organic eggs come from better fed, better cared for hens, they can still harbor salmonella. The color of the shells is determined by the breed of the hen, and likewise has no impact on safety.
  • Myth: Eggs from a local farm are safer than those from the grocery store. Nope! Chickens harbor Salmonella bacteria, and even eggs from the best family farms can harbor salmonella. Rodents, feed, flies, water, dust and other birds can deliver Salmonella to even the best-cared-for hens.
  • Myth: Generally, eggs that can make you sick will smell or taste “off.” Nope! The bacteria that cause spoilage and “off” aromas and flavors are different from those that cause foodborne illness. Salmonella bacteria in an egg can’t be seen, smelled or tasted.
  • Myth: Salmonella is only in the yolks of raw eggs. If you eat only the raw egg whites, you’re O.K. Nope. While the Salmonella is usually in the yolk, you can’t rule their presence in the egg white.
  • Myth: Egg pasteurization destroys nutrients. Nope! The all-natural water bath pasteurization process does not change the nutritional value of an ordinary egg in any way.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Truffle Cheese

    A good truffle cheese is a knockout. It you’re going to serve one cheese for a special occasion, this is it.

    There are different truffle cheeses from the U.S., France, Italy, and elsewhere. Some deliver the aromatic, spectacular truffle aroma and flavor you’re looking for. Others don’t, the black flecks of truffle seemingly there like the black flecks in vanilla ice cream—for appearance, not for taste.

    That’s because some truffles have little or no flavor and aroma, and not all producers use the more flavorful truffles. If you can taste before you buy, do so. More about truffles.)
     
    TYPES OF TRUFFLE CHEESE

    Truffle cheeses are aromatic cheeses that have been flavored with bits of fresh truffles and sometimes with truffle oil, when the truffles themselves are not particularly flavorful. They can be made from any milk, in soft, semi-soft or semi-hard styles.

    These cheeses are available in the U.S.:

  • Boschetto al Tartufo: a mild, semi-soft Italian cheese made with a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk and white truffles. Nice. The names means truffles from the woods.
  •  

    truffle-tremor-beauty

    Truffle Tremor. Photo courtesy Cypress Grove.

  • 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 (for Easter). You can find it 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.
  • Moliterno Black Truffle Pecorino: A Sardinian raw sheep’s milk cheese covered with black truffle paste. Unlike most truffle cheese, the truffle paste is infused after the cheese has been aged, creating veins of truffle that permeates the entire paste. Once cut, the dark paste oozes out of the crevices of the cheese. It makes a great cheese course with a big, earthy Italian red wine.
  •  

    truffle-cheese-assortment-ig-230

    Truffle cheese assortment from iGourmet. Serve it with hearty red wine: It’s a party!

     
  • Perlagrigia Sottocenere: a semi-soft Italian cheese originally from Venice, made from raw cow’s milk and slices of truffles. It is then rubbed with herbs and spices (cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, licorice, nutmeg) and aged in an ash rind, a Venetian technique to preserve the cheese over a long period without losing flavor. The ash is also used to convey subtle flavors into the cheese, with a variety of spices mixed with the ash.with flavors of coated on to the rind. The name means “under ash.”
  • Truffle Gouda: a mild Dutch Gouda (cow’s milk, semihard) sprinkled with black truffles, the mildness of the cheese lets the flavor of the truffles shine through.
  • Truffle Tremor: from Cypress Grove Chevre of California, this soft, creamy goat’s milk cheese filled with Italian black summer truffles.is one of our favorites. What could make goat cheese better than truffles? Enjoyable any time, try it for dessert with a glass of Port.
  •  

  • Truffle and Salt Cheddar: From Idaho’s Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese, this aged, pasteurized Cheddar (cow’s milk) is flavored with black truffle salt. As a result, it isn’t as truffle-redolent as cheeses that use actual truffles, but it is a lovely expression of artisan Cheddar.
  •  
    You can get a truffle cheese assortment—five of the cheeses above—from iGourmet. It’s a special treat that will be long remembered.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Green Cheese For St. Patrick’s Day

    basiron-green-pesto-close-ig-230sq

    Basiron Pesto Rosso has an Italian name, is
    made in Holland and is perfect for St.
    Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy Atalanta Corp.

     

    The perfect cheese for St. Patrick’s Day is made in Holland, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a great time with it.

    Of course, there are plenty of Irish-made cheeses available, and we love them all. But you can’t beat Basiron Pesto Verde for bringing on the green.

    Basiron Pesto Verde (green pesto), a Gouda-style cheese, is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet. Your local cheesemonger may carry it; or you can get it online.

  • Breakfast: Green cheese grits or a cheese omelet
  • Lunch: Green grilled cheese, ham and cheese, etc.
  • Happy Hour: With a beer (make it an Irish beer) or a glass of fruity red wine
  • Dinner or Snack: On a cheese plate with these other Irish cheeses
  • Dinner: Gouda fondue; shredded over pasta, potatoes, rice or vegetables; stuffed chicken breast
  •  

    YUMMY & MORE

    The flavor is of classic, creamy Gouda-style cheese blended with basil-garlic pesto. A beautifully balanced (and extremely addictive) nibbling cheese, Pesto Rosso can also strut its stuff at Christmas or any occasion requiring a “wow.”

    Basiron Pesto Verde is one of a group of fine cheeses made by The cheese is made by Veldhuyzen Kaas, a family business founded in 1884. The Basiron line includes

  • Hot Chili
  • Marmelade (a European spelling)
  • Pesto Rosso (a vivid orange for Halloween or Thanksgiving, with
    tomato pesto)
  • Pesto Verde
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Truffle
  • Wasabi-flavored
  •  

    cahill-farm-cheddar-ig-230

    An Irish head-turner: Cahill Cheddar soaked in elderberry wine, porter and Irish whiskey (no color). Photo courtesy Cahill Farms.

     
     
    DO YOU KNOW GOUDA?

    Here’s all you need to know about Gouda cheese, named after the town of Gouda, in the South Holland region of The Netherlands.

    How Do You Pronounce Gouda?

    Most Americans pronounce it “GOO-duh.” But the Dutch might not understand your request. The name of this cheese is pronounced variously as “GAOW-duh” or “HOW-duh” (with the Dutch guttural “ch” sound).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Red Lentil Soup, Other Greek Yogurt Delights & Aleppo Pepper

    Choabani

    Red lentil soup is golden and glorious. Photo
    by Marcus Nilsson | Chobani.

     

    What do you do after your start-up Greek-style yogurt brand becomes the number one brand in the country?

    You continue to share your love of your homeland’s foods by opening a café.

    Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya moved to New York from his native Turkey and couldn’t find thick yogurt as widely available as it was back home. The rest is yogurt history; now, hopefully, the other wonderful yogurt-based foods at his Chobani Soho café* will find as many fans.

    The current café is a revision of the initial concept, which focused on yogurt with savory or sweet toppings†. They’re still on the menu, not joined by soups and simits—the bagel-like, sesame-topped street food of Turkey, available with a variety of fillings.

    We’re a sucker for a simit—we had our first one just a year ago when a simit sandwich shop opened on our block.

    Chobani Soho’s simits include “Bagel + Cream Cheese” (the cream cheese is actually labne, also spelled labneh, and called “Lebanese cream cheese”; Seasonal Preserves + Labne, Smoked Salmom + Herbed Labne; Spiced Chicken + Pomegranate Onion; and Tomato + Olive Tapenade.

     

    We were invited to a media reception where we got to taste everything, all of it terrific. But for us, the star on the menu is the red lentil soup—easy to make, and so luscious and comforting that you’ll be making it again and again. Thanks to Chobani for sharing the recipe.

     
    *The cafe is located at 150 Prince Street at West Broadway in New York City; 1.646.998.3800.

    † SWEET CREATIONS: Blueberry + Power, Fig + Walnut, Fresh Fruit + Granola, Peanut Butter + Jelly, Pistachio + Chocolate, Toasted Coconut + Pineapple. SAVORY CREATIONS: Hummus + Za’atar, Mango + Avocado, Pomegranate + Caramelized Onion (our favorite!) Red Pepper Harissa + Feta, Zucchini Pesto + Tomato.

    RECIPE: CHOBANI RED LENTIL SOUP

    Red lentils (which range in color from yellow to orange to red) are sweeter than the green lentils typically used in American lentil soup, and the brown lentils used elsewhere.

    Ingredients

  • 3 cups lentils
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon salt
  • Pinch Aleppo pepper‡
  • 4 quarts water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup plain 2% Chobani Greek yogurt
  •  
    ‡A substitute for Aleppo pepper is 4 parts sweet paprika and 1 part cayenne. See the section below on Aleppo pepper.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE lentils in a strainer and rinse under cold water.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 25 minutes.

    3. ADD yogurt. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.

    4. COOL in an ice bath and then refrigerate. Reheat before serving. Blend with immersion blender after reheating to eliminate lumps and smooth out soup.

    5. MAKE garnish: Melt ¼ pound butter in a small sauce pan until foaming. Add ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper and remove from heat. Drizzle ½ teaspoon (for an 8-ounce portion) or ¾ teaspoon (for a 12-ounce portion). Keep butter warm and garnish with a spoon of Aleppo pepper butter before serving.

     

    Choabani

    Simit, the “Turkish bagel,” ready to meet thick labne. Photo by Marcus Nilsson | Chobani.

    WHAT IS ALEPPO PEPPER?

    Also called halab pepper, halaby pepper, Near Eastern pepper and Syrian red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper hales from Turkey and northern Syria. The town of Aleppo, a famous food mecca, is located in Syria near the Turkish border.

    Aleppo pepper is used to add heat and pungency to Middle Eastern dishes. It is not a berry, like peppercorns, but a moderately hot red chile that is sun-dried, seeded and crushed. (Ever since someone in the crew of Christopher Columbus came across a chile in the New World and called it “pepper,” the confusion has endured. Here’s the scoop on pepper, here’s the story on chiles.)

    The Aleppo chile’s high oil content provides a deep, rich aroma, somewhere between coffee and smoke; it has been compared to the ancho chile. It has fruity notes with mild, cumin-like undertones. It can be compared to—but is much more flavorful, complex, and less harsh than—that generic pizza staple, crushed red pepper.

    USES FOR ALEPPO PEPPER

    The moderate heat of Aleppo pepper is used:

  • With proteins: fish stews, roast chicken, grilled meats (including kabobs)
  • In veggie dishes: rice pilaf, simmered beans and lentils, to add kick to green salads (it’s delicious with yogurt and cucumbers or melon and mint salad)
  • As an attractive red garnish: on deviled eggs (or with any eggs), on potato, chicken, tuna and pasta salads
  • In any Mediterranean dish: tagines and couscous, for example
  • In classic American dishes: chili, pizza, soup, stews
  • As an everyday seasoning: add the flakes to olive oil to infuse for a vinaigrette, marinade, rub or for sautéing
  •  
    If you can’t find Aleppo pepper locally, you can buy it online. When you empty your jar of crushed red pepper flakes, replace it with Aleppo.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: French Cheeses With American Meals

    fourme-d-ambert-murrays-230

    A beautiful blue: fourme d’ambert is made
    from pasteurized cow’s milk in Auvergne.
    Each wheel is formed from unpressed curds
    inoculated with a less spicy blue mold than
    that of its cousin, Roquefort. Photo courtesy
    Murray’s Cheese.

     

    We have friends who are French cheese snobs. They grew up on it, they love it, and they only vary their choice when in need of Parmigiano-Reggiano for pasta or risotto.

    So we wondered what we would do without the Cheddar, cream cheese, mozzarella, ricotta and other standards in the American diet. We gave the experts at Cheeses Of France a long list of favorite American recipes with cheese, and asked them to “Frenchify” it.

    The recommendations are below. Before jumping in, we have an editorial note:

    Each publication creates its own “style sheet”—a consistent set of editing choices from the options available, such as p.m. versus pm and farmers market versus farmers’ market or farmer’s market. THE NIBBLE chooses to capitalize proper names, such as American cheese versus american cheese and Champagne versus champagne. Raclette is not the name of a place (it means “to scrape”) and chevre means “goat,” so they normally would not be capitalized under our conventions. Brie and Morbier are villages on France, so we typically would capitalize them.

     
    But when we looked at the lengthy list below, we decided that consistency made more sense. So we’ve decided use the lower case for all of the cheeses.

    Now, on to the cheese. If we’ve left out any of your favorite cheesy dishes, let us know. And if you haven’t heard of particular cheeses, great: The voyage of discovery starts here.

    And these wonderful cheeses are not just for recipes: They belong on your cheese plate as well!
     
    SO MUCH GREAT FRENCH CHEESE TO SUBSTITUTE

  • Breakfast Cheese On Bagel/Toast: brie, fromager d’affinois or the whipped cheese laita
  • Cheese Balls: comté trois comtois, des domes, fourme d’ambert, livradois, raclette
  • Cheese Biscuits: comté trois comtois (a.k.a. les 3 comptois)
  • Cheeseburger: abondance, beaufort, blue cheese (fourme d’ambert, bleu d’auvergne), cantal, comté, morbier, munster, raclette
  • Cheesecake: laita
  • Cheese Omelet: comté, fromager d’affinois with garlic and herbs or with truffles, young cantal (although any cheese could go into an omelet)
  • Cheese Dog: montboissier, morbier, raclette
  • Cheese Fries: melting cheese such as raclette, hard cheese such as comté, emmental, morbier
  •  

  • Cheese Sauce: blue cheese, fourme d’ambert
  • Cheese Straws: cantal, munster
  • Cottage Cheese and Fruit Salad: laita
  • Fondue: comté, emmental, tome de montagne
  • Fried Cheese: emmental, montboissier, morbier, raclette, tome de savoie
  • Grating: cantal, comté jeune, emmental
  • Ham & Cheese: brie, comté, fromager d’affinois (any variety), morbier, petit cantal, raclette, tome de savoie
  • Macaroni & Cheese: hard cheese—beaufort, cantal, comté
  • Macaroni & Cheese: semisoft cheese—morbier, montboissier, raclette
  • Mashed Potatoes: comté, laita, montboissier, morbier, raclette
  • Nachos: morbier, raclette
  • Pierogi/Ravioli: bleu d’auvergne, comté, emmental
  • Pizza: blue cheese—bleu d’auvergne, fourme d’ambert
  •  

    Morbier

    Morbier is a mild French cow’s milk cheese that is easily recognized by the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through its middle. Photo courtesy Artisanal Cheese.

  • Pasta: grated hard cheese—abondance, beaufort, comté
  • Pasta: semi soft cheese—morbier, raclette
  • Pasta: blue cheese—bleu d’auvergne, fourme d’ambert
  • Risotto: grated hard cheese such as abondance, beaufort, comté; semisoft cheese such as raclette
  • Salad (Mild Cheese): hard cheese like cantal or comté
  • Salad (Strong Cheese): cubes of blue cheese—fourme d’ambert, bleu d’auvergne
  • Scones & Muffins: abondance, cantal, comté, emmental
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast: bleu d’auvergne, comté, fourme d’ambert, raclette
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: bleu d’auvergne, comté or mix (for topping, the melt under the grill)
  • Soup: cantal, comté
  • Tuna Melt: comté, morbier, raclette
  •  
    Hungry yet? We’re off to make an omelet with one of our new discoveries, fromager d’affinois aux truffes. It was around for the holidays and we loaded up. It will be back again for Easter.

    Look for it in gourmet/specialty food stores, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s (theirs is called “truffle brie”) and some Costcos. If you love truffles, don’t miss it!

      

    Comments

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