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Cheese

April 29, 2008

Canadian bacon, cheddar and souffle recipe

canadian bacon and cheese souffle

I am a big fan of food that delivers showy results with a reasonable amount of effort. I like food that scares people even better. I don't mean "scares" like some of the stuff that Steve eats - that just weirds me out - but rather stuff that scares the cook, not the eater. Like soufflés.

Soufflés can definitely be intimidating, even though they consist of two dead simple parts: a simple white sauce that functions as a base and a mound of stiffly-beaten egg whites. The base provides all of the flavor and the whites elevate the dish, literally, above the simple ingredients. Combine the two, however, and even experienced cooks cringe.

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March 08, 2008

Caramelized onion and cheddar breadsticks recipe

onion cheddar breadsticks

May I just say, I love my new box of light! Following the Strobist's excellent instructions for photography on the cheap, in this case the  DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio, I transformed a cardboard box into, if not a thing of beauty itself, a thing that will give that "thing of beauty" quality to other things.

When I was a young'un, I moved from "Baja Oregon" to a very small coastal town in southwest Washington. A town where the locals joked, in some cases bragged, that, upon arriving, you should turn back your clock 20 years - to the '50s. I, being a child of the coolest artistic little beach towns in Baja Oregon, thought this was mildly amusing...for about 15 minutes.

I arrived in late-spring and my first summer there was, to put it mildly, not my best year. Two things saved me that wet, foggy summer. The first was a job at the local pizzeria, where Gina, a wise-cracking New Jersey girl — everyone swore we were sisters — taught me to toss rounds of dough high in the air and, much harder, catch them again. She also let me play with the brick oven. I loved Gina.

The second bit of salvation arrived one night when I met Becky and we instantly became BFF, before there even were BFF. This bread, made in loaves, was Becky's favorite. I baked some every week or so for years and years. Then Becky and I lost touch. I also mostly stopped baking this bread. Both sad things.

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March 30, 2007

Washington and Oregon wine and cheese pairings

One of the sweet things about living at the confluence of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean is that I get to claim Tillamook Cheese as my local cheesemaker. The factory is close enough that I could drive down for the afternoon and still make it home for dinner. Since Tillamook cheddar is one of my all-time favorites, this is a real stroke of luck for me. It also means that when a local burger place needs a local cheese, they can go to the source of some very nice stuff indeed.

But the Tillamook folks aren't content to just promote their own fine cheeses. They have created a couple of wine and cheese pairing lists that highlight selections from local wineries, and even other cheese producers.

I have had a number of the listed cheeses and they are very nice indeed - Cougar Gold, for example, is a  longtime regional favorite and it was nice to see it on the list. A number of the wines were less familiar to me, but there are a few I am looking forward to checking out.

If you live in the area and want to expand your options for locally made sips and nibbles, you really should check these lists out!

White and Sparkling wines
Red wines

January 17, 2007

Blue Cheesecake Recipe

This savory blue cheese cheesecake has become one of my go-to appetizer/potluck dishes. I usually serve it with Pain la Ancienne baguettes and some of the infamous Blueberry Habanero Chutney. The sweet and tangy chutney complements the creamy cheesecake and a bread like the ancienne - a simple white baguette with a well developed, nutty flavor - provides a neutral, yet not bland, base.

At a party, the bread, cheesecake, and chutney invariably end up getting swapped in with other dishes too, which is always amusing. I knew this was a great thing the first time I took one to a party (sleepover Saturnalia bash at a friend's B&B) and could overhear "OMG! Have you tried the chutney with that?" and, in response, "...and the cheesecake with that...!" from the next room. (I have no idea what they were pointing at, but I swear that many a combination was tried and they were mostly very, very good...)

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