We are thrilled to share this monthly column featuring recipes developed by Eliza Wetherill, ACS Office & Programs Coordinator. Each month’s recipe will highlight an artisan cheese or cultured dairy product, with a seasonal twist.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Whiskey-Soaked Figs, Walnuts, & Gorgonzola

Published 2/1/2017

Photo: American Cheese Society

I know the holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still indulge and make something special and festive. And, when you’re pregnant … anything goes, right?! I made this on a snowy January night and it was just the right thing. I mean, pork, whiskey, figs, cheese? Count me in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ – 3 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup Calimyrna or Mission figs
  • 1 cup rye whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup Litehouse’s Simply Artisan Reserve Gorgonzola, crumbled (or try one of our other ACS Award-Winning Cheeses from our 2016 Judging & Competition)
  • 1/8 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Kitchen twine

To Make the Tenderloin:

Cut the figs into quarters, removing any stems, and set aside in a bowl. Bring the whiskey to a simmer over medium heat and then slowly pour the whiskey over the cut figs. Let the figs soak for 4 to 5 minutes until tender, then drain, saving the whiskey. Next, peel the garlic cloves and sauté them whole in 1 tablespoon of butter until lightly browned on all sides. Remove the garlic from the pan and do a rough chop on the cloves; set aside. Cut the rosemary, thyme, and fresh sage and add to the same pan in which you sautéed the garlic. Add the drained figs to the pan, as well, and cook along with the herbs over medium to low heat until the herbs are tender, 2-3 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Next, butterfly the pork tenderloin. The first cut you make should be ¼ inch from the top or bottom of the tenderloin on the long edge, continuing the cut into the tenderloin, making a half circle or C shape. You can check out an easy video tutorial on how to cut a tenderloin here. Now, you are ready to stuff the tenderloin. Distributing each ingredient evenly, layer the garlic and herbs, figs and walnuts, and last but not least, the gorgonzola. Using kitchen twine, wrap your tenderloin so that only the outside of the loin is exposed and none of the stuffing is visible. Tie off each end of the twine. Next, rub the outside of the tenderloin with the brown sugar and salt and pepper, coating it evenly. Place on a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 140 – 145 degrees.

Let the roast sit for at least 10 minutes. While it is resting, take ¼ cup of the reserved whiskey and add the maple syrup. Stir to combine. After slicing and plating the tenderloin, pour a small amount of the whiskey-maple syrup mix over the pork and enjoy. I served this with sweet potato fries and a green salad. It would also be delicious with a side of polenta and asparagus or broccoli rabe.

 

Holiday Leftovers Galette

Published 12/27/2016

Photo: American Cheese Society

If your family is anything like mine, your holidays are filled with kids, laughter, a few too many Manhattans, and lots of leftovers. This holiday was a bit tamer than years past – with our baby due in just over a month, we did not travel anywhere but instead let family come to us. There was less alcohol (for me, at least) but still plenty of laughter and jokes, and yes … there were leftovers. This savory galette is the perfect way to use up whatever is left in your fridge, be it cheese, cooked vegetables, salad greens, or poultry.

This recipe features ricotta, crème fraiche, and ACS award-winning Avalanche Cheese Company Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar. But you can be creative and incorporate any ingredients you like! You can’t go wrong.

 

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks butter, chilled and cubed, plus ½ tablespoon of melted butter to glaze the crust
  • ½ cup ice water

Vegetable Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 3 cups of leftover salad greens or other leftovers of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 Belgian endives, cut length-wise into quarters
  • Handful of chopped pistachios

Cheese Filling:

  • ¾ cup ricotta
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup Avalanche Cheese Company’s Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar, shredded, plus more for garnish (or try using one of our other ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2016 Judging & Competition)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

To make the Dough:
In a standing mixer, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and mix until it has a coarse, mealy texture. Add the ice water and mix until the dough just forms. Scrape the dough onto a flour-dusted work surface and form it into a disc. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the filling:
While your dough is setting in the refrigerator, chop the onions, and quarter the endives. Set the endives aside. In a medium saucepan, add the coconut oil, then add the onions and cook on medium to low heat until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. In the same saucepan, add the olive oil and wilt the salad greens with the honey and red wine vinegar. Remove from heat and set aside. (*Note: If you are using greens that have already been cooked, there is no need to cook them again. Simply have them ready to use after you have rolled out your dough). Next, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the same saucepan and add the quartered endives, flesh side down. Cook over medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until they turn golden brown. Remove from heat.

To make the cheese filling, combine the ricotta, crème fraiche, Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and mix to combine. Set aside.

To make the Galette:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once the dough has rested, remove from the refrigerator and place on a flour-dusted surface. Roll the dough into a 14-inch round and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or a pizza stone. Spread the cheese filling evenly around the dough, leaving 1 inch of space around the edge. Next, add your caramelized onions, then wilted greens, and finish with the endives, browned side up. Fold the edge of the dough up around the filling. Cook 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. After you remove the galette from the oven, brush the edge of the dough with ½ teaspoon of melted butter, and garnish with the chopped pistachios and shredded Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar. Cut into pizza-like slices and serve.

Gooey Butter Cake

Published 11/29/2016

Photo: American Cheese Society

Photo: American Cheese Society

Winter has finally arrived in Colorado. The mountain caps are white, the streets are slushy, and the holiday season is upon us. This year, winter has a new meaning for me. I am 30 weeks pregnant, and our son will be born in January. It feels almost serendipitous, natural in a strange way that our first-born will likely share a birth month with me.

I have entered the nesting stage of pregnancy, where all I want is to be cozy and warm and comforted. To me, that means filling my house with delicious food and savoring the quiet stillness that the cold weather encourages – and this recipe does just that. Make this Gooey Butter Cake on the weekend and enjoy it with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or as an after-dinner treat with something bubbly.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ounce active dry yeast
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Filling:

  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) Rumiano Organic Unsalted Butter, softened (or try using one of our other award-winners from the 2016 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Powdered sugar

To make the dough:
In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, shortening, and salt. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute until well blended. In a small bowl, warm the milk in the microwave and then slowly add the active dry yeast until it dissolves. Next add the milk, flour, and vanilla to the sugar mixture and beat until combined. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel for an hour to let the dough rise.

To make the filling:
In a very large mixing bowl stir together the sugar, butter, and salt. Add the egg and light corn syrup and beat until combined. Next add the flour, milk, and vanilla, and stir until completely mixed. (Note: Your filling will look and feel more like a dough than a pourable mixture).

To make the cake:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut your dough in half using a knife and spread evenly into two 8” x 8” greased pans, pressing the dough halfway up the sides of the dishes. Using the tines of a fork, prick holes in the dough to avoid bubbling. Spread the filling over the dough and let the pans stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is light brown and the filling is set. Do not overbake. Let the cake cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Blue Cheese Walnut Pesto

Published 10/30/2016

pumpkin-soup

Photo: American Cheese Society

In years past, I have not embraced the pumpkin-y nature of October. Instead I have looked to other foods like artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, and chard to satisfy my fall cravings. But this year I decided to walk down the pumpkin-patch road with open arms. This soup is silky and luxurious with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The blue cheese pesto adds an element of peppery surprise that you will want to put on just about everything. So, if you are like me and have shied away from that good old Halloween staple, stop yourself right now and go make this soup!

Adapted from halfbakedharvest.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 1 medium size sugar pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 small shallots
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Rogue Creamery Echo Mountain Blue Cheese (or try using one of our other award-winners from the 2016 ACS Judging & Competition)

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds (removed from your medium size pumpkin – about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Pesto

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the top of the pumpkin and remove the seeds; set aside. Cut the pumpkin into quarters, rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on a sheet pan for 45 minutes until the meat of the pumpkin is tender.

While the pumpkin is roasting, chop the green onion and mince the garlic. Add the arugula, walnuts, chopped green onion, blue cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

After you make the pesto and while the pumpkin is still roasting, rinse your pumpkin seeds in a fine mesh strainer. Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium size mixing bowl, add the coconut milk and flour, and stir to combine. Next add the brown sugar and chili powder and stir until the pumpkin seeds are evenly coated. In a large saucepan, add your coconut oil. Once the oil is sizzling hot, add the pumpkin seeds and fry until golden brown, stirring constantly.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let cool for five minutes. While the pumpkin is cooling, chop the thyme and shallots and set aside. Carefully remove the skins from the roasted pumpkin slices and set aside. In a large soup pot, sauté the shallots and butter. When the shallots are soft and slightly browned, add the pumpkin, chicken broth, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, thyme, salt, and pepper. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend all the ingredients together until the soup is smooth and creamy. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Note: if you do not have an immersion blender, you can add all the ingredients to a food processor, slowly adding in the chicken broth until blended).

Serve the soup topped with a spoonful of pesto and garnished with the spiced pumpkin seeds and crumbled blue cheese.

Asiago and Bacon Bread Pudding with Garden Tomatoes and Kale

Published 9/27/2016

Photo: American Cheese Society

My garden is producing a plethora of tomatoes as well as hearty greens right now. At this time of year, I am beginning my own personal phase of nesting, but I am not completely ready to let go of the summer heat. Here in Colorado, it is still hot during the day, but it is much colder at night. This recipe celebrates just that — the coming and going of the seasons. It is comforting and filling, while also light and fresh. I used tomatoes and kale from my garden, but any combination of vegetables you have that need to be used up, either from your garden or fridge, would work just fine.

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound country-style white bread
  • 4 slices thick-cut Applewood bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium bunch kale (about 4-5 large stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 ¼ cups Sartori Asiago (or try using one of our other ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2016 Judging & Competition)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

To make the Bread Pudding:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the loaf of bread into 1 inch cubes and set aside. In a cast iron or non-stick pan, cook the bacon. While the bacon is cooking, mince the garlic and chop the kale, removing the stems. Once the bacon is done, remove it from the pan and set aside. Using the same pan you cooked the bacon in, using the bacon grease as your oil, sauté the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and kale on low heat. Add ½ tablespoon of the sea salt and black pepper and cook until tender. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Chop the bacon slices into ½ inch pieces. Grate the asiago and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Add the cubed bread, sautéed kale, bacon, 2 cups of the asiago, the remaining sea salt, and cherry tomatoes. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a 1 ½ quart baking dish. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of asiago and bake for 45-55 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown.

Banana Crème Fraîche Ice Cream with Roasted Strawberries

Published 8/29/2016

Banana Ice Cream-Best

Photo: American Cheese Society

When I was a kid, I used to walk to a tiny little ice cream parlor close to my house on a weekly basis. It was right next to a flower shop that made me think of Little Shop of Horrors, with its unwieldy plants and dark lighting. I was always timid as I walked by it, scared that a giant venus fly trap was going to start yelling “Feed Me, Eliza!” But the ice cream shop, with its delicious homemade banana ice cream, made me determined to overcome my fears, walk by, and get my sweet fix.

This recipe is by far the closest I’ve ever come to re-creating the taste and memory of that ice cream. It is creamy and subtly sour with just the right amount of sweetness. The roasted strawberries are a nice, indulgent addition, but if you choose to skip them, this ice cream stands beautifully on its own.

Ingredients:

Topping:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup sugar

Ice Cream:

To Make the Topping:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Wash the strawberries, remove the stems, and cut into quarters. Put the berries onto a lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the sugar and roast for 15-20 minutes. Pour into a jar or small bowl and let cool. If you won’t be using the strawberries right away, you store them in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Ice Cream:

Place a large mesh strainer over a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Separate the egg whites from the yolks in a separate medium-sized bowl and whisk. In a saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and salt over medium to low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. While whisking the egg yolks, pour the milk and sugar mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, making sure to whisk constantly so the eggs do not start to scramble. Then, return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour the thickened custard through the mesh strainer into the bowl, and cover with a layer of plastic wrap, pushing the plastic down so that it touches the top of the custard. Let cool in the refrigerator overnight.

Once the custard is chilled, add the crème fraîche and mix until combined. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the ripe bananas (the whole bananas should be ripe enough to blend easily into the mixture). Serve immediately and top with the roasted strawberries if desired.

Tiramisu

Published 7/21/2016

Tiramisu Best 2

Photo: American Cheese Society

You could say I grew up in an Italian family. I, myself, am a Welsh/English/Irish blend, but my best friend growing up was Italian/Swiss and her house was my home away from home. In between our musical rants and raves head-banging to Smashing Pumpkins, rocking out to Weezer, and serenading Nirvana in an attempt to resurrect Kurt Cobain’s spirit, we ate cured meats and Italian cheeses; homemade meatballs and fresh pasta; fried potatoes and veal scallopini; and, of course, tiramisu. This recipe is an ode to her and her family. My palate for delicious food (and good music) was, in part, born in her home, and in some ways, will always remain there, in that sacred space of teenage-dom.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup espresso
  • 4 tablespoons Kahlúa
  • 2 cups Schuman Cheese Mascarpone Cheese (or try using another winning cheese from the ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 30 lady fingers
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder

To begin, mix the espresso with the coffee liqueur; chill. Next, melt the chocolate chips with 1/2 cup heavy cream over a double boiler; cool. Whip the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until stiff. Using a hand-held mixer, whip the mascarpone, sugar and dark rum until just mixed. Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture. Chill until firm.

Tiramisu Best 1

Photo: American Cheese Society

In a 9-by-11-inch glass dish, put down a layer of 10 lady fingers, and spoon about 1/3 of the espresso and kahlúa mix over the fingers to soak. Spread 1/3 of the chocolate ganache over the cake and then spread 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture over the chocolate. Repeat and end with a layer of mascarpone. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Chill, covered overnight, and then enjoy.

Arugula and Blueberry Salad with Ricotta Salata and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Published 5/24/2016

Arugula and Blueberry Salad with Ricotta Salata and Blood Orange Vinaigrette-Small

Photo: American Cheese Society

I was finally able to plant my vegetable garden last weekend. The weather has reached a temperature where the plants can be happy and cozy at night nestled in the earth. This recipe, like my garden, is an ode to simplicity. Nothing fancy here, just a few ingredients that create a medley of color and help me remember that it is often the simple things in life that bring the most pleasure.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 blood oranges (3 for the salad, 1 for juicing)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1/8 cup ricotta salata, crumbled (try using one of our ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Vinaigrette: With a citrus juicer, juice one of the blood oranges and 1/2 a lemon. Pour the juice into a bowl or jar and set aside. Mince the shallot very finely and add to the juiced citrus. Next add the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, whisk and set aside.

Salad: Take the remaining 3 blood oranges and cut off the ends. Carefully peel the skins using a sharp paring knife, removing as much of the pith as possible. Slice the peeled blood oranges a quarter to a half an inch thick. Crumble the Ricotta Salata and set aside. Carefully pull the mint leaves from their stems and set aside. Arrange the sliced oranges in the bottom of four salad bowls. Then add a few handfuls of the arugula to each bowl, top with the blueberries, fresh mint and ricotta salata. Drizzle with the blood orange vinaigrette and serve.

Summer Squash Tart with Marinated Tomatoes and Fromage Blanc – or The April 24th Tart

Published April 28, 2016

Tart-Full

Photo: American Cheese Society

On April 24th, 2016, two important things happened: my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and a delicious savory tart was created. Ok, the tart is not actually that important, but I do find the timing of the tart and the birth to be a blissful coincidence. Before even knowing that the baby had come that morning, I was up and making this tart. As the crust was baking and I was chopping tomatoes, I got a phone call from my mom at 8:00 a.m. saying, “Congratulations, Aunt!” With the smell of butter permeating the air, I starting imagining my new niece’s tiny fingers and toes, her ruddy complexion and her older sister meeting her for the first time. No doubt now that this tart must be named after you, little one! So, until your mama has settled on a name for you, this dish will be called, “The April 24th Tart.” It is filled with cheese, and squash, and sweet tomatoes; love, and wonder, and tears of joy.

Tart-Slice

Photo: American Cheese Society

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour

Filling:

  • ¾ cup Montchevré Fromage Blanc (or try using one of our other ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow crookneck squash
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil or canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup tomatoes marinated in oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon

To make the dough: Preheat the oven to 410 degrees. Combine the butter, vegetable oil, water, sugar, and salt in an oven-proof bowl. Place the bowl in the oven for about 15 minutes until the butter is bubbling and lightly browning around the edges. Remove the bowl from the oven and carefully transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the flour and stir until you form a ball. Place the dough ball in a 9 inch tart mold with a removable bottom. Using the heel of your hand and the tips of your fingers, spread the dough around the bottom and up the sides of the pan until it is evenly distributed. Poke the now-formed crust with the tines of a fork at least 20 times so that bubbles do not form while you are baking it. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until it is very lightly brown around the edges. Remove and let cool.

To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 410 degrees. Slice the zucchini and squash very thinly (about 1/16 of an inch thick). Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive or canola oil and spread the zucchini and squash evenly on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the sea salt on top. Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 10 minutes until just soft. Remove and let cool. Drain the marinated tomatoes, roughly chop them, and set them aside. Remove the tarragon leaves from the stems, and chop or tear them into garnish-sized pieces.

To make the tart: Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the fromage blanc evenly around the bottom of the crust, add the marinated tomatoes next, and then add the zucchini and squash, placing them in a criss-cross pattern. Bake the tart in the oven for 8-10 minutes, making sure the crust does not get too brown. Remove from oven and garnish with the tarragon. Serve and enjoy!

Green Apple Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions, Sriracha Aioli, and Guggisberg Swiss

Published March 26, 2016

Turkey Burger-Best

Photo: American Cheese Society

March in Colorado is a tormented month. Like clockwork, the first day of spring arrives, but winter is not yet ready to turn in its snow suit, hang up its hat and gloves, and say, “goodbye, see you next year, old man.” Just last week it was 70 degrees, flowers were budding, birds were chirping, and the sun was shining. Then suddenly, we found ourselves in the midst of a blizzard with more than a foot of snow piling up around us. The lights in my house flickered on and off, and the window outside my dining room showed a scene that looked more like December, with its promise of Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer making their annual appearance on roofs across the world.

This recipe, like March in Colorado, gleans inspiration from both winter and spring. These burgers are light but hefty, juicy but salty, sweet but citrus-y – a meal that is both comforting and refreshing. Make this dish on a cold night at home, or have it at your next outdoor barbecue. The point is to enjoy it and know that no matter what time of year it is, it will make your mouth water, and it will make your mouth water with happiness and surprise.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Turkey Burgers:

  • ½ red onion
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 ounces (1 ¼ lbs ground turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 slices Guggisberg Swiss Cheese (or try using one of our other ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 4 pretzel buns
  • Bunch of watercress

Sriracha Aioli:

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek

Cut the onion in half from root to tip and slice thinly, then set aside. Add 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil to a hot pan (stainless steel or cast iron is preferable), then add the onions (they should sizzle when they hit the pan) and the sea salt. Stir once, turn the heat to low, and allow the onions to brown, stirring every 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft and caramel in color (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, cut the apple in half and grate into a large bowl. Mince the garlic and add it to the bowl of grated apple. Add the ground turkey, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and white pepper, and mix with your hands until combined. Make four round patties and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to a hot, non-stick pan, place the patties evenly onto the pan, and press them down gently with a spatula. After about a minute, turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid, and let cook for about five minutes. Flip the burgers and brown the second side, then add 4 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover (this allows the burgers to steam and cook through). Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, adding more water to steam them if necessary.

When the burgers are almost done, add your slices of cheese and cover the pan for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted. The internal temperature of the burgers should be 165 degrees when done.

Toast your pretzel buns. While the buns are toasting, combine the mayonnaise, sriracha and sambal oelek in a small bowl and stir. Spread each side of the toasted buns with the aioli (yes, bottom and top – it’s that yummy!). Place a burger on one side of each bun, top with the caramelized onions and watercress, and serve!

New York Cheesecake

Published February 26, 2016

New York Cheesecake

Photo: American Cheese Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not a dessert person. I am more inclined to eat and cook those savory dishes that err on the side of garlicky, salty goodness and celebrate warmth and spice. But cheesecake, particularly New York Cheesecake, will always hold a place in my palate and in my heart.

I grew up on the East Coast, and traveling to New York City was an annual event. Big Apple-bound, my family would head into the city on the Amtrak train, ready to see the sites and shows. We would explore Midtown and the Lower East Side, walk around So-Ho and Greenwich Village, wander the outside markets, go to art museums, and eat delicious food. Cheesecake was inevitably on the menu when we went out, and so my love for this rich dessert was born, as if by fate, in New York City.

New York is a magical place that inspires movement, creativity, community, and visions of greatness. And, what better way to celebrate New York in all its glory than by indulging in something the city is known for. This version of New York Cheesecake is perfectly creamy and airy, with hints of citrus and butter. It is subtle in its sweetness and big on its luxuriousness. It is modest and unpretentious, but it will leave you with a lasting impression, just like the city itself. Enjoy.

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil (for greasing the cake pan)
  • Sixteen 4 ¾ x 2 inch sheets of graham crackers, finely ground (I recommend using natural/organic graham crackers to avoid high-fructose corn syrup).
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Filling

  • Five 8-ounce packages Hahn’s Cultured Cream Cheese, softened (or try using one of our other ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla

Cherry Topping (optional)*

  • 16 ounces sweet cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ½ cup water

To Make the Crust
Grease a 9 ½ inch springform pan with the coconut oil, making sure to coat the sides and bottom of the pan. Grind your graham crackers in a food processor. Put the ground graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Press the mixture into your spring form pan, making sure to evenly coat the bottom and sides, leaving the crust one inch from the top of the pan. Place in freezer while you make the filling.

To Make the Filling
Preheat the oven to 550 degrees.

Grate the lemon zest and orange zest. In a large mixing bowl or standing mixer, add the softened cream cheese, sugar, lemon and orange zest, and flour. Mix to combine. Once these ingredients have been integrated, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg to ensure that everything is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix once more to blend.

New York Cheesecake Sliced

Photo: American Cheese Society

Remove the crust from the freezer and slowly pour the filling into the cake pan, spreading the filling around until the pan is filled evenly. Place in the middle oven rack and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the top is puffed and slightly brown – then immediately reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour. The cake is done when the filling is firm but the center still wiggles slightly when the cake is gently shaken.

Loosen the cake from the pan by running a knife along the edge, but don’t release the sides. Cool on a rack in the pan, then store in the refrigerated for at least 3 hours to let the cake set. When you are ready to eat the cake, transfer it to a plate and remove the outer ring of the springform pan (the plate that the cake has been baking on should stay intact – do not try to remove the cake from the baking plate or you could end up with a cracked, messy, cheesecake…and no one wants that!).

To Make Cherry the Topping (Optional)*
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely, and then pour on top of the cake.

Note* Being a more savory-inclined person, with less of a sweet-tooth, I think this cake would be just as delicious without the topping. The topping certainly adds a gooey and celebratory finish, but sliced strawberries or fresh raspberries would do the trick, too.

French Onion Soup with Tarentaise Reserve

Published January 28, 2016

French Onion Soup

Photo: American Cheese Society

I have a love/hate relationship with winter. I am a January baby who shares the celebration of the New Year with my own personal new year, turning over many new leaves all at once. I love the comfort of winter and the food that it inspires, yet I am not a fan of the cold and bitter weather, the skin on my hands cracking, the tip of my nose a constant shade of red. January always makes me nostalgic for the many things that have shaped me, and my love for food is certainly on the top of that list.

My mother loves to tell a story she calls, “The French Onion Soup Incident,” and it goes something like this: After a long day of skiing in Mount Snow, Vermont, my mom, sister, stepfather, and I all went out to dinner. We sat in a booth in the back corner of the restaurant and mulled over our dinner choices. Being four years old, my mom read the menu off to me: “Caesar Salad, Spaghetti, Cheeseburger.” On and on she went, listing the menu in its entirety because with every suggestion she made, I responded with a, “No…No…No.” I was “hangry,” and still to this day, when I become hangry, nothing sounds good enough, and I resort to pouting. My mother decided that we needed to have a heart-to-heart about my lack of cooperation, and so she scooped me up in her arms and walked me into the bathroom for a little chat. She said, “Eliza, there are a lot of good choices at this restaurant to eat. When we get back to the table, you are going to sit down and choose something off the menu, ok?” We scurried back to the table and when the waitress asked what I wanted, I proudly and firmly asserted, “I’ll have the French Onion Soup, please!” Smile across my face, gloating at my ever-so-mature and purposeful choice, my hanger subsided and I was transformed into a kid with a vision, a connoisseur of deliciousness, an authority on French food, an expert on cheesy goodness. When the food came, I devoured my soup, anxiously anticipating each bite.

This soup serves to do just the same – I hope it transforms you, comforts you, and makes you grateful for winter in all of its splendor.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 large Vidalia onions4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • ½ cup red table wine
  • I small loaf sourdough bread
  • 4 cups grated Tarentaise Reserve cheese (or try using one of our ACS award-winning cheeses from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10-12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the sourdough loaf in half and cut one of the halves into cubes, making small croutons (it should measure about 1 and a half cups, once cubed). Put the croutons in an oven-safe dish and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic salt. Combine with your hands, making sure that the croutons are evenly coated. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Peel the onions and slice thinly, about ¼ inch thick. Peel the garlic cloves and mince. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot. When the oil/butter mixture is hot, add the onions and garlic (it should sizzle when they hit the pan). Season the onions and garlic with the salt and white pepper, stir once, and turn the heat to medium. Let the bottom layer of onions caramelize (about 10 minutes) and then deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of the red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get the good bits up, and stir the onions so that a new layer can caramelize. Once the new layer has caramelized (about 10 minutes), deglaze the pan again with the remaining ¼ cup of red wine.

Add the beef broth, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and fresh thyme to the pot. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the soup is simmering, cut your cheese into pieces large enough to shred. If the cheese has a rind on it, cut off the rind before shredding. Set aside.

Turn your broiler to low. Cut four slices of sourdough bread from the remaining halved loaf and toast. Remove the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme from the pot. Using oven-safe bowls, spoon the soup into your dishes, filling up about halfway. Add a small handful of the garlic croutons and fill the bowls up the rest of the way with soup. Place a piece of toast on each bowl and cover completely with the shredded cheese (about 1 cup per bowl). Place the dishes 6 inches from the top of the oven, and let broil until the cheese is bubbling and slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven carefully and serve.

Holiday Cheddar Cookies
Published December 20, 2015

Cheddar Cookies from Above

Photo: American Cheese Society

Cheddar Cookies-Profile

Photo: American Cheese Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My neighbors gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last week and named him Fritz. His name and his demeanor are both light-hearted and dignified, and when I met him recently, I was reminded of all that is good in this world. To me, this is exactly what the holidays are supposed to evoke – a sense of hope and peace, and the realization that loving and caring for each another is paramount.

One of the best ways I know to bring about those feelings is through food. So, this past weekend, I hosted my annual holiday party. Amongst many cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts, we enjoyed these delicious Holiday Cheddar Cookies and reveled in our tiny community that means the world.

Makes approximately 30 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 ounces Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, grated (or try using one of our other ACS Award-Winning Cheddars from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 2 cups white all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Grate the cheddar cheese. Combine the butter, grated cheddar, flour, and sea salt and knead them together until you form a large ball of dough. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let set in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using a spoon, pull off pieces of the dough and roll them into small balls (about 2 tablespoons in size) with your hands.

Set the dough balls on two unlined and ungreased cookie sheets, and press each ball down gently with the end of a fork, creating a criss-cross pattern with the tines.

Bake until the bottom of the cookies are golden brown and the tops are pale brown, about 20 – 22 minutes. Sprinkle all or half of your warm, baked cookies with cayenne pepper, depending on your spice tolerance. Let cool and store in a cookie tin.

The cookies can last up to two weeks, but make sure to eat at least one fresh out of the oven while they are still warm!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Herbed Quinoa and Feta

Published November 20, 2015

Acorn Squash with Herbed Quinoa and Feta

Photo: American Cheese Society

Fall is a time of reflection and inwardness. It is a time when we begin to recall our creature comforts that have been forgotten during the hot summer months.  And, to me, that means looking to food and nourishment to quench my need for comfort and wholesomeness.

I cannot think of a more beautiful or perfect vessel than an acorn squash to elicit everything that encompasses fall. Its lovely green skin, opening up into an earthy, pumpkin-like flesh, is to die for. The combination of ingredients in this recipe serves to enhance that earthiness – the nutty quinoa, the tart cranberries, the smoky hazelnuts, and the salty feta. The herbs and spices along with the citrus create a perfect medley of tasting notes, evoking a depth of flavor and intention.

This recipe is best enjoyed on a cold day with friends and family. It would also be a wonderful vegetarian alternative at any holiday meal.

serves 4

Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely, plus extra for garnish
  • 1.5 tablespoons orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled, plus extra for garnish (try using one of our ACS Award-Winning Fetas from the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition)
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Use 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil to brush the cut sides of the squash, and then place them face down on a baking sheet. Pierce the skins of the squash a few times with a fork and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil, add the quinoa, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Let the quinoa cool for five minutes and then fluff with a fork.

After the squash has been roasting for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven, flip the halves over, and sprinkle the cut side with a dash of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper. Place the squash back in the oven, cut side up, and roast for an additional 10-20 minutes, until the flesh is tender and you can easily poke a knife through it.

While the squash is continuing to roast and the quinoa is cooling, toast the hazelnuts in a small pan over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until you can smell their nutty aroma. Remove from the heat immediately. Let cool and then chop roughly.

Once the quinoa has cooled slightly, place it in a medium mixing bowl and add the remaining one tablespoon of coconut oil, plus the freshly squeezed orange juice, thyme, mint, parsley, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, and sea salt. Stir to combine, then add the cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds, feta, orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold together ingredients with a spatula and set aside.

Place squash on a plate and spoon in the quinoa mixture until the cavity is full and slightly overflowing. Garnish with feta, hazelnuts, parsley, and the extra pomegranate seeds.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Recipes and images © American Cheese Society 2017