Dairy – Mixed Greens Blog http://mixedgreensblog.com Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest Thu, 17 Nov 2016 02:01:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 With Pumpkin & Eggnog, Still French http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/12/18/seasons-eatings/with-pumpkin-eggnog-still-french/ Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:00:42 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=6741 Holiday table This time of year there’s a lot of focus on ornaments, roasts of beast, trays of sweet things . . . presents, glitter and glitz galore. And then there’s breakfast. Whew. A quiet time with just you or a few and it can be very special too. Here are a some of our favorites from Christmases past.

Pumpkin Eggnog French Toast has a seasonal twist worthy of breakfast on Christmas or any winter morning.  The pumpkin, the eggs, a few spices and a splash of eggnog. Oh yes, eggnog. Grill it in more butter than usual, buy a special loaf of bread and celebrate something.Pumpkin Eggnog French toast

The French toast of my childhood was concocted by my cowboy father. He ran a ranch, grew spuds, trained horses, loved rodeos, and, he cooked. He made French toast with the usual eggs and milk and insisted that we should eat it with butter and brown sugar, not syrup. Up in the hills behind our ranch, he told us, the shepherds ate theirs this way. My brother and I went for it and to this day can’t eat French toast without the brown sugar. He would tell such stories while standing at the kitchen stove or squatting around a campfire, always in his cowboy boots and Levis, cast iron griddle ablaze. When we trekked into the mountains with pack horses there were a couple of cast iron pans jangling along in which he fried freshly caught trout and potatoes in bacon grease, and in the early mornings, French toast.

Pumpkin Eggnog French Toast Rose hips

Not sure why it’s French. I read that in the 1600s the English soaked bread in orange juice, wine and sugar and cooked it; some time in the 1800s eggs were added to the mix. French toast has been around the block. It’s a versatile and universal process more than a set recipe – eggs and a little milk are required, after that there’s room for innovation like pumpkin and eggnog. Just eggnog, or just pumpkin. Push the limits a little and you have to wonder what else is possible. Cocoa powder for a chocolaty essence? Cheese?

Pumpkin & Eggnog French Toast Recipe

Ingredients that are locally grown and produced make this particularly of the season. This  is my own made up version – eggnog toast recipes abound on the internet.

5- 6 eggs for 6 or 7 pieces of well-soaked bread

Slices of thickly sliced, sturdy textured bread

1/2 C pie pumpkin or other sweet squash, cooked

1/4 C eggnog

1/4 C whole milk

1/4 or less teaspoons cinnamon & ginger

A big pinch of nutmeg & salt

1 – 2 teaspoons brown sugar (you can skip this sweetener)

Butter for cooking, syrup or brown sugar for topping

Pie pumpkin puree Pumpkin Eggnog French toastPumpkin Eggnog French Toast Pumpkin Eggnog French toast

Whisk cooked squash with the milk and eggnog (use all milk, no eggnog, or all eggnog if preferred)/ Add eggs, spices, sugar and mix vigorously until well blended/ Pour into a large flat pan/ Place slices of bread in the pan and allow to soak for several minutes on each side for a total of 8 or 10 minutes, depending on texture of the bread/ Heat a griddle or a large pan on medium-high/ With a large spatula, carefully place egg-saturated bread on the buttery griddle/  Cook in plenty of butter for 3 or 4 minutes per side/ Spicy aromas drift through the kitchen and holiday breakfast is ready. Serve immediately with syrup or brown sugar.

Refrigerate leftovers after they’ve cooled and rewarm for another quick breakfast. Admittedly, French toast is an excuse, a fairly healthy egg-soaked, protein-packed excuse, to have dessert for breakfast.

Winter solstice upon us and more light coming our way, Happy Holidays to all of our readers. We so appreciate your coming back time after time

Delicious brunch: Salmon, Eggs & Potato Gratin Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin

And for the nights before:  An Old Fashioned Christmas Eve oldfashioned26 of 43

Fruit Cake Good Enough to Eat. California Fruitcake

]]>
Savoring Summer Smoothies http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/05/25/seasons-eatings/basic-recipes-on-the-local-table/savoring-summer-smoothies/ Mon, 26 May 2014 00:00:34 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20663 Rhubarb smoothie

While we’re all anxiously waiting for berry season to begin at the farmers market, I thought I’d slip in a couple of savory smoothie ideas to hold you over. It’s hard not to get obsessed with the exquisite berries available to us in the Northwest but in the meantime, rhubarb and mint are in season now and these recipes are definitely worth trying. Personally, I prefer savory to sweet any day, but that’s just me. These are both thirst-quenching and refreshing — perfect adult summer drinks.  I found these recipes in Melissa Clark’s column in the NY Times Summer Drinks section this week. Thanks, Melissa!

Rhubarb compote

The rhubarb smoothie starts with a simple rhubarb honey compote. I made mine considerably less sweet than Melissa’s and left out the rosewater. Here’s my loose interpretation of her Rhubarb Shake.

Rhubarb Smoothie (1)

Ingredients: About 2 cups of sliced rhubarb, approx. 3 stalks/ 2 T honey/ 2 T water/ 1 cup Greek or any whole fat yogurt/ 2 cups ice cubes/ Chopped pistachios for garnish.

Directions: Place sliced rhubarb, honey and water in a small saucepan/ Bring to a simmer and cook until rhubarb has “melted” about 6-8 minutes/ Let it cool in the fridge/ Place about 1 cup rhubarb compote (you’ll have extra left for other uses), yogurt, and ice cubes in blender/ Blend until smooth, adding a tablespoon or so of water if it’s too thick/ Garnish with chopped pistachios.

Rhubarb Smoothie

So pretty and pink, could even be a lovely light dessert.

Lime Mint Lassi

Now I can’t wait to tell you about my favorite of the two, even more on the savory side, Mint & Lime Zest Lassi. Melissa Clark calls this a Salt and Pepper Lassi with Mint and while it does have salt & pepper (and a pinch of sugar too), the flavors of the mint and lime zest make it unique and sounds a bit more appealing. It’s just the right balance of ingredients that make this a delicious not-too-sweet summer mocktail.

Lime zest

Mint & Lime Zest Lassi (1)

Ingredients: 1 cup Greek or any whole milk yogurt/ 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint, stems removed, leaves chopped/ Zest of one small lime/ Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste/ Pinch of demerara or brown sugar (optional).

Salt & Pepper Lassi

Directions: Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth/ Add several tablespoons water until you have the right consistency — about 2 – 4T, blend again/ Serve over ice.

Lime Mint Lassi

And then there’s my old favorite kale smoothie. This one is made with a banana and all sorts of fresh greens and herbs but next time I think I’ll try yogurt instead.

Kale Smoothie

If you haven’t already — drag out your lawn chair, hose it off, find a good summer book, a sunny spot and make a fresh smoothie. Heaven guaranteed.

 

 

 

]]>
Mixed Greens Mornings http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/05/04/seasons-eatings/protein/mixed-greens-mornings/ Mon, 05 May 2014 01:01:34 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20507 The a.m. food vibe. My own morning habits have gone from merely convenient and tasty to just a little bit obsessive. Smoothies are the norm six or seven mornings a week and I feel a little off if I miss a day. Toast with jam or honey, same thing. Coffee, mornings only, though there are occasional midnight espresso exceptions with a gang of friends trying to be carefree with their caffeine. Friend Poppy’s into granola most days, and nearly every Saturday a fried egg with fresh greens from the farmer’s market. We savor our a.m. habits because they taste and feel good, comfort us, and they accommodate our schedules.

homemade latte
Morning rituals become embedded and, if we’re lucky, move from merely convenient to comforting meditations, beyond just a kick start. Making coffee from scratch, for example. I smell it, feel the steam, notice the iridescent bubbling in the filter, close my eyes and feel grateful for a new day and that I’m here, feeling pretty good. Also grateful that the coffee’s about ready. That first cup – for some it’s tea – a little steamed milk, toast, self indulgent I know, my morning ritual.
Here are a few a.m. recipes from Mixed Greens that are delicious wake up calls for leisurely or fast-paced mornings. Either way, take a moment to smell the coffee and taste your delicious new day.

Smooothie Recipes

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe blueberry-smoothie

Kale Smoothie Recipe            Kale Smoothie

Basic Fruit Smoothie              sour cherry smoothie

 

Granola Recipes

 Call Me Granola                       Granola6 of 6

Great Granola, No Gluten       Granola

Homemade Cereal                   homemade cereal

 

Egg Recipes

Overly Easy Eggs                        Fried Egg with Cheese
Spanish Frittata                          Spanish omelet

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce  baked eggs in tomato sauce

Baked Eggs & Chard                  Baked Eggs on a Bed of Swiss Chard

Make A Lotta Stratta                 Sausage strata

Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin   Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin

Search eggs on our home page and discover more.

 

 Breakfast Goodies

Toast & Peach Jam                     toast-jam-1

Blueberry Buttermilk Hotcakeshealthier hotcakes

 Raw Apple Cake                            raw apple cake

Irish Soda Bread                             Irish soda bread

Frittatas, granola, smoothies, eggs . . . they all invite creativity and spontaneity, depending on what you have around and what your taste buds crave. Last night, last minute, we made a giant frittata with what was in the fridge: a few bits of pancetta, leek, potato, brassica florets from the garden, all  sautéed together in plenty of olive oil. Add a few eggs with some milk or cream, season, cook for just a moment on the burner, sprinkle the top with Parmesan. Pop into 375 oven for just 4 or 5 minutes, maybe less. Embellish with whatever, grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, chives.  Voilà, breakfast for dinner.

Switch these recipes around as needed to fit your own ingredients and culinary ideas. Say good morning to yourself.

 

]]>
Leek Into Spring . . . http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/03/09/seasons-eatings/basic-recipes-on-the-local-table/leek-into-spring/ Mon, 10 Mar 2014 01:49:46 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20117 Combine leeks, Gruyere or goat cheese, eggs and cream, you’re on your way to a leek tart. I ate this very piece after taking its picture the other day and thought that if I ran a friendly little neighborhood café this would be on the menu. People might come by on a Sunday morning, a Saturday, a Tuesday night for a slice or two. So good, it would be worth the walk or the wait – there might even be a line.

Leek tart

In addition to the tart filling, there’s a recipe below for the pastry, or use store-bought. For me, making pie or tart dough is like making coffee in the morning, it’s a ritual that means more than the actual coffee or pie. It’s hands-on food making that’s a respite from the virtual scene and worth the ten, fifteen extra minutes required to make it happen. Just sayin’.

Leeks

There’s one caveat. My 9-inch tart shell (which shrunk during pre-baking in spite of steps taken to avoid that) wasn’t big enough for the amount of filling I’d prepared. Me being me tried to force the issue, made a mess, figured it out, new game plan and it all turned out deliciously. A person could make this in a pie pan instead of a tart pan – more room for the filling; or, make a little less filling; use a larger tart pan; or maybe you’ll sail through it all just fine as is. But watch when you pour filling into tart shell and don’t overfill.

Through the years we’ve had a thing or two to say and do with leeks. Here are a few more ideas: Pasta With Creamy Leeks & Prosciutto; Creamy Leek Dip; Braised Leeks; Spanish Omelette With Leeks

Leek Tart Recipe

Leek tart 1 (1)

You could add a few more eggs, bake it in a pie pan and call it quiche.

If, if, pie/tart dough is already made (and it can be made a couple of days or hours in advance), putting together the tart is pretty fast, so it’s a good Sunday morning brunch or fast dinner idea. Salad or fruit, bread, a cookie, dinner done.

Ingredients for Filling: 3 or 4 medium leeks, cleaned and chopped vertically or in circles or both/ 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced/ 1 T butter/ 1 extra large or 2 medium eggs/ ½ C whole milk, ½ C cream ( just whole milk or 2% is fine too)/ ¾ C grated Gruyere or ½ C goat cheese/ ½ – 1 t salt, pepper to taste.

Leek tart 7 (1) Leek tart

Leek tart Leek tart 4 (1)

Directions: Saute chopped leeks and garlic in butter, medium low heat, until very soft – 10 – 15 minutes/ Add 1 t fresh thyme if you have it/ Mix milk and egg together with salt & pepper/ When tart shell is done and slightly cooled, sprinkle one half of the cheese on the bottom/ Spread cooked leeks over cheese, pour egg milk mixture over the leeks/ Sprinkle top with remaining cheese/ Bake in a 375 degree oven until egg is barely set and tart is lightly golden – 15 – 20 minutes, longer for a larger pan with more filling/ Remove from oven, lift out of tart pan base, place on a rack to cool a bit/ Serve while warm/ Swoon.

Use any pie or tart dough recipe you like. This is a good one, just enough for one tart.

Pie or Tart Dough Recipe

Ingredients: 1 ¼ C flour/ ½ t salt, ¼ t sugar, 1 stick plus 1 T butter, 4 T ice water.

Directions: Place dry ingredients and chopped cold butter in food processor/ Process for 10 – 20 seconds until ingredients form a coarse meal/ Add 4 T ice water, process again briefly until dough barely begins to come together/ Pat dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least one hour/ Remove from fridge and let sit at room temp for a few minutes/ Roll out to fit the pan plus extra for over the edge of the pan/ Prick dough with a fork, finish edges as you like, cover with foil that is pushed down into pan’s center/ Fill with beans – this is supposed to minimize shrinkage and make a crisp receptacle for the filling, which it mostly does.

Bake tart shell at 375 for 30 minutes, then remove the beans and foil/ Continue to bake another 15 – 25 minutes or until tart shell is lightly browned/ Remove from oven, let cool a bit and proceed with filling and further baking.

Leek tart

]]>
Compound Butter It Up http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/02/24/seasons-eatings/dairy/compound-butter-it-up/ Mon, 24 Feb 2014 19:28:16 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20043 Like in jazz, it’s fusion, man. We love our butter. Compound it by adding a few special ingredients and it can make a simple dish swing.

compound butters #2 1cornbread

A pat of roasted garlic and jalapeño butter on corn bread; a compound butter on a baguette; mixed with hot pasta or rice; spread on the outside of a cheese sandwich, any sandwich, before grilling; roasted pieces of chicken embellished with a pat or two, same with fish, scrambled eggs, potatoes, zucchini, fresh corn, a pan of roasted broccoli, carrots . . . The great thing about compound butter as an ingredient is that you can make a batch, keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks and use it as needed. Make up your own versions. It’ll add zing to a simple meal. Plus, it’s butter.

Just to get you going, here are a few ideas from The Tassajara Bread Cookbook – and Alice Waters’ basic cornbread recipe.

 Tassajara Cookbook Compound Butter Recipes

Modifications are starred.*

compound butters

Roasted Garlic and Hot Chili Butter

Ingredients: 3/4 C salted butter, softened/3 or 4 cloves garlic, oven-roasted in their skins until soft/ 1 1/2 t red pepper flakes (* Or, 1/8 t Chipotle chili powder instead)/ Salt to taste.

Directions: Squeeze softened cooked garlic into bowl with butter and chili/ Mix thoroughly with a fork/ Add a pinch of salt if needed/ Refrigerate until ready to use/ Or, on a piece of waxed paper, roll into a log, wrap and refrigerate until hard/ Cut off a pat at a time as needed.

Lime and Cilantro Butter

Ingredients: 3/4 C salted butter, softened/ Juice and zest of 1 lime/ 1/2 C chopped, fresh cilantro/ *A pinch of chipotle?/ Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions: Same as above. Mix all ingredients thoroughly, refrigerate.

Lemon Mustard Butter

Ingredients: 1/2 C (1 cube) salted butter, softened/ 1 1/2 t Dijon mustard/ 1 to 2 T fresh lemon juice/ Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions: Same as above. Mix all ingredients thoroughly, refrigerate.

Sweet Butters

Ingredients & Directions: Same as above, using 1 or 2 cubes of softened butter/ Add: 2 T honey, a little fresh lemon juice; or 3 T sweetened cocoa & 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg/ Mix and refrigerate/ Use on toast, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, . . .

Maybe this gets your imagination going. There are a zillion ways to jazz up your butter. Compound it.

cornbread

Alice Waters’ Corn Bread Recipe

From Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food Cookbook. This is a really good excuse for Roasted Garlic and Hot Chili Butter. Takes about 10 minutes to mix by hand, 20 minutes in the oven.

Ingredients:  1 3/4 C cornmeal and flour; can be a mix of 1 1/4 C cornmeal and 1/2 C flour (or all cornmeal or any other combination)/ 1 T sugar (optional)/ 1 T baking powder/ 3/4 t salt/ 1 C milk/ 1 egg/ 4 T (1/2 stick) butter, melted/ Additional optional ingredients: 1/3 C corn, 1/4 C coarsely chopped green chilies, 1/3 C grated cheddar cheese (add less salt), 1/2 Chipotle chili powder.

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees/ In the oven, melt an additional 2 T butter in cast iron skillet, 8 or 9-inch round or loaf pan/ Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix/ Stir milk and egg together/ Melt butter in microwave or on stove top/ Add milk and egg to dry ingredients and mix/ Add butter and mix/ Stir in any ‘extra’ ingredients/ Pour mixture into hot buttered pan and place immediately in oven/ Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick test shows that it’s done in the center/ Best served hot out of the oven – with a compound butter.

A 10-inch (#8) cast iron pan accommodates a double batch just fine. Bake it a little longer.

cornbread

]]>
Grilled Cheese Grows Up http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/02/02/seasons-eatings/appetizers/grilled-cheese-grows-up/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/02/02/seasons-eatings/appetizers/grilled-cheese-grows-up/#comments Sun, 02 Feb 2014 23:00:10 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=12231

Growing up I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches, made with white spongy bread and sliced american cheese — especially when paired with a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup. I still think this combo makes a pretty ideal lunch only now I eat some homemade tomato soup from my freezer and use mostly local ingredients on my sandwich. So what seasonal ingredients can you put in a grilled cheese sandwich in the dead of winter? As it turns out, there are plenty to choose from starting with some excellent local cheeses. Three of my favorites for sandwiches are Willamette Valley fontina, Port Madison goat cheese and any of the fabulous cheeses from Beecher’s, I especially like their Flagship.

Local breads are available at just about any market. You’ll want one that’s thick enough to get nice and crispy but not so dense that the cheese gets buried inside and can’t melt properly.  Butter, not in the pan, but spread on the outside of each slice is key to the “grilled” surface. Bread, butter and cheese are all you really need but why not have some fun and make a meal of it. Once I started thinking of combinations, I soon realized that the possibilities are endless, even at this time of year.

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients: 2 slices sandwich bread/ butter/ cheese — choose one that melts easily.

Directions: Put a nonstick skillet on medium low heat/ While the skillet is heating up, generously butter one side of both pieces of bread/ Place slices of cheese on one non-buttered side of slice of bread, using as much or as little as you like/ If you’re going to add extra ingredients, pile them on too and top with the other slice of bread, buttered side out/ Place sandwich in heated skillet and let it cook until the outside is golden brown, 3-4 minutes/ Using a spatula, flip the sandwich over and cook the other side the same way/ Once the second side is done, flip back to the first side to reheat for a minute or two/ If your bread isn’t too thick and your cheese is soft enough, this should be plenty to melt the cheese without weighting it down or pressing with the spatula.

Lightly sauteed mushrooms and thinly sliced onions or shallots make a meaty vegetarian grilled cheese. I used local cremini mushrooms but for a very special occasion, I’d be tempted to go for some wild ones, using a mildly flavored cheese letting the mushrooms shine.

Until we reach BLT weather next summer, Skagit River Ranch bacon makes an excellent addition to a grilled cheese especially with sturdy winter greens like spinach or arugula. Locally canned tuna is another protein possibility for a tuna cheese melt.

Apples, pears and herbs like sage or rosemary go especially well with goat cheese. I like to saute the herbs in a little butter first but the fruit is delicious raw and thinly sliced. Cut into quarters, this sandwich makes a wonderful appetizer with a glass of chilled white wine.

Just let your imagination go and think outside the box when it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches. Melted cheese is good on almost anything. Put out different cheeses and various other ingredients and let each person design their own sandwich. Sounds like a party!

]]>
http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/02/02/seasons-eatings/appetizers/grilled-cheese-grows-up/feed/ 4
10 More Favorite Recipes from Mixed Greens Blog http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/02/17/seasons-eatings/desserts/10-more-favorite-recipes-from-mixed-greens-blog/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/02/17/seasons-eatings/desserts/10-more-favorite-recipes-from-mixed-greens-blog/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 01:00:24 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=17987 Mixed Greens

It’s my turn give you ten of my favorite posts. While Sally chose hers mainly for sentimental reasons, I decided to go for more practical reasons. This is a list of recipes that bring me back to the blog over and over to remind myself how I made something. Don’t ask me why I can remember these recipes especially considering I make them often. Just knowing they’re on the blog whenever I might need them, I no longer add them to my written recipe file and apparently, I don’t need to remember them either.

Homemade Turkey Soup    Homemade Turkey Soup

Okay, I lied. I make this so often that I no longer refer to the recipe, but plenty of other folks do.

Multi-Cultural Tofu Marinade    Marinated Tofu

I use this marinade at least once a week. It takes tofu to a whole new level and is great for fish too.

Winter Squash Gratin   Winter Squash Gratin

My absolute favorite way to eat winter squash. Perfect for a family dinner side-dish.

Duck Confit    Duck Confit

Best dish for a dinner party.

DIY Ricotta Cheese  Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta, creme fraiche, goat cheese — all easy and fun to make in your own kitchen.

Chicken Liver Pate      Pate on Crackers

The most impressive appetizer I make, an essential ingredient in your homemade banh mi too.

Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce  Sriracha Sauce

If only peppers were in season year-round, I’d make this much more often.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon  Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

My granddaughter Lily loves these — that says it all.

Caesar Salad Dressing Caesar Salad

I think I make the best caesar salad, even if I do say so myself.

Flourless Chocolate Cake  Flourless Chocolate Cake

Practically the only dessert I make and definitely the only cake.

I’ve gotten a little feedback from some of our readers that they come to Mixed Greens mainly to look at the photos — and that’s truly okay with me, I’m honored in fact. But if you do decide to try some of our recipes, Sally’s top ten from last week and mine above would be a good place to begin.

]]>
http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/02/17/seasons-eatings/desserts/10-more-favorite-recipes-from-mixed-greens-blog/feed/ 1
Say Cheese http://mixedgreensblog.com/2012/05/20/seasons-eatings/appetizers/say-cheese/ Mon, 21 May 2012 01:41:08 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=16138 Crumbly and creamy textured, veined, sheathed in a grape leaf, soft and gooey, cheeses so appealing I had to sit them down and take their picture. Charisma and character, they have it.  It makes sense considering how carefully cheese can be coddled and nudged toward artisinal perfection. As chocolate and a fine glass of wine are irresistible, so it is with good cheese.

We humans have been making cheese for thousands of years, at least since the heyday of  Neolithics. We have much in common with our ancient cousins, including, apparently, our reverence for cheese. (Cheese & Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization, Paul S. Kinstedt).

Rogue River, Mt. Townsend and Beecher’s are featured here, but there are plenty of other handmade cheeses from nearby that are just as good: Washington cheesemakers. Oregon cheesemakers.

Rogue River Blue Cheese

Mt. Townsend Cirrus Cheese

Beecher’s Cheddar Cheese

Good cheese is pricey, we love it anyway and use it sparingly at times. Stir cheese into soup, scrambled eggs, risotto, sprinkle on salad or melt it on toasted bread.  The following recipe ideas feature Beecher’s, Mt. Townsend and Rogue River in smallish amounts along with a few seasonal ingredients. Wicked good stuff. Kids can definitely help slice the cheese or stir the pot with these – they’ll lick the pot as well.

Tomato-Cheddar Soup Recipe

Recipe from Pure Flavor cookbook, by Kurt Beecher Dammeier. About twenty minutes start to finish, six servings.

Ingredients: 2 T unsalted butter/ 1/2 medium onion/ 1 28-ounce can plus another 14 1/2  ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree/ 3/4 t white ( or black) pepper/ 3/4 t kosher salt/ 2 1/2 C Beecher’s cheddar cheese (or any semi hard cheese)/ 1/2 C heavy cream (I used half & half).

Directions: In a large saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, add the onion and sauté until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes/ Add crushed tomatoes (or, use whole canned tomatoes, blended lightly), 2 1/2 C water, pepper and salt/ / Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally/ Add the cheese and cream/ Stir until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes/ Serve hot.

Add croutons to make it even more like a tomato soup-toasted cheese sandwich. Then take a wee nap. Life can be so delicious.

Beecher’s & Rhubarb Rosemary Compote

Make Rhubarb Rosemary or Rhubarb Thyme jam. Serve it in a bowl with slices of cheddar (or the Mt. Townsend soft cheese) and crackers.

 

 Risotto with Mt. Townsend Cheese Recipe

Ingredients for 4 servings: 2 T butter, 2 T olive oil/ 3 T finely chopped shallot or 1/2 medium onion/ 1/4 C white wine/ 1 1/2 C Arbrorio rice, 4 C broth of any kind/ 3 T each finely chopped fresh oregano and chives/ 2 T lemon zest/ 3 T Mt. Townsend Cirrus cheese/ Salt & pepper to taste/ Plenty of other ingredients, herbs or vegetables, chopped finely or in small pieces would be excellent additions. I added a few pieces of asparagus during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

I made this risotto the Risi e Bisi way from my Seasons of the Italian Kitchen cookbook – which is how I make risotto now.

Directions: Heat the broth to a bare simmer/ In a separate pan, on medium – low heat, sauté the shallot or onion in olive oil and butter until transluscent/ Add the rice, stir and cook for a minute, stirring/ Add the white wine and cook until wine has mostly disappeared/ Stir in the heated broth and adjust heat so that mixture simmers/ Cook for 25 or 30 minutes until tender and creamy, stirring occasionally/ Taste along the way to determine when rice is almost done/ Finished risotto should be a little soupy and the rice tender/ Heat and add more broth or plain water if needed/ Add herbs, lemon zest and any fresh vegetables after 20 minutes of cooking, or during the final 10 minutes/ Off heat, stir in cheese and a few more fresh herbs/ Best eaten right away.

This risotto is imbued with the subtle flavor of Mt. Townsend’s signature soft cheese – or you could use their Sea Stack. Same thing with scrambled eggs. When eggs are almost done stir in a tablespoon or two of this soft cheese. Finish cooking, serve with steamed asparagus and crispy fried potatoes on the side if you’re trying to impress, or just feed somebody on a Sunday morning.

Rogue River Blue

Sprinkle it around like fairy dust. There’s nothing to do with a blue cheese this good, but to eat it as is.

Serve it nestled in a piece of celery; or sprinkled, at the last minute, on top of a green salad or a plate of beets; on a sliver thin slice of apple or pear; stir a tablespoon into ½ cup of hot cream until it’s melted and pour over asparagus, kale florets, mashed potatoes.  A little goes a long way so that using just a tablespoon adds a big flavor kick to whatever.

Make a blue cheese spread made with a small amount of Rogue River Blue, some cream cheese and a little milk, chopped nuts optional. A ratio of 3:1 cream cheese to blue is a good way to start; add a little milk to create an easily spreadable consistency. Blended or mixed by hand it’s delicious on crackers or stirred into hot pasta or risotto – a good way to stretch the big flavor of this delectable blue cheese.

The other thing about cheese is that it’s the traveler’s champion, wrapped in paper and tucked into a backpack. Vagabond fare for millennia. On a recent early morning train ride to Portland, we took along cheese, bread, and fruit, something like our ancient cousins might have done. Happy to be part of that cheese loving ancestral herd.

]]>
Spring DIY Project: Goat Cheese http://mixedgreensblog.com/2012/04/15/seasons-eatings/dairy/spring-diy-project-goat-cheese/ Mon, 16 Apr 2012 00:00:53 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=15993

I never knew I could make a round of soft cheese so easily until I checked out Homemade — the Ultimate DIY Cookbook by Yvette Van Boven — a book so loaded with inspiration for simple projects that I barely knew where to begin. Last year I made ricotta cheese in this post.  This process just goes one step further firming the ricotta up into more of a round. I used goat’s milk this time from Grace Harbor Farms which tasted sweet and fresh, just like spring. Following Boven’s step-by-step instructions and photos was a breeze. Here’s my version of her recipe.

Goat’s Milk Soft Cheese Recipe

Ingredients: 1 quart (4 cups) goat’s milk (cow’s milk is fine too)/ 1 quart buttermilk/ lemon juice – I used about 1/2 lemon/ 1/2 t salt

Equipment: 1 14oz. can with lids from both ends removed — save one lid/ a smaller can that just fits inside the 14oz. can — I used a can of canned tomatoes for the larger, a can of tomato sauce for the smaller/ cheesecloth/ a large saucepan/ a slotted spoon/ a large strainer/ a large bowl/ a small plate/ long piece of elastic

Directions:  Heat the 2 milks in a large saucepan adding the lemon juice/ when the milk is near boiling, it will separate into curds and whey.

Begin lifting the curds from the whey into a large strainer, placing a bowl underneath to catch the whey/ Stir gently and strain until all the whey has drained. Use the whey later in your smoothies, on cereal, or in baking just about anything that calls for milk. It’s way too good to toss away.

At this point, you’ve made ricotta. If you want to stop here, you can put it into cheesecloth and continue to let it drain over the bowl/ If you want to make a soft cheese round, place it in a bowl, add salt and stir/ Place the cheese cloth in the larger can, set it on a small plate and pour in the curds.

Pull up the corners of the cheesecloth, allowing the cheese to sink in/ Cut off excess cheesecloth and cover with the reserved lid/ Cover with the smaller can and wrap both cans and the plate with a long piece of elastic –  you can tighten it as the cheese dries.

Place the whole contraption in the fridge for at least 12 hours, I left mine for 2 days/ Gently lift out the cheesecloth  and you have a lovely soft round of cheese, perfect for your first picnic of the season. Cut up some tender fresh chives and sprinkle on top.

It’s almost rhubarb season and time to make a batch of rhubarb thyme jam — a perfect partner to your lovely little round of cheese. You can also use it on a marinated beet salad or in a bowl of massaged kale.

 

There are so many delicious ways to use this cheese that before you know it, you’ll be back for round two.

Here’s an inspiring video about two women who started a business making homemade ricotta in Brooklyn.

 

]]>
Put An Egg On It http://mixedgreensblog.com/2012/04/08/seasons-eatings/protein/put-an-egg-on-it/ Sun, 08 Apr 2012 18:33:46 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=15935   There’s An Egg In My Soup!

Inspired by the Portlandia put-a bird-on-it-sketch in which Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein insist that putting a bird image on anything, and I mean anything, makes it design savvy and market-worthy, this post revolves around a similar concept. If a bird is your go-to design punch in a pinch, then I say that eggs might be the culinary counterpart to that admittedly warped but really funny comedy riff. The eggs, however, can actually be taken seriously. No, seriously. Put an egg on it.

Try putting an egg on things and they might be the cohesive element in a pile of mismatched ingredients that make a meal. The other day I saw a recipe for poached eggs and leftover pasta. I love Pasta Carbonarra – eggs, cream and Parmesan stirred into steaming hot pasta forming this luscious creamy sauce that coats every single noodle, heaven – but the idea of plopping a poached or fried egg on to a pile of pasta got me thinking what I would or wouldn’t put an egg on. If I hadn’t grown up eating vinegar-dressed, steamed spinach with hard-boiled eggs I couldn’t have imagined what a good combination it is. Putting eggs on things might be the time to be a revolutionary in the kitchen. Your call.

Start with a pile of whatever, steamed greens, potatoes, toast, salad, farro, rice, pasta, any combination of roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, tomato soup  . . . whatever it is get it all ready beforehand because the eggs cook quickly, which is part of their appeal. After that, try to get the cooking of the egg about right. Over or under cooking can wreck a good egg in a heartbeat, not an exaggeration. Developing some egg cooking skill might not be at the top of anyone’s bucket list, but it’s  worthy of some attention. Nicely cooked, they’re tender and delectable, comfort food at its best. Overcooked, not so much.

So it’s worth it to put some effort into cooking eggs just so, whatever that is for you. For me it’s just barely done whether it’s a quiche, scrambled, poached, steamed or hard boiled. It means having a plan and being attentive – setting a timer? – for just those few minutes while eggs are cooking.

3 Ways to Put An Egg On It: Steamed, Baked, or Hard Boiled

Recipe for Steamed Eggs

Equipment: a small or large sauté or frying pan, depending on the number of eggs you’re cooking, with a lid that fits

Ingredients: eggs/ butter/ salt and pepper/ water

Directions: Melt 1 teaspoon of butter per egg into a skillet/ When butter sizzles add egg (or eggs), salt & pepper/ Add 1 tablespoon of water to pan and place lid on/ Steam for 1 – 2 minutes for cooked whites, but soft yolk, longer if you’d like a harder yolk/ Take a quick peak mid-way to help determine timing/ Number of eggs in the pan affects cooking time, faster for one or two eggs than for three or four/ Remove from pan and put the eggs on anything you like. Almost anything.

There are classics for putting fried, steamed, poached, or baked eggs on things: toast, potatoes, steamed spinach – or any green – lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar, leftover rice, grated cheese, salad, hotcakes, waffles, soup, baked beans . . . you name it you can probably put an egg on it or in it.

Recipe for Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Equipment: Casserole dish or individual ramekins

Ingredients: 2 C tomato sauce, or enough to generously cover the bottom of a casserole or individual ramekins/ 4 eggs/ 2 – 4 T grated Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper. Any cheese would work.

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees/ Spread tomato sauce in the bottom of baking dish/ Break eggs one at a time into a small dish and then gently transfer into casserole which has been spread with the sauce/ Sprinkle eggs with salt & pepper to taste, and grated Parmesan/ Bake for 8 – 10 minutes in preheated oven, checking occasionally/ Eggs are done when they suit your own taste for runny or set/ Serve with almost anything.

Hard Boiled

Several Mixed Greens recipes epitomize the put an egg on it philosophy using  perfectly hard-boiled eggs: for egg salad sandwiches, spinach salad, deviled eggs, potato salad.

Put a bird on it or put an egg on it, either way your design and culinary tastes are on track.

And what about ham and eggs?

]]>