It's always fascinating to hear which cheeses or specialty foods cheesemongers like best. Luckily for us, Formaggio Kitchen, in Cambridge, MA, has rounded up their staff's top ten cheese/food items for 2011 so we can all see what these pros like best:
At the end of each year, staff members at all three of our shops fill out a staff survey, reflecting on our year in food. We pick our favorites, reminisce about revelatory food moments and about new discoveries. Like clockwork, some products can be counted on to appear each year. Other foodstuffs disappear and/or reappear, depending on staff members’ palates.
This Holiday Season try adding cream cheese in your sugar cookies. Restless Chipotle will show you how.
These delicate sugar cookies are rich and delicious and not too sweet. The cream cheese gives them a little tang but most of the flavor comes from what you top the cookie with. The texture is buttery and crumbly – they would be a true butter cookie if not for the cream cheese.
One of the things I love about these is that they are versatile. You can top them with colored sugar, chocolate, nuts, or frosting. I topped some of them with brown sugar and pecans and then drizzled with a little chocolate. The possibilities are endless!
Jonathan Moxey from Serious Eats reveals his favorite holiday beers. Among his top picks: Karl Strauss' Two Tortugas Holiday Quadruple Ale.
We all have holiday traditions. Every December I watch Die Hard and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, spend hours driving across Missouri to visit family and friends, and then spend many more hours sharing big Christmas beers with said family and friends. I've tried countless bottles over the years, but I always come back to my favorites. Most don't stray far from the big Belgian-style beers I enjoy during the other 11 months of the year. Subtle levels of spices usually set them apart, and "subtle" is the key word. (If a beer approaches mulled territory, I'll stick to eggnog.)
Linda Grasso has some unique and delicious ideas for your cheese plate this holiday season. Try using roasted pistachio kernels and dried hibiscus blossoms as the base for your platter. She also suggests some amazing wines for the perfect pairing.
My friend Barrie Lynn is a cheese whiz…literally. Known to fans across the country as The Cheese Impresario, she’s our "go-to gal" for any and all things cheese. Below are Barrie’s favorite “cheese experiences” for holiday entertaining.
Pick 3 cheddars of different ages. Get a young cheddar like a 3 or 6 month old, and a middle-aged 5 or 6 year old. Finally, get a rare, 10 year old, like one made by Hooks’. “Hook's Ten Year Aged Cheddar is a delightful surprise because it’s not dry or hard. It’s smooth, creamy and nutty.”
Once Upon a Chef gives us a delicious version of hot apple cider. The rich buttery taste and splash of rum will keep you warm during those cool winter nights.
So I found a way to take it up a notch by combining ordinary spiked cider with a classic holiday cocktail – hot buttered rum. Boy, was that a good idea! If hot cider is delicious, then hot buttered cider is downright decadent (a little booze doesn’t hurt either).
It's ideal for a crowd because it sits on the stove in a big pot for everyone to help themselves. Plus, you can do most of it ahead of time. When you're ready to serve, all you have to do is warm your apple cider in a pot, stir in your spiced butter, ladle it into mugs and – if you want – top with rum.
Believe it or not, here's a recipe for brownies made with cheddar cheese soup! We found it at Cookie Madness. Let us know how they taste if you decide to make them!
It’s more fun than practical, but you really can make brownies with cheddar cheese soup. I tried it yesterday using the Saucepan Brownies recipe from Campbell’s Creative Cooking with Soup, a book I’ve had for 20 years. How I skipped this recipe for two decades is baffling because I go through this book all the time. I guess I’ve been mentally writing the dessert section off, but I’m glad I finally tried this one because in a post-apocalyptic kitchen where all Ive managed to save includes a case of cheddar soup and some chocolate chips, it would be a real life saver.
Closetcooking.com gives a healthy and cheesy spin to the traditional Sunday pancake breakfast. Try these delicious looking Blueberry and Cottage Cheese Pancakes this weekend.
The farmers market has been full of fresh local blueberries for the last week or so and I have certainly been enjoying them. I have mostly been having them for breakfast on plain yogurt or cottage cheese with some maple syrup syrup on top. Over the long weekend I decided that it was time to do something else with them and the first thing that came to mind was pancakes.
A recent UC Davis study finds that mixing vines and native plants in wine country provides some environmental benefits over grape-only monoculture, including wildlife habitat and improved carbon emissions.
The new study examined the amount of carbon storage on five ranches that produce organic grapes for the Bonterra label of Fetzer Vineyards, located in Northern California’s Mendocino County. Altogether, the ranches cover 2,962 acres, with roughly one third each devoted to vineyards, forested wildlands or grasslands. The ranches have been organically certified since the late 1980s.
Carbon storage is the process through which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in wood and soil, lessening its impact on global climate change.
What's hot on the plate for next year? Smallbiztrends.com takes a look at possible new food trends for 2012. Potatoes are in, and breakfast is served all day long:
1. Artisanal everything: Not new, but still going strong, “artisanal” originally referred to handcrafted foods but is now springing up everywhere. The term has even trickled down to quick-service restaurants, with major chains like Jack in the Box touting “artisanal” breads as a selling point. One product that’s not quite so mainstream: artisanal marshmallows...
A recent survey by Asda reveals that 54% of Brits prefer to end their meals with a cheese course instead of a traditional dessert. As a result, Talkingretail.com reports on the tremendous growth in sales of festive cheeses during the Holiday Season.
Asda is seeing cheese sales go “through the roof” in the run-up to Christmas as Brits splash out on traditional cheeses such as Cheddar and Stilton as well as more unusual, festive choices including fudge and butterscotch and Christmas pudding flavours.
The changing-face of the British cheeseboard shows that over two-thirds (69%) of cheese lovers will have at least four different cheeses on their cheeseboard this Christmas. This contrasts to 10 years ago when Brits on average had three cheeses, typically Stilton, Cheddar and Brie in comparison’s to today’s selection, which includes a fourth flavoured variety.