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Willamette Cheese Steward Cassie Stockton knows cheese. Also a wealth of wisdom when it comes to the many other accompaniments found at your Market cheese shop, such as oils, vinegars, salts, fruits spreads, honey, crackers, nuts, pâtés and dried fruits, Cassie offers practical advice and insight for both the novice and culinarily gifted.

Mozzarella
Nothing says summer like a beautifully ripe tomato with fresh mozzarella. It’s a classic taste that always satisfies. Fresh mozzarella also makes pizza, panini and pasta salad extra special. Fotolia 42565622 Subscription XL

Goat Cheese
Fresh goat cheese (chèvre) is very versatile. Try it with sweet or savory recipes, such as:
  • Pizza
  • Quiche
  • Bruschetta
  • Cheesecakes
  • Crepes
 
Chèvre also pairs well with fruit and fruit preserves. Or try adding chopped fresh herbs for a nice spread.

Feta
Make this recipe as a tasty appetizer or afternoon snack. Feel free to top with anything that appeals to you.Fotolia 42114945 Subscription XL

Baked
Feta
8 oz slice of feta
1-2 t olive oil
¼ c chopped olives
¼ c chopped sundried tomatoes
1 pinch dried oregano
 
Preheat oven to 300°. Place feta in a glass baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Top with olives and tomatoes, then sprinkle with oregano. Bake uncovered approx. 10 to 15 min. Enjoy with pita bread, crackers or a baguette.
 
You can also enjoy feta with pasta, green salads, beets or watermelon. Or, try it on a burger for a twist.

Fotolia 62570382 Subscription XLRicotta
Ricotta presents endless possibilities. Try using it in your favorite cake or cookie recipe. It’s also delicious on bruschetta, pasta and pizza. Here is an easy dessert recipe to try.

Ricotta with Roasted Figs
8 mission figs, halved
1 T unsalted butter
3 T honey
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of kosher salt
16 oz ricotta
 
Preheat oven to 400°. Place figs, cut side up, in a glass baking dish. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan and stir in the honey, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle butter mixture over figs and roast in oven for 10 to 15 min, until figs are soft. Then, divide ricotta evenly (approx. ¼ c ea) into four dessert bowls and top with warm figs. Serves 4.
140521WillametteCheeseBlog FinalButter is one of my favorite staples. Here’s an easy recipe for making European-style cultured butter at home.

Ingredients:

1 qt heavy cream
1/2 c crème fraÎche
ice water

In a bowl, whisk together cream and crème fraÎche. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12-48 hours, until thickened. Transfer to a stand mixer bow and refrigerate until chilled, approx. 1 hr. Beat with the whisk attachment on high speed until the butter solids start to form a ball, approx. 4 min. Drain the butter solids in a fine sieve over a med-size bowl; reserve buttermilk for another use. Transfer the ball of butter to a bowl and knead to remove any excess moisture. Pour 1/4 c ice water over the butter, knead and drain. Repeat this process four times. Continue kneading until butter no longer expels water. Form the butter into a cylinder or block, wrap with cheesecloth and lightly squeeze to remove any remaining moisture. Discard cheesecloth and wrap first in plastic, then parchment paper. Refrigerate up to one week.
140507CassieStocktonWillametteCheeseBlogImages finalI recently participated in “bring your kid to work day,” and I decided it was time for my 9-year-old son, Walker, to participate. I asked him if he was interested, and boy was he ever!

I decided we would tour the department, cut a few cheeses, put away some orders, merchandise a bit, then do an active demo for the remainder of our time. Walker was all about getting to the demo, so I set him up with Henning's Hatch Chili Pepper Cheddar from Wisconsin. What a salesman he is! He sold a lot of cheese and was so proud of himself. And I am proud of him!
140410MOC willametteCheeseBlog 1Eugene has a large population of citizens of Scandinavian descent. One of our most popular Scandic cheeses is called Gjetost, a caramelized goats’ milk (some brands use a bit of cows’ milk, as well) that looks and tastes like salty caramel. It is traditionally eaten with fruit, such as apples or pears, as well as thinly sliced and served on toast. One of my sales representatives was kind enough to share her sister's recipe for making this cheese into an ice cream topping. Enjoy!

Creamy Gjetost Sauce
Serves 2-3

1 D’Anjou or Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
½ c pear brandy 1/3 c raw sugar 1/3 pkg Ski Queen Gjetost, sliced
½ c whipping cream, divided for topping and sauce
vanilla ice cream or gelato
pecans
sea salt

Sprinkle the pecans with the sea salt and roast in a 350° oven for approximately 6-8 min. Whip ¼ c whipped cream for topping. Heat the brandy with the raw sugar until it comes to a boil. Add pears and reduce to low heat, constantly stirring until syrupy pears are cooked. In a sm saucepan, heat sliced Gjetost with ¼ whipping cream over low heat until creamy. Scoop ice cream or gelato into bowls and top with cooked pears sauce, toasted pecans and a dollop of whipped cream.

Originally created in the kitchen of Kim Sylvester, this dessert is oh-so good. Thanks, Kim!
140325MOCwillamettecheeseFor all you fact finders out there, I’ve put together a short list of fun things you may not know about cheese.

Did you know:

  • Caseus is the root of the word casein, the milk protein that is the basis of cheese; this morphed into “chese” in Middle English and finally “cheese” as part of Modern English.

  • The earliest archaeological evidence of cheese-making was found in Egyptian tomb murals that date back to 2000 B.C.

  • The consumption of cheese predates recorded history. Scholars believe it began as early as 8000 B.C. with the domestication of sheep in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkish tribes in Central Asia.

  • Ancient Greeks and Romans were the first cultures to turn cheese-making into a fine art, developing new recipes, smoking cheese and coming up with new flavors and additions.

  • After the fall of the Roman Empire, many European monasteries started developing and producing new cheese varieties.

  • Cheese is the most stolen food in the world.


And, finally, I’ll leave you with this slightly cheesy quote:

"A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be over sophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese, milk's leap toward immortality." — Clifton Fadiman, American writer and editor

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Willamette Cheese Blog List

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