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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.

I really love this time of year, when the seasons start shifting and the days become cooler. I recently harvested the remainder of my tomatoes and I’m planning to use them for one of my favorite snacks. I am using grape tomatoes, but any kind will do. This is a simple and delicious recipe that I hope you’ll enjoy.
 
Fresh Tomato CrostiniCrostini
2 c grape tomatoes, halved
1 t fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1 baguette, sliced into 1" wide slices
10 slices of cheese, your choice (I use goat cheddar; you could also use provolone, manchego or asiago)
 
Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, toss tomatoes with thyme, vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. On a baking sheet, arrange bread slices and toast in the oven 3-5 min. Remove from oven and flip bread slices over. Top evenly with the cheese then return to oven for 3-5 min, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and arrange bread slices on a plate. Serve with tomato topping and enjoy!
 

One of the favorite parts of my job is talking to our customers about the recipes they are planning and bouncing ideas off one another. I helped a woman find some fresh goat cheese recently and asked her what she planned to use it for. The recipe she described to me was one I have not forgotten, and I wanted to share it with you!Peaches
 
Grilled Peaches with Chèvre
4 lg peaches, halved
4 oz plain fresh chèvre (goat cheese)
4 thin slices of proscuitto, diced
¼ c canola oil
4 T honey
 
Toss peach halves in oil to coat. Grill peaches cut-side down over medium heat for about four minutes. Turn peaches over and grill for another four minutes. Place two peach halves onto four plates. Crumble 1 oz of goat cheese over peaches on each plate. Evenly sprinkle proscuitto and drizzle honey over peaches.
 
Enjoy!

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!
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Willamette Cheese Blog List