Bleating Heart, North Bay Curds and Whey, Ramini Buffalo Mozzarella are buzz-worthy new cheesemakers from the North Bay
A local legend known as the godfather of the artisan cheese movement
Aged gouda to a oiled-up chevre log, tell BiteClub what kind of cheese is the fastest!
I received some criticism for yesterday’s post – some silly (“Why do you even shop at Costco?”), and some quite fair (“Maybe it’s uneconomic for smaller local dairies to supply Costco.”). I like to think that I can take it as well as I can dish it out and, while I sometimes like to play rough, I also like to play fair, so here’s my mea culpa de fromage: While I may decry my inability to source local cheeses from the Santa Rosa Costco, and while I may now have to drive further and pay more to procure some of my favorite products as a result, that is not necessarily any fault of the Big C.
The Costco Report: Episodic observations on where to port safely, and what to avoid like a pestilence, when navigating an ocean of consumer non-durables… In today’s edition, a big finger wag at the Big C for abandoning some of our local dairies, and Taquitos From Hell.
Yesterday, as I was blabbering about cooking with friends, I tried to argue that the biggest prize from letting another cook into your kitchen is, aside from some help with the dishes, the potential to eat a meal that you’d not otherwise have thought of. A case in point comes courtesy of a dear friend’s torrid love affair with thermal immersion circulators and my new favorite condiment: A pitch-perfect finger sandwich of pork loin sous-vide, local blue cheese, and savory onion “jam”.
With less than 36-hours until the feast hits the table, I’m sure we all have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it, so today’s is a post with a purpose: Fast, easy, small little things you can do to elevate some of your Thanksgiving Day standards – mashed potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, stuffing – from the delicious but possibly tired to a more lively yet still traditional level.
Can you imagine playing Russian roulette with the crust at your favorite pizza joint, the done-ness of your steak, or the hardness of your egg? Take away the obsessive cooks, and we’d all be eating Swanson’s Hungry Man or instant ramen with a spork, which is a roundabout introduction to Why I’m Still Trying To Perfect Mac-n-Cheese. The mountains of grated cheese, the errors like some pagan fortune engraved in burnt milk at the bottom of sauce pots, the sweet, nutty smell of flour frying in butter that fill the house, and – finally – today’s installment, in which I learn that, unlike Crisco or tickling, if some is good, then more is better.
Pickles, cheese, and chocolate: Three ingredients, three possible pair-wise combinations, two really good and interesting tastes, and one impossibly disgusting mouthful of gag reflex. If I like cheese with pickles, and (somewhat surprisingly) I like chocolate with cheese, then why don’t I like chocolate with pickles? I mean, other than the painfully obvious – in point of fact, it tastes even worse than it sounds –...
As most any mom will tell you, there is a world of difference between “cooking for moms” and “cooking for moms”: The noun implies more of her time spent over a cooktop, while the verb at least suggests the possibility that she might end up on the receiving end of the culinary goodie bag for a change. To wit: My wife recently put in a special request for the Moms’ Night Out she was hosting for a small cadre of mamacitas sans kids and husbands, a professional dance instructor, and a trunk full of pink bubbly…
A clear violation of the spirit if not the letter of The Rules for cooking with just three ingredients, using leftovers like this, but one of the principal advantages of blogging, and self-imposed rules generally, lies rooted in the simple fact that one may ultimately do whatever one wishes. Of course, your readers may kvetch, and they’d have a point, but that’s part of the game; the most important bit, as ever, remains the food.
About a month ago, lacking my hoped-for, fleeting, and frustratingly oft-absent daily quotient of inspiration and incisiveness, I decided to try something new and, I admit, sort of gimmicky: I decided to find out out how many distinct, complete dishes I could compose using just three ingredients. And, importantly for our household, nowhere does the fewer-ingredients/simpler-technique approach bear sweeter fruit than in response to my frustration of cooking for kids.
In our earlier skirmish with this thread, we waxed philosophical on the gustatory wonder and sundry therapeutic benefits of a classic macaroni and cheese, but made precious little headway toward the dish itself. While the end result was good, maybe even satisfying, it nevertheless fell short of transporting. And a truly classic mac-n-cheese must, above all else, transport us somewhere: Perhaps to a time when we were younger, or in circumstances more care-free, or maybe precisely where we are now, but with softer edges, the carbohydrate equivalent of a Snuggly.
OK, it’s Monday, enough of the booze chatter. We promised to engage in the pursuit of mac-n-cheese perfection, and here in the Proximal Kitchen, we don’t take such promises lightly. If you caught my previous post on mac-n-cheese, despair not yet another sermon from the culinary pulpit, because today’s post – our introductory foray into the mac-n-cheese sweepstakes – is all business.
An old friend of mine and nascent PK supporter, a certain Ms T (you know who you are), recently put in a request in for my best take on mac-n-cheese. Not just any mac-n-cheese, mind you, but a “rich, rich, rich, very adult mac-n-cheese”. This, T must have intuited, sits squarely in our wheelhouse because, here at the Proximal Kitchen, we love cheese, we love pasta, and we’re not scared of butter. But for me, and I suspect for T and probably most of you, it’s also about much more than that:
Sonoma County cheesemakers win top awards at the American Cheese Society Fest
Epicurean Connection: Sheana Davis is a Sonoma catering institution and nationally-known cheesemaker who recently opened her tiny deli in in Boyes Hot Springs (just outside the town of Sonoma).
“Meh” is about the only word I can think of to describe my feelings about eating out lately. When the bounty of summer threatens to overwhelm my refrigerator it seems criminally wasteful to let so much good food go to waste. Well-meaning friends overwhelm my cupboards with figs, zucchini and tomatoes. A former PD employee brings overflowing baskets of organic veggies and flowers to the office each week and despite sitting...