Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
16oz. penne pasta
3 tbs. vegetable oil
3 tbs. green onions, chopped into rings
½ cup zucchini, sliced
½ cup red bell peppers, seeds removed and sliced
1 cup cooked ham, cubed
1 tbs. chopped parsley
Pinch of Hungarian sweet paprika
10 oz. Rouge et Noir Camembert
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
Several basil leaves for garnish
Freshly ground pepper
Cook Penne in boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain. In a large pan, heat oil and sauté onions, zucchini, and bell peppers for 2-3 minutes. Add ham and sauté briefly. Toss with penne and parsley, and season to taste with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cut Camembert into ¼ inch cubes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Transfer half the pasta to a lightly-oiled casserole dish. Sprinkle half the Camembert over the top. Cover with remaining pasta and a second layer of Camembert. In a Bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, and milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over the casserole. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
Monday, June 27, 2011
the Rouge et Noir Yellow Buck Camembert of Marin Cheese Company: get it, or regret it (no rennet either)
OK, I’ll admit it. Sometimes I don’t just rely upon my own superior culinary judgement. In fact, sometimes I humble myself and ask for…gasp…directions!
Last fall, I accosted the cheese expert at the fancy-pants grocery while she peeled away the rind of what appeared to be an enormous Parmeggiano-Reggiano. In her opinion, the Yellow Buck Camembert could not, and should not be missed. Well, she was RIGHT. She also warned me that it constantly sold out once the store starts to carry it and recommended that I buy two wheels of it while they were readily available. I thought she was nuts. Are people that crazy about the Yellow Buck? Yes, they are. And rightly so. I am now one of “those” people.
The Marin Cheese Company (MCC) prices this cheese around $10.00 per wheel, for 16 oz. Do not be fooled. When I was in my fall cheese-buying frenzy, I found Bries and Camemberts – OK ones – for anywhere up to $20 per lb. They could not hold a candle to the Yellow Buck.
You will adore the tang of it. Yes, yes, any Camembert can be creamy, and smooth. They can handle sitting next to banal crackers and cold cuts at business luncheons and the like. But that’s not why you would buy this cheese. It is a cheese that will beat up even something terribly tough and aggressive, like Ryvita. Yes, even against that, the Yellow Buck will prevail.
Perhaps the adoration of many should come as no surprise, from this American intitution that has beaten the entire cheese world – including FRANCE(!) in the World Cheese Awards, an international blind-tasting cheese competition.
And, may the heavens help you should you ever melt the Yellow Buck. Once it is fully ripened, it does not require much contact with heat to become downright irresistible. Just try putting small cubes of it on top of a potato pancake (here’s one recipe for latke) along with some Worcestershire sauce (one of my favorite preps).
So, just get it, let it ripen, and dig in. Yes, it will blow your mind.
P.S. Those of you concerned with the treatment of animals in food production, note that this product is rennetless (hence, no rBST). Also, the MCC donates proceeds from many of its varietal cheeses, including the Yellow Buck Camembert, to the Marine Mammal Center.
This blog post was unsolicited. The original can be found at Dude, where's the stove? Posted on January 27, 2007.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Succession of award-winning company to French artisan cheesemaking group
Petaluma, CA, April 26, 2011 –Marin French Cheese Company and Rians today announce that they have entered into a final agreement in which the 146-year-old California cheese company will be acquired by Rians, a family-owned French cheese company. The purchase agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and the transaction is expected to be completed in May 2011.
Jim Boyce, owner of Marin French Cheese since 1998, had considered an alliance prior to his untimely death in September of 2010. He had met with potential partners, domestic and foreign cheese producers, during the past few years searching for the perfect match to continue the spirit and philosophy he created during his ownership. Kris Otis, Boyce’s wife, continued Jim’s search along with the company’s board of directors, carefully reviewing options prior to making this final decision. “Jim met several years ago with Hugues Triballat to forge this partnership,” says Ms. Otis, “The Board and I feel that Rians understands and will preserve Jim’s vision.”
Details of the acquisition include completion of expansion plans for the cheese plant and aging facilities; ongoing support of community projects; stewardship of the company’s 700 acres of Marin County land, including public picnic areas and the retail store; and retention of all members of the Marin French staff. Longtime Marin French manager, Maxx Sherman, will transition to a new role as Director of National Sales. “Marin French’s cheese making know-how, care of the employees, preservation of the terroir and consideration for the generations of people who love to visit ‘the Cheese Factory’, will be in good hands with Rians,” Otis adds.
In 2006 Rians purchased neighboring Sonoma artisan goat cheese producer, Laura Chenel’s Chèvre and recently completed building a new state-of-the-art creamery. Marie Lesoudier, General Manager of Laura Chenel’s Chèvre will oversee all activities at Marin French Cheese Company. “While we have created a tremendous partnership, each company’s operations will remain separate,” says Lesoudier. “Both companies will share their expertise in production, marketing and distribution in order to provide consumers the finest hand-made artisan cheeses from Northern California.”
Over the years, Marin French soared to international acclaim for its Triple Creme Brie while accumulating record awards nationally for its line of traditional French-style and American original soft-ripening cheeses. Rians, also known as Laiteries H. Triballat, is a family-owned French artisan cheese company operating 15 creameries in France, Argentina, Spain and the U.S. Rians strategy is to select the highest quality producers of authentic artisan products who will benefit from their expertise and support. “We are honored to continue the work started by the Thompson Family in 1865 and perpetuated by Jim Boyce,” says Hugues Triballat, Rians Chief Executive Officer. “We respect Marin French’s traditions and fine cheesemaking and will preserve the regional identity of the brand, while blending in our history and expertise to grow the company.”
Rians is the brand identity of Laiteries H. Triballat, a family-owned French company with a portfolio of artisan cheese plants making AOP (appellation) cheeses such as Epoisse, Langres, Selles-Sur-Cher, Crottin de Chavignol, and Rocamadour. Hubert Triballat, the company’s founder, began making cheese in Rians, a small village in the Sancerre region of central France, in 1952. Today, Laiteries H. Triballat is a leader in specialty cheeses in Europe and the United States. The Triballat family is known for investing in the future of the specialty cheese industry while preserving the fine cheesemaking traditions of the past.
Marin French Cheese Company is the oldest cheese manufacturer in the USA and a unique part of American history. Known by locals as The Cheese Factory and by its brand name, Rouge et Noir, Marin French has produced hand-crafted artisan soft-ripened cheese since 1865. Rouge et Noir cheeses are based on French and European varieties but reflect the characteristics of Northern California, producing their own regional styles, including original California Brie and Camembert along with other award-winning cheeses.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I don't know where Jim was born, but he once told me that he grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and that he had lived in California and in Florida for many years. I knew that he owned an organic cattle ranch in Nevada and a feed mill further north, he had also been in the hotel business. He loved film and all the arts and was very much a modern day renaissance man. But when I would ask him about the Cheese Factory his eyes just sparkled and we would talk ......
It was about 8 years ago at ACS that we met, and from that time on we were good friends. We enjoyed the competition of teasing each other in the most unusual ways. One example would be when he took a picture of himself and my (Carr Valley) sales manager in the French Marin Booth at a trade show and emailed it to me bragging that he had just hired her! This lead to me putting a Carr Valley sign in front of his booth and taking my picture with Max (his sales manager).
There was also the 100 year club we created- French Marin Cheese 1843, my family 1883, and Joe Widmer, because Joe only had 75 years ..... we loaned him 25 so he could join. We called a meeting of the club whenever we saw each other and of course raised and lowered the dues as needed. If two members were together we would call the third on the phone and hold the meetings- I think Joe and I will continue the tradition of the meetings and raise a glass or two, and a motion and a second to honor Jim in the 100 year club.
Jim was a great competitor....One year at ACS he was upset with the judging and vowed that he would not enter any cheeses in the competition the following year. A few weeks before the deadline, I called him to see if he was still firm on not entering. When he continued to say he was not entering, I said "Good! Jim, this may just be the year Carr Valley beats California!" He changed his mind and entered more and won more than ever before, and I was glad he did.
Jim and Kris and Lisa and I, got to spend 4 days together at the World Cheese Contest 2009 in the Canary Islands. We had an amazing time together, Tapas, drinks, walking on the beach, driving through the mountains. At the competition itself, French Marin won 1st place Gold, that evening. We were all thrilled for Jim, it was a great celebration. We never thought those would be our last best days together.
Whenever or wherever, I always sought Jim out. For the cheese industry it is important to note, that he had saved the oldest cheese plant in the country from ruin and made it into a world champion. In my eyes Jim was a champion, a man of honor, confidence, humor and finesse. Last time we spoke, I had called him from ACS in Seattle, we spoke for 10 minutes and I told him we missed him and wished him the best. Max told me he was still running the Cheese factory from home and was dealing with issues even the day before he passed.
It is my hope that I will someday live up to the Jim Boyce standard. A real champion.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I have been asked this for many years and I always say no, because I think that it is a violation of my cheese ethics to freeze cheese.
So I finally tried it with several of our brie and camembert cheeses. I kept the cheeses in the freezer for two weeks. To my surprise, and frankly, my dismay they were all perfectly ripe when I defrosted them.
As I just noted, I was terribly disappointed when I defrosted them on Tuesday, two weeks after freezing them. They were all as perfect as the day that I froze them. One exception was the Le Petit Bleu; it became a bit grainy but the flavor was fine.
So yes, you can freeze brie and camembert. I checked them again 4 days later after defrosting and they tasted fine. Please don't ask me to see what happens if you freeze them twice!
And even though our experiment was a success, I still recommend enjoying our cheeses when they are ripe which occurs around 28 days prior to the "Best Buy" date. My favorite time is between 21 to 15 days prior to the "Best Buy" Date.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
It's that time of year when minds turn to seduction via food. The question is, which old standby do you turn to, cheese or chocolate?
Just to be safe, I humbly suggest both.
This is how I made a chocolate brie en croute (the one pictured, in fact). I almost never follow recipes, so it feels a bit odd to write one. Feel free to deviate from it at will. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out... the food, that is. I'm not responsible for anything that happens afterward.
That's all you.
Chocolate Brie En Croute
1 sheet puff pastry
1 baby brie wheel
1.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)
2 Tablespoons red wine (I used a Merlot, because that's what I had)
1 Tablespoon water
Some crushed hazelnuts, unless your grocery store is out of them like mine was.
Thaw your puff pastry, if it is frozen. This will take most of an hour. I love frozen sheets of puff pastry. They're expensive, but incredibly versatile.
Preheat your oven to 400º F.
Reduce your wine by about half in a small saucepan over a low heat. It should thicken up nicely.
Lay your puff pastry sheet flat.
Slice the top off of your wheel of brie and put it (rind side down) in the center of the puff pastry sheet. Most baked brie recipes of this sort just put things on top of the brie. We're going to put stuff inside.
Sprinkle your chocolate and, if you have them, your nuts on top of the piece of brie that you just put in the middle of the pastry sheet. Drizzle the chocolate with the wine. In case you were wondering why the wine is in there, it is an attempt to balance the flavors a bit. I wanted to add a wee bit of tanginess.
Put the brie wheel back together, and wrap the puff pastry around it. You may want to trim some of the pastry off. That's fine. You can use it for something else.
Turn the brie en croute over so that the pretty side is up. Put it on something oven safe. I just use a ceramic plate.
Now make an egg wash by taking the egg and mixing it with the water. Brush this on top of the pastry.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Serve with warmed bread.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Another exciting and delicious Wine & Wishes has come and gone. This was our fifth year supporting the Make A Wish Foundation and this time we were able to taste some of the awesome wines and delicious food from the Bay Areas' most celebrated chefs. The chefs were there at their stations serving their favorite hors d’ oeuvres. Imagine meeting the chefs in their own kitchen preparing food directly in front of you. Time for autographs!
The wine was flowing including favorites: Patz and Hall and their gorgeous Pinots, Gunlach Bundschu, ZD Wines, Heitz Wine Cellars – awesome Cab as well as Grgich Hills Chardonnay, Far Niente and Duckhorn.
It was a wonderful party with delightful and interesting guests from San Francisco and all around the bay. Don’t miss it next year! It is a grand event for a very, very deserving cause.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Feeling like Fondue? here is a nice recipe for Camembert with Pancetta.
1 clove garlic, minced
2½ t cornstarch
1 oz sliced pancetta
1 c brut champagne
16 ozs. Rouge et Noir
Camembert cheese trimmed of rind and cubed
Pinch white pepper
Cook pancetta in non-stick pan until crispy.
Drain well on paper towels and cool.
Make slurry with kirsch and cornstarch.
In a medium saucepan, add garlic and champagne. Bring to simmer then reduce to low. Mince cooked and cooled pancetta and add with cheese to saucepan. Add slurry and pepper. Stir until cheese is completely melted. Pour into a 2-cup fondue pot over heat and serve with cubed French bread. Or, try raw or roasted vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper slices, celery sticks, roasted potato wedges, roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips or roasted mushrooms.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday Snack and Sunday Serenade
This is by far the best sandwiches you will ever have the pleasure of eating! Thanks to Dave and Sarah for introducing us to it.
Such an easy thing to make, and simple ingredients! I'm sure it will become one of your favorites as well. Fry up a mess of wonderful applewood smoked bacon. Be generous! You can never have TOO MUCH. Now, divide and slice open a nice baguette. Brush with a light layer of unsalted butter or olive oil. Toast in the broiler or on the grill, just slightly. Next, you'll need a good wedge of brie. Let it soften a bit and slice it in rather thick portions. Then, peel and slice thin a Granny Smith apple. Spread the brie slices on the toasted bread and add the bacon and apple slices. Add a smear of your favorite apricot preserves.
Adapted (slightly) from Serious Eats
Sliced rustic white Bread
Preheat your broiler. Butter one side of your bread and toast lightly under broiler, flip and butter and toast on the other side. Remove from broiler and top with sliced brie and brown sugar. Return to broiler until sugar is carmelized. Serve immediately.
Friday, January 21, 2011
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large russet potatoes
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons canola oil
8 slices bacon
8 thick slices firm white bread
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces brie cheese, sliced
pure maple syrup, optional
From the Grilled Cheese Academy
The key to this recipe is using fresh Camembert; older cheese will be too strong.
•1 pound plump asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off
•2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
•Fleur de sel (or sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper
•6 ounces camembert cheese
•2 tablespoons butter
•4 large 3/4-inch-thick slices light-textured bread such as challah
Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil until they are bright green and just tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, pat dry, and toss with the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; set aside. Adjust oven rack so that it is 6 inches below the broiler element. Use a sharp knife to cut the cheese (rind and all) into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the bread slices and season them with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown on one side. Reduce heat to medium, and fry the bread on the second side, moving it around in the pan to soak up the remaining butter, and cook until golden brown, 1 minute more. Divide the asparagus among the 4 bread slices, followed by the sliced cheese. Place under broiler and cook until the cheese has melted and the edges of the bread are crisp and browned, about 2 minutes.
Makes 2 servings
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Serving size 4
½ T minced garlic
½ T butter
½ T flour
1 C Heavy Cream
8 oz. Le Petit Bleu – chopped into cubes
Pinch white pepper
In a small saucepan add butter and garlic.
Sauté two minutes until soft.
Add flour and stir to make roux.
Add cream all at once and heat until thick and bubbly.
Add all of the cheese and stir until melted. Add pinch of pepper.
Place in a small fondue pot
(approximately 2 cups) over candle heat.
Serve with slice baguette or other breads.