honey

Cheese

New England Summer Cheese Plate

New England Summer Cheese Plate | www.hungryinlove.com
New England Summer Cheese Plate | www.hungryinlove.com

Cheese and rules do not pair well together. Cheese is cheerful; rules are a drag. That's why the suggestions below are not meant to be misconstrued as rules. There are countless ways to build a bliss-inducing cheese plate. These are some of my favorite tactics of late. Take them or leave them but I do hope you're inspired to replace an upcoming meal with a cheese spread of your own creation.

1. Go Topless - Eating cheese sideways in little wedges is the practical and obvious route but it's not the only way! Find a soft-ripened cheese amenable to serving with a spoon. Simply wriggle a knife underneath the top rind to shave it off revealing an inviting bath of gooey goodness. Pictured here is one of my all-time favorites, Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm. Other cheeses well suited to this treatment are Winnimere, also from Jasper Hill, and Rush Creek Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin.

2. Crackers Get Too Much Play - Crackers are great and all but they need not tag along each and every time the cheese comes out. In fact sometimes I find them downright disruptive. These days I'm into letting firmer cheeses fly solo and enjoying softer cheeses (see above) with bread. Bonus: axe the crackers and you can tell your gluten-free friends you've designed a cheese plate just for them.

3. Pick A Theme - Beyond aiming for a mix of textures, it can be a fun challenge to self-impose some parameters. Go for only cheeses from a one country or region, cheeses of a certain age, a milk trio (cow, goat, sheep) or a milk sweep (cow, cow, cow). It'll make the cheese buying experience less daunting and give your cheese plate a little story to tell. Here I decided to highlight three cheeses from New England because they're pretty much crushing it right now

Pictured above, from left to right:

Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm (Greensboro, Vermont) - This is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese made in the style of Vacherin Mont d'Or (that is, bark-wrapped gooey spoon cheese).

Ascutney Mountain from Cobb Hill Cheese (Hartland, Vermont) - This is an alpine style, Jersey cow, raw milk cheese. Fun fact: this cheese is made on a real live commune!

Ellie's Cloudy Down from Ruggles Hill Creamery (Hardwick, Massachusetts) - Is 'Cloudy Down' not the prettiest name for a cheese you ever did hear? I sure think it is. This cheese comes from hand-milked, herb-munching, NPR-listening goats. Truth.

Shishito Peppers | www.hungryinlove.com
Cheese Plate Cherries + Figs | www.hungryinlove.com
New England Summer Cheese Plate | www.hungryinlove.com
New England Summer Cheese Plate | www.hungryinlove.com
New England Summer Cheese Plate | www.hungryinlove.com
New England Summer Cheese Plate | www.hungryinlove.com

Vegetables

Swiss Chard with Pomegranate + Orange Yogurt

Swiss Chard with Orange Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com
Swiss Chard | www.hungryinlove.com
Pomegranate | www.hungryinlove.com
Orange Zest | www.hungryinlove.com
Orange Honey Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com

My oh my, 2014, you've outdone yourself! My heart grew three sizes this year. In approximate order of wonderfulness, highlights include:

  • Married the love of my life beneath raindrops in the place where we met and grew up
  • Welcomed a perfect child, my niece Tucker, into the world + fulfilled lifelong dream of becoming an Auntie Em
  • Stood beside three dear friends as they tied the knot
  • Serial binged
  • Started this here blog

2015 is feeling mighty intimidated right about now.

Swiss Chard with Pomegranate and Orange Honey Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com

Despite my best attempts to assign some symbolic value to this swiss chard, there's really nothing about it that's representative of my year. Given the list above though, it would be a fool's errand if I tried. It is scientifically impossible to make a dish as delicious as my year has been. Instead I'll say this recipe is a nod to 2011, the year Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty came out and I learned how to bedazzle vegetables with pomegranate and yogurt.

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Pomegranate + Orange Yogurt

Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 2 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup white wine (water or stock may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/3 cup full fat, thick Greek yogurt (if you live in the Boston area I implore you to track down yogurt from Sophia's)
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • S+P

Prep

  • Remove stems from chard
  • Chop chard stems into 1-2 inch pieces, set aside
  • Chop chard leaves into thin ribbons
  • Combine yogurt, orange zest, and honey; set aside
  • Heat 1 Tbs. butter in large saute pan over medium heat; add chard stems
  • Season with S+P; saute chard stems for ~3 minutes; add white wine
  • Continue to cook for 3-5 more minutes until wine has evaporated and stems are tender
  • Add remaining tablespoon of butter and chard leaves
  • Saute for 3-5 minutes until leaves are wilted and tender
  • Transfer chard to serving dish and top with pomegranate and healthy dollop of yogurt (Leftover pomegranate and yogurt? Breakfast is served.)