peppers

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

Soups

Poblano Soup with Shredded Chicken + Lime

Poblano Soup with Shredded Chicken + Lime | www.hungryinlove.com
Potluck at Midnight Farm Cookbook | www.hungryinlove.com
Green Vegetables | www.hungryinlove.com

After college I did a summer internship at Cape Cod Life magazine. It was a pretty sweet gig. I got to zip around the Cape interviewing B&B proprietors, give my two cents on the annual 'best of' issue, and even sit in my own little office with a window. 

But the best perk of all were the cookbooks. My stint coincided with the magazine moving to new offices across town. Like any move, there was years worth of clutter to contend with. Except this wasn't you're ordinary junk. The magazine received a steady stream of books from authors and publishers all clamoring for a few favorable words in print. These hopefuls accumulated in little stacks all around the office. Everywhere you turned, books, books, books. When moving week rolled around we were green-lighted to 'take what you like'. That day just about made up for the internship being unpaid. Among the bounty I took home was a cookbook called Potluck at Midnight Farm. The recipes are nice but the real draw is that it's a book about fabulous parties in even more fabulous settings on Martha's Vineyard. Farms, beaches, bluffs! The author is friends with Carly Simon so as an added bonus there are pictures of Carly being gorgeous scattered throughout. It's almost like you're friends with her too!

This soup is not in that cookbook, but its inspiration is. The 'arroz verde' (pg. 68) is loaded with poblanos, cilantro, scallions, zuchinni and other green goodness. The combo felt appropriate for a summertime soup.

Poblano Soup Prep | www.hungryinlove.com
Roasted + Peeled Poblanos | www.hungryinlove.com
Poblano Soup Prep | www.hungryinlove.com
Poblano Soup with Shredded Chicken + Lime | www.hungryinlove.com

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped (separate white and light green parts from the dark green tops; reserve latter for garnish)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1.5 lbs. poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (see here for instructions on roasting and peeling peppers)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. lime zest
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 Tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. chopped dill
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • Diced avocado + radish (for garnish)

Prep

  • In a large dutch oven or saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat
  • Saute scallions (white and light green parts) and celery for 2 minutes
  • Add zucchini, garlic, and poblanos and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently; season vegetables with 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Add chicken stock, lime zest, chickpeas, and Parmesan rind; bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer; cook uncovered for 30 minutes
  • When ready to serve add chicken, romaine, cilantro, dill, lime juice, and dark green parts of your scallions; cook for 2-3 minutes until chicken is warmed and lettuce has wilted
  • Serve garnished with diced avocado and radishes