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Cooking with Cheese...The Perfect Melt


Happy Leap Day! And a sunny one at that! Or at least it was when I started this.😒 I've just returned from an absolutely amazing and refreshing trip to Mexico. The weather was beautiful, the sand was warm and the tacos were plentiful. I even go to eat my fill of Mexican cheese in the form of Queso Fresco and Queso Oaxaca.


It was a tough transition back to the grey skies of winter, and I'm really looking forward to Spring. In our little neck of the woods we usually judge the arrival of Spring based on when the frogs start croaking, which is typically around March 15th. But they are 3 WEEKS EARLY! Does that mean an early Spring??? I hope so. I'm itching to get my fingers in the dirt in the garden and eat some Spring cheese.


The one, maybe, positive thing that I can say about the dreariness of the weather is that it keeps me inside, allowing me more time to play in the kitchen. My mom is a great cook and she raised me to enjoy food and to experiment. I am one of those kitchen tornado types you read about. The ones that use every pot and pan in the kitchen, making overly complicated dishes. The one that the dish-doers secretly hate. That's me. I am a mess-maker, but in my defence it's because I'm always wanting to try something new. And due to a big round of it in my freezer from an over-order last year, this past week has been all about cooking with Saint-Nectaire cheese.


There are so many ways we incorporate cheese into our cooking. From the simple quesadilla, the staple of my always hungry 6'2", 15 year-old son, to the Chicken Cordon Bleu. (I remember this as the fanciest meal I could think of when I was young...do people even eat this anymore??). Each cheese brings something different to a dish, so this is your permission to cook with even the fanciest cheese, because it will elevate your dish to a whole new level. If you read the October 2023 post, which got all sciencey about why cheese melts, you'll remember that fat, water content and protein make up the cheese, and it's the balance of these that impact that way it behaves when it is warmed. Some cheese is better than others at melting, but go ahead and experiment! You may not always end up with the texture that you wanted, but that's how you learn :)


I've never cooked with Saint-Nectaire cheese before, but I found this very simple recipe for St. Nectaire Pie which uses cheese, potatoes, pastry and crème fraiche. Well, I didn't have any pastry or crème fraiche, but I did have a ton of eggs. So the Saint-Nectaire Frittata was born.


If you love frittata, love cheese and have an abundance of eggs, I recommend this. I was worried that the cheese would be a bit too strong for my non-stinky cheese eating teen boys, but it stayed fairly mild. You could sneak this cheese into all sorts of recipes.


If you want to try your hand at this...I have Saint-Nectaire in stock (available to order online), and I've added my super, unprecise recipe below (did I mention I'm also an eye-baller in the kitchen??). I wish I had gotten a better picture, so that you could really see the melt on this. You know what they say...a picture is worth a thousand words. And since my picture isn't very good, you get words instead...that's why this is called a blog and not a vlog.


Saint-Nectaire Frittata

Ingredients

  • Enough potatoes to cover the bottom and sides of your pan. I used Red Pontiac potatoes but another waxy variety would work.

  • 1 medium onion

  • Several big "glugs" of olive oil

  • 8-12 eggs (depending on the size of your pan...I had to whip up a few more eggs to add before popping it in the oven)

  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup of milk ( I used 2% milk, but you could use cream, plant milk etc)

  • 200-300 grams of Saint-Nectaire cheese (with or without rind)

  • Parsley (optional)

Instructions


If a pie is more up your alley, definitely give the Saint-Nectaire pie a try. An easy substitute for the pastry is puff pastry (store bought, not home-made...I can't think of anything less easy than home-made puff pastry). And if you are familiar with Mimi Thorisson, she does a delicious potato and Comté pie, which you can substitute with, you guessed it, Saint-Nectaire.








This was dinner the other night, courtesy of my friend, and soon to be partner-in-cheese (you'll hear more about her as our big plans get solidified over the coming months). She has actually had the pleasure of attending one of Mimi's cooking workshops in France. Le sigh.... Anyway. It was delicious! She cubed the Saint-Nectaire and mixed it in with the potatoes. The only recommendation I can make is to parboil your potatoes so they cook quicker.


So there you go...one cheese, two ways!


And if this is all too much for a Thursday evening dinner, Saint-Nectaire grilled cheese sandwich would be to die for!



Whats New!


Oyama Sausage

We are slowly adding to our gourmet food offerings via our online shop. If you have spent time on Granville Island in Vancouver, you might be familiar with Oyama Sausage. We will be adding a small selection of Saucisson Sec to our online shop with the first shipment arriving mid-March.

Charcuterie | Laliberté Cheese Co (lalibertecheese.com)

  • Saucisson Sec Traditional (red wine & peppercorn)

  • Saucisson Sec des Ardennes (Smoked,pepper,garlic)

  • Finocchionna Salametti (Italian Fennel)

  • Fuet Basque (Medium Spicy)

There will be limited available. If you'd like to special order a product that isn't yet listed on our website, please reach out, we will arrange to bring it in. (Oyama has their full list of sausages on their website, so you can see all of the available products there).

Panettone on Sale!

Cheese Cakes

If you frequent the Compass General Store and Kitchen in K'omoks and have some cheese favourites that you would like to see there, let me know what your favourites are and I can keep it stocked!


With the change in our in-person deli situation, we aren't bringing in as wide of a selection of cheese as you've come to expect from us. If you have a special request and your timing is good, we can usually get some extra cheese thrown onto our order last minute. Use the Back-in-stock request on our website and we will try to add it to our next order.

Our next cheese order is arriving in a couple of weeks.


We know that for many of you buying cheese online isn't really your jam. Like you, I like to look at cheese in a deli fridge and have it cut to order. Folks, that's our goal! We are working hard towards that reality and we will keep you posted as things develop. We hope you will stick with us as we transition because we have some great things in the works!


Our February cheese boxes are getting delivered today, and our next monthly box will go out around March 21st. But we are always open to custom orders.



Keep it Cheesy!

 

We/ I respectfully acknowledge that the land we gather on is on the Unceded Traditional Territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, the traditional keepers of this land.





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