Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

20131030-210459.jpg

We don’t get a huge selection of autumn fruits here in NC. Once grape season is over, we have apples and that’s mostly it until strawberries make their appearance in April. Not that I don’t like apples, but it’s nice to have something different. So I was very happy when Asian pears showed up on our Produce Box menu for this week! I had never eaten Asian pears, which are a bit crisper than Bosc pears and not as cloyingly sweet. These pears though, they have a visual marketing problem. Asian pears look like brown apples, so even if I had seen them at the market, I probably wouldn’t have purchased them. And that is too bad because they are delicious, refreshing and healthy.

We used one of our awesome pears to make this fresh, fall salad of organic, local lettuce, kale, dried organic cranberries, and goat cheese. It was delicious, and a nice break from all the squash we’ve been eating!

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad (makes two servings)

  • 1/2 head of organic, bibb lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of organic, red kale, washed, trimmed of stems and chopped
  • 1 organic pear, washed, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 2 organic radishes, trimmed and sliced very thin
  • 1/2 cup dried, organic cranberries
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup candied pecan halves (you could also use toasted pecans)
  • Dressing of your choice
  1. Toss together the lettuce and kale and divide among two serving plates.
  2. Top each plate of greens with equal amounts of pear, cucumber, radish and cranberries.
  3. Divide the goat cheese and sprinkle over the plates.
  4. Top each plate with pecans and serve immediately with dressing on the side.

 

Advertisements

Hillsborough Cheese Company

20120131-102938.jpg

My child is in love. With a cheese.

Really, it could be worse, right? This sweet infatuation began at the Western Wake Farmer’s Market, where we visited the booth of artisanal cheese makers The Hillsborough Cheese Company (hillsboroughcheese.wordpress.com). We had been looking for a local cheese source, and were thrilled to find the cheese booth, complete with tasting opportunities. We sampled a few and ended up purchasing some Eno Sharp for grilled cheese and some fresh mozzarella for pizza.

Then, we tried the Bloomin’ Sweet Ash, an aged goat cheese that gets its ashy exterior from the application of a food grade vegetable ash. Really! They describe the cheese this way: ‘The result is a creamy, gooey layer surrounding a delicious, chevre-like spreadable center that alternates between notes of sweetness and bitterness.” My child believes this is the best cheese. Ever. I heard about the virtues and superior quality of this cheese all the way home. Apparently, I am going to be adding this to my list next week.

Hillsborough Cheese Company offers a nice range of cow and goat milk cheeses made with locally produced milk. Their cow milk comes from Maple View Farm in Orange County, which sets the standard in our area for high quality, no growth hormone milk from pasture raised cows. Their goat milk comes from similar high quality goat dairies in the area. Cheesemaker Cindy West focuses on crafting European style cheeses and it appears that they have some standard offerings as well as some seasonal varieties that take advantage of available local ingredients.

So how was the cheese? We tried the Eno Sharp in our grilled cheese last night and all of us agreed it was amazing. It had perfect melting qualities and a wonderful milky taste that was not overly sharp, but had enough flavor that we could really taste the cheese. Hard to describe (I’m not a cheese expert by any means). We would definitely do this again.

The mozzarella is a fresh, hand stretched mozzarella that we used on our homemade pizzas. It was so much more flavorful than store-bought pizza cheese that I don’t think we’ll ever go back to shredded cheese in a bag. A $4.00 round of cheese made enough grated cheese for two pizzas, so that’s $2.00 a pizza–definitely within our budget.

Hillsborough Cheese Company cheese is available at some farmer’s markets in the area–check their website for specific information. As for me, I’ll be heading out Saturday to purchase some Bloomin’ Sweet Ash for my bloomin’ sweetie.

Week 20 Budget and Menu

English: cow

I am over budget this week by $7.00 and it is all the cow’s fault.

Oh, cheese, you destroy my willpower every time! While at the Downtown Raleigh Farmer’s Market, I visited the new booth of The Cultured Cow Creamery, a sustainable dairy and cheese making venture from Durham, NC. I just went in for a sample. Really. Just a teensy weensy sample of their raw cheddar.

Have you ever had raw (unpasteurized) cheese? We stuffed our faces with it sampled it in Paris, and it is far and away better than any other cheese I’ve tasted (or maybe it was just Paris?). My mom was even tempted to sneak some back in her luggage (attention all TSA agents–she didn’t). The Cultured Cow cheddar was so creamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious that I had to buy some. Had to, I tell you. Who wants a week filled with cheese regret? Not me, that’s who. So that is why I am $7.00 over budget this week. It’s all the cow’s fault 🙂

Budget [$107.72]

  • Produce Box (all organic: lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, kale, chard, onions, asparagus): $29.50
  • Trader Joes (organic chicken, organic limes, avocado, whole wheat English muffin, frozen fruit, organic soy milk, yogurt): $38.72
  • Hilltop Farms (organic strawberries, organic radish): $7.00
  • The Cultured Cow Creamery (raw cheddar cheese): $7.00
  • La Farm Bakery (whole grain bread): $5.50
  • Homestead Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • Locals Seafood (flounder): $15.00

Menu

  • Wednesday–Chili lime chicken salad with grated raw cheddar and avocado dressing
  • Thursday–Crazy Good sandwiches (prosciutto, egg, local raw cheddar, lettuce, tomato, avocado on whole grain bread), kale chips
  • Friday–out
  • Saturday–Flounder, asparagus, Swiss chard
  • Sunday–Roast whole chicken, broccoli, sweet potato
  • Monday–Chicken quesadillas, red quinoa
  • Tuesday–Homemade egg salad sandwiches, homemade pickles

Grilled Cheese and Sticky Fig Jam

20130510-142844.jpg

Who doesn’t like a gooey grilled cheese sandwich? These late winter days are teasing us with warmer daytime temperatures, but reminding us it’s still winter at night. Perfect weather for grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade tomato soup! We still have some of our sticky fig jam in the pantry, so I have taken to experimenting a bit. This combination of melty sharp cheddar and sweet figs was really good.

I’m not going to post a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches–everyone has their own special technique 🙂 I added about 2 tbsp. sticky fig jam (you can use fig preserves) to the sandwich before cooking. The heat made the jam and cheese melty and delicious! Try it!

%d bloggers like this: