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Castelmagno

Last week, Ihsan shared with us a few memories from one of his early cheese sourcing trips – a 1993 trip to the Castelmagno region of Italy. In that post, he described one of his revelatory food experiences: Gnocchi al Castelmagno. Since that trip, he has been working on recreating the dish at home. Here is the current permutation of that recipe, one he says gets pretty close to that amazing, first taste! (more…)

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Belgian Waffle Ingredients

Growing up, my favorite waffles were, of course, Eggos. Flavorless, with a fun catch-phrase, they were the perfect vehicle for syrup and butter. It’s no wonder that I always preferred pancakes at renowned breakfast restaurants, like IHOP and Denny’s. In college, our cafeteria was equipped with a flip-waffle iron and a bowl of batter. You could make waffles at any time of day. But, after eyeing the thin batter and tasting the outcome, it was clear that these were merely pancakes posing as waffles.

Alyssa making Belgian or Liège Waffles.Then, I moved to Massachusetts, where I learned a lot about food (Aunt Jemima’s isn’t real maple syrup!?). I worked at a creperie as a barista who didn’t drink coffee. The crepes were filled with strange, exotic ingredients I had never heard of, like arugula and Brie. I also learned that the owner actually specialized in a variety of waffle called “Liège waffles” (also sometimes known as Belgian waffles). I had no interest in trying one – I knew what waffles were all about. But an extremely enthusiastic coworker convinced me to give it a go. She took the deep-pocketed rectangle, toasted it, got out the whipped cream and strawberries and impatiently watched as I took my first bite. And then my taste-buds exploded (with flavor, not literally exploded). Sweet, dense, yeasted, chewy, filled with sweet crunchy pockets of sugar that also caramelized on the surface of the waffle – why ruin this with whipped cream and strawberries? Eggos were no competition – in fact, I wasn’t even sure if they were really waffles at this point – these were the best waffles I had ever had!

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Moro Blood Oranges

Last Wednesday morning, as we received our weekly delivery of California produce, the wind was picking up and the clouds were grey and churning – a sure sign of snow on the way. As we hurriedly brought in the fresh greens, jewel-like lemons and first-of-the-season strawberries, the juxtaposition between the impending New England storm and spring produce from California was increasingly apparent. Unpacking a box of Moro blood oranges from Rancho del Sol, I was immediately hit with a rich, balsamic fragrance that was only matched in richness by the oranges’ bright ruby appearance. Having yet to preserve any of this season’s citrus fruit, I immediately decided to snap up a pound to juice and candy. (more…)

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Tyler

Many of you may be familiar with Tyler as part of the two-man team behind our BBQ grill this past summer. Some of you may also know him as an instructor in our classroom where he teaches classes such as “Cheese 101″ or “Brave the Caves.” Not many though, will be familiar with his behind-the-scenes role as Cave Manager. On a weekly basis, Tyler maintains the cheeses in our caves – flipping them, rubbing them down to get rid of excess mold or cheese mites and patching cracks as needed (among many other tasks). This is no mean feat when you are handling 80-100lb. wheels of Comté, Gouda, Gruyère, cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano! (more…)

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Ten Apple Varieties

Inter-departmental cooperation? We’ve got that in spades! Two Sundays ago, this manifested itself in a team effort between the bakery and the produce departments. Emily, produce buyer and home chef extraordinaire, brought the apples: 10 different kinds, most of them heirloom varieties. I represented for the bakery and turned each variety into an individual mini-crisp and sliced extras for a “raw” tasting. Our goal? To find out which were the best baking and which were the best eating apples. (more…)

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A Bite of Mil Fromages Mac and Cheese

Every Sunday in our Cambridge shop, the kitchen staff get the day off and a cheesemonger helps to make our “Sunday Sandwiches” – small Iggy’s rolls with a varying assortment of toppings. We always  do a vegetarian option or two and then we regularly make some ham and Brie sarnies, sometimes dubbed the “Huron Classic” and at other times, “The Frenchman.” If time allows, that cheesemonger will also whip up an additional dish for the sandwich window. One such Sunday, I had enough time to make a casserole dish of mac ‘n’ cheese. Availing of our “cheese bits” bin, I think I used 35+ cheeses in the end. So, it was only a slight exaggeration when the dish was dubbed “Mil Fromages.” (more…)

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Fresh Guacamole

At this time of year, we’re enjoying a lot of fresh, local produce – from corn, to peaches, to tomatoes. And, speaking of the latter, what better time than the dog days of summer to whip up some fresh guacamole? It pairs well with beer, doesn’t involve any slaving away over the stove and is a great pre-BBQ snack! (more…)

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