Cheese Twins Blog
I love cream sauce, just can eat very much of it because it's so rich. Not the case with this creamy pesto pasta which has only a handful of ingredients and is easy and quick to make. The recipe below is a master recipe, would be great with other pastas, so don't feel limited to spaghetti! TIP: Add zip with chili flakes or savory elements with sauteed mushrooms or bacon (lardon).
Bread & Cheese
*No radish greens? Substitute mix of basil and arugula
- Remove butter from fridge, allow to soften. Butter both sides of each slice of bread, set aside.
- Toast pine nuts in a pan over medium heat just until fragrant, set aside.
- Blend radish greens, basil, garlic, and half of toasted pine nuts in food processor until finely minced. Slowly add olive oil and process until smooth and creamy. Add grated Estero Gold and process for 1-2 seconds to incorporate. Set aside.
- Grill one side of each slice of bread. Flip.
- On grilled face of bread slice, spread pesto and add layer of Toma. Top with crescenza and toasted pine nuts. Add grated Toma to 2nd slice, melt and close.
- Remove from heat to wood cutting board. Slice diagonal and serve.
Salad: Shave fennel and apple with a mandolin. Toss salad ingredients and top with Estero Gold shaved with a potato peeler for large, elegant shavings. Plate with grilled cheese.
mac n' cheese
Pasta & Fillings/Toppings
- Cut thick-cut bacon into lardon, rub with brown sugar and a few pinches of curry powder. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Roast lardon at 350 until brown and caramelized, approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Set aside.
Pasta ShellsChop cauliflower into florets. Boil with pasta shells until pasta is al dente. Pull pasta from heat and drain. Toss with butter to prevent sticking.
- Grate cheese for mornay sauce and final garnish. Set aside.
- Warm milk in medium-sized pot, stirring occasionally
- Place butter in a separate pot and melt. Whisk in flour until homogenous. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in milk, little by little, until smooth and creamy.
- Whisk in nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
- Add grated San Geronimo cheese and whisk until completely incorporated. Set aside.
Mac & Cheese
- Mix millionaire’s lardon, cauliflower, pasta and mornay sauce. Top with grated WM Cofield cheddar.
- Melt remaining 2 TBS of butter and mix with bread crumbs (Panko works great too). Add on top of Mac n' Cheese.
- Bake at 350 deg F until golden brown and bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Step 1: Prepare the Phyllo Dough
Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
Roll out on parchment paper in a baking sheet. Using a pairing knife, create the puff edges of the tarte by scoring a rectangle in the phyllo dough 1-2" from the perimeter. Score the new tarte perimeter to create an edge pattern (short diagonal cuts look great).
To prevent the tarte interior from puffing during baking, use a fork to poke holes throughout the interior (unlike the scoring, you will poke all the way through the dough).
Step 2: Add the toppings
Add Chevoo (Australian-style marinated goat cheese), roasted Kabocha squash and blanched greens. Drizzle super-flavorful marinated olive oil from the Chevoo and season tarte with salt, pepper and thyme.
Now you're ready to throw it in the oven! If not baking immediately, cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge.
Step 3: Bake & Prepare Yogurt sauce
While baking, prepare the yogurt sauce by filling a ramiken with yogurt, add lime and salt to taste. Simple. Add fresh dill to give an extra bump of flavor (idea: if you like dill, you can also substitute the Chevoo used in this recipe with Chevoo's goat cheese marinated in California Dill Pollen & Garlic, yum).
Remove from oven and serve immediately.
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suggested wine pairing
- Pairs excellently with a creamy, full-bodied Meiomi Chardonnay.
8 Russet Potatoes
6 sprigs, Garlic
1 cup, Red wine
2 cups Whole milk
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
Salt & pepper
Finely grated Nutmeg
Other Delicious Stuff
2 cups Cheddar cheese
2 cup Comté
½ cup Parsley
½ cup Green onions
1 cup Bread crumbs
Spatula and whisk
- Peel potatoes and place in bowl of water to prevent discoloration. Strain and boil for 20-30 minutes (until cooked through). Slice into coins.
- While potatoes are boiling, peel onions and slice in half. Slice into thin half rings.
- Sauteé onions in olive oil until translucent. Add chopped garlic and lightly sauteé. Deglaze with red wine. Pull from heat and let cool.
- Heat milk in a medium-sized pot on medium heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon to prevent burning on bottom of pot.
- Warm butter on a low-medium heat. When melted, stir in flour until fully integrated.
- Add a small amount of milk to butter-flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated into mixture. Incorporate more milk using the same technique, until all of the milk has been added.
- Cook béchamel down until thick and creamy, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and pull from heat.
- Grate cheddar and Parmigiano and chop green onions and parsley.
- Layer ingredients twice in casserole starting with the "Potato Mix", followed by the "Other delicious stuff" (Comté for the base layer) and then Béchamel. Use spatula to slather béchamel over each layer. Repeat with Cheddar cheese and top with breadcrumbs.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes. Pull and cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.
Our favorite stop is DTLA Cheese and Kitchen. Listed as one of “7 super LA cheese shops” by the LA Times, the cheese shop is run by the extraordinary Clarke sisters, Lydia and Marnie (who are also 3rd generation dairy purveyors), and Chef Reed Herrick.
Top 3 reasons we love this cheese shop:
- You can taste the cheese before you buy it
- Highly skilled, experienced cheesemongers available for quick consultation
- Unusual and diverse cheese selection, even for the professional!
The cheese shop has a traditional layout, with a cool, funky spirit. Stop by for a meal or a wedge of cheese!
- Score the cheese with a pairing knife and slice off the top with a wire, then put the top back on. I do this for two reasons: (a) When the brie is baking, you can easily check when it is ready by peeling back the top or by simply noticing the oozing cheese from the corner; and (b) You can add chopped nuts (Pistachios or hazelnuts, for example) for some crunch or some jam or honey for sweetness (Personally, I just like the cheese plain).
- Bake the cheese in a ramekin for 10-15 minutes. I like putting tin foil underneath just in case the cheese leaks overboard.
- Pull out of the oven and on a hot plate for serving. Surround with crackers and enjoy!
- Soft and semi-soft, brittle cheeses (e.g. goat cheese, feta, and blue cheese),
- Soft, creamy cheeses (e.g. Brie-style cheeses, Ripened goat cheeses)
- Soft, stinky cheeses (e.g. Washed-rind cheeses like Époisses and Munster)
- This instrument is fast and furious. A knife blade sticks to soft creamy, sticky, or brittle cheeses, and can tear them apart. The wire is razor sharp and has zero drag. Perfect for cutting small-format cheeses across their diameter into pizza slices (e.g. goat cheese or camembert) or large cheeses into generous loaves that can be further cut down into bars (e.g. blue cheese).
- Too Crumbly - If a cheese crumbles at the first touch of the wire, serve crumbled in a dish, on a cracker or slice of bread. Another alternative is to slice thicker pieces, but that can oftentimes be too much cheese for one individual.
- Too Creamy - If the cheese is ripe to the point of being runny, use the wire to slice off the very top of the rind and serve with a butter knife and plate with crackers or bread on the side for guests to lather themselves.
- Too Soft - For very soft cheese (e.g. ripe camembert or taleggio), each slice will stick to the cheese as soon as the wire passes through it. This makes it very important to slice and plate immediately.
- Too Hard - If you have to lean in for the cut, you will break the wire. Only use the wire for soft cheese!
- Formaticum, “Cheese Wire” (6”) - $32
Short, Long Knife
- Semi-soft, washed or mold-ripened cheese (e.g. Fresh Brie, Taleggio, Wensleydale)
- Sometimes the wire is just not enough muscle to cut cleanly through a block or wheel of cheese. The short blade, like the wire, has very little surface area to stick to the cheese, but provides the support and strength needed to muscle through the slightly firmer cheese. Perfect for a Dry Crottin, Shropshire blue, Stilton, Wensleydale, and young Pecorino. I find this type of knife to be a fantastic alternative to a pairing knife when cutting up cheddar for snacks or a party.
- Laziness - The big problem I see with the short blade is that people may grow so fond of it that they may feel inclined to use it everywhere. This should not be used for hard cheeses or for all soft, brittle cheese, especially for the runny ones, as the paste will stick! If you find yourself leaning into the cut, find a bigger knife!
- Boska, “Brie Knife” - $15.99. A pairing knife will also do, but tends to be too short in length.
- Hard, dry cheeses
- Aged cheeses need weight and strength to make a clean, effortless cut. The height of the blade provides support and helps ensure a uniform cut across the paste.
- Stickiness - If the cheese is too moist, the cheese may stick to the blade and tear to pieces. If you make a cut and notice that the cheese is sticking tightly to the blade, consider using a thinner knife (e.g. like a boning or paring knife).
- Any large kitchen knife will do, so you probably have one already.
A few hours later, we hooked up with our friend, Chef Viet Pham, who had fired up his Kudu Grill to roast some meat, vegetables, and baguette to make the ultimate wild mushroom and Quicke’s Cheddar sandwich. Check out our video below for the whole story in <1 minute!
Michael & Charlie Kalish are international cheese experts and winners of Season 7 of Food Network's Great Food Truck Race.