• Summer Magazines

     spinach You can’t talk about spinach without talking about Popeye, says Ken Thompson, a farmer with a spread out in Tuckahoe.

    It’s a late weekend afternoon, and Thompson is not working on spinach; he’s weeding strawberries, giving the now flowering patch a fighting chance against the competition. In this case, it’s an enormous variety of grasses, stalks, thistles and ivies. Dandelions ready their parachute seeds on white heads, while another shade of green in the tangle explodes on contact, sending a burst of seeds forcefully into the air.

  • Summer Magazines

    beach plums Beach plums are nothing new.

    For generations, locals have gathered the small, tart plums along roadsides and in the dunes, mostly for jellies and jams.

    The fruit is much smaller than the European or Asian plums, to which it is related, and when ripe can range in size from about a pea, to a Bing cherry, or the size of a grape tomato for a really big one.

  • Summer Magazines

    Willis Allen (he says he just goes by Junior) and his brother Tony search for some early fruit at the Allen Family Farm this week. The blueberries should be going strong soon A visit to Carol Ann Allen’s farm this time of year is a lesson in potential.

    Fields surround her big white farmhouse on a dirt road in Belleplain. Some tomatoes and pumpkins…

  • Summer Magazines

     Liz Anderson, AKA the Egg Lady, with son Daniel and a dozen blue-green eggs. She sells her extra eggs from her front porch on Route 50 in Tuckahoe.  Growing up on her dad’s farm in Upper Township, Liz Anderson knows chickens.

    So it seemed natural that she and her husband, Tom, would keep a few at their place in Tuckahoe for the eggs.

    “We always ate…

  • Summer Magazines

    crabs While the flavor is beloved, and many see a pile of steamed crabs, a nutcracker, a table full of friends and a cooler of beer as a vision of shore heaven, there is no denying they are, at first glace, not exactly the most appetizing creatures.

    An earlier column in this series referred to the red of a ripe strawberry as an invitation. Hardshell blue crabs offer no such invitation. Instead, they seem to make a pretty straightforward case to be left alone.

  • Summer Magazines

     eggplant

    It’s as Italian as parmigiana, as French as ratatouille, and as Arab as baba ghanoush, without even getting started on moussaka, Szechuan-style eggplant and garlic sauce or a few dozen Indian dishes.

    In other words, eggplant tastes like home to a huge swath of humanity, under many names and many, many different kinds of spices.

  • Summer Magazines

    Bill Eisele and his grandson Luke Eisele get ready to remove the honey from frames collected from one of his several bee hives.

    Bill Eisele does not seem particularly worried about stings.

    It’s getting on sunset at his Christmas tree farm in Petersburg, and he’s checking a hive, protected only by a short-sleeved golf shirt and a couple decades’ worth of experience working around bees. No smoking, no mesh hood, no apparent concern.

  • Summer Magazines

    Here’s one for Joe and Joanne Sixpack. 

    You know, regular folks. The common people. Those with taste.

    Let’s face it, beer gets a bad rap. Its reputation has improved in recent years, but for many, the world’s first alcoholic brew, and the most popular, is shorthand for plebian tastes. Think of Homer (Simpson, not the Illiad author) downing Duff Beer while sitting in the kitchen in his underwear.

  • Summer Magazines

     Doc Adams Through this season, in this space, readers have been enticed, cajoled and nagged to eat local food, and lots of it.

    Not this week.

    Instead, we’ll talk about what once was, and why it’s changed. And why one of the favorite fish for many anglers is now more or less off the menu.

  • Summer Magazines

     pizza So it’s unequivocally late summer. Garden ripe tomatoes are piling up in offices, being traded back and forth among neighbors and co-workers like the seashells of the Trobriand Islanders, only with an expiration date.

    Roving bands of teenagers are forcing brown bags of enormous zucchini on unsuspecting passers-by.

    And while we’re nowhere near out of topics, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this space already, exploring the variety of fresh, local food available to anyone who wants to look for it.




Cheese can take your grilling from average to amazing

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The sun is shining and the smell of charcoal is in the air - it's officially grilling season. Eighty-five percent of consumers will take to the tongs for some outdoor grilling this summer, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. So what's on the menu?

The California Milk Advisory Board has developed a host of smokin' tips and juicy recipes that will make you say "cheese please" at your next backyard feast.

Savor the real California Cheese flavor

Did you know certain varieties of cheese can be grilled alone for a tasty treat? For optimal grilling results, avoid having the cheese on direct heat or for the grill to be too hot. Wrap the cheese in edible leaves that have been soaked in liquid (fruit juice, olive oil, wine) or put in a ramekin and place over indirect flames and on the cooler parts of the grill. If the temperature is too hot, the moisture from the cheese will evaporate, leaving you with a grainy texture.

Different textures of Real California Cheeses will respond differently to the dry heat of a grill. For example:

* Soft/fresh and semi-soft/mold-ripened - A category of cheeses that are typically creamy in texture, such as Brie, Ricotta and Mascarpone, are best contained in a ramekin or wrapped up in an edible leaf.

* Semi-hard /cooking, melting - These include cheeses such as Monterey Jack and Cheddar and are best incorporated into a dish, in or on a burger.

* Hard/grating - Generally describes any cheese aged sufficiently to become firm enough to grate, such as Dry Jack and several Hispanic-style cheeses, such as Cotija Anejo and Enchilado, which are dry, crumble easily and are used as a grating cheese in many Mexican dishes. These cheeses should only be used as an ingredient.

* Blue - Best incorporated into a dish, in or on a burger.

Avoid the burn

To check if the cheese is done and warmed through, it should have a pillowy or supple texture depending on the type of cheese. Higher moisture cheeses will be softer and firmer cheeses will have a more supple texture. Cook 10 to 15 minutes depending on cheese variety, size and how hot your grill is.

Perfectly grilled meals using real California Cheese

The grill isn't only for preparing burgers, chicken and fish. Expand your grilling horizons and next time you are firing up the barbecue try:

1. Pizza - Prepare dough and grill both sides until toasted but not entirely cooked - take off of grill and build your own pizza from a buffet of Real California Cheeses and other favorite pizza toppings.

2. Quesadillas - Make quesadillas on the grill using large tortillas and your favorite Real California Queso. Place shredded Queso on half the tortilla and fold. You can add anything from chicken and salsa to grilled vegetables.

3. Grilled cheese sandwich - Prepare your sandwiches on the grill by using hearty artisan bread that has a dense texture - you don't want to lose any cheese into the fire. Brush the exterior of bread with butter and fill with a favorite cheddar (or any other semi-hard cheese) that has been shredded and mixed with chopped green onions and thinly sliced shallots.

With these simple tips, you are ready to impress family and friends with tasty flavors and pairings for any occasion. Just look for the Real California Cheese seal to guarantee you're getting products made with 100 percent California milk. For more delicious ideas, recipes, and information visit RealCaliforniaMilk.com, like the company on Facebook at Facebook.com/RealCaliforniaMilk or follow on Twitter at Twitter.com/RealCalifMilk and Pinterest at Pinterest.com/RealCalifMilk.


Recipe


 

Porter Beer Burger with Real California Gouda Cheese, Crispy Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef chuck

4 ounces bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled

1 cup yellow onion, diced

4 ounces porter beer

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 ounces Real California Gouda cheese, sliced

4 potato buns, toasted, for serving

Stone ground mustard

Red leaf lettuce

Directions:

1. Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add bacon, cook until crisp then remove from pan. Add the onion to the bacon drippings in the pan and season with salt, cook until golden brown and caramelized. Add the porter to the pan and cook until the liquid has evaporated, remove from the pan and cool. Combine the beef, onions, crumbled bacon, and salt and pepper in a bowl, and mix to combine. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.

2. Preheat the grill and brush the grill grate with oil. Add the burgers and grill for about 3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium-rare meat. Turn them over and grill for another 3 or 4 minutes, topping the burgers with the cheese in the last minute of cooking. (Or panfry the burgers in the pan you cooked the bacon in, over medium heat for 3 minutes per side for rare meat, adding the cheese as described above.)

3. Place the burgers on the toasted bread, and top with the red leaf lettuce, mustard. Serve immediately. (ARA)


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