Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Cheeses for Easter & Passover

The FarmShare cheese case at Luna Bakery Café is well stocked with spring cheeses for your Easter and Passover feasts.

Pictured above is the lovely line of artisan chèvre produced by Lake Erie Creamery in flavors like Lemon, Orange-Tarragon and Herbs de Provence. They're sporting pretty new packaging that will make for a lovely Easter basket for those of you who prefer cheese to chocolate -- or maybe even both. A few Luna macarons would also make a lovely addition to any Easter basket!

In addition to chèvre, we also have plenty of Lake Erie Pearls and Croquis as well as Mayfield Road Creamery's Bloomfield brie, aged Gouda, and Siberian Night.

Luna is open 7am to 8pm Thursday and Friday, 8am-8pm Saturday, and closed on Easter Sunday. See you soon!

Spring Egg & Scallion Paté

One of my all-time favorite egg dishes is this recipe from Onions, Onions, Onions, a wonderful and informative cookbook written by my good friends, Linda and Fred Griffith.

I first encountered this dish as an appetizer before one of Fred and Linda's spring dinner parties a few years ago and I was smitten. It may, in fact, have been the moment I decided that I actually liked egg salad, which is basically what it is, but better.

Don't tell Linda, but I don't always follow the recipe exactly -- surprise, surprise. I didn't have olives on hand for the last batch but it turned out just as delicious without them. Ditto for the jalapeños. You can also take some liberties with herbs and the type of curry. I've used curry powder, I've used a Vindaloo blend, and I've used Thai curry paste which spices things up and makes the dish a little more colorful.

I made this again for our spring cheese tasting at Four and Twenty Mercantile last week and was asked by several guests to share the recipe. So, here it is. If you're in charge of the Easter appetizer this weekend or you just want to make a really superb egg salad to spread on your toast or a sandwich, this is your dish.

Egg & Scallion Paté

6 scallions, trimmed to include 1 inch of green
6 jalapeño-stuffed jumbo Spanish olives
1 pickled jalapeño pepper
1 tablespoon tarragon leaves
8 large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
1/2 cup homemade or prepared mayonnaise
1 generous teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 tesapoon kosher salt
Leaf lettuce, olive slices and fresh parsley and/or tarragon for garnish
Thinly sliced pumpernickel or rye bread, cut into triangles or your favorite crackers for serving

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine scallions, olives, parsley and tarragon. Process until mixture is finely minced, scraping down the sides several times.

Press eggs through a ricer into a mixing blow, or finely chop. Add scallion mixture, mayonnaise, curry powder, pepper and salt and blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Pack into a pretty serving dish or oiled mold, cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Line a serving platter with  lettuce leaves, invert the paté dish over the platter, rap the bottom sharply with a wooden spoon and remove the dish. Garnish paté with olives and herbs and serve with bread and/or crackers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Cheese Tasting at Four and Twenty Mercantile

I thought I'd share a few snapshots of the Spring cheese tasting I co-hosted last week with Four and Twenty Mercantile in Cleveland Heights.

As we were setting up, I was reminded of how much I enjoy working with such beautiful local products. The opportunity to share them is always enjoyable but every once in a while I have the chance to really show them off on the beautiful stage that they deserve -- and that's really fun! It was such a blast playing with Four and Twenty's eclectic collection of home furnishings, tableware and linens that I even coined a new term for what I do -- cheese-scaping.

Our amazing Ohio cheeses taste wonderful on their own but for this celebration of spring (which seems to need a little nudging this year), I decided to gild the lilly a bit and incorporate cheese into a few light seasonal appetizers to share as well. There was Bloomfield brie stuffed with dried stone fruit and savory rhubarb and spring onion tarts with black pepper feta. I also piped a few cucumber cups with Lake Erie's lemon-flavored chèvre and spring radishes with Laurel Valley's Cloverton and topped them off with sunflower sprouts and sea salt. I'll try to share a few of these recipes in upcoming posts.

So, here's the view of our fabulous spring cheese-scape. If you missed this event, stay tuned. We're working on a few more seasonal collaborations I think you'll enjoy. I'll be sharing details soon.

And you can stop in and visit Four and Twenty Mercantile anytime. They're located at 12433 Cedar Road (right next door to the Howard Hanna office) in the Cedar-Fairmount neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. Hours are 11am to 7pm Tue-Sun. And there's plenty of parking around back.

The Four and Twenty Mercantile crew.

Seasonal rhubarb & Lake Erie Creamery chèvre macarons created especially for us by Luna Bakery Cafe.

Crostini with Lake Erie Pearls & Laurel Valley Creamery's Jersey Drover with Rhubarb-Kumkuat conserve.

The spring scene at Four and Twenty Mercantile.

A delectable duo from Lake Erie Creamery: Croquis and Blomma.

Gorgeous jewelry crafted by Wanderlust Jewelers right here in Cleveland Heights.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seasonal Tastings at Four and Twenty Mercantile

I'm excited to announce that I've teamed up with my neighbors at Four and Twenty Mercantile to offer a series of seasonal tastings at their beautiful Cedar Road store in Cleveland Heights. We're kicking things off on April 10 as we welcome spring with a delightful evening of seasonal cheeses, fresh flowers, bright wines and local flavors.

I've been a huge fan of Four and Twenty ever since I discovered them at their former shop a few years ago when they helped us find the perfect island for our newly renovated kitchen. Whenever I need a little something to spruce up my surroundings, I turn to Four and Twenty. Late last year, when I heard they were expanding and relocating to the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood, I couldn't have been more excited.

Four and Twenty founders Kim Scholten, Sean Fagan and Richard Zingale have created a beautiful shop filled with unique treasures from the past and present… vintage as well as custom home furnishings, luxurious linens, unique tableware and distinctive decor. It's the ideal backdrop for this series of seasonal collaborations offering fresh, farm-to-table flavors and experiences.

Join us as we officially say hello to spring on the plate and in the home. You'll have a unique opportunity to preview Four and Twenty's fresh finds and ideas while enjoying a guided tasting of spring's finest local cheeses paired with wines and seasonal snacks.

We've also collaborated to produce some very special reclaimed wood cheeseboards (crafted in-house by Sean) to show off our favorite FarmShare cheeses. Cheeseboards will be available to take home, beautifully packaged for giving or enjoying at your own spring gatherings.

I'm looking forward to this exciting partnership with Four and Twenty and I'll be sharing info about all upcoming events right here. But right now we're all about spring…

Four and Twenty Mercantile & FarmShare Ohio


April 10, 2014, 7-9pm
$40 per person
payment due at time of reservation

rsvp to

Four and Twenty Mercantile is located in the beautiful Cedar-Fairmount neighborhood of Cleveland Heights at 12433 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Recipe: FarmShare Cheese Spread

A few weeks ago, I shared this simple and tasty recipe with participants in a cheese tasting workshop I led for The Agrarian Collective. It's so easy and so good, I thought you might enjoy it too.

This is an easy one to throw together when you need a little something to top a cracker or your Sunday morning bagel. It also makes an interesting addition to a cheese board. Best of all, it's one of those recipes that isn't really a recipe at all, just a couple of ingredients, some loose instructions, and suggestions for creative flavorings that you can play with all year long as available ingredients change with the seasons. And aren't these the best kind of recipes?

As for ingredients, I always make this with fresh, Cleveland-made chèvre from Lake Erie Creamery. I used homemade butter made with some extra Snowville Cream I had on hand but of course any butter will do. You could season it with salt and stop right there. But it's much more fun to flavor it up with your own unique and seasonal combination of herbs, fruits, and spices. This time of year, I play with spicy curry blends, smoked paprika, and citrus zest. Or maybe dried apricots and cherries, flavored or smoked salts, and black pepper. Come spring, I'll snip fresh herbs like chives or chervil, always the first up. Early summer additions include spring onions and minced garlic scapes. And as the summer and fall harvests kick in, you can have fun adding just about anything, cherry tomatoes, garlic (of course) or roasted garlic, fresh basil, and more. One of my favorite summer batches featured a few teaspoons of homemade pesto. Have some fun with heartier mix-ins too. Nuts, capers, olives, baby shrimp, and smoked salmon all make lovely additions.

FarmShare Cheese Spread

4 oz. butter, softened
4 oz. Lake Erie Creamery fromage blanc or chèvre, at room temperature
fresh or dried herbs and seasonings to taste
salt to taste

Mix the softened butter and cheese together in a food processor or by hand using a wooden spoon until combined. Add flavorings and salt to taste. Mix again to incorporate. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Serve on toasted bread or your favorite crackers.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday, Monday

It's been a Monday, Monday kind of Monday.

The car's in the shop, there are too many dishes to do, bills to pay, and paperwork to process.

This song helped improve my mood. Thank goodness for Herb Alpert and his marvelous Tijuana Brass!

And this yummy Coffee & Cardamom Yogurt from the kind folks at Snowville Creamery sweetened my day too.

The car is ready to roll again. I think I'll celebrate with a little yoga.

Some days end much better than they begin.