Traditionally, these pastes were made by cooking fruit for hours, along with spices, sweeteners, and water, alcohol, or vinegar, until the mixture reached a point where the natural pectin caused it to set into a dense gelled form. My recipes for pâté de fruit utilize a modern ingredient—liquid pectin—to create old-world-style pastes. Commercial pectin makes easy work of the process—you won’t have to concern yourself with the pectin content of the fruit and you will save time and labor. The steps in creating pâté de fruit are simple: make a fruit puree, add sugar and acid, heat the mixture to the proper temperature, add pectin, and pour into a mold. You can use store-bought frozen fruit or, even better, fruit that you froze during the height of the summer.
This is a good match with the piquancy of an aged Pecorino or Parmesan, or even a slightly aged goat’s milk cheese.
Right now in taverns worldwide, there’s a ritual being repeated. Drinkers are sidling up to bars, sitting on stools, and ordering a particular stout. While it takes less than ten seconds to pour a typical pint, this dark brew requires a bartender’s patient hand. Seconds stack into minutes as the raven-colored beer slithers from the tap like maple syrup, the bubbles racing upward to form a head as creamy and luscious as a latte’s.
“My, that’s a good-looking Guinness,” the grateful customer will say, lustily sipping a centuries-old tradition. Since the late 18th century, beer drinkers have happily turned to the dark side, hoisting billions of pints of that inky Irish favorite. But despite Guinness’s international popularity, few fans understand the brewery’s role in creating a singular beer style: the roasty, deceptively light-bodied, compulsively drinkable dry Irish stout.
Diary of a Dairy Judge: British cheesemaker Mary Quicke shares highlights of her stint as a first-time ACS judge
It was the best cheese gig ever—tasting some of the most magnificent cheese on the planet (and some not) among the 1,676 cheeses in competition at the 2011 American Cheese Society (ACS) competition, held in Montréal. I was chosen to be one of several judges in the “Aesthetic” category, paired with technical judge MaryAnn Drake, an expert in sensory evaluation from Raleigh, North Carolina.
The judging form guided real rigor and completeness, as each of us had to record in detail what we thought of each cheese. Scoring was something of a dance with my technical partner. She took points off for technical faults; I added points for desirable features. We both rated complexity and balance. Both of us were sensitive to bitter flavors and didn’t like them. We discussed Lactobacillus helveticus starters in the cheddars—that sweet note so widespread in modern cheddar—which we tended to take marks off for if it overwhelmed the complexity.
Headquarters: Little Rock, AR
Mission: End hunger and poverty and facilitate long-lasting, positive change.
Give: Buy a water buffalo for $250 or part of one for $25. A heifer is $500 or $50 for a share. Ten people chipping in $90 each for a “Cheeses of the World Gift Basket” means a family gets four animals that will allow them to produce and sell cheeses traditional to their culture. Create your own printable gift cards online.
Headquarters: Portland, OR
Mission: Alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities.
Their pursuit of perfection is relentless, but Cary Bryant and David Gremmels, co-owners of Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Oregon, have seen an immense payoff as a result: their signature Rogue River Blue just won its second ACS Best of Show top prize in three years.
The duo knew virtually nothing about cheesemaking back in 2002 when they purchased the company from a venerable California cheesemaker, the late Ig Vella. The creamery was founded in 1928 and acquired by Vella’s family in 1935; when the time came to pass the torch to a new generation, Vella, Bryant, and Gremmels sealed the deal with a simple handshake on the front porch.
As cheese master at one of Kroger’s markets in Cincinnati, Ohio, Melissa helped develop the working model for the Kroger/Murray’s cheese shop in each supermarket as well as its training program for cheese stewards
Q: What causes the “blue” in blue cheese?
A: To create a blue cheese, it’s necessary for blue mold spores to be present in the cheesemaking environment and/or for them to be introduced into the milk during the early stages of production.
Similar to quince paste in its pairing affinities, this gelled fruit is a good match with cheddars and Manchego-type cheeses. You can strain the seeds out if you prefer a seedless fruit pâté.
Combine the pomegranate juice and raspberries. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until berries are soft and beginning to fall apart. Cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch-square pan with parchment paper; coat lightly with neutral-flavored baking spray or oil. Pour the packet of pectin into a small bowl, and set aside near the stovetop.
Chef/owner, Girl & the Goat, Chicago, IL
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois
Fans of Top Chef will recognize Izard as the much-loved Season 4 winner. She opened her second restaurant (the first, Scylla, was open prior to the show), the Girl & the Goat, in July 2010, to great anticipation. As her Best New Chef win attests, she hasn’t lost her edge. Learn more about Stephanie in her new cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats, and Drinks (Chronicle Books).
culture: I hear you’re a bit cheese obsessed.
It was a bold move for the American Cheese Society to host its annual three-day conference and competition in Montréal this past summer. As the foremost gathering of the North American cheese trade since 1983, as well as a world renowned product competition, the ACS event has always been held in a major city in the United States. Shifting the 2011 venue across the northern border to the Palais des Congrès in downtown Montréal presented the ACS team with a completely new set of logistical hurdles.
There is never just one seductive compound in a food,” notes food writer and pork authority Peter Kaminsky in his book Pig Perfect. “More likely there are hundreds. . . . Therein lies the allure in the enormous complexity of cheese and ham.” Kaminsky goes on to compare the subtle interplay of tastes and aromas in these foods to the genius of Beethoven and Bach in their exquisite variations of the chromatic scale.