Aug 28, 2008

From Farm to Table: Charcuterie Platter

I have made my first official Charcuterie plate using Cheese Boutique prepared meats, and a fair bit of recommendation and helpful information from the folks behind the counter. I was pleased to find out that all of it is direct from local farms and cured in-house, naturally preserved using tried-and-true methods, with no added Nitrates or Preservatives or Irradiation or any of that nonsense.

Here they are, the Stars of the Show:

Prosciutto Principe di San Daniele: --To quote the sticker "Authentic Italian prosciutto from Friulli. Pigs raised on acorns and chestnuts. Aged there for 18 months then further aged an additional 18 months in-house."

Pork and salt, nothing else! Lean and flavourful "the best prosciutto I've ever had" according to my friend, who has, apparently, had a lot of prosciutto-- and this product is exclusive to Cheese B and no where else. Here they are hanging behind the counter:


Beef tenderloin: "Dry-cured to the point of perfection, a favourite of Picasso when he was living in Paris." It's luscious and slices paper thin, an especially nice treat.

Chobai: Hungarian-style sausage made from Berkshire Pork, Paprika and other spices.

Tender Roast Beef: Made daily from selected Canadian AAA Beef. Cooked perfectly rare (or well done if you prefer), I like to get it rare and it's always nice and bloody.

In-House Berkshire Ham: Just a really good ham, for any purpose-- Cheese B's "House Ham". I used this in a previous recipe here, the Croque Monsieurs, and it was good in that, too.

Left to Right: Prosciutto, Roast Beef, Chobai, Bresaola, Ham

Poor me, having to eat this for the Blog.

A View of the Chobai

Eveything in the above list is prepared in-house except for the Prosciutto.

Co-starring a few house-made Balsamic Marinated Pearl Onions, made with balsamic and olive oil. Not too acidic like some pickled onions, just a sweet tasty crunch and I daresay a perfect accompaniment to this platter.

The bread I used was the Ricelle--a skinny and baguette-like little loaf. I also used some German-style Rye, olives, grain mustard, and Chevre. All stuff I had on hand, it's flexible.

Last but not least, a smooth Italian Chianti to wash it down-- MMMmmmmm!

If you have any questions about these or the many other meat products sold at Cheese B, go to Agim-- he's the Resident Meat-And-Greeter.

The List:

Roast Beef

Balsamic Onions

And anything you have on hand!

Voila, a beautiful Charcuterie Platter.

Aug 27, 2008

Cheese Awards--perhaps already at the counter at CheeseB

The Blogosphere has been an interesting learning curve for me, the Big Cheese.

I had the concept of its creation hard wired into my aspirations in what I wanted to share with foodies, all wonders to be found at CheeseB. How the use of this technology can bring news up to speed---its slow food, but news travels fast and I've been rewarded with CheeseB inviting me to help spread the word through this channel....but seeing it in action where you, the audience, are helping me out now in spreading the message and happenings.... makes it quite worthwhile I'm finding so thank you to all for that.

With that in mind, I'm incorporating this post as a new stylistic entry for those who might have missed a comment highlighting the recent winners of the 2008 American Cheese Society Competition.

19 fine Canadian cheeses and 2 dairy products (butter, yogourt) Canadian winners stood out from 1,149 cheeses and dairy product entries submitted by 181 producers from 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces. The award winners were announced at a ceremony held last July at the Merle Resking Theatre in Chicago.

Now I have some homework to do....reporting back on what CheeseB has from the list of winners already in stock!

Thanks to Andre for the link :-)

PS. The Title that links to Facebook isolates all the Canadian winners for you... you may have to register though to view....I know I know there are still some Facebook shy people out there ---I understand --but I caved and joined. In anycase I'll have a followup post on the winners to match a confirmation with CheeseB on what they have inhouse in case you don't join Facebook to see the list.

Aug 21, 2008

A Midsummer's Eve Mix-Up

As I perused Cheese B. looking for something quick, tasty and shareable, I was directed to the colourful Frontera display by a rather enthusiastic Afrim Pristine.

Frontera Foods, he explained, is a line of products from the renowned Rick Bayless restaurants in Chicago, and is exclusive to Cheese Boutique -- you won't find this line of products anywhere else in the City.

Melt cheese (Gruyere in this case) over the chips and serve, it can be as simple as that or you might want to get fancy and pile up your nachos with all kinds of toppings. The chips are good and thick so they can handle all that extra weight.

You know what's so great about dipping? You don't even need a fork... or a spoon... or a knife... or chopsticks... but do bring a napkin.

List of Ingredients:
Frontera Fire-roasted Tomato and Cilantro Salsa
Frontera Lime with Sea Salt Tortilla Chips
Gruyere Cheese
Organic Fat-Free Yogurt

We also have something from my co-author Big Cheese this week, who has clearly been feeling a bit jealous over the weeks. So I will leave off here for now-- take it away, Big Cheese:

I went all out--I'm a meat eater and the CheeseB just so happens to be a gourmet artisanal meat shop which I have felt has been neglected of late in this blogosphere.

It's summer--the BBQs are flared up--lets get hearty.

I got the thickest cuts of Cheese Boutique's Veal Rib Chops that my eye could pick out: 2 of them actually to do a comparison between Stove cooking and BBQ as I've heard so much over the years that BBQ is always better but I never really did the tasting myself to compare at the same time before.

I pan fried the first one--8 min on one side, 6 min on the other per Agim Pristine's instructions. The result, super yummy, its veal--its tender you can't really contest it as any other edible.

Then to the BBQ. Gas grilled....hands down, BBQ wins.

It retains the savour--it felt more plump and it cooks through the meat much more evenly.

I shared the second chop---it was getting too much to horde all that meat to myself. Rave reviews from all. It was served with Debriciner sausage and a toasted pumpkin seed, coriander and mushroom Pilaf.

Ingredients used:

Veal Rib Chops
Debriciner Sausage
Mom's BBQ
Pumpkin Seeds
Mushrooms and stuff---I know that's weak--other than the meat, the GF made it.

Till next week.

Aug 19, 2008

The Chefs' Congress Fundraiser at Eigensinn Farm

On Sunday August 17th, Cheese Boutique participated in the poetically delicious "Midsummer Afternoon's Dream" at Eigensinn Farm-- a fundraiser in support of the upcoming Canadian Chef's Congress (not to mention two local hospitals)

The whole shin-dig was bustling-- summery weather with refreshing gusts of wind, eclectic food stations that made you wince in glee, a tear of joy can be seen on the hardcore foodies in attendance from locals to city dwellers in search of that country ambiance. The August red harvest sun by end of day is the perfect end node to a day full of gorging.

Afrim Pristine, Cheese Boutique's 'Cheese Keeper' served up a Blue Cheese Benedictine Sundae with comté, fig, mulched almonds, and Ontario Blueberries:

Also for presentation and trial was the renowned Thunder Oak Gouda from Thunder Bay, exclusive to Cheese Boutique in Toronto, aged an extra three years from the one year provided at the farm.

Near the George Brown station was this curious converted piece of a farm equipment. One farmer's antique tractor trailer is another cook's contemporary stove!

This is a good opportunity to invite you to check out the main page of Cheese Boutique. Some major efforts have been long in planning to offer a more comprehensive view, and still more improvement down the road.

More pics from Eigensinn farm can be found in the Gallery on the new Cheese Boutique web site!

Aug 7, 2008

Truffle II: The Picnic

Still in possession of the truffle from last week, and in need of picnic material for a road trip through Cottage Country, a Truffle/Chevre spread was created. This turned out to be quite wonderful-- I warmed the mild, unripened goat cheese very briefly in the microwave, to soften it, then mixed in the minced truffle. Lots-- I used the rest of it all up.

I happened to have some polenta which I sliced, pan fried and cooled, and put together some ingredients for impromptu sandwiches-- Italian rolls, pea sprouts, cucumber, prosciutto, mixed baby greens. There were local cherry tomatoes, and sweet Ontario apricots for dessert.

A tasty picnic on a lovely day by the lake in Muskoka! The truffle and chevre spread tasted phenomenal-- very very truffley after mingling flavours for a couple of hours.

Now my vacationing continues farther afield so I will not be writing up any recipes next week--
but, as always, check in here for updates on events and happenings around Cheese Boutique!