St. Marcellin, it’s not just a crock.

By: Lisa Griffin, Bleecker Street Monger

St. Marcellin is a little French cheese beauty that comes in it’s own crock, replete with creamy, salty deliciousness.  Originally from the Dauphine province, which is now the Rhone-Alpes region in France, this pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is aged for about a month and has a thin, mushroomy rind. I love this cheese because it is so versatile.  You can eat it hot or not.  It’s a great addition to any cheese plate, as is.  But, throw it in the oven for a few minutes, crock and all, and you have a bubbly, gooey little pot of goodness.  Just pick up your dipping favorites – like cornichons, apples, baguette bits or crudité veggies.  It’s like having your own personal fondue.  Want a cheesy dessert that is sweet and savory? Drizzle a little honey on top of your St. Marcellin and dip fresh berries, dried cherries or candied walnuts. In France, St. Marcellin is often served warm on salads.  I also find that it is a great melty topper for a crostini appetizer.  Feature this cheese gem at your summer dinner party or Bastille Day celebration. You never have to eat it the same way twice!

Summer Salad with St. Marcellin

Serves 4, 15 minutes

4 cups of Arugula, Frisee, or your favorite mixed greens, washed and dried

2 crocks of St. Marcellin, on the firmer side

¼ cup of pine nuts, toasted

2 TBSPs red wine or sherry vinegar

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat the oven to 350.  Cut two firm St. Marcellins into quarters.  Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

-Whisk together your vinegar, mustard, and olive oil.  Add some salt and pepper to taste, while whisking.

-Place your cheese in the oven.  Heat until it is just starting to droop (about 2 minutes)

-While your cheese is melting, place your greens in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette.  Add the pine nuts while you are tossing.

-Divide the greens onto four plates.  Slide two pieces of melted St. Marcellin on the top of each plate and serve immediately.

Summer Snacks: Peppablues!

By: Summer Babiarz

This week my Weight Watchers leader emphasized getting a lot of flavor into your food. I see her point. I do tend to graze less throughout the day if I have had something that is truly flavorful and satisfying. So with the idea of big bold flavors in mind I would like to introduce to you the glistening, fire engine red, juicebombs that are Peppadews! These little guys pack a lot of punch with very few calories. They are sweet, spicy and tangy all at the same time. If you stuff these hallow little wonders with almost any firm or crumbly cheese your taste buds will thank you

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I have chosen to pack them to the brim with Rogue River Blue from Oregon.  Rogue River Creamery  has been a leader in American artisan cheesemaking for over 80 years. This cheese in particular is a monger favorite behind the counter at Murray’s because it is punchy and yet well balanced. It doesn’t hurt that it is soaked in pear brandy and presents its leaf-wrapped gorgeouness on a cheese board in a way that makes you look like a rockstar. Whatever the reasons- professional cheesemongers love this cheese and it’s no accident.

Peppablues!

Inspired by the scarcity of great blue cheese in America, Founder of Rogue River Blue Tom Vella and his wife traveled to France in the early 1950s in search of Roquefort. Mr. Vella was able to win over the highly secretive Roquefort Association with  his charming personality and bilingual education. He was presented with a gold pass signed by all functionaries of the Roquefort Society. This granted him access to study every step of Roquefort-making from the functionality of farms to aging cheese in the limestone caves at Cambalou.  With that knowledge he founded this American cheesemaking powerhouse  and they seem to only get better at balancing these big bold flavors.

Peppablues are a healthy and smart appetizer for a picnic or BBQ and they fit right in with all their red, white and blue glory.

 

Peppablues (3.5 points, 2 servings = 7 points total)

2 oz Rogue River Blue

10 ea Peppadews

Same Cheese, New Heights: Slinging Cheese in Aspen

Murray’s owner Rob Kaufelt catches up with longtime friend Dana Cowin

By: Rob Kaufelt, Proprietor of Murray’s Cheese

When I graduated college way back in ’69, I climbed into my old Pontiac GTO and with my pals Dave and Gary headed west. When we got to Aspen, Colorado, the rednecks there said, in so many words, ‘There’s the road, son, you’re already on it, no need to stop here.’ This was their way of telling long-haired hippie freaks like us they didn’t want our kind around.

Flash forward forty four years to the summer of 2013, when Murray’s crew Amanda Parker, Nick Tranchina and I cruised into town in our rental car to meet Paige Yim (our Marketing Manager) and do the Murray’s booth at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic. Not too many rednecks around that town anymore, not in a town where a twenty million dollar ski house is nothing special. Nor is a skinny woman with blond hair and Botox. But Mario [Batali] and the boys were there doing their celebrity chef thing, and so were we with our selections of the country’s best cheese, fresh from Brian’s caves.

“I could get used to this”

We have sixteen stores in Colorado now, and we visited most of them. What a rush to visit a store up in the mountains and see a sign on the outside of the building that reads ‘Murray’s’, and inside, a beautiful shop with some of the nicest folks you’re ever gonna meet sampling cheese you never figured would get up into those hills. Times are indeed a-changin’.

It was a smokin’ hot 99 degrees, and it was smokin’, period, as Colorado springs was literally on fire. Speaking of smokin’, you know that Colorado has legal weed, giving new meaning to the terms grass-fed and pot belly. In fact, hog farmers out there are indeed feeding their pigs stems, leaves and other leftover scraps the growers don’t need. The idea is that stoned pigs go easy to slaughter. Next they’ll show that it cuts cholesterol and, capitalism being what it is, they’re bound to find some new uses for horrible piggy poop next.

All in all, a fun week in this old cheesemonger’s career!

Rob

Greek To Me

As soon as summer hits, the cravings begin. Nothing does hot nights, and summer vibes better than watermelon. I mean, what says “dang, it’s hot”  better than slicing into a juicy, sticky, sweet melon? Few things. Of course, since Murray’s is a cheese shop, we had to find a way to sneak some dairy in there.

Feta. the perfect pairing. Salty and crumbly, not only does it play well with the flavors of watermelon but it also provides a nice textural change. Feta is a Greek sheep’s milk cheese, made basically by compressing fresh cheese curds and brining them for preservation. The brine makes this cheese slightly salty. I don’t know if this is something that you encounter but in Tennessee, where I grew up, watermelon was nothing without a dash of salt.

While the pre-crumbled feta is pretty common, try some of the real stuff from Greece. It will usually come in brine, and has a lot more acid, lemony flavor than what we are used to seeing. Of course, it is available at Murray’s.

Our Friends over at Real Greek Feta were nice enough to share this recipe for a super easy watermelon and Real Greek Feta salad. Perfect for those hot, lazy summer nights. Also, follow them on Twitter, and Facebook for the latest in all things feta.

Watermelon and Real Greek Feta Salad

Serves 4, 10 minutes

¼ lb Real Greek Feta, cubed

½ watermelon, chunks

½ red onion, thinly sliced

4 TBSP balsamic vinegar

1. Mix Real Greek Feta, watermelon chunks, and thinly sliced onions
2. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve

Some Points on Points

Working at Murray’s is a foodie’s dream come true. Every day I am surrounded by downy white triple cremes from France, sharp and crystallized cheddars, eggy tommes that taste like buttered mushrooms, smoky paper-thin slices of Speck, and let’s not forget all the pairing items. However, having access to these delicacies can, shall we say… add up on the old waistline. So this Murray’s lady finds herself at Weight Watchers.

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