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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Get Grillin!

Congratulations, you have made it. It’s officially grilling season, which means there are tons of new Murray’s products to try this Memorial Day and throughout the summer. Whether you’re grilling on your fire escape, in the park, or in your back yard, we’ve got the stuff you need.

What screams warm weather, relaxation, and the American dream better than the hot dog? While I admit to shoveling down a street dog on occasion, the folks at Brooklyn Hot Dog Company are whipping up some outer borough dogs that are out of this world. These dogs put the street vendors to shame. Deep flavor, super juicy and made from 100% beef – these franks are begging to be grilled! Not a fan of the dog? That’s OK, try some of Brooklyn Cured’s new sausages for the grill. With a wide variety of flavors including Andouille, Bratwurst and Chicken with Apple, these guys have all of the bases covered. Brooklyn is really reigning the grill market this year, but with products this good, its easy to see why.

Going the hamburger route? We’ve got you covered. Naturally, we love our cheeseburgers, and the options are endless. Right now, I have really been feeling the Alpine style of cheese on my burgers. These cheeses melt perfectly, and there are a wide variety of flavor profiles that can be achieved. Like caramelized onions? Scharfe Maxx, will add a distinct rich oniony flavor to your patty. Feeling a little bit funky? Try some of Meadow Creek’s Mountaineer, which will be sure to take your burgers to a new level.

And don’t forget the condiments for all your grilling needs. Sir Kensington makes some great small-batch ketchup that has a much deeper flavor than store-bought ketchups. Notes of onion, cayenne, honey, and coriander will have you scooping this stuff on by the spoonful.

McClure’s is yet another Brooklyn made product that really brings it this grilling season. Their line of spicy and garlic relish are mandatory at any cook out. They also have a great selection of pickles for munching on, and a Bloody Mary mix that will make you memorial day memorable (it’s also  been know to have the exact opposite effect).

If you don’t have time to shop in store, or live outside of the city you can purchase our Murray’s Griller Pack with everything you need online and get it delivered right to your door.  Whichever way you decide to go, grill hard and stay cool out there!

What To Expect from Nina Planck When You’re Expecting

Nina Planck is the wife of Murray’s Cheese proprietor Rob Kaufelt. Nina is a food writer and activist, who has written two books about the benefits of eating “real” or traditional food.  Real Food for Mother and Baby focuses on the kinds of food that expecting or new mothers and their children should be eating. Join Nina for a special class at Murray’s, on Sunday, May 19th, at 4pm. 

Real Food for Mother and Baby // Sun May 19 4:00-5:30 pm

“The modern pregnant woman cannot be blissfully happy,” writes obstetrician, surgeon, and midwifery muse, Dr. Michel Odent.  “All of them have a least one reason to be worried.”  Blood pressure too high or too low, weight gain too rapid or slow, anemia, gestational diabetes, too old, too young, too active, too sedentary.  Plus the long shopping lists for the new, unnecessary nursery, the bedding, the bouncy seats, the dishes, and most of all, the toys to “entertain.”  The true message of the ad copy serving the Pregnancy Industry is two-fold: First, “What to Worry About When You’re Expecting” and second, “How to Spend All Your Time and Money Easing Your Brand New Worries.”

The woman carrying a new life has some decisions to make, yes, and now is not the time to pick up a heroin habit, but her time would be better spent in wonder at her wonderful and maddening years before children, because she has no idea how wonderful and maddening will be the years with children.  No idea whatever.  The pregnant woman is one of those rare creatures: an innocent one. I include the woman who is pregnant for the second or third time, because she has no idea that the next baby she meets will be quite unlike her last.

Still, a woman has to eat, and as Ashley Montague wrote in 1962, “Were they called upon to name the most important factor in contributing to the healthy development of the human conceptus, most authorities would unhesitatingly declare for the good nutrition status of the mother.” I agree. There are many ways to serve your baby, but the chief one, now, is via your physical health.

You’re in luck. You live in a world of ample food and likely have the means to buy it.  Starvation and glaring deficiencies will not plague you.  Still you might wonder what’s best to eat, and why.  Most women, it seems, bend their ears to experts more than to their own mothers, sisters, and other sources of traditional wisdom, if such a thing exists in (say) New York City, where I live, in the 21st century.

So I’ll be your expert advisor, if you must have one, but here’s the bad news: I have no expertise other than a basically scientific mind, wide reading on food and babies, a farming background, twenty years in the kitchen, common sense, two pregnancies, and three children.

Much of what you’ve read about nutrition in pregnancy and baby’s first foods is bunkum.   You can eat raw milk cheese; in well-made aged cheeses there is very little risk.  You can eat fish – and should.  Avoiding salt will not reduce swelling and will diminish your ability to raise your blood levels, a vital condition of pregnancy. You can have the occasional cocktail, beer, or glass of wine.  No, there is not too much caffeine in a piece of dark chocolate for your little one.  Even a cup of coffee is okay.  In other words, you can eat like a normal person.

Of course, it’s wise follow some general rules of good eating.  Practice moderate omnivory.  Eat whole foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Eat traditional fats (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, lard) rather than modern oils (canola, soy, corn) and manmade fats (all trans fats). When you eat high up on the food chain, take more care that the food is clean. Grass-fed meat is preferable to feedlot beef; organic or pasture-raised milk preferable to powdered skim milk reconstituted with water.

In pregnancy, protein is of prime importance.  Protein deficiency is the main cause of swelling, and swelling is a precursor to preeclampsia.  Eat as much chicken, fish, salmon, beef, eggs, and cheese as you like. (I could almost write, “as much as you can,” but it’s not a macho thing, merely an exhortation.  Only a woman carrying twins really has to pile on the protein.)  Know that no vegetable protein, even in combination, has the power of these foods.   As Kaayla Daniel explains in The Whole Soy Story, industrial soy foods – which includes most soy “health” foods, such as bars and drinks and cookies – are not wise.  The soy protein isolate in these foods contains high doses plant estrogens; lacks adequate methionine; and damages the thyroid. (Buy the book or see

Meanwhile, salt your meat and fish to taste.  Using unrefined sea salt in your home cooking and at the table is good for you and the baby.  As Dr. Thomas Brewer established decades ago in What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know, the lack of protein, not an excess of whole salt, is the culprit in swelling. (Buy the updated book or see

One overstated worry concerns mercury in fish.  Mercury is dangerous for the fetal brain, but it turns out that not eating fish during pregnancy is more dangerous.  The babies of women who eat fish – even fish containing mercury – are better off than the babies of women who do not. The answer is to eat plenty of fish, ideally fish low in mercury.  In general, smaller, oily fish such as herring and sardines are lower in mercury than larger fish, such as tuna. I recommend wild Pacific salmon in any form. If you buy canned salmon, eat the bones for calcium.

Eat traditional fats to taste. All the traditional fats, especially fish and butter, will serve your baby well. The old-fashioned farm fats (butter, lard, beef) are rich in fat-soluble vitamins, and the fish oil is vital for the baby’s brain and eye, as well as for your healthy (DHA-rich) breast milk and your new-baby mental health.

Get calcium from traditional, full-fat dairy foods (especially cultured and fermented foods, such as cheese and sour cream) and from bone broths made from chicken, beef, veal, and fish.  There’s more calcium in these foods than in (say) kale, and it’s more readily available to the body.

Avoid low-fat foods altogether. I don’t mean foods naturally low in fat, such as peaches and lettuce.  I mean foods engineered to be low in fat, like skim milk and chicken breasts without the skin.  They lack the good fats themselves (chicken skin is the Jewish penicillin) and the fat-soluble vitamins (especially A and D). Often these stripped-down foods reduce the total nutrition available. For example, saturated fat aids in the absorption of calcium, so pasteurized orange juice with added calcium is inferior to a piece of good cheddar.

It should be clear from the foregoing menu that a healthy pregnant woman can eat very well indeed. Lay the table with the finest foods and savor them all.  An omnivorous diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods, including fermented and cultured foods, such as the proverbial pickles and luscious crème fraiche, is the right diet for a pregnant woman, her baby, and indeed the rest of her family.  It’s also the right diet for a nursing mother and a baby starting to eat real food. But that’s another column – or two.



Curd to your Mother!

Mother’s Day is just a few days away, and I have been thinking about all the things you can do with cheese to make Mom feel super special. I also am pretty lazy, and spend most of my time selling cheese, so I needed to come up with some ideas that don’t take up too much of my time (Not that my mother isn’t worth all the time in the world – Love you, Mom!). Here are some simple ways to make your mother’s special day a little bit cheesier.

For Breakfast in Bed

This barely takes five minutes, and you can finish it before you’ve had your first cup of coffee.  Slice a baguette, and top it with a dollop of fresh ricotta. Drizzle honey on top and sprinkle with walnuts. Rush it to Mom’s room before she is out of bed (don’t forget the coffee, which will actually pair really nicely). Guaranteed to win you some serious brownie points.

Want to get a bit more intricate?

Go for an omelet.  Eggs are pretty easy, but even easier to jazz up. A good alpine cheese will bring any omelet to a whole new level. Try Challerhocker which will add a mild nuttiness, and spice. Want even more depth? Try Etivaz. This cheese is essentially a super-charged  Gruyere. Throw some fresh spring vegetables in there and call it a day! Mother’s Day!

Moms Love Chocolate

Roquefort and chocolate. Seriously. The nutty and astringent qualities of this sheep’s milk blue goes perfectly with the complex flavors of a dark chocolate. The textural experience is pretty amazing too. Chocolate and cheese, a win for sure.

No matter what you do for Mom this Sunday, we hope her day is extra special!