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

Fourth of July Picks: My Country ‘Tis of Cheese!

The Fourth of July is a time for sparklers, s’mores, slaw, and sun. Everyone spends the day grilling the same old hotdogs and burgers. I’m here to tell you to change it up this year! Serve some cheese!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our fine country than to create a cheese board brimming with American beauties, and as a Murray’s monger I’m here to guide you to some of the best choices for a fabulous 4th.

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery Coupole – Without these visionary cheese pioneers of Vermont the American cheese scene would be unrecognizable today. Over 25 years ago, VBC introduced us to fresh chevre and they still make some of the best stuff out there. The bloomy-rinded Coupole is pure creamy goat goodness, known to disappear quickly at potlucks.

 

Old Chatham Hudson Valley Camembert – The French have given us many priceless things over the course of America’s existence – Lady Liberty, Southern Rhone blends, Gerard Depardieu, and a killer Camembert recipe. With the addition of sheep’s milk to the classic cow’s milk bloomy, this upstate New York square honors French gastronomic traditions in the American style.

 

Roth Kase Sole Gran Queso – Since we are discussing American cheese, it is essential to recognize those dairy lovers out in Wisconsin. Many of their wheels are based off of European staples and are now winning American Cheese Society awards (like this one!). This cow’s milk wheel is a take on the classic Spanish Manchego, which is made with sheep milk. Flavors of nutty, buttered popcorn dominate, making this an all-ages crowd pleaser and a great companion to American lagers and juice boxes alike.

 

Bellweather Farms San Andreas* – The courageous Gold Rush pioneers paved the way for American expansion west. California is now one of the more prolific states for cheese-making, especially in the fertile Sonoma coast area. Like the esteemed wines from this region, San Andreas blows us away with its full-flavored, gamey intensity. Do everyone a favor and give this raw sheep tomme a go this Fourth of July.

 

Keeley’s Cheese Co. Across the Pond* – Our declaration of independence from England is something we share in common with Ireland, the country that inspired this creation. This orange-rinded beauty is truly a labor of love in the American tradition, emerging from a vision, a herd of Holstein and Jersey cows, and a willingness to stand on principle. Honor our visionary forefathers with this stinky, sweet, buttery wheel.

 

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue – Red, white, and … gotta have a blue! Plus it is far and away the monger favorite behind the cheese counter. The Rogue Creamery out in Oregon is a stalwart in the cheese business, crafting amazing wheels in the blue tradition. This well-balanced, sweet and savory number just might be the one to win over blue skeptics, especially when paired with a darker, malty beer from the Creamery’s neighbor, Rogue Brewery.

 

Caitlin Griffith is a monger at our Bleecker Street store and good cheese makes her feel patriotic.

*San Andreas and Across the Pond are currently available in stores only.