5 Ways to Have a Blue Christmas

Here at Murray’s we have been raving about Roquefort all month long. Can you blame us? Roquefort is classic, tasty and versatile, perfect for this time of year when lots of people are entertaining.

After we nearly had to say au revoir forever we renewed our love for this French beauty and never looked back. Let’s just say we hope it’s standing nearby when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve.

And to improve the odds of that happening, here are 5 tasty ways to enjoy one of our favorite cheeses.  Bon appetit!

1. Fresh endive leaves topped with crumbled Roquefort, candied nuts and a dried cherry or cranberry. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Awesome.

2. Spread some Roquefort on a fig and wrap it in prosciutto. OH YEAH.

3. Serve a hunk of Roquefort au naturale. With a nice Sauternes on the side. Why mess with a classic?

4. Top your favorite cracker with some Roquefort and drizzle with honey. This sweet treat is the bees knees.

5. Whip it! Roquefort whipped with equal parts butter and cream cheese or sour cream makes an excellent dip. Whip it good! Veggies, chips and all things dip-able will be the perfect companion.

Serve cheese like a pro at your holiday party

It’s true: The easiest, tastiest way to host your friends and family for the holidays is with a fantastic cheese spread.  Whether you’re a cheese newbie or a fromage fanatic, this season’s latest and greatest party cheeses will help you plan your most delicious gathering.  So sit back, let your mind drift to the gooey, the crumbly, the yummiest cheeses of the season.

Getting started: A great party spread has up to 6 cheeses of all different styles and milk types.  We suggest delighting your guests with a mix of buttery, grassy, pungent or caramelly tastes.

More than just cheese: When picking accompaniments, from wine to nuts, pick a pairing principle:

  • Choose items that are complementary – pair similar flavors together, like a flavorful cheddar with a bold wine;
  • That old adage is true with cheese, too:  opposites attract.  Don’t be shy about mixing sweet with salty;
  • What grows together goes together – you can’t go wrong with cheese and pairings from the same neck of the woods.

Not sure how much to buy?  Our rule of thumb is 1-2 oz per cheese, per person for a party or an appetizer spread before dinner. (most of our assortments serve up to10)

Serving Sense: Cheese tastes better at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge one hour before serving.  For a party, set out on a board with one knife per cheese – start cutting into each piece to get it started, then let your guests go to town.

Sommelier for a day:  Want to impress by pairing cheese with wine or beer like an expert?  Click here to view our full beverage pairing guide.

Learn even more by going reading our Cheese Basics.

New assortment for the holiday season: Cheeselovers Anonymous

Cheeselovers Anonymous (pictured above) features a complete tasting through all of the cheese styles – we couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect party package!

Joan Nathan’s Cheesy Passover Dishes

We’re pretty excited to welcome Joan Nathan to Murray’s on May 10 for an evening of cheese and chatting.  As the author of ten cookbooks, and a James Beard awardwinner to boot, Joan knows a thing (or three) about cooking with cheese.  In May we’ll be tasting cheese, sipping wine and trying a few recipes from her latest cookbook.  And this month, with Passover right around the corner, we asked Joan to share a few of her favorite cheese-filled recipes that she uses at her own Seder.  

FARFEL AND CHEESE – From Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook

About four days into Passover when my daughter, Daniela, was young she commented that, “We look forward to the Seder for so long that we forget after a few days, matzah gets old!”  I adapted this farfel and cheese recipe precisely for that reason.  No one can get sick of mac and cheese!  Especially when it’s full of cheddar AND sour cream. 

4 large eggs

3 cups matzah farfel

½ lb cheddar cheese (so many options here!  Try Tickler, Cabot Clothbound, or Montgomery’s – or a mixture of many)

1 ½ cups sour cream

6 tablespoons butter or pareve margarine

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

     Beat 3 of the eggs and pour over the farfel.  Mix well.

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a casserole.  Pour the farfel mixture into the casserole.

     Cut the cheddar cheese into a small dice.  Add the cheese to the farfel.  Using a spoon add the sour cream in dollops and dot with the butter or margarine.  Mix together the milk, remaining egg, salt, and pepper, and pour it over the casserole.

     Bake covered, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and let brown for 10 to 15 minutes more.  Scoop out onto plates.

Serves 8.

PAPETON D’AUBERGINES (EGGPLANT GRATIN) – From Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous

Eggplant is a favorite of mine and I never need an excuse to make it.  In this recipe, roasting the eggplant makes it nice and smoky and with all the cheese, no one feels the least bit deprived.  I like to serve it alongside a simple green salad and use whatever cheeses I have on hand.  You should feel free to experiment.

1/4 cup olive oil

3 large eggplants, about 4 pounds

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled

1 cup grated Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese

1 sprig thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 sprig oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano

4 tablespoons matzo meal

Freshly grated pepper to taste

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 6-cup gratin dish with some of the oil.

If grilling the eggplants over a gas stove, make small slits all over the outside.  Using tongs, hold them over the open flame, rotating them every few minutes until they are soft and collapsed. If roasting them in the oven, cut them in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with olive oil, and place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes or until very soft.

Place the cooked eggplant in a sieve over a large bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and let cool and drain for about 15 minutes.  Peel, discarding the skin and any liquid that has accumulated, and, using 2 knives, chop the eggplant in a sieve over a bowl. 

Stir the feta and gruyere cheeses, the thyme, the oregano, 3 tablespoons of the matzo meal, a few sprinklings of pepper and all but a tablespoon of the remaining oil. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and stir into the eggplant mixture. Then pour everything into the gratin dish. Brush with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and the remaining matzo meal. Bake for an hour or until golden on top.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Planning a party? Easy cheesy entertaining tips

 
 
by Deena Siegelbaum
Want to mix up your cheese board at your next party?  Here are a few tried-and-true tricks for a crowd-pleasing spread.  Like the looks of what we’ve created here?  This snacky board is sure to get you through the Final Four or impress your next dinner guests.

Pick a theme: The board pictured here is…you guessed it, Italian.  We began with our new fave salamis and speck from Olli Salumeria, then picked Italian or Italian-style faves to complete the mix.  Theme by country…like the classic Spanish manchego, quince paste and Marcona almond combo; stinky (and fabulous) French cheeses and fresh baguettes; or artisan picks from the good ol’ USA with fresh fruit or veggies from the farmers market.  Whatever you choose, make sure to include a variety of styles (hard and soft cheeses) and different milk types (cow, goat, sheep).   

Think of crowd-pleasing favorites, then raise the bar:  Help your friends try new cheeses they’re guaranteed to love.  Most people stick to old faithfuls like Parmigiano and Cheddar.  Try alternatives to Parm like Piave or Stravecchio, or a superbly savory Cheddar like Bleu Mont Bandaged or Mrs. Quicke’s.  Don’t play it too safe, though – mix in some new finds!  Goat cheese and blue cheese are two types people think they don’t like – but I’ve found that starting with approachable cheeses like Aged Goat Gouda or creamy Black River Blue, you may just win them over.  

Mix in the meat: My most recent dinner guests are still talking about the cheese and bresaola board I laid out a few weeks ago – it was so ample, we followed it with a very light dinner.  The center of my wood board was piled high with bresaola and surrounded by various hard and soft cheeses, plus my favorite Marcona almonds and Spanish figs.  On another board I had fresh bread and a small bowl of olive oil for dipping.  We tried multiple pairings and all worked!   

Throw in unexpected accompaniments:  Honeys and chutneys, preserved walnuts, and pickled figs are known to get squeals at cocktail parties.  Mustard goes great with salami, of course – my new favorite is My Friend’s Brown Ale Mustard (made by a cool chick in Brooklyn).  Speck is traditionally served with creamy cheeses, pickled and bread that’s been lightly toasted.  Play around – put it on bruschetta for your guests, or in a bread salad.     

Portion “control”:  Figure 1-2 ounces per person per item.  Having 6 people over?  Aim for 1/3-1/2 LB. of each cheese, meat and condiment, plus ample crackers or bread.

Thanksgiving Recipe: Scalloped Roots & Tubers


Scalloped Roots & Tubers

Featuring Cabot Clothbound Cheddar  & Spring Brook Tarentaise

From Chef de Cuisine Brendan Corr of Co. NYC

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate everything our great country has to offer. Chef Corr has provided us with the perfect recipe for that purpose – using not only the seasonal bounty from our nation’s vegetable farmers, but two of the finest made-in-the-USA cheeses we can think of. As patriotic as waving a flag, but more delicious, this dish has a place on every Thanksgiving table.

4 lbs mixed celeriac and sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)

1 1/2 T Black Pepper

2 t Salt

6 cups whole milk

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

3/4 lb Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, grated or crumbled

3/4 lb Spring Brook Tarentaise, grated

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Wash and trim celeriac and sunchokes, then slice into discs of equal thickness.
3. In a large pot, combine milk, celeriac, sunchokes, salt & pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the milk scald.
4. Remove vegetables and set aside.
5. In a separate pot, melt the butter and mix in the flour until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Cook, stirring constantly, until it bubbles, but don’t let it brown.
6. Add the milk to the butter and flour mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, then cook for 2-3 minutes more until the mixture thickens (this is Bechamel sauce).
7. Mix the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Spring Brook Tarentaise cheeses and stir to combine with vegetables.
8. Layer vegetables in a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the Bechamel on top, making sure that it covers everything.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour until cheese is melted and vegetables are golden brown.