Say Cheese

By Billa

SAY CHEESE

(In a whisper)

CHEESEBOARD

Fiore Sardo, Fried Halloumi, Goat Gouda

Whole Wheat Crackers, Fig Preserves, Warm Marcona Almonds


SOUP

Tomato and Mushroom Soup with Parmigiano-Reggiano Curls


ENTREE

Butternut Squash, Kale, and Taleggio Galette

Roast Vegetable Galette with a Cheddar Crust


SALAD

Beets with Orange and Goat Cheese


DESSERTS

Ricotta and Cream Cheese Cheesecake

Strawberries with Mascarpone Whipped Cream


The theme I picked for my November dinner was cheese. Cheese goes with everything (Some would say, not fish, but I would argue with that.), cheese can easily navigate from savory to sweet, and there is such an interesting variety to explore.


The dinner is titled “Say Cheese (In a whisper)” because I did not want it to be a heavy dinner. I just wanted there to be hints of cheese in most dishes. That said, there was more than a hint in the appetizer, which was a cheeseboard and one of the desserts, which was a cheesecake.














To make it more interesting, the cheeseboard featured cheeses that are unfamiliar to me. There was fiore sardo ( a sheep's milk cheese from the island of Sardinia, Italy), goat gouda (from the Netherlands), and fried halloumi (made of a mix of goat and sheep’s milks from Cyprus). Fig preserves, Marcona almonds lightly sautéed in olive oil, and whole wheat crackers accompanied the cheeses.


For the soup, There was a tomato/mushroom combination on oprah.com that sounded just right. The only change I made was to substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano curls for the goat cheese.

The recipe can be accessed here:

https://www.oprah.com/food/tomato-soup-with-sauteed-mushrooms-and-goat-cheese-recipe


For the main course, I decided to make two galettes. There is an article on the website Food 52 entitled “How to Make Any Savory Galette without a Recipe.” I followed the instructions to make two doughs, adding 4 oz. of grated cheddar to one of the doughs.

https://food52.com/blog/11538-how-to-make-any-savory-galette-without-a-recipe


I wanted to make the fillings very different from each other. I decided on roasted fingerling potatoes and tomatoes and shallots for the one with the cheesy crust. For the other, I chose kale, roasted butternut squash, and tallegio cheese.



Now I needed something fresh-tasting and cool to serve alongside the galettes. I grated some beets, mixed them with dried cranberries and chopped orange sections, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I stuffed portions into small ramekins. To stay true to the theme, I needed a cheese garnish. So, I formed small balls out of goat cheese mixed with a little orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. When serving, I inverted each ramekin over a salad plate, put a flattened cheese ball on top, and sprinkled orange zest over all.


Dessert was a ricotta-based cheesecake from the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. It was delicious. Here’s the recipe:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/honey-ricotta-cheesecake-recipe-1915967

The cake was accompanied by strawberries stuffed with mascarpone cheese. To make the filling, I beat 1/2 cup of mascarpone with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. To prepare the strawberries, I cut the stem part evenly off the strawberries to make them sit straight, pointy side up. Then, I sliced crosswise down, across the point, stopping just short of the end of each strawberry. I filled a baggie with the creamy mascarpone. I cut off a corner of the baggie and piped the mixture into the strawberries. It was not easy to do that and it came out looking a little messy. I think that next time I would cut the strawberries horizontally and make an Oreo-like mascarpone-stuffed strawberry sandwich instead.


For a take-home favor, guests were given homemade rugelach, whose dough was made with neufchatel cheese.








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