Fast review: Break away from the humdrum “cheese plate” and start enjoying cheese all year long with these seasonal inspired recipes.
It may seem strange to think about, but all cheese begins its life as grass. If cheese is an agricultural product, isn’t it natural to pair it with other farmers’ market treasures? Master chef and cheesemonger Chester Hastings bases his newest cookbook on this idea. The book is divided into four seasonal sections with recipes grouped by type of produce.
Hastings is also a firm believer in the old European adage—take very good ingredients and do very little to them. Each recipe is perfectly calibrated to highlight the individual facets of the dish and every ingredient serves a purpose. As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season starts, having an arsenal of low effort, high impact recipes like these is a total lifesaver.
With ninety unique dishes (over 80 of which are vegetarian), this book is a love letter to cheese that has recipes for any craving. Get your copy, head to the market, and get ready to have cheese for dinner!
Who’s kitchen would you find it in: The culinary vagabond, carnivores toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian, anyone who likes cheese!
Nuts and Bolts
For seasonal inspiration, Hastings looks to the farming communities where his favorite cheeses are made to see what they do with their own creations. This “culinary anthropology” gives the recipes a sense of wanderlust that entices you into the kitchen. He offers a short introduction on every page that outlines the type of cheese recommended, as well as the heritage of the dish. From the savory cakes of France to the toraz casseroles of Italy to Romania’s mamaliga (a spin on polenta), the recipes will make you feel like a globetrotter even though you’ve never left your kitchen.
Brie, Burrata, Blue, and more appear in the book, ensuring that the full cheese spectrum is covered. Main courses include twists on classic favorites, like melon with Serrano ham and garroxta, and traditional dishes, like calzone with seared peppers, sage, and ricotta. For those with a sweet-tooth, Hastings also offers finales such as bing cherry and goat cheese pudding and peach pine nut tarts. Sharp or mild, creamy or stinky, every cheese lover is sure to be inspired by the seasonal rhythm of this cookbook.
What to Make
To replace your sad desk lunch: Panini with Arugula and Honey Bee Goat Gouda (p. 29); Savorycake with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Feta (p.82); Rainbow Swiss Chard and Ricotta Tart (p. 121); Channeling Beans with Sage and Parmaggiano-Reggiano (p. 164)
For your next dinner party: Venetian Risotto with Fresh Peas and Monte Veronese (p. 44); Grilled Flatbreads with Zucchini and Robiola Bosina (p. 96); Fresh Goat Cheese Cubes with Fried Garlic Chips, Rosemary, and Honey (p. 108); Coffee Rubbed Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Spinach and Aged Cheddar (p. 186)
For a weeknight indulgence: Lemon Mascarpone Tarts with Chocolate-Pistachio Crust (p. 48); Black Mission Figs and Fresh Robiola with White Truffle Oil Wrapped in Breasaola (p. 55); Leeks and Cream with Gruyere de Comte (p. 126); Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts with Podda Cheese and Warm Honey (p. 154)
The Cheesemonger’s Seasons is by Chester Hastings. Find it here!
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Photo Credit: Casey Maxon and Aurore Joigny