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Top Pick Of The Week

July 18, 2006
Updated September 2009

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Blue Cheese Recipe
Beyond dips and crumbled over salads, there are endless and tasty things to do with great blue cheese. Photo by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.
WHAT IT IS: A creamy, melt-in-your-mouth farmstead blue cheese from Marin County, California.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: An exceptional-quality cheese that has full, rich blue flavor without any of the sharpness that drives some people away from blue cheeses.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It dazzles the palate, whether in savory company with other cheeses, nuts and olives, or as a sweet dessert with peaches, pears and a glass of Sauternes or Port.
PURCHASE AT: PointReyesCheese.com


Point Reyes Original Blue:
Page 5: Storing Blue Cheese

This is Page 5 of a seven-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

Great Blue Cheese Recipes

The Blue CourseWe’ve selected two wonderful recipes, below, from The Blue Course, Point Reyes Farmstead’s charming soft-cover recipe book for Original Blue. There are a few other recipes on the company website (where the book can be purchased). The book has excellent information about blue cheese, plus much more temptation among the 50 recipes in the book, including:

  • Focaccia With Caramelized Onions, Pears &
    Original Blue
  • Original Blue Coleslaw
  • Pumpkin Soup with Original Blue Toasts
  • Blue and Red Pear Risotto
  • Original Blue Beef Wellington
  • Fig Walnut Biscotti With Original Blue
  • Blue Cheese Ice Cream

Blue lovers will want to make every one of them. To tide you over:

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Point Reyes Original Blue Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds red new potatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1-1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 pound Original Blue Cheese,
    crumbled
  • 5 green onions, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped celery
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper,
    to taste

Directions

  • Place potatoes in large pot. Cover
    with cold water. Boil until tender. Drain. Cool slightly.
  • Peel potatoes, if desired. Cut into
    1-inch pieces. Transfer to large bowl.
  • Add wine, season with salt and
    pepper and toss to coat. Cool. Add
    all remaining ingredients, mix, and
    adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Let stand 30 minutes at room
    temperature before serving. Can be
    prepared 1 day ahead: cover and
    refrigerate.
.

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Point Reyes Original Blue Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
    and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 6 ounces Original Blue Cheese,
    crumbled
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Cook potatoes in saucepan of boiling
    salted water until tender, about 20
    minutes.
  • Drain potatoes and force through ricer
    or mash with an electric mixer.
  • Melt butter in small saucepan
    with milk.
  • Add milk mixture to potatoes and
    blend. Fold in green onion and
    Original Blue Cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper,
    if desired. Serves 5 to 6.


Continue To Page 5: Caring For Blue Cheese

Go To The Article Index Above

 

 

 

Storing Blue Cheese

Like wine, cheese is a living, breathing food. Cheese’s moisture continues to evaporate as it ages*; the goal when storing cheese is to allow it to continue to breathe and retain its natural moisture. Most cheeses should not be wrapped directly in plastic wrap: it cuts off their ability to breathe and can alter the taste and texture. Waxed paper and parchment are the preferred wrappings. Retailers use plastic wrap because their cheeses turn over quickly, and because it is the most efficient way to display it to customers.

In general, cheeses are sold at peak “ripeness” and you should buy no more cheese than you plan to eat within a few days. However, Original Blue has staying power if you follow these directions:

  • Keep the Original Blue foil in place
  • Wrap the cheese in clean wax paper after each use
  • Then place in a resealable heavy plastic bag to protect smells from migrating

CowsTake good care of our cheese—or else!

  • Store in the refrigerator’s dairy compartment (cheese likes a stable environment—each time you open the door the temperature in the front of the refrigerator and on the refrigerator door shelves changes)

Properly stored, Original Blue will last about six weeks in the refrigerator. Flavors may become stronger with age. As with other cheeses, any exterior mold that grows should just be scraped off—it is not harmful.

*Aged, dry cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, have a much longer shelf life since most of the moisture has evaporated.

Continue To Page 6: Blue Cheese Dip & Dressing

Go To The Article Index Above

 

Take A Dip: Original Blue Dip & Dressing

What happens when you take all that Original Blue goodness and turn it into a chunky blue cheese dip? You get a dip that blue cheese lovers will flip over, and even people who don’t like blue cheese may enjoy it (the non-blue lovers at our tasting were converted instantly).

The company’s second product, Original BlueDip and Dressing, has been selling exclusively at the Saturday San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for the past two years (where we first discovered it). It is now available at specialty food stores nationwide, in 7-ounce containers. They say good things come in small packages. We can only advise: don’t buy just one, even on your first trial. Any true blue lover could happily eat one container as a first course.

The dip is loaded with large chunks of Original Blue. Whatever you like to dip—crudités, potato chips, pretzels, crackers, bread sticks or chicken wings—your experience will be significantly enhanced. Some of our favorite uses include:

  • Instant Hors D’Oeuvre. Arrange endive leaves on tray. Add dip to the middle of the leaves. If you have time, add some color, like snipped chives or dots of roasted red pepper.
  • Blue BLT. Hold the mayo and put the dip on a BLT. It’s a big improvement over the original.
Blue Cheese Dip
Crudités with Original Blue Dip & Dressing is a satisfying summer lunch. Photo by Melody Lan.
  • Blueburger. Better than trying to melt cheese on a burger, here’s the cheese and the condiment in one. There’s no need to add anything else: this is a dazzling dressing.

About Blue Cheese

The cheeses aren’t blue, of course—they’re dotted with dark blue and blue-green veins. The veins are Penicillium molds—cousins of the antibiotic. The molds are also relatives of the bloomy mold that covers Bries and Camemberts. Blue cheeses were originally a natural product of their environment. For example, the caves of Roquefort sur Soulzon in southwest France are teeming with Penicillium roqueforti (the town gave its name to the cheese and the mold).

  • In the absence of natural caves, mold spores are injected into blue cheese to ripen it: Danish Blue is ripened by Penicillium roqueforti, Gorgonzola by Penicillium gorgonzola, Roquefort by Penicillium roqueforti and Stilton by Penicillium glaucum. In addition to the blue veins, the molds provide a distinct flavor profile to the cheese, which ranges from fairly mild to assertive and pungent.
  • Some blue-veined cheeses can be found in the other categories—blue goat cheeses and double- and triple-crémes (Brie-types), for example. It’s possible to produce a blue in almost every cheese category except for fresh cheeses.
  • The Penicillium mold will not grow properly until oxygen comes into contact with it, so the cheeses are pierced with pins—a process called “punching” or “needling.” Air is also injected, which causes the cheeses to develop a very high acid content and crumb-like texture.
  • Blues can range from high moisture and creamy to firm and well-aged. The longer cheeses are aged, the more solid they become.
  • Blues are a particularly complex type of cheese to produce. It’s easy for the levels of both salt and mold in a blue cheese to go haywire. Even planned mold growth inside a blue causes radical change in the pH of the product, as well as alterations in the fats and proteins.
  • The most venerable and famous blues—English Stilton, French Roquefort, Italian Gorgonzola and Spanish Cabrales—are D.O.P. or A.O.C. protected. But there are dozens and dozens of prominent blues, including Bleu de Bresse and Bleu d’Auvergne (France), Danablu (Denmark), Blue Cheshire (England), and a good number produced in the United States, from the venerable Maytag and those mentioned below, plus numerous others.

Port, sparkling wine and zinfandel pair well with blue cheeses, as do barleywine-style ale, Belgian ale, Trappist beer and stout. Read more about blue cheese in “In Praise of the Blues” by Stephanie Zonis, THE NIBBLE’s cheese columnist.

Other Great American Blues

We could have written about a dozen other great American blues...and in the future, we will. Until then, here are some that should be tried sooner rather than later.

Berkshire Blue CheeseBerkshire Blue. A raw milk artisan cheese made from Jersey cow’s milk in small batches, Berkshire Blue is made in Massachusetts by Michael Miller. This beautiful blue licenses the recipe of the famous blue made by the Willett Farm Dairy of Somerset, England. The main difference is that the U.S. version is aged an extra 15 days at 35ºF; by law, raw milk cheeses cannot be released before 60 days. This artisan cheese is made completely by hand, and by only one person. It is hand-stirred, hand-ladled and manually turned, resulting in an exceptionally creamy, smooth blue. ($17.99/pound)

Deep Ellum Blue. Made by Paula Lambert of The Mozzarella Company, this cheese is named for the Dallas neighborhood where the factory is Deep Ellum Bluelocated, an area that in the past was home to legendary blues singers. Every cheese made by The Mozzarella Company is fascinatingly different in its category. Deep Ellum Blue is a creamy, spreadable blue, aged for at least two months and bathed with extra-virgin olive oil. It has no actual rind, only a diamond-scored, blue-mold-mottled exterior. The cheese is subtly flavored, not too strong and not too salty, with a robust and earthy flavor. It is delicious atop chicken, beef and veal dishes; and as with all blues, in salads and with Port and dessert wines. Read our full review of Mozzarella Company, ($15.25/pound)

Rogue BluesRogue Creamery Blues. We’ve previously written about Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue, which made history in 2003 at the World Cheese Awards in London when it won the coveted Overall Best Blue Cheese, beating out entries from all over Europe. It’s part of a family of blues you could marry into—it won Best Overall Product Line, in any category, at this year’s Fancy Food Show. We say: meet the whole family! Invite all the Rogues over—Crater Lake Blue, Echo Mountain, Oregon Blue Vein, Oregonzola, Rogue River Blue and Smokey Blue—and have a tasting spanning different degrees of sharpness and texture. “Dad” is cheesemaker David Gremmels. (3-Blue Sampler, $25.60)

We could never be blue, surrounded by such wonderful blues.

—Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who loves cheese (which is almost everyone we know).

POinT REYES Farmstead Cheese COMPANY

Original Blue Cheese and Original Blue Dip
& Dressing

Certified kosher by Orthodox Rabbinical Council
of South Florida
Gluten Free

  • Three 6-Ounces Wedges
    $38.00
  • Half Wheel (About 3 Pounds)
    $58.00
  • Whole Wheel (About 6.5 Pounds)
    $100
  • Point Reyes Original Blue Dip & Dressing
    Two 7-Ounce Tubs
    $10.00
  • “The Blue Course” Cookbook
    $10.00
  • Gift Packs
    Wedges With Other Foods
    $43.00 to $46.00

To purchase online, visit
PointReyesCheese.com
or telephone 1.800.591.6878.

Point Reyes cheeses are available at specialty food stores including online stores, and at cheese shops nationwide, where smaller amounts can be purchased.

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change.

Point Reyes Wedges
Above, 6-ounce wedges. Below, splendor in the grass (or at least, in the hay): a full wheel, about 6.5 pounds of creamy blue.
Point Reyes Wheel


Read about some of our other
favorite products in the
Cheese
Section
:



More Favorite Cheese Books

Cheese Primer Grilled Cheese The Cheese Course
The Cheese Primer, by Steve Jenkins (paperback). For 20 years, Steve Jenkins has led the way in upgrading the quality of cheese sold at fine food stores in the U.S. In this volume, he shares his encyclopedic knowledge. Jenkins tells all about cheesemaking at the commercial as well as the artistic level. The guide to pronunciation is particularly helpful. Passionately written, a must for every shelf. Click here for more information or to purchase. Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes To Make You Melt, by Marlena Spieler (paperback). This is not your mother’s grilled cheese: fresh mozzarella and salty prosciutto are spread with sweet fig jam and enclosed within crisply toasted bread, roasted red pepper, sweet onion and paprika on a standard tuna melt, and goat cheese croutons for salads are just the beginning. Click here for more information or to purchase. The Cheese Course, by Janet Fletcher. It’s more than 4 hunks of cheese on a wooden board: learn how to prepare stunning and imaginative cheese courses that can be the highlight of an otherwise simple meal. The good news is, it’s relatively simple to do it—you don’t even have to know how to cook! This book is also a great gift for anyone who loves to entertain. Click here for more information or to purchase.

 

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ABOUT THE NIBBLE. THE NIBBLE, Great Food Finds™, is an online magazine about specialty foods and the gourmet life. It is the only consumer publication and website that focuses on reviewing the best specialty foods and beverages, in every category. The magazine also covers tabletop items, gourmet housewares, and other areas of interest to people who love fine food.

© Copyright 2004-2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All information contained herein is subject to change at any time without notice. All details must be directly confirmed with manufacturers, service establishments and other third parties. The material in this newsletter may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Lifestyle Direct, Inc.

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