Gruyere and Morbier
with Chateau Lugagnac Bordeaux Supérieur
Reviewed by Ziggy (Kiva Beer & Wine) and Josh (Kiva Deli)
The Cheeses: Gruyere and Morbier
Gruyere, a classic Swiss cheese, is made with raw milk and has a big, vibrant, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. This is a perfect cheese for the holidayseason, whether for a cheese plate or everyone’s favorite, fondue. It is wonderful for cooking, whether melting over croutons for French onion soup or used in a gratin. Its versatility and big flavor makes this cheese a favorite.
As promised, I’m back with a couple more recipes from Kiva employees.
Robin, one of our talented chefs, made us a sample of the following recipe today that amazed all who tasted it. This is a recipe that should be read all the way through, so you can familiarize yourself with the details and the length of preparation before you try it. Without further ado, I present this gem:
Robin’s Polenta Wedges with Chanterelle Mushroom Ragout
- 1 c polenta (corn grits)
- 3 c water (for added flavor use chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/3 teaspoon white pepper
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Chanterelle Mushroom Ragout
- 2 c chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and pulled by hand into strips
- 1/4 c minced shallots
- 1/3 c chopped parsley
- 1/2 c Marsala wine
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For Polenta wedges: In saucepot, bring 3 c of water or stock to a boil. Add 1 cup polenta. Turn heat to low. Stir the polenta constantly until grits are creamy, then add 3 Tablespoons of butter, salt, white pepper, and parmesan cheese. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. On a greased baking sheet with a lip pour polenta out and smooth into an even layer. Chill for 1 to 2 hours or until firm (can be done overnight). Flip pan onto a cutting surface and cut into wedges, or use a biscuit cutter to make rounds.
For Mushroom Ragout: Clean chanterelles with a damp paper towel, rubbing gently. Pull the chanterelles into strips. Over high heat, bring the oil to the smoking point in a sauté pan. Throw the polenta wedges into the pan and cook on each side until golden brown (be careful; it will spatter). Remove and dab dry on a paper towel.
To serve: Place Polenta Wedges on a plate and drizzle a generous portion of Chanterelle Ragout on top. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.
If you’re looking for something a little faster, here’s another to try. This looks like a terrific potluck contribution.
Elena’s Chanterelles en Pastry
- 1 lb fresh chanterelles, chopped
- 6 oz salted butter
- 1 medium leek, sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 2 to 3 packages Puff Pastry
- Salt and pepper
Sauté leek and onion in 1 oz of butter until caramelized. Set aside. Saute mushrooms and garlic with 1 oz butter and add to caramelized onions and leeks. Toss with ricotta, add salt and pepper to taste.
Melt remaining butter. Unfold pastry. Brush with the melted butter, then cut in 2-inch strips. Put a teaspoon or two of mushroom mix on one end of strip, then fold into triangles.
Place on parchment-covered cookie sheet. Brush top with melted butter. Bake at 350 until golden on top. Serve warm.
Well, here it is: after a record-breaking dry spell, the old familiar cold and rain have finally arrived. Some of us love it; some of us hate it; and some of us tolerate the long grey months because we know that they have their rewards.
Rewards? Yes, there are a few. What’s rain in the valley is usually snow in the higher elevations, providing sport for skiers and snowboarders. After we wait out a soggy winter we often have a beautiful spring (a little lacking in recent years) and wonderful summers, for a start.
And for the intrepid hiker who isn’t afraid of damp feet and slippery footing, Oregon’s forests can be beautiful in the rainy season, and the many species of fascinating and edible mushrooms that spring up when the rain comes down are a reason to welcome the wet.
“I don’t like to work with intangibles,” he says; he made the choice long ago to be out in the weather hunting for chanterelles rather than sitting behind a desk shuffling numbers. Rob says he loves to spend time in nature and take longs walks in the forests where he harvests fungal delicacies; he needs time in the wild to be happy. This is especially lucky this year, since unusual weather (the long, late-summer dry spell followed by not only rain, but cold) has made this year’s mushroom crop scarce and harder to find–the worst year for picking that Rob has seen.
Since we don’t all have the time, ability, or know-how to go on those long walks ourselves, many of us rely on the convenient commercial availabilty of chanterelles and other wild mushrooms. Having someone else do the legwork can be well worth the time and effort saved for busy folks, even though this year’s smaller harvest has driven prices up.
Chanterelles have a nutty, savory, delicate flavor with wide appeal–varieties of this mushroom grow in the northerly areas of Europe, Asia, and America, and they’re relished in many different cuisines. There are endless ways to prepare and enjoy them; a quick search for “chanterelle recipes” on Google yielded 42,000 hits!
Chanterelle recipes are easier to find than mushrooms, but in search of more, I solicited recipes from Kiva employees this week and got some to add to the record.
A caveat: these are not recipes written or tested by professional chefs, so use your own judgement. Your mileage may vary!
The simplest came from Tom, our local grocery buyer. He likes to slice, pan-fry, and eat chanterelles before they leave the skillet. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Dave, one of our produce managers, offered this recipe:
Dave’s Kale with Chanterelle
In a separate pan, heat the chanterelles until they release liquid, then add them to the kale mixture. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper; serve immediately.
Our wine buyer Ziggy makes this creamy Chanterelle Chicken every autumn at least once. As you might expect, wine plays an important part in this dish.
Ziggy’s Chanterelle Chicken (serves 4 to 6)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, browned and cubed (1/2 inch cubes)
This is a traditional autumn recipe in my house, and I always pair it with an oaked Chardonnay which complements the savory woody notes of the mushrooms. I recommend Stangeland for an Oregon Chardonnay (oaky but also floral and subtle with some crispness left), or J. Lohr’s Riverstone or Arroyo Vista Chardonnays for Californiawine.
I also always accompany the Chanterelle Chicken with a pear/blue-cheese salad. Any pear of your choice can be sliced or cubed, topped with small pieces of blue cheese (I love the Fourme D’Ambert, which is sweet and nutty and complements fruit very well), and crushed roasted hazelnuts, covered with a balsamic vinaigrette and served on a bed of greens.
That’s it for now. Next week we’ll be back with a few other recipes from familiar faces at the Kiva. In the meantime, tell us–what do you do with chanterelles?
Cattail Creek Lamb Returns to Our Meat Section
The Kiva’s meat selection focuses on local, naturally-raised products. Our knowledgeable buyers Emma and Will deal directly with the farmers and ranchers who raise the animals rather than a central distributor, so their relationship with the food we sell is up-close and personal.
Local lamb producer Cattail Creek was one of the first suppliers the Kiva added when we first started carrying meat. The mild flavor and tender texture made it an immediate hit with both families and restaurants in the area.
After a hiatus of one and a half years, Cattail Creek Lamb is back on our shelves this month, and maybe better than ever.
John Neumeister, Cattail Creek’s founder, has been a familiar face at the Kiva for a long time. He was glad to answer all my questions when I called him last week, and had a lot of interesting things to say about food and how it’s produced. John’s agricultural resumé is impressive: he grew up on a mixed sheep and cattle farm in Ohio; he has been raising lamb for thirty years since moving to Oregon; and has been involved in organic farming since the 1970’s. He has degrees in animal and crop sciences from Oregon State University. He co-authored the Certified Organic Standards for livestock which were adopted by Oregon Tilth and the National Organic Standards.
Now in partnership with Farmland LP, a U.S. private equity fund whose mission is to acquire farmland and convert it to organic production, John is primarily in charge of marketing, while partners Craig Wichner and Jason Bradford oversee most of the operations, and the farms are managed by shepherd Mac Stewart–an all-star team whose qualifications are as formidable as Mr. Neumeister’s.
I was impressed to find that Cattail Creek is more than a business enterprise–it’s a vision of community-supported, sustainable agriculture. “We’re not looking for loopholes just to sell a more expensive product,” John told me.
It’s very literally a grassroots effort. In John’s opinion, Cattail Creek has the strongest raising claim of any of the larger lamb-producing farms in the valley (most of which pasture their lambs on seed-producing or after-harvest fields that have been treated with chemicals), with 800 of its 900 acres–comprised of three properties between Corvallis and Philomath–certified organic, and the remainder transitional.
Sheep are designed by nature to be grazers, and better pasture produces better meat, so the conversion of commercial farmland to high-quality organic pasture is an important step. Cattail Creek’s system encourages a wide variety of plant species in their pastures, such as cold-tolerant and drought-resistant grasses, legumes (which fix nitrogen in the soil), plantains, and chicory. The land is never treated with chemicals, and rock powders are used as fertilizers. The sheep make their contribution too, in the form of manure which cycles nutrients back into the soil.
Starting from the ground up, Cattail Creek is dedicated to humane care and handling of its animals. They use no synthetic crop treatment and no GMO crops; lambs are 100% grass fed and free of antibiotics or hormones.
Although it’s a new enterprise, their breeding program assures that not only the lambs but their mothers as well eat a chemical- and GMO-free, 100% vegetarian diet, and are also free of hormones and antibiotics (animals which become sick and require treatment with antibiotics are removed from the program). It’s their intention to find breeds of sheep which thrive best under local conditions and raise them through generations rather than buying lambs from brokers.
The advantage to consumers is obvious–the 100% grass-fed meat tastes better than the “muttony” lamb from a feedlot operation, but the benefits go beyond flavor. Cattail Creek is diversifying their operations toward a goal of integrated holistic farming. In addition to developing markets to utilize the byproducts of lamb production, they’ve incorporated a new poultry-raising project and added vegetable crops. Some land is also leased to a hog farmer. John hopes that Farmland LP may be a vision of the future of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), where instead of having a farm subscription, the participants would be involved in a cooperative effort to acquire the land on which their food is grown.
The Kiva is currently carrying Cattail Creek’s ground lamb, stew and kabob meat, lamb chops, and shoulder steak. Sausage is expected to be available in November.
Cattail Creek’s meat is processed and packed by Century Oak Packing Co., a local company owned by Lonely Lane Farms. http://centuryoakpacking.com/html/contact_us.html
We’re lucky to live in an area with an abundance of sustainable agriculture, offering readily-available organic produce, meat, eggs, and dairy products. It’s a luxury to be able to buy fresh, healthy food just one or two stops from the farm. Welcome back, Cattail Creek!
For more information on Cattail Creek and Farmland LP, visit http://www.farmlandlp.com/
This month Josh and Ziggy, our representatives from the Deli and the Wine Department respectively, tried pairing Seeing Red Cabernet and Perrydale Aged Gouda from Salem’s Willamette Valley Cheese Company.
Remember those long, golden summer days spent outside with a good book? The adventures you could have without ever leaving your yard?
Let your little one explore the world of CatWings this summer. Their imagination will soar!
These sweet stories follow four kittens and their adventures from the city to the country and all the characters they meet along the way.
With subtle messages about family, kindness and compassion these books are easy to love even for adults.
Look for all four titles: CatWings, CatWings Return, Wonderful Alexander and the CatWings, and Jane on Her Own.
Written by Ursula K. Le Guin and illustrated by S. D. Schindler, this series will be a great addition to your child’s summer reading list.
The Kiva was built on and is sustained by community. Within our store there is a community. Surrounding our store is a community. And beyond even our beloved downtown, there is a larger community which we contribute to, which we are supported by, which inspires and enlivens our economy, our sense of individuality, our place, our time. In times of need and in times of celebration we turn to our community, however we define it, to support us, to uplift us, to sustain us. Please read on to learn how you as part of our community can support an individual.
The drama! The intrigue! In a battle of the taste buds who will survive?! *cue dramatic Iron Chef-type music*
Huh? Are we watching reality television? Is this thing on?
Fortunately (or unfortunately) there will be no Kiva reality series. (Although, I tend to think it would make for some very entertaining material!)
There will, however, be another monthly wine and cheese pairing featuring notes from Ziggy and Josh, our wine and cheese buyers. This one is particularly interesting because of their difference of opinion. There is only one way to settle this dispute and that is to taste for yourself!
Ziggy: Since it’s beginning to look like spring is here, everything is coming up rosés.
If you think sweet and sickly when you see pink, you might want to rethink your drink. Rosés are often misunderstood and their versatility can be under-appreciated.
A rosé wine can vary in color from palest pink through peach and orange hues to varied shades of clear, vivid red; and can vary in palate from delicate to bold. Some, yes, are sweet, and some are dry with varying degrees of tannin. The right rosé can complement a mild fish dish or take on a grilled steak, and the color alone won’t tell you a great deal about the character of the wine.
There are several ways rosés arrive at their rosy hue. Most are made from grapes used to make red wine, either as a single varietal or a blend, and colored by being allowed to remain in contact with the skins, where the pigment resides. Others may be produced by blending white and red wines. While this is not a popular method in many regions, there are some very tasty wines that result from it.
Most rosés will be crisp and have vivid fresh fruit notes like strawberry, cherry, apricot or melon, and, served chilled, will complement and enhance a summer afternoon or evening.
We chose Territorial’s Pinot Noir Rosé for our pairing this month. The Kiva has carried Territorial wines for many years, and their Rosé has shown consistent quality and been a steady seller.
We are currently stocking the 2010 Rosé; and the 2011 is expected in soon. I and my tasting partner found it to be drinking extremely well. While the usual advice about drinking rosé fresh is good, many will continue to show well for at least one or two years after bottling. Don’t throw ‘em away without uncorking a taste.
We found the 2010 to have a bright, deep rose color. On the nose, I found notes of violet and strawberry lollipop. The palate was light, bright, and crisp with lots of soft, icy fruit including cherry and stone fruits. We drank it chilled but not iced.
My tasting partner and I particularly liked the rosé with the Fern’s Edge Pleasant Hill cheese, which has a young, sharpish cheddar-like flavor, a crumbly texture, and a bite on the finish. This cheese brought out fresh fruity notes in the wine. Of the Fern’s Edge cheese we tried, this pairing was by far our favorite.
While Josh and Emma especially enjoyed the Mt. Zion with the rosé, I have to disagree. The cheese is excellent–earthy, meaty, and scrumptious–but I wanted to pair it with a big, rich, full-bodied wine (like a Washington Cabernet). I found that it made the rosé taste alkaline and overpowered its bright and fruit notes.
The feta was fresh, rich, mild, and, while salty, it was not overpoweringly so. We thought it went well with the Territorial Rosé and brought out some tannin on the palate.
The Five Corners was soft, initially mild, but with a complex buttery musk on the finish. The Territorial Rosé was a pleasing accompaniment, but the butteriness of the cheese seemed to blunt the wine’s acidic crispness a little.
Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc 2011: Less than 1000 cases produced. I found this to be crisp and lucid, with clean, clear berry fruits. Quite dry but not acerbic. Made from a blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes from the Roussillon region. Many pairings are possible, but grilled chicken and vegetables is a top choice. $15.50
Calcu Rosé 2010: A perennial favorite of mine from the Valle de Colchagua, Chile. Made from 50% Malbec, 40% Syrah, and 10% Petit Verdot, there is some complexity to this round, slightly magical blend. It deserves its name, which means “magician” in a local language. $11.75
Druid’s Fluid Pink 2009: Lightly sweet, fruity, and easy to drink, Druid’s Fluid wines hail from Oregon’s Troon Vineyards in the Applegate Valley. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser, it’s “the wine for everyone”–in their own words. $12.00
Hey Mambo Kinky Pink 2010: A California Pinot Noir Rosé. A tasty, dry rosé that will cool off a hot afternoon, accompany salmon on the barbeque, or otherwise serve any function you desire of a dry rosé. Good value–and a fun name. $10.50
Melrose Two Dog Red 2009: Sweet but not too sweet, with a residual sugar of 1.7%, this rosé contains a fair amount of Pinot Gris. Another easy quaffer for a warm summer night, it would also make a good aperitif with many hors d’oeuvres. $12.00
Cardwell Hill Rosé of Pinot Noir 2011: From a small producer of excellent Pinot Noir, Cardwell Hill’s Rosé is dry and bright with a cherry/berry nose and a fresh finish. A fine value and versatile dinner guest from the Willamette Valley. $10.50
Charles & Charles Rosé 2011: Yes, you can drink rosé and still be bad… Edgy packaging and copy, and a solid mouthful of dry, bright syrah rosé. A bucket of ice is all it lacks. $10.50
Del Rio Rosé Jolee: A rosé that tastes sweeter than its official figure of .5% residual sugar because of the predominance of the heavenly fragrant Early Muscat that makes up 63% of the blend. 17% Riesling and 20% blend of red grapes makes up the rest of this salmon-colored wine that would be equally at home with spicy Asian food or a cheesecake dessert. $11.75
This list is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t even touch sparkling rosés, which also come in a spectrum ranging from the fascinating, complicated, and elegant to fizzy pink grown-up soda-pop. As the season warms up (yes, it will–I think it will…) we’ll be seeing more rosés from France, Spain, and Italy. Ask Ziggy to tell you exactly what’s in stock!
Josh: “I don’t have to go away for the weekend, I’m already here, ” says Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy owner, Shari, as she casts a proud glance across her farm indicating her view of Dexter Lake through the trees. She has been raising award-winning dairy goats at her beautiful farm in Lowell since the early 1970’s.
Happy goats produce good-quality milk, and her goats have every reason to be happy. Each goat is named and cared for as a member of the family, grows up on organic feed, dutifully produces milk, and then retires with her fellow “beloved old ladies” to live out her days in the bucolic pastures of the farm. She pays to have each goat’s milk tested every three weeks to ensure the health of the animals and the quality of the milk. Her impeccably-clean dairy results in fresh, clean-tasting cheeses that would never be described as “goaty”.
I chose to celebrate this devotion to sustainable farming, happy, healthy goats, and high-quality local cheese, by selecting Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy’s pride and joy, their Mt. Zion aged goat cheese, for this month’s wine and cheese pairing:
The Wine: Territorial Vineyard’s Rosé is fruity, bright and clean, portending of lazy summer evenings to come.
The Cheese: Mt. Zion is a raw, toothsome aged artisan farmstead goat cheese in the style of a Spanish Manchego. This cheese serves as a showpiece for a great collaboration between the goat herd owner and cheese-maker that brings together decades of of dairy goat experience with generations of cheese-making experience.
The Pairing: A good, straight-ahead, innocently refreshing rosé meets an older, more seasoned cheese and suddenly becomes more interesting.
It’s a tale as old as time. An unlikely duo teaming up to save the day and teach us all a valuable lesson. Our hero’s: Tom Hunton and Charlie Tilt, owners of Hunton’s Farm and Hummingbird Wholesale respectively. One a grower of grain, one a distributor. Both located here in the scenic Willamette Valley. So what is it that brings these two businessmen together?