Showing posts with label bleu cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bleu cheese. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's in a Platter?

My third book is on its way to publication. The title: CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT. In the book, I feature a number of cheese platters. Charlotte teaches a course on how to prepare platters. There are no "rules" - just so you know.  But there are things that lots of people teaching platter design are into right now. On a platter have one of each type of cheese: a goat cheese, cow's cheese, and sheep's milk cheese. Add nuts, sweets like honey, fruits or veggies.

There's NO right or wrong. What you want to put on your platter is what you want to serve. The fun in platters is making them works of art, if you will.

I subscribe to a magazine called CULTURE, which is all about cheese. It's a delicious magazine. (No, I don't eat it.) But I do consume the recipes, the articles, and the research. And as part of my research, I've subscribed to the Culture "centerfold" series. Okay, yes, sounds like sex but it's not. They put a centerfold in the middle of the magazine that highlights a special cheese.  For a fee, they will send me that cheese and the accoutrements.


I just received a centerfold cheese this week, and I had to share it with you.  It's in the above left corner. It's a goat cheese called: Capriole: Julianna. Don't you love the name? So feminine, named after its creator. [It's a raw milk, hard cheese that is nutty like a Tomme de Savoie, yet buttery and smooth and coated with herbs.]

The picture the Culture Magazine provided with the delivery was exceptional. I'm not a photographer, but I loved the minimalism of the presentation. There is the cheese (cut in half), long limbed crackers, and fruit chewies that are melt in your mouth delicious. Lemon, raspberry, blackberry, sort of like those candies you can find at Christmas time...or remember orange wedge slices, all sugar-coated? I haven't tried to make them, but I'm going to, and I promise to share the recipe once I do. I have a bunch of apricots waiting to be cooked!

And so, for my platter, I tried to copy the centerfold photograph.  Just so you know, the centerfold picture had no knife on the plate, but there were lots of magazine words over that blank place. I think the knife works on my presentation, don't you?

As for other platters, over the past two years, I've tested out a number of platter options. Some that are all cheese (with a variety of colors, shapes, tastes). Other platters that include the fruits and veggies. Please enjoy the photos and may they inspire you.  (One of my favorites--though  I'll be danged if I can't find the photograph--was an antipasto platter that included cheeses, salamis, peppers, turnips, olives and more. So much fun. Delish.)

Do what you will. Make a work of art. Yes, size matters...when it comes to how many people you're having to your party.





Wow, we've had so many wonderful new books released this month!  Congratulations to Julie, Wendy, and Riley!

Read on to order books or enter contests and to see more congratulations are due! 

Congratulations to Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig) on the release of Finger Lickin' Dead, the 2nd book in her Memphis BBQ Mystery series (and does it have great recipes!)Click here to read a review of Finger Lickin' Dead from Mason Canyon's Thoughts in Progress. Click here to read Diane's review at the Book Resort.

Click here to purchase the book.

Congratulations to Riley's contest winner: Darlene Peterson!

Congratulations to Julie Hyzy on the release of Grace Interrupted, the second in her Manor House Mystery series.

Click here to read a review from
the Chicago Sun-Times

Click here to order the book.

Congratulations to Wendy Lyn Watson on the release of A Parfait Murder, the third in her Mystery A La Mode series.

Click here to read a review from A Criminal Element.

Click here to purchase the book.

Click here to visit Wendy's Web site and
read on to learn how to enter her contest!

Wendy Lyn Watson's
new mystery
A Parfait Murder features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant. To celebrate, Wendy's giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain.

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please.

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book), by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. Wendy will randomly select one entry and announce the winner here on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog on Saturday, June 18. She will contact the winner via e-mail. If she does not receive a response within 7 days, she will draw a new winning name.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentines, don't be blue! Eat bleu!

On Valentine's Day, don't be blue. Eat bleu.
Cheese, that is.

While at the Bouchercon Conference last year, I volunteered in the book room. A librarian came up to me and said I absolutely must try Roaring 40's blue cheese, from King Island, Australia. I'd never heard of it. And then another person who called me "The Cheese Shop Lady" said I had to try it. Well, okay. I do listen.
Roaring 40's is savory yet sweet. It has won all sorts of awards.

Then I was reading The Cheese Chronicles, by Liz Thorpe, and she wrote a section on bleu cheeses and mentioned the Roaring 40's blue, as well as a number of others. Point Reyes "original" blue cheese was the cheese that stuck in my mind. As their website says, their blue requires three things: Grade A raw milk froma closed herd of Holstein cows that graze on certified organic green pastures; the coastal fog; the salty Pacific breezes.

And I thought...CHEESE TASTING. [I found both cheeses at Whole Foods.]

So to prepare for this week's blog, I decided to taste the blue cheeses. Fun, fun, fun!
And then prepare a meal.
I'd had the most wonderful salad at a restaurant in menlo Park, California a couple of weeks ago. A restaurant called Cedro's. [Shout out to a fabulous place!]

The chef prepared a salad with poached pears and Gorgonzola, and I thought...why not blue? I could do a bleu cheese salad. How do I poach pears?

I searched the internet, found a recipe for poaching pears in wine, and tried it, changing a few things to make it "mine."

I hope you enjoy. I served this to my husband and he flipped. [I think I got a royal kiss afterwards--perfect from a Valentine, don't you think?]

Here you go.

First start with the Poached Pears...

Ingredients for Poached Pears:
2 firm Bosc pears, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Zinfandel wine (or your preferred dry, hearty wine)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Bosc pears can keep their peels. So slice each pear into 8 slices.
In a saucepan, bring sugar, water, wine, lemon juice, and spices to a boil over high heat.
Lay in the pears and simmer 5-10 minutes, until tender, turning often.
Cool pears in syrup.

Then construct the salad:

Valentine's Day Salad

Bib lettuce
Bleu cheese slices (for this recipe I used one slice of each, Point Reyes and Roaring 40's)
Poached Pears (recipe above)

Lay 2-3 pieces of bib lettuce on a salad or dinner plate.
Arrange cooled 3-5 poached pears on each plate.
Arrange 2 slices of bleu cheese on either side of pears.
Decorate with raspberries.
Drizzle with the cooled syrup.

Remember to take a bite of the cheese with the pears and raspberries. The salt and sugar combo is supreme!


Congratulations to Helen K, who suggested our next Secret Ingredient for the Mystery Kitchen’s Iron Chef contest. What was the next ingredient? Take a look at the end of February! And keep reading MLK to find out how to enter our next contest!

And don’t forget Jenn’s cupcake contest! Enter your suggestion and name a fictional cupcake. It’ll be written into the new mystery: BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF. Send proof of your pre-order of SPRINKEL WITH MURDER along with your name and cup ake name to Jenn at:

Jennmck (at) yahoo (dot) com

and Congratulations to Krista who's selling The Diva Paints the Town with flying colors! Available on Amazon, B & N, and all your favorite independent bookstores!