New Cowgirl Creamery Cookbook celebrates artisan cheeses

Founded in 1994, Cowgirl Creamery of Point Reyes Station, CA, has fueled the popularity of artisan cheeses in Northern California.

Some longer-time cheese makers in California include Vella Creamery in Sonoma (founded in 1931), whose customers have included celebrities such as actor Carey Grant. We regularly eat Vella and Cowgirl Cheeses, among others.

In our Sierra Foothills region, Shaft’s Blue Cheese of Roseville is one of our favorites. It appears on the menu at Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay. Dedrick’s Cheese in Placerville and the Back Porch Market in Grass Valley sell a wide selection of artisan cheeses.

Now — expanding the fresh, local cheese movement further — Cowgirl Creamery has published its first cookbook, celebrating artisan cheeses. It is called, simply enough, Cowgirl Creamery Cooks.

“Between them, Cowgirl co-founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith spent decades in the Bay Area’s most loved and respected restaurants,” according to the cookbook. “Cowgirl Creamery Cooks collects 75 of their favorite recipes for cooking with cheese, as well as their vast accumulated wisdom about tasting, buying, serving, and appreciating all kinds of cheese.

“More than 60 photographs of delicious cheeses, finished dishes, and the rolling hills of coastal California from celebrated Canal House photographers Hirsheimer & Hamilton narrate the story of the Cowgirls, the rise of the organic dairy movement, and the enjoyment of good cheese.

Chilled Spring Garlic and Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraîche and Fresh Ricotta
Earl Grey Panna Cotta
Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Crème Fraîche and Jam
How to Plan a Cheese Course

The book is published by Chronicle Books, ISBN 9781452111636. You can purchase the cookbook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound. The price is $35 for a hardcover edition.

Here’s one Cowgirl Creamery recipe: Red Hawk Potato Gratin

“Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk is intended as a stand-alone table cheese, and we rarely recommend cooking with it. Here is one exception: a mouthwatering potato gratin infused with Red Hawk’s indulgent, creamy boldness.

“2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces Red Hawk, cut in 16 wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sized onion, julienned
2 pounds peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

“Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

“Heat a 9” cast-iron skillet and add butter and olive oil to pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Turn off heat and add cream and half of the grated parmesan cheese.

“Transfer half of the onion-cream mixture into a glass baking dish or casserole dish, and place one layer of potatoes on top. Follow with a layer of Red Hawk wedges. (A customer who prepared this used just 8 oz of Red Hawk and sprinkled black pepper between the layers). Add one more layer of potatoes, Red Hawk wedges and the remaining onion-cream mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

“Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another half hour or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Source: Cowgirl Creamery

A video featuring a tour of Cowgirl Creamery is here:

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