This month's Barefoot Bloggers optional bonus recipe was selected by the wonderful Rebecca of Ezra Poundcake who referred the most people to the BB site last month. Rather than picking a recipe, Rebecca wanted us to put our creative Ina-skills to use by designing a cheese platter. I do love this idea, but I am so lacking in any food styling and plate arranging skills that stuff like this makes me feel a bit inadequate. I am much more a stick some flowers in a vase, slap the cheese on a plate kind of gal rather than carefully and artfully arranging everything, but since I am a big fan of Rebecca and I have not missed a Barefoot Bloggers' post yet, I knew I had to attempt it. Below in all its glory, I present my "All-American Cheese Platter."
As you may have noticed, I have been on a bit of a health kick all month but there are not a lot of ways to make a cheese platter much healthier or lower in calories (besides the requisite fruit of course), without resorting to low-fat cheeses. My strategy for this one then became portion control--make the platter and take it over to a friend's house so that others would consume most of it. Also, if I couldn't make it lower in calories or healthier, I could at least make it more "green". In bon appétit magazine's February 2009 special feature,"50 Easy Ways to Eat Green", number 23 is "Eat American Cheese" so I decided to create a platter featuring all cheeses from America. In addition to the cheeses (listed below), I bought apples and pears from Washington, pecans from Georgia and American-made crackers. (No grapes unfortunately as they were all from Chile).
Surfing Goat Dairy (Maui, Hawaii): "Swedish Heart": A goat cheese with caraway seeds, aged 3 months. (I have been to this little artisan dairy and I got to pet the baby goats)
Cypress Grove Chevre (Arcata, California): "Truffle Tremor": Goat cheese with truffle, need I say more?
Vella Cheese (Sonoma, California): "Mezzo Secco": A partially-dry Monterey Jack cheese, the companies attempt to return to a 1930's style cheese that was made to hold up in warm weather.
Whole Foods: Wisconsin Cheddar Aged Three Years (this was a good quality but no-name cheese however, I needed some color, it is from Wisconsin and it goes so well with apple and pear).
I am sure that Ina (or one of her merry band of friends) would have made a much more Barefoot Contessa-like cheese platter but I think it at least looks appealing and honestly, for my friends, as long as there is good cheese and plenty of it, they are happy!
My favorite cheese? Being that it is from Hawaii and is seriously delicious cheese, I should say the Surfing Goat but who could resist a creamy chevre with truffle in it? It's tangy but also earthy and decadent and another perfect cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre. Thanks Rebecca for a fun and different pick this week. You can check out the other Barefoot Bloggers' cheese platters at the BB site here.