Why: Have you met my sister-in-law, yet? Probably not, but she gives great book gifts! (You can find two of her more hilarious gifts reviewed here and here. Both highly recommended reading!) I was a apprehensive of her giving me a cookbook, though, because she eats SUPER healthy and little to no meat. I, on the other hand, love meat and all things unhealthy. Then I read Cowgirl Creamery Cooks by cowgirls Sue Conley and Peggy Smith. Courtney knew exactly what she was doing – this book is all about cheese! I will never question reading another Courtney-book!
We eat a lot of cheese in the United States.
Story: (Yes, cookbooks have stories to tell!) Cowgirl Creamery is located in Point Reyes Station, California and is an artisan organic cheese company. In the 1990s, Peggy and Sue left the restaurant world to bring local products to area chefs through their company, Tomales Bay Food. In March 1997, they opened Cowgirl Creamery after an idea to make cheese from their neighbor dairy farm’s milk. After two decades and countless national and international awards, Cowgirl Creamery cheese are sold in over 500 independent stores, shops and markets, and nationally through Whole Foods Markets.
Who knew that caring for wheels of moldy cheese in a dark, cool cave could be a satisfying life-long occupation?
Cowgirl Creamery Cooks not only shares the details of Peggy and Sue’s journey, but it shares the stories of their cheeses: how the women came to make their cheeses, what makes their cheeses theirs, and how it derives from the history of similar cheeses. There is much to know about cheese and sharing it! (For instance, did you know that a goat can produce 1.5 gallons of milk per day?!) There are also frequent tips on storing, preparing and sharing cheeses. Everything a cheese-lover like me needs to learn!
To our way of thinking, cheese has as much complexity in flavor, texture, and intrigue as menu items that contain five, ten, or twenty ingredients.
Opinion: I loved reading this book! The photos are gorgeous and the recipes are relatively attainable. That said, one challenge is that some of the language is very…scientific? The terminology begs for a dictionary, despite their efforts to explain. Flashcards may have been useful… The other major hurdle for me is that finding ingredients, especially on a budget, may be difficult. Now, I am not a regular Whole Foods customer, so that may be my first problem. I am also not one that typically likes to ask for assistance, Becky-problem number two.
A well-composed meal shows thoughtful planning.
Recommendation: This is not the book for a quick and easy dinner idea – even for cheese lovers. This is a book for someone who wants to learn about cheese and enjoys the art of cooking. If you are the type of person who enjoys – and has friends who enjoy – a real cheese board, and I mean complete with wine pairings, this book works for you too! Now that I have it, I need to find better friends…just kidding. Kind of…
Glorious grilled cheese sandwiches are appropriate whenever you need a little love.
Favorite Recipes: I’m not going to plagiarize and get in trouble for sharing recipes that aren’t mine. However, I do have to share my favorite recipes from this book! The first is literally making your own soft cheese. What?! Yes. It seems doable! Three out of the five ingredients may already be in your kitchen! Add that project to my bucket list! The second – a much more difficult choice – was the Penne with Green Garlic Fresh Cheese Sauce. An adult “mac and cheese” that does indeed look as good as it sounds. If that’s not enticing enough, here is a link to featured recipes on the Cowgirl Creamery website!