The Lady was wandering around Costco a few days ago and saw the two pound 100th Anniversary wheels of the special three year Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar, which is a favorite around the manse. It’s one of our “everyday” cheeses. She couldn’t resist and bought a couple of wheels.  She had been on another cheese mission, but hit the “Abort” Button when those yummy wheels caught her eye…

She came home and announced she was going to make a cheesecake using our favorite cheddar… and she did.

The taste is quite savory and The Man, as is to be expected, swooned when he had his first bite. I was a bit more reserved but this Feline Foodie was thrilled… this is damn fine cheesecake…if I do say so myself. Of course, it might have just been cheesecake if it weren’t for Tillamook.

Topping follows recipe.


1 Pound Tillamook Three-Year Vintage White Cheddar (the two-year will also work well) – Room Temperature and Shredded

2 Pounds Cream Cheese – Room Temperature

1 ½ Cups Sugar

4 Eggs – Room Temperature

2 Teaspoons Real Vanilla

1 Small carton Fresh Blueberries


Whole Box Graham Crackers (she used the one with 3 sleeves)

1 Cup Pecans

½ Cup Sugar

¼ Pound Tillamook Unsalted Butter – melted


Wrap bottom of 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil to avoid leakage from water bath.

Heat oven to 350°

Crush crackers and pecans in food processor until pulverized.

Combine cracker/pecan mixture with sugar and melted butter.

Press into bottom of springform pan.

Bake in oven for 12 minutes.

Remove and let cool to room temperature.

Blend cream cheese, cheddar, sugar and vanilla in a food processor. (You can use a stand mixer with paddle but processor will give you a much creamier end product.)

 Add eggs one at a time and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

Fold in blueberries.

Put mixture in springform pan and place pan inside a large roasting pan.

Fill roasting pan with warm water about half way up the sides of the springform.

Place on middle shelf of oven and bake for 1 ½ hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°.

You may need to cover the cake with foil at some point to avoid over-browning the top. This is a dense cake and cooking in the water bath takes longer. The Lady started checking the temperature after 1 hour and actually had to bake this cake almost 2 hours before the temperature was at 165.

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Chill overnight in the fridge.


The Lady made a sauce for the top using 1 small carton of blueberries, ½ cup of sugar and a small airplane size bottle of Grand Marnier. She put the three ingredients in a pan and heated just until it started to thicken.


Based on a recipe by Ina Garten of The Food Network

The Lady returned from her 2010 Wisconsin Cheese Tour with many wedges of cheese and one of those was the Raspberry Bellavitano from Sartori Foods. She bought it at Jim’s Pantry after her visit to Sartori Foods. Jim Sartori and the gang at Sartori’s treated the group to a gourmet lunch that ended with a cheesecake made using the Raspberry cheese. This variation of the fabulous Bellavitano is soaked in Raspberry Tart Ale from the New Glarus Brewery.

The Lady’s changes are in bold italics. For the original Ina Garten recipe, please click here.


For the crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)

2 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

½ pound of Sartori Foods’ Raspberry Bellavitano Cheese, at room temperature (I cut into small pieces instead of shredding. When mixed with cream cheese made tiny pellets which I think actually worked out better than shredding in terms of texture.)

2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream

½ teaspoon lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup Smuckers’ Red Raspberry Just Fruit Spread

1 Pints fresh raspberries – bought from Prairie Creek Farm at Portland Farmers’ Market

½ Cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips melted with a couple splashes of Half n Half to thin them a bit



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 10-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and add a little half n half to thin it for drizzling over the cake. While still warm, drizzle over the cake.

Heat the Smuckers and drizzle it over cake as well.

Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I put the springform pan on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven to catch any leaks.

As discussed, The Lady doesn’t measure much when she cooks…”if I wanted to measure things, I’d be a baker…”…yeah, yeah, yeah…we know…

Last night when she returned from the cheese mines, she looked in the pantry, in the freezer and in the fridge and this is what she “designed” from items on hand:


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Frozen Foster Farms Boneless Chicken Thighs

Chicken Bouillon Cube

Green Bell Peppers (from The Man’s Deck Garden) – cut in half and sliced

Walla Walla Sweet Onions – Chopped in large pieces

Garlic chips

Scallion – Sliced

Mushrooms – Sliced

Frozen Peas

Napa Valley Bistro Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce (half of jar)

Cream or Half n Half (nice-sized splash; The Lady used fat-free half and half)

BelGioioso American Grana Grated (about 1/2 cup grated)- The lady’s “everyday” Parmesan

Penne Pasta (half of package)


Heat Large Frying/Saute Pan.

Add EVOO; reduce heat to low/medium.

The Lady put the chicken thighs in the pan frozen and covered with lid. Let cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. By covering the pan, you keep all the water and juice from the chicken and makes a nice broth.

While chicken is cooking, slice and chop vegetables.

Prepare penne and if ready before time to add to chicken/veggie mix, rinse and let stand in cold water to stop cooking.

When chicken is cooked, add the bouillon to the broth and add the veggies (except the frozen peas) all on top of the chicken and cover again. Let veggies steam for a few minutes and then stir to let them saute.

Add the pasta sauce; the frozen peas; the American Grana and the cream.

Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Dish up and serve.

Easy and delish…


Pimento Cheese Spread

Pimento Cheese Spread


(I designed this recipe to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of our store and the introduction of the Tillamook 100 Year anniversary Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar to our Cheese Kiosk. We will be sampling the cheese the weekend of July 31-August 2 at the kiosk using a 40 pound block.)

It’s a Southern “thing” and hard to find in the Pacific Northwest…solution…make your own:


Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

Tillamook Medium Cheddar


Jar of Pimento Peppers with juice (roasted red peppers work well, also)

Freshly ground Pepper to taste


Use equal parts of Tillamook 100th Anniversary Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and Medium Cheddar Cheeses. Cube the cheese.

Take a dollop of mayo and put in your food processor. Set on a low setting and begin processing.

Add one jar of pimentos, including the juice, to your food processor.

Add one third of the cheese and continue processing.

As the cheese is incorporated and the mixture becomes creamy, gradually add the remaining cheese. Once cheese, mayo and pimento and incorporated and creamy, you may need to add a little more mayo to get the desired creaminess.

Add black pepper to taste.

You can get creative and add other herbs and spices; but you can’t beat the basic pimento cheese.

Habanero Gourgeres

May 27, 2009

The Lady does not like to bake. To mis-quote Rachel Ray, she says, “If I wanted to be a baker, I would have gotten a science degree.” But every-once-in-a-while, she breaks down and makes a dish that requires precise measuring and preparation. To the delight of this feline foodie, tonight was the night…

On her recent trip to Foster and Dobbs, in addition to the Jamon Iberico, The Lady also purchased a small container of habanero-flavored salt. She does love her spicy food… and slowly, she is converting The Man as well; however, he resists…The Lady pushes; The Man pushes back…ahhh, the joys of marriage…30 years and they still “negotiate”…

A few months back she made Gourgeres (mini cheese puffs) and tonight she decided to make them again. She used a recipe she found in Saveur Magazine and added her new favorite habanero salt.


5 tbsp. Vermont Butter and Cheese Company Sea Salt Butter 

3/4 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. habanero-flavored salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup grated Roth Kase Grand Cru Gruyere cheese (This is one of the cheeses The Lady made when she attended Cheesemaking 101 at Roth Kase last month)

5 large eggs, at room temperature (VERY IMPORTANT)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Add butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to one cup water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When butter melts, reduce heat to low.

3. Add flour to butter-water mixture all at once and cook over low heat, beating with a wooden spoon, for one minute, until mixture pulls away from side of pan. Remove pan from heat.

4. Add cheese to pan and beat in with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Add four of the eggs, one at a time, beating each egg into the batter until thoroughly absorbed. Continue beating mixture until it is smooth, shiny, and firm. (The Lady complained throughout this part of the recipe; tedious and not much fun…)

5. Drop batter in small spoonfuls onto lightly EVOO-greased parchment paper on a pizza pan (with holes) to form Gourgeres. Beat remaining egg with 1/2 tbsp. water, then brush tops of uncooked Gougeres with egg wash. The egg wash makes them shiny and adds crowd-pleasing beauty to the final product.

6. Bake in upper third of over for 15-20 minutes until Gougeres are golden and doubled in size. Remove from over and serve hot, or allow to cool to room temperature. The Lady discovered that 18 minutes is perfect in her oven.

These babies are good hot or cold. The Man shared one of his with me…the habanero was noticable but not over-powering; even The Man loved the flavor. The Lady would have liked more kick…next time…

Adapted from SAVEUR Magazine

From Bon Appetit Magazine (The Lady added the Asiago Cheese to the recipe…)


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons dry mustard, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 2-pound well-trimmed tri-tip beef roast
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces BelGioioso Asiago cheese, planed
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 6 5-inch pieces French baguette, cut horizontally almost in half, opened flat


  • Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk oil, vinegar, and 3/4 teaspoon mustard in large bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 tablespoons dressing to small bowl; whisk in sugar and 1 teaspoon mustard. Sprinkle beef all over with salt and pepper, then top with mixture from small bowl.
  • Grill beef until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 120°F to 125°F for rare, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Place on cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Cut very thinly across grain.
  • Meanwhile, add tomatoes, watercress, and onion to dressing in large bowl. Marinate while beef grills, tossing occasionally. Grill bread, cut side down, until just crusty, about 3 minutes; place on plates, grilled side up.
  • Arrange beef slices over bread. Using tongs and draining slightly, top with salad. Finish with planed Asiago cheese.

 The Lady adapted this from a recipe in the May, 2009 issue of Bon Appétit. You can review the original recipe by clicking here.

As you know from my goat cheese reviews, The Lady and this feline foodie are not big fans of goat cheese; therefore The Lady used her favorite “everyday” cheddar to make this divine pizza and The Man then grilled on the ole Char Broil. The grilling adds a nice smoky flavor to the finished pizza.


  • 5 ounces fingerling potatoes
  • Cornmeal (for sprinkling)
  • Pizza Dough (The Lady buys hers at her store, which gets it from the Award-Winning Portland Bakery, Marsee)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally, divided
  • ¾ Cup Tillamook Vintage White Extra-Sharp Cheddar (about 6 ounces)
  • ¾ Cup grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 8 ounces asparagus, trimmed, each spear cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces (The Lady likes to cut diagonally for esthetic reasons…)
  • ½ Cup grated BelGioioso American Grana cheese
  • Red Chili Flakes (Optional…remember The Lady thinks the spicier, the better…The Man thinks she’s nuts…)


Place potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Cool. Cut potatoes into thin diagonal slices.

Preheat the grill (medium-high heat). Sprinkle rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Working with dough, roll out on lightly floured surface to 16X11-inch oval. Transfer to baking sheets. Spray top of flatbreads with nonstick spray.

Invert flatbreads, sprayed side down, onto grill. Cook until grill marks appear and sides of bread are dry, 3 to 5 minutes. Return to same baking sheets, grilled side down. Spray uncooked side with nonstick spray. Turn flatbreads over on baking sheets, grilled side up.

 Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in small bowl. Brush garlic oil over dough. Sprinkle 3/4 of green onions over, then cheddar and mozzarella, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Top with potato slices. Toss asparagus and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl. Scatter asparagus over pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then lightly with salt and generously with pepper.

Transfer pizza, topping side up, to grill. Cover and cook until crusts are crisp and cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to work surface. Cut into rectangles and serve.