"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lyonnaise Garlic & Herb Cheese: French Fridays with Dorie


Lyonnaise Garlic & Herb Cheese with Fougasse

I live in a pretty sophisticated area... we are only an hour 1/2 outside of New York City, but I could not find fromage blanc anywhere... and there was no way I was substituting ricotta cheese for it. I find ricotta flavorless and the thought of eating it raw just turned me off. I decide instead to try three different cheeses with the herbs and see which one was the tastiest mixture. I bought: organic sour cream, creme fraiche, and chèvre (goat cheese) for this experiment. 

I really planned to make this cheese dip myself, but my daughter got bored and begged to make it. So, I had her mix all the ingredients, other than the cheese in our mini-food processor. Then she divided up the seasoning between the three cheeses and incorporated them with a spatula.

We had froze a loaf of the olive fougasse. I thawed that out in the oven, and we cut up some vegetables for dipping. I was most curious about the radishes Dorie recommended to dip. I have never used radishes for dipping and they were a big hit. The sharpness of their flavor really complemented the herb mixture. 

My entire family, plus my 19 year old nephew, who has been staying with us on and off since he got out of school this semester, tried all three dips with bread and vegetables. My nephew liked the sour cream mixture the best primarily because of it's smooth texture and tangy after taste. The rest of us preferred the taste of the goat cheese spread. It reminded us more of Boursin. Though we had to agree with my nephew that the smooth texture of the sour cream dip was nicer on the palate. The creme fraiche was too buttery, these herbs really needed a sour or sharp flavored cheese to bring out their taste. I would not recommend using creme fraiche.

Lyonnaise Garlic & Herb Cheese is very nice spread that most people would probably enjoy at a party... it would be eaten, but not commented on... the flavors just didn't stand out as anything terribly special. 


Make Your Own Cheese at Home




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22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I had never heard of doing it. I have to admit I never even put them in salad. Their taste is a bit odd. Do you cook with them?

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  2. I'd love to try it with goat cheese... great idea! :)

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  3. Fun experiment. Good for you to try other bases than ricotta, which you are right, imparts no special flavor...kinda blah. Nice that you had the bread loaf...lovely photo.

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  4. First let me say that is quite a combination, sounds great. Secondly, I have never used a radish for dipping either. All in all,
    hubby and I liked this recipe and I would definitely try it again and experiment with other cheeses for flavor. As for Paris,
    we stayed for 10 days and had a ball. Happy Memorial Day.

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  5. I wound up adding more and more of each ingredient to bring out the flavors, otherwise it was way too bland for us. Love that you had such an eager helper though! :)

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    1. I still can't think of what would give this more flavor... it has potential.

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  6. What a great little experiment, Diane. I tried "cooking" part of my ricotta to smooth it out. It melted and I poured it on top of my salad (hubby got the one in the picture).

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    1. I just LOL... ricotta is such a weird substance. A cheese that is not really a cheese...

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  7. What a great idea - I thought the ricotta was bland, too, but it was fine with tomatoes, green onions, lemon olive oil, and more salt and pepper. I love sour cream, so am sure I would have liked that version - it would be wonderful on baked potatoes!

    Have a lovely holiday weekend!

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    Replies
    1. That's a great idea... baked potatoes!

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  8. Diane, what a warm and inviting spread on your table! I have never had fromage blanc and now you have me really interested in trying it, but I have not seen it at my stores here. I might not be looking at the right places though. I liked this with the ricotta and I bet it would be good with the radishes. I made tartines after seeing Beatrice Peltre (La Tartine Gourmande) on the Martha Stewart show and she chopped up radishes in her ricotta spread and said that it gave it a good flavor as well as a nice crunch. I want to try her version another time. It sounds like you had fun experimenting with the different versions and your taste testers must have enjoyed it as well. I hope you and your family have a lovely weekend!

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    1. We had such a lovely weekend that I am just now responding to comments. I will have to check out the Peltre recipe sounds interesting.

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  9. The three different ways of preparing this Herb Cheese sound very interesting - it certainly is always nice to have some taste testers around and get different opinions on one and the same dish. The radishes are very popular around here and are frequuently served with sandwiches, dips, pretzel etc. Your photos look lovely and appetizing!

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    1. Funny out of this whole experiment I feel less focused on the cheese than on radishes... I think I have found a new vegetable. Thanks for the radish ideas.

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  10. How lucky you had all those taste testers!!! And what a lovely idea to serve this spread with your extra fougasse :)

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  11. What a nice taste-test! I used some fresh farmer's cheese that I was able to find, which was quite nice. Happy that you had fun with this dish (and I'm so impressed that you were able to keep some fougasse in the freezer! We just made some this morning, and I suspect it's pretty much gone!)

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    1. Farmer's cheese... like basket cheese?? That sounds like a good substitute for Formange Blanc. I will look for that.

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  12. I like that you tried this with different cheese bases. I think I'd like the goat cheese best, and hope to try it for myself. I've never really dipped radishes, but that sounds refreshing. Have a great weekend.

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  13. Diane, That was a good idea - to experiment with other cheeses. I didn't love the texture of the ricotta cheese (store-bought) that I used and want to try making it myself next time. I'll also try goat cheese. Although I liked the idea of this herb cheese spread and it worked well for me, I also agree that it needed more punch, more flavoring, more seasoning. Think it needs a tinker. I love radishes with anything but didn't have any on hand. Next time.

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    Replies
    1. If you think of something to add that will brighten the flavor let me know... it does have potential.

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  14. Your cheese looks gorgeous alongside all those crisp veges - what a great way to serve it.

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