A Local Apple Relish Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on October 6, 2016

Accidental Locavore Red Hook ApplesThis apple relish came last year when I was playing golf with friends, it’s simple and a nice way to use up a couple of apples.

The Accidental Locavore decided on a condiment to go with the two chèvres I had from Goat Cheeses of France. The Red Hook Golf Club was originally an apple orchard, and hundreds of apple trees still line the fairways. This has been a terrific year for apples and there are literally thousands of them, ripe for the picking. I grabbed a bunch of Romes and McIntoshes from my favorite trees (around the tee box on the fifth hole) and made a simple relish for the cheeses. This made about 2 cups:

Apple Relish Recipe:

  • ½ cup of sugar, more or less depending on your apples
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ pounds tart, crisp apples, peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Accidental Locavore Apple RelishIn a medium sized pot over medium heat, heat the sugar and vinegar, stirring to dissolve.

Stir in the apples and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples are cooked but still hold their shape. Stir in the ginger, taste and add salt as needed.

Cool to room temperature. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Although I’m not generally a fan of “stuff” other than bread or a plain cracker with cheese, this was a nice addition.

The apples had a nice fresh flavor that contrasted well with the rich funkiness of the cheeses. Leaving them in chunks kept them from turning into mush (aka apple sauce).

The ginger added a hint of spice and some brightness. Now that I’ve done my posts for the Goat Cheeses of France, I can sit back, relax and enjoy their wonderful chèvres my way, with a baguette. The rest of the relish I’ll use to garnish a duck, or go more traditional with some pork chops or smoked pork tenderloin.

What would you use it with?





Trois Chèvres Mac & Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on September 24, 2015

Accidental Locavore Week Old GoatFinally in receipt of my chèvre, courtesy of Goat Cheeses of France, the tangy Pico and some classic Crottin de Champcol, the Accidental Locavore needed to come up with a good recipe for them. Normally this just would have been some fun time in the kitchen with a good dinner as the result but since these both were fairly strong, specific chèvres, it took some time to figure out how best to showcase them.

I love mac and cheese and Bobby Flay’s cauliflower gratin with goat cheese and started envisioning a hybrid of the two. Maybe roasting the cauliflower first, to get it caramelized and then mixing in the chèvre and pasta, with some homemade bread crumbs to give it a little crunch. The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower would work well with the pungency of the goat cheeses. My only fear was that using strictly the Pico and the Crottin would be too pungent, so I added some domestic goat, similar to a Montrachet. This made a big dish, serving 4-6:

Accidental Locavore Crottin and PicoFor the cauliflower:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the mornay sauce:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste (white pepper if you have it)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 ½ ounces soft goat cheese (about 3/4” slice from a log)
  • 2 Crottin de Champcol (or other similar Crottin), cut into chunks

For the mac & cheese:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • ½ wheel of Pico, sliced into thin wedges
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs

Accidental Locavore Mac & Cheese PrepPreheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Roast on a baking sheet for 25-30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from oven and set aside. If you’re going to cook the mac and cheese right away, turn the oven down to 350°.

While the cauliflower is cooking, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the elbow macaroni for about 10-12 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat the milk in a medium-sized pot until warm, but not bubbling, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When it’s melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to very low.

Slowly pour in the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly. It will get very thick and gradually thin out when all the milk has been added. Once all the milk has been added, raise the heat to medium and keep whisking. After about 3 minutes, the sauce should thicken again. If it coats a spoon, you’re good! Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Start adding the cheese, stirring until it’s melted. When all the cheese has been incorporated, taste and adjust the seasonings.

Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss until evenly coated.

With the butter, lightly grease a large gratin pan. Add the mac and cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and then dot the top with the wedges of Pico. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes until browned. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Chevre Mac & CheeseMy verdict: A winner– this is mac & cheese for adults! Frank said I could make it anytime, his highest praise! The sauce would be wonderful as a gratin with potatoes, or just the cauliflower on its own. I served it with some lightly-dressed arugula, to cut the richness of the dish. If you should be lucky enough to have a fridge full of chèvre, give it a shot!

Don’t forget: Leave a comment or share the post on Facebook and win a box of 5 French goat cheeses (exact cheeses to come) “so they can test, taste and create their own recipes. They will also receive a package with our tried and true recipes for inspiration, trivia cards on the cheeses so they can learn a little bit of history on French goat cheeses and temporary tattoos to show their Original Chèvre love. ” The winner will be picked on September 30th.




The Stinky Cheese Saga

by Anne Maxfield on September 21, 2015

Accidental Locavore PicoThe Accidental Locavore was lucky enough to get a couple of French chèvres to play with and write about for culture: the word on cheese. It seemed like a pretty reasonable deal: they send cheese, I eat it, create a recipe or two and then get more to give away – no big deal. But for some reason (oh, temperatures in the 90’s?) getting a couple of goat cheeses to Pleasant Valley ended up getting way more complicated than anyone could have anticipated.

The first shipment of crottins showed up on my doorstep a day after they were supposed to be delivered. What appeared to have been a lone ice pack was totally melted and not at all cold. Ditto the cheeses in an uninsulated box. While cheese at room temperature is always ideal, these seemed to have been roasted in their unprotected box.

The second box, also past due, had to be resent as the original supplier ran out. While I was out on the deck having lunch, the UPS guy stopped with what he thought was my delivery. He was banging around the back of the truck for a long time and finally emerged empty-handed. His best bet was that they’d tossed the box in another truck and he’d be back shortly. Not to be.

Accidental Locavore UPSI found a message on my phone from a Lisa at UPS. When I called her back, she told me that they’d kicked my box off the truck because it smelled terrible! However, Lisa being a fellow cheese lover (and really good customer service person – UPS take note!), rescued the box, opened it and realized that it was just some perfectly ripe Picos in a well-cooled box. I got the directions and headed over to the UPS office. There, next to the air conditioner (keeping it cool) was my box. And yes, it did have a wonderful cheesy odor to it.

We opened it and checked the cheeses, four little Pico’s and two still-cool ice packs. “They were going to damage it, which means they would have thrown it away,” Lisa told me, “but I kept telling everyone it just smelled like raclette.” “Did they know what raclette is?” “No!”

So, not only have I found a great customer service person at UPS, but another raclette fiend, actually a whole family of raclette lovers! Turns out they get a bunch of people together and hit Adam’s (the local specialty food store) up for a deal on a wheel of raclette. Something to look forward to this winter! Along with my card (for this future wheel of cheese), I gave Lisa one of the Picos, since it’s not very often you find someone passionate enough about cheese to give it a good home under the air conditioner!

Update: Leave a comment or share the post on Facebook and win a box of 5 French goat cheeses (exact cheeses to come) “so they can test, taste and create their own recipes. They will also receive a package with our tried and true recipes for inspiration, trivia cards on the cheeses so they can learn a little bit of history on French goat cheeses and temporary tattoos to show their Original Chèvre love. ” The winner will be picked on September 30th.





Accidental Locavore Many CheesesOf course, as soon as you think of France, you think of cheese. However, on previous trips when the Accidental Locavore has been in the South of France, the cheese often took a backseat to whatever else we were eating (same for oysters, but that’s another story). The only glaring exception: an incredible cheese service at the end of dinner at the la Chèvre d’Or in Eze years ago.

This trip, we made up for lost time. Forgoing the marché in the Cours Saleya, where the cheese has been disappointing, we went to a tiny fromagerie near our favorite spot for croissants and baguettes – Chez Maître Pierre. I picked out an interesting looking chèvre with a cross on it – and since it was the week before Easter, asked if it was a special Easter cheese (it wasn’t) – and a St Marcellin.

Accidental Locavore Cheese at Lou FromaiLater in the week, we really struck a jackpot when Frank wandered into Lou Fromaï. He proudly came home with a very special chèvre: le rouleau Méditerranéen (it’s the log in the top righ in the photo) that he was told was something you could only get locally. He said there was even a picture of the goat whose milk was used in the cheese. Let me tell you, this cheese was amazing!

Because we essentially inhaled the cheese for supper that night, the next day we needed to re-stock. Never, ever go into a fromagerie on an empty stomach (ok, even on a full one it’s always dangerous territory!)! We bought another log of the rouleau and a wedge of brie that they stuffed with black truffles – also spectacular!

Accidental Locavore PicnicThen it was on to their charcuterie, to augment what we had picked up from the local butcher and the marché. This is where we discovered the smoked pork tenderloin (which, if you have a smoker you owe it to yourself to try). They also had one of the best salamis I’ve ever had, probably because it came from the famed Spanish black-footed pigs. Ditto the chorizo.

Armed with that, another good baguette, some mustard (I had forgotten how wonderful and strong the most average French mustard is) and some cornichons, we had the makings of a great picnic and took it all to one of the most beautiful places in the area, the Foundation Maeght, where, after touring the exhibition and the gardens, we happily devoured it.Accidental Locavore Foundation Maeght Gardens