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Gourmet Shavuot Cooking

There are two mistakes that frequently occur every Shavuos. The first is that we are intimidated by the thought of creating a dairy menu so we just pull out our everyday standbys to use for a Yom Tov meal (They’re not so elegant but they taste good, they’re reliable…). The second is the fear that otherwise very inspired cooks have when they see unfamiliar products with like mascarpone cream cheese, crème fraiche or dulce de leche. This year we will right both of those wrongs.

Welcome to Gourmet Shavuos Cooking and the opportunity to use some new ingredients and try out some new recipes (for those of you who already use these items, add these recipes to your files).

Mascarpone Cheese:

Mascarpone is a triple-crème cheese, made from a generally low-fat (25%) content fresh cream. It’s made from the milk of cows that have been fed special grasses filled with fresh herbs and flowers – a diet that creates a unique taste often described as “fresh and delicious.” It gets its name from a Spanish word that means better than good, although it originated in Italy. Whatever its history, it is a luscious, creamy, almost butter-like cream cheese that tastes like a sweet whipped cream. It tastes naturally sweetened and is amazing in tiramisu [1], the fig or plum tart [2], and the mascarpone cheesecake [3]. It is made by BelGioioso and Polenghi and carries the CRC or OKD heksher. It is available in many mainstream supermarkets, Whole Foods markets, Trader Joes, the Cheese Shop in Cedarhurst and Fairway market in NYC.

Dulce De Leche:

Dulce De Leche is a Spanish milk caramel sauce that is creamier and thicker and much better than the American version. It is amazing straight on ice cream or brownies or try it in Dulce De Leche cheesecake [4] or the Dulce De Leche Chocolate Chip Thumbprint Cookies [5]. The kosher markets nationwide carry the one made by La Salamandra that is Cholov Yisroel too!

Crème Fraiche:

Nope, it is not just fresh cream in French. It comes from France and is technically a soured cream. It is thicker and sweeter than sour cream and really heavenly smooth. Alouette, makes one with the OUD heksher, that is available nationwide in regular markets, but it is also available in Fairway market in NYC, Whole Foods stores, and most Trader Joes. Try it on fresh berries, or a baked potato to feel a little French and romantic. Or better yet, try it in the Roasted Mustard Fish [6] or on the Brown Sugar Strawberry Tart [7]. If you cannot find it, you can make it, you can easily make it at home. Crème Fraiche recipe [8].

Fresh Parmesan Cheese:

This cheese, finally available kosher in this country has changed pasta and Caesar Salad [9]making for me. The sharp, smooth, creamy taste is unlike and so much better than the shredded or grated versions available. It is fresh and wonderful and will upgrade your Caesar salad to new heights. Made by Fanticini, and available in many kosher markets, the Cheese Store in Cedarhurst, and Fairway Market in NYC. Try it in this amazing Frittata [10] or in Fettuccini Alfredo with Mushrooms [11].

Let us know what you try and how you like it. We love to share your comments and your recipes. Chag Sameach!