Fromage Fort Cheese Spread

Fromage Fort is a French Cheese Spread consisting of leftover cheeses blended together with wine.  The flavor of the different cheeses blends together and becomes stronger over time.  I used Reggiano Parmesan, Asiago and Pecorino Romano because that is what I had on hand.

Fromage Fort Cheese Spread My friend Leif is a wood working artisan who creates beautiful hand crafted pieces like the amazing cheese board in these photos.  I had planned on redoing the photos of a cheese board post I did a few years back.  I recently saw a picture of an amazing cheese board that Leif posted on Instagram and decided that this would be a great opportunity for both of us.  I asked him if I could use his cheese board in my photo shoot and that he could use the photos as well.  He said of course and we were both very stoked!

Fromage Fort Cheese Spread The photos turned out great but when Leif saw them he said, “Where’s my board?”  Haha, I had it buried under all the food.  Woops!  So I told him that I would do another photo shoot to showcase his beautiful board properly.

Fromage Fort Cheese Spread A few days later I met up with a couple of friends at the farmer’s market.  We were talking about cheese and one of them had mentioned Fromage Fort.  I hadn’t heard of it before and she explained that you take all your leftover cheese to make a whipped dip out of them.  Right then, I immediately knew what I was going to make for my reshoot of Leif’s cheese board.  I looked around the web for inspiration and found Jacque Pepin’s recipe and adapted my recipe from his.

Fromage Fort Cheese Spread You can serve this spread with a variety of wines like a Soave, Pinto Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, White Rioja or a Sancerre for a white or a Pinot Noir, Tempranillo or a Red Rioja for a red.

Fromage Fort Cheese Spread Fromage Fort Cheese Spread Recipe:

Approx. 2 Cups

  • 1/2 Cup Reggiano Parmesan – finely shredded and packed
  • 1/2 Cup Asiago – finely shredded and packed
  • 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano – finely shredded and packed
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand which has strong notes of grapefruit)
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • Dash Black Pepper
Milder Variation
  • Add in 4 oz. Chevre Cheese
Spicy Maple Pecan
  • 2 Cups Raw Pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Other additions options:
  • Crostini or French Bread
  • Pears – sliced
  • Quince Jam
  • Olives – your choice
  • Manchego Cheese Wedge
Garnish
  • Sprigs of Rosemary
Instructions:
Fromage Fort

Finely shred the three kinds of cheese, measure and add to a food processor along with the wine, olive oil, garlic and pepper.  Puree until creamy.

Pecans

Add everything to a cast iron or a saute pan and turn the on stove onto medium heat.

As soon as it starts to bubble, stir continuously.

In about 3 – 6 minutes they will start to get sticky.  When the moisture is ALL gone, turn off the heat.
Spread onto parchment paper or a baking sheet.  Don’t worry about them sticking together, when cooled you can separate them.  Wait until they are completely cooled.
Assemble

Arrange everything on a wood board or platter except the cheese spread and jam.  Serve the spread and jam in small bowls.

Fromage Fort Cheese Spread

 

 

Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad with Spicy Maple Pecans and a Toasted Walnut Feta Sherry Vinaigrette

This is a beautiful healthy salad that will absolutely satisfy the soul.  This vibrant Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad is absolutely intoxicating!  The subtle spiciness from the arugula and pecans blends seamlessly with the freshness of the cucumbers and blueberries.  The luscious walnut vinaigrette ties this wonderful salad together.

Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad My mom was here for a visit last week, which is always a treat.  We had a couple of crazy days during this visit that started with our drive to Los Gatos for a photo shoot.  We were on Highway 17 and all of a sudden the traffic came to a complete stop.  I looked at my maps app and noticed it was red for a very long way.

 The Waze app told us to get off on Bear Creek road.  It took us over thirty minutes just to get to the exit.  We finally got off of highway 17 and drove for about 20 minutes on Bear Creek road in an attempt to circumvent the traffic.  When we got to where Bear Creek connects back onto highway 17, we saw that highway patrol had closed the on-ramp.

So we decided to try to continue further on Bear Creek road, but Waze directed us right back to the closed on-ramp where we started.  I started to panic at this point because the cell reception isn’t very strong in that area of the woods and I had less than a quarter tank of gas.

Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad I decided to call Robby because he knows these roads pretty well from his daily commute to San Jose.  He was able to get us back on the Highway right after the closure.  We really lucked out because most of the traffic ended up on the service road next to highway 17 and it was backed up for miles with cars trying to get back on the highway further down than where we got back on.  We were so relieved when we finally made it to Los Gatos because we believed that the escapade was over.

The photo shoot went well and then we decided to head back home.  I looked at my maps app and noticed everything was red.  I called Robby again and he said it looked like we could drive through Saratoga on highway 9 to highway 35.  We drove up highway 9 for 25 minutes only to find out that it was closed before the connection to highway 35.  I started to freak out at this point because it is getting dark, I have night blindness and all I had to eat were some French fries.

The crazy thing is that the maps app didn’t show that highway 9 was closed.  So we drove back down to Saratoga and decided that we would get something to eat and wait for the traffic to improve.  Come to find out, a guy had robbed a bank in Scotts Valley and the police chased him down highway 17.  He had crashed into a number of cars during the chase, had a shootout with the police and ditched his car.  So, there was an armed and dangerous fugitive hiding in the woods where we were driving through.

Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad We decided to get a room in Saratoga and stay the night.  I had no change of clothing, no toothbrush or anything for that matter.  We left at 6 am the next morning and as soon as we got home I went back to sleep for a few more hours.  This experience has taught me to always keep my gas tank full and to keep food, water and other essentials in an emergency bag in my car.  I highly recommend you do the same.

This salad would have been the perfect lunch to pack as it is a healthy and satisfying salad chocked full of energy producing vegetables.  The salad contains a good amount of B vitamins that are very helpful in stressful situations.  Cucumbers are known to ease anxiety and buffer the damaging effects of stress.  There is also a fair amount of water content from the cucumbers, blueberries and arugula.  Arugula is made up of 90% water and is known to keep you hydrated.  The pecans have a high protein content that is immune boosting.

Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad I served a light Pinot Noir with this salad but it is also wonderful with a Pinot Gris.

Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad Recipe:

4 – 6 servings

  • 8 Cups Arugula
  • 2 Cups Spicy Pecan – recipe below
  • 1/2 Cucumber – thinly sliced or cubed
  • 1 Cup Blueberries – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – thinly sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced or minced
  • Feta – crumbled – to taste
Toasted Walnut Feta Sherry Vinaigrette – whole recipe
Approx. 3/4 Cup
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Walnut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 Small Clove Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Shallot – minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Feta
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Spicy Pecan
  • 2 Cups Raw Pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Instructions:
Dressing
Add everything to a food processor or blender and puree.
 Transfer finished dressing to your bottle or jar of choice and refrigerate.
Pecans

Add everything to a cast iron or a saute pan and turn the on stove onto medium heat.

As soon as it starts to bubble or get hot, stir continuously.

In about 3 – 6 minutes they will start to get sticky.  When all moisture is gone, turn off the heat.
Spread onto parchment paper or a baking sheet.  Don’t worry about them sticking together, when cooled you can separate them.  Wait until they are completely cooled.
Salad
Either mix everything together or layer them on a large platter starting with the arugula.
Dress individual salads to your liking.
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Arugula Blueberry Feta Salad Health Benefits:

Arugula is a super food that cleanses the blood and detoxifies cells. It is an extremely high anti-oxidant making it a free radical absorbent and increases oxygen levels. It has a cooling effect on the body and contains 90% water so it keeps your body hydrated making it a great addition to your diet in the summer heat. Arugula has very high levels of chlorophyll, which helps with liver damage and contains phytochemicals that fight cancer-causing carcinogens. The leaves have an excellent source of vitamin A helping with vision, skin and respiratory health. It has good levels of vitamin C that is great for cell and skin health.  Arugula also contains decent levels of minerals, especially copper and iron. It has high amounts of calcium and vitamin K that strengthens the bones. Its high fiber content helps with colon health and reduces chronic inflammation as well. It is high in folate (B9), which helps to slow down the aging factors of the brain and supports your metabolism.

Blueberries are high in Vitamin C.  They are a superfood and are one of the highest in antioxidants compared to most fruits.  They are a great source of fiber.  The fiber helps reduce abdominal fat, lower cholesterol and helps lower glucose.  They are great for brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and they are known to heal damaged brain cells.  So they help you keep your memory intact.