Master cheese class with Chef Christine Cushing

People often asked me how I came up with the idea to start a product review club. Well, I actually go the idea from a beauty and make-up review club that I am part of called ChickAdvisor. I’m still part of the ChickAdvisor community and was fortunate enough to attend their in-person master cheese class a few months ago.

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It was held at the Nella Cucina cooking school and was also broadcasted live on YouTube. People at home could follow along and tweet their questions during the live demo. Everyone who participated was sent a copy of the recipes and an apron the week before the event. Celebity chef Christine Cushing demonstrated the recipes, answered questions that came in via twitter and chatted with participants after.

The recipes we made were a baby arugula salad with fried halloumi cheese with a citrus olive oil vinegrette and grilled turkey burgers made with smoked Canadian maple cheddar cheese. Chef Cushing also showed us how to make mini lemon mascarpone tarts in a chocolate cookie crust. Everything was delicious.

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These are definitely not recipes that I would make everyday so it was nice to have a live demo and an opportunity to make them in a group that day. There were also different varieties of cheese to sample during the event and everyone went home with copies of the recipes, an apron and a cheese cooler bag. What I liked the most about the event was cooking with a group of individuals and listening to all the funny stories that Chef Cushing shared with us.

If you weren’t able to attend the in-person event or catch the live broadcast, you can catch a recap of the event on YouTube.

Here are the recipes that we made:

Baby arugula salad with halloumi croutons with citrus olive oil vinegrette – serves 4

Ingredients:
5 oz package arugula, washed
5 oz Halloumi cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup fine cornmeal
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 beet, thinly sliced & shallow fried until crisp

Dressing
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Wash and dry the arugula and place in a bowl. Toss the Halloumi cubes in fine cornmeal.
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry the cheese for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat.
Combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk well.
Toss the greens with the dressing to coat. Sprinkle beet chips and fried cheese on top. Serve immediately.

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Grilled turkey burgers made with smoked Canadian maple cheddar cheese – serves 4

Ingredients:
4 crusty buns, brushed with olive oil
1 lb ground dark turkey meat
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 portobello mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
6 oz smoked Canadian maple cheddar, divided
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms until soft, around 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to food processor and combine with egg. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled mushroom mixture with the ground turkey, rosemary, sage, smoked paprika and 1/3 of the smoked Canadian maple cheddar. Mix just enough to combine. Form into four patties.
Pre-heat grill to medium-high. Grill patties for 5 minutes per side or until the juices no longer run pink. Top patties with remaining cheese. Serve with buns and condiments of your choice.

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Lemon mascarpone tarts in chocolate cookie crust – makes 20-24 tartlets

Ingredients:

Pastry dough
1 egg
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter

Filling
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp Limoncello liqueur
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup mascarpone
3/4 cup 35% cream, divided
sliced toasted almonds, berries and icing sugar for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and icing sugar until blended. Set aside.
Combine flour, cocoa and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Add egg mixture and pulse until mixture starts to come together. Knead dough several times on a lightly floured surface. Flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll dough out to 1/8″ thick. Place in tart molds. Poke the bottoms with a  fork and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, zest and Limoncello in a double boiler until mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone with half the whipping cream. Blend until smooth and thick. Fold in the cooled egg yolk mixture until combined.
Whip the remaining whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold into mixture.
Spoon into cooled tart shells, spread evenly on top.
Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds, berries and icing sugar.

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