By Sue Conley and Peggy Smith
Chronicle Books, $35
At Cowgirl Creamery in the little northern California town of Point Reyes, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith create and sell some of this nation’s best farmstead cheeses. In their long-awaited book, they share recipes, wisdom, and the rollicking tale of how it all came to be. Throughout, the Cowgirls elucidate all matters fromage, introducing readers to dairy farmers and explaining how cow, sheep, and goat milk are made into so many different cheeses: some fresh and creamy, others oozy or blue or dry or funky. (The excellent chapter on assembling a cheese plate should be essential reading for anyone who loves cheese.) The Cowgirls were chefs for many years before opening their shop, so it’s no surprise that their 75 recipes are so good. Huckleberry Cream Soda, Crème Fraîche Scones, as well as superb recipes for Potato Gratin and Three-Cheese Lasagna are just a hint of what’s on offer. Clever kitchen tips and luminous full-color photos round out this indispensable volume.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Crème Fraîche and Strawberries (page 104) You’d think cheese might make a heavy pancake, but these are wonderfully light and delicious.
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Paillard (page 180) An instant weeknight classic, it’s hard to argue with thin slices of chicken breast enrobed in a crisp crust made with breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
Photographs by Hirsheimer & Hamilton