What on Earth is a “Cheeseboard?”

A cheeseboard (or cheese course) is often served at the end of a meal, frequently replacing dessert. It has also become popular as an appetizer course when gatherings and parties are hosted in a more relaxed atmosphere.

There are a lot of things that take the subject of cheese to a deeper level than just grabbing a block from your local grocery store.  Especially these days.  With the dawn of exported foods and easy travel, we have variety available to us like no other time in history.  We have also entered a period of local craftsmanship and animal husbandry (fancy term for raising animals in case you were wondering!) that allows us to access food raised and crafted in our local cities and towns.  Throughout California and other states, you can meet your farmers and ranchers and even tour their fields and farms.  Not only is it possible (and has been for a while now), but its becoming more and more encouraged by these small family farms.  They want you to come and see what they are so passionate about!

As people learn more about their food and where it comes from, it opens us all up to a whole world about history and techniques as well as traditions and flavors.  This was our favorite part of learning about cheese. Continue reading “What on Earth is a “Cheeseboard?””

The Best Things in Life Are Cheese

Cheese…what more can we say? It’s one of those ingredients that can make a simple meal so much better, a small party into a great gathering, and basically make most humans the happiest humans around! It’s a year round crowd-pleaser and satisfies those midnight cravings for munchies.

Cheese…what more can we say?  It’s one of those ingredients that can make a simple meal so much better, a small party into a great gathering, and basically…make most humans the happiest humans around!  It’s a year round crowd pleaser and satisfies those midnight cravings for munchies.

Cheese Boards by the Sprouted Cottage - Tips for choosing, assembling, and serving cheeses to a crowd.

We are big about cheese around here.  Busy days often call for homemade mac and cheese or a delicious, grilled-to-perfection, grilled cheese sandwich.  Before the Sprout came along, Dave and I would often frequent our local cheese shops and select a couple types to take home for Sunday afternoon lunches and beach side picnics.  Then the Sprout came…after two months of her experiencing acid-reflux symptoms and the screams to match, we discovered that she was lactose intolerant.  Heavy sigh…cheese was a way of life for Dave and I!  Well maybe not a way of life, but we definitely survived on it often!

Cheese Boards by the Sprouted Cottage - Tips for choosing, assembling, and serving cheeses to a crowd.We aren’t the kind of people who give up easily, though.  After all, Dave’s a chef…so we set out to find ones that she could tolerate, which also meant that I could eat them while nursing.  And find them, we did!  We found many varieties that she not only tolerated, but enjoyed discovering when she got older.  Life had returned!

Continue reading “The Best Things in Life Are Cheese”

Life Starts All Over Again…

Maybe it’s the red hair, maybe it’s the fair skin and freckles, all I know is that summer is always a bit off for me. Fall is more my bread and butter. I mean walking around with auburn colored hair automatically makes me fit in better! By August I am ready for sweaters, spicy scented candles, and crisp evenings filled with falling leaves and changing colors. The California temperatures don’t always agree with me, but luckily Cambria and the coast tend to oblige.

How did the summer fly by so fast?!  There are back to school sales everywhere and my inbox is full of emails for discounts on everything from clothes to backpacks.  As a girl who loves a good discount, I can’t exactly complain!  However, I definitely feel as though summer is floating by quickly and fall will be here before I’ve microwaved my coffee for the third time!

I’m sitting here, staring at the most beautiful picture of a cottage in Idaho that was taken by a dear friend last fall.  A bit of light through halfway bare trees, leaves scattered about a fading green lawn, this is the whimsical photo that stares back at me.  It’s beautiful and it makes me so excited for the season that’s approaching.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EvelynnsHeaven
Photo credit: Evelynn Seaberg   Evelynn’s Heaven on Etsy

Continue reading “Life Starts All Over Again…”

Summer Red Sangria

One of our favorite drinks from that restaurant was the House Sangria. It paired so well with the warm and slightly spicy flavors of the dishes. It was light, sweet and refreshing.

We moved to the central coast back in 2012 for a job.  Dave had recently graduated culinary school and the recession hit us pretty hard.  We quickly realized that the jobs back in the mountains would always be seasonal, (at one point in late 2011, Dave worked a grand total of 36 hours in a month…MONTH not week!) and that the competition for each position would be cutthroat.  The recession ended up becoming the best adventure for us.  With only a few weeks notice, we packed up our whole life and moved 4 hours from everyone and everything we knew.

img_2072The job he took was for a new restaurant owned by a local restaurateur.  It was a tapas style restaurant with global and Spanish dishes.  We had never even heard of tapas before and had a hard time pronouncing items on their menu. We quickly learned all about this type of cuisine and what made it unique.  It’s now one of our favorite types of dining because of its unique social aspect. Continue reading “Summer Red Sangria”

Chocolaty Zucchini Muffins

Not exactly the typical summer crop that comes to mind, but once you try this, you’ll be making it late into the fall with that large zucchini crop!

Today, Day 4 of the Summer Produce Series we are bringing you chocolate! Not exactly the typical summer crop that comes to mind, but once you try this, you’ll be making it late into the fall with that large zucchini crop!
img_1961Zucchini is a great crop to grow, even if you have a smaller yard. Each plant yields several pounds of vegetables and the blossoms are delicious to cook with too! The plants are hardy and there are many varieties to choose from.  We like to grill them with a little salt, pepper and olive oil for a dinner side.  When we aren’t grilling them, we’re baking them like this…

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All the spices blend well with the moisture of the zucchini to create a flavor party in your mouth!

The inspiration for these muffins came from a recipe that is often made in Dave’s family. They make a chocolate zucchini cake that is moist and divinely full of chocolate. His great aunt made the cake many times throughout the years and it became a signature dish to bring to potlucks and parties. In fact, we made the cake on one of our first dates. Dave had made it several times for friends and we decided to make it together. So, I guess you could say this started our love for cooking together!
img_1980A cake is a great dish when you have a crowd or large family, but our family is still small and apparently it’s not healthy to devour a whole cake on a regular basis! (Say what?!) So, we came up with these muffins. They are a portable version of the original with a couple twists. A little less dessert and a little more breakfast.
img_1979They will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 4-5 days. Or you can wrap them individually and freeze them for up to a month. Just pull out however many you want and thaw them overnight.

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but I promise, they all add to the layers of flavor in these beauties.
img_1974Hope you enjoy them! I promise, your kids won’t even know that they are high in protein and full of green veggies!

Chocolaty Zucchini Muffins

  • Servings: 24 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Who says you can’t have chocolate for breakfast? This muffin recipe is full of moist zucchini and protein to keep you full.



Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 c. chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Fill 24 regular muffin cups with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and maple syrup using a hand mixer. (Or the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer.)
  3. Add the oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix until fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, blend the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder and spices.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter in two batches and mix until incorporated.
  6. Fold the zucchini and chocolate chips into the batter.
  7. Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way with batter.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then enjoy!

Mouthwatering Bruschetta with Tomatoes (Bruschetta con Pomodoro)

Today’s recipe for mouthwatering bruschetta with tomatoes, is a quick and tasty version that works great when you don’t have a lot of time. It also uses up all those juicy tomatoes and zesty basil leaves that are flourishing this time of year!

We love to cook and experience food from all cultures here at The Sprouted Cottage. Dave is a classically trained chef who loves the adventures of Asian cuisine and classic French techniques. He works as a chef at a local bakery in a neighboring town and gets to play with food everyday. I have always enjoyed learning about other cultures because of my love for art and textiles. I love discovering the unique traits of different people. There is one thing that both Dave and I see in every culture; sharing a meal is a common way to enjoy others company.

In true American fashion, our Sprout is a melting pot of ancestry. She has Italian, German, Polish, Norwegian, Irish, English, Scotch and possibly even Mongolian. We love how unique this makes her and have enjoyed watching her grow and seeing different characteristics show up as she matures. It also inspired us to expose her to foods and cultures that make up her ancestry. Continue reading “Mouthwatering Bruschetta with Tomatoes (Bruschetta con Pomodoro)”

Cucumber Pinwheels with Goat Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato Cream

Our Cucumber Pinwheels with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese are a quick and easy appetizer to bring to family bbq’s, beach picnics or even to have in the fridge on those hot nights when you can’t stomach a full meal. They pair well with lots of dishes.

This has been one crazy week! When we planned out this Summer Produce Series, we chose this week in July because our produce would be ripe and our schedule was open.

We kicked it off Monday, and then Tuesday hit… Continue reading “Cucumber Pinwheels with Goat Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato Cream”