How to perfectly pair spring cheeses


Courtesy of Christine Moore
Local classes teach novice cheese-makers how to turn spring dairy milks into homemade cheese and pair it with the perfect wine.

Welcome spring! We saw you creeping around the corner in March and couldn’t wait for you to arrive. Now, blossoms are bursting out along El Camino Real and in local neighborhoods.

Travel outside of town, and the evidence of spring is all the more apparent. On a recent drive through west Sonoma County, fields were dotted with lambs and kids, reminding me that one of the most exciting things about spring is the arrival of fresh milk on goat and sheep farms in Northern California. Which has me thinking – it’s time to talk wine and cheese pairings.

Two great tastes that taste great together


Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Modern Times Beer’s Haunted Stars combines spicy rye and chicory with its New Orleans-style coffee and a perfectly smooth porter to create a truly delicious cuppa.

While both coffee and beer are “brewed,” at least in part, by steeping roasted seeds in hot water to extract the flavor compounds locked inside, the resulting beverages have very different pleasant effects for those who consume them.

It’s only logical that brewers would think to integrate coffee into the beer-brewing process. Contrary to the psychological pick-me-up you might experience from the flavor of a coffee beer, the amount of caffeine in most coffee beers is a small fraction of that in a typical cup of joe.

Draeger's Market hosts spring fest

Draeger’s Market at 342 First St. in Los Altos is scheduled to host a Spring Fest 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with samples, food demonstrations and treats for kids and adults.

Each department has planned a different feature, ranging from flowers for visitors to balloons for kids, grilled chicken samples, make-your-own berry parfaits and tastings throughout the store.

Classic quiche makes a flexible dish to share


Courtesy of Rita Held
Sliced thin to feed many or thicker as a main course, quiche provides a polished product after only 10 minutes of active kitchen work.

Whether for Passover, Easter or simply to welcome spring, quiche is delicious and quite easy to make.

My recipe uses two ingredients that add a big flavor difference: Swiss Gruyère cheese and Angostura aromatic bitters. Both provide a wonderful, rich depth that takes traditional quiche to another level.

Bay Area brewers take center stage during annual Beer Week event


Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Bay Area homebrewer Craig Danielson went professional in 2016 as the brewmaster and head of brewery operations for Livermore’s Shadow Puppet Brewing Co.

One of my personal highlights of San Francisco Beer Week each year is the Meet the Brewers event at Hermitage Brewing Co.

As the name suggests, the masterminds behind some of the finest craft beers in the region attend and are happy to chat with beer lovers. In its ninth year, the festival showcased more than 30 breweries from the greater Bay Area.

Bircher mueslis break the fast, fast


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Cobble together overnight oats from fruit and nuts already on hand.

Overnight oats rely on a basic premise: capturing the versatility and simplicity of oatmeal, without time at the stovetop. The “just add milk” simplicity of some recipes make for a satisfyingly instant breakfast. A historical example of the genre, modified for modern palates, loads in ingredients with crunch, protein and flavor.

Bircher muesli was invented in the early 1900s by a Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Brenner. An evangelist for the wholesome power of raw fruits and vegetables, his muesli self-assembles overnight, with the key last-minute addition of chopped or coarsely grated apple in equal or greater proportion to oats. During peak apple season, fresh-pressed apple juice makes a thrilling alternative liquid to milk. Juice plumps up oats as either an exclusively vegan option or backdrop for a yogurt scoop added at the eleventh hour.


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