When the family dairy farm needed reinventing, the Giacomini sisters, Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill, left their previous careers to run their new family business—cheese. Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company on the California coast makes artisan cheese from their Original Blue and Bay Blue cheeses to their Mozzarella and Toma. These delectable cheeses inspire recipe making. Here are some ways you can enjoy this award-winning cheese in your kitchen:

Point Reyes Toma Grilled Cheese with Apple and Dijon
Makes 4

8 slices multi-grain bread
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 large apple, thinly sliced (recommend Fuji or Pink Lady)
12 ounces Point Reyes Toma, shredded
¼ cup butter, softened

Lay four slices of bread on work surface. Spread each slice of bread with about one tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Top with apple slices and Point Reyes Toma. Top with remaining bread slices, and press the bread firmly into place. Spread softened butter onto the top and bottom slices of bread.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sandwiches and cook until the bottom slice of bread is golden brown. Flip sandwiches and cook until cheese is melted and bread is toasty. Serve hot.

Potato Tart
6-8 servings

The Pastry:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons cold water

The Filling:
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ pound small fingerling potatoes or new potatoes
Boiled & cut into ¼ inch slices
1 cup Point Reyes Farmstead Original Blue Cheese
½ tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
Fleur de sel, to garnish

The Pastry: In a medium bowl, blend the flour & salt. Using a small knife cut the butter into pieces and drop into the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, gently work the flour into the butter, until pea-sized clumps form. (If your kitchen is warm, place the mixture in the refrigerator for a minute or two to prevent the butter from melting.)

One tablespoon at a time, drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture and stir gently to form a dough (depending upon the temperature and humidity, you may need more or less water). Gather the dough into a ball; it should hold together. If not, add a little more water. Being careful not to overwork the dough, pat it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 350F. On a floured surface, using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll the dough in an 11-inch circle. Gently press into the bottom and the sides of a 9 inch tart pan; trim away an excess.

The Filling: In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk into the cream. In the pastry shell, arrange the potato slices in overlapping layers. Top with Cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and cheese. Sprinkle the tart with chopped rosemary or thyme.

Bake the tart on the bottom rack of the over for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling has set. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and transfer to a baking rack to cool. If using a removable-bottom pan, gently push up from the bottom while the tart is still warm to help release the crust.

Classic Cobb Salad with Point Reyes Bay Blue
Serves 4-6

Dressing:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and sliced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 oz. Point Reyes Bay Blue, crumbled
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

For dressing, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper in small bowl. While continuing to whisk, gradually add olive oil until combined. Set aside.

Place lettuce in large bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat evenly. Transfer to serving platter. Top with even rows of chicken, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, Point Reyes Bay Blue and egg. Drizzle salad with remaining dressing and serve.

Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions, Arugula & Point Reyes Bay Blue
Serves 2 - 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 New York Strip boneless steak, 1-inch thick
Salt & Pepper
1 fresh baguette, sliced in half horizontally (or your favorite sandwich rolls)
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup baby arugula, washed and spun dry
3 ounces Point Reyes Bay Blue, crumbled

To caramelize onions, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt to the pan and stir to combine. Cook onions uncovered, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown and soften. Cover pan and continue to cook until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, still stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over high heat until hot, but not smoking. Sear steak for one minute on each side. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking the steak for 7 – 10 more minutes, turning halfway through, until cooked to rare/medium-rare (or to your liking). Remove from pan and let steak rest on a plate covered with foil for an additional 10 minutes. Slice steak.

To assemble sandwiches, spread the top and bottom halves of baguette evenly with mayonnaise. Spread caramelized onions on bottom half of baguette, top with sliced steak, arugula, and Point Reyes Bay Blue. Slice and serve.

Recipes: Courtesy of The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

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