A Little Cheese to Get You Through the Weekend

Seven cheese recipes to inspire you to create this weekend.
Saputo Cheese Recipes via Shaina Olmanson at FoodforMyFamily.com

I have an obsession with the cheese counter. I hover over rounds and wedges, reading labels and searching country of origin on paper triangles that stick out from each kind. I wonder about the cows and goats and sheep that gave milk to create the cheese, the type of wash and rind, the aging process. I try to imagine where they come from, to taste the difference in the air.

I feel like cheese can tell the stories of the people who make and eat them. My favorite wineries in California are those that feature local cheese alongside the wine. I hold my glass and stare, accept samples when offered, ask questions when they come. Mostly, though, I dream.
Saputo Cheese Recipes via Shaina Olmanson at FoodforMyFamily.com
“So, what do you do?”

The problem with hovering silently is this question. Often asked as part of requisite small talk that occurs when you linger too long at the cheese counter or loiter in front of a cheese tray while at a birthday dinner with a mixed group of friends and acquaintances.

It may seem like a small, innocent question, and yet, each time I am presented with it, I falter as I attempt to figure out a way to explain. I stare at my hands, which are hopefully holding some form of liquid encouragement. “Well…” The answer is not quite straightforward, and I never seem to be very good at explaining myself with audibly spoken words. I’m better in print.

Where tomorrow I may be fine-tuning book proposals or working on research for a novel, today I’m doing recipe development and photography for a brand and writing informational articles a magazine. A few weeks ago I was speaking to a group of farmers about social media and the role it can play in farming, and in the midst of all of it, I am trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to juggle my own social media presence and maybe even post something on my personal website which is often neglected.

On the recipe development side, I recently completed a recipe development project for Saputo Cheese. For weeks, it was cheese dish after cheese dish as I played with ideas and then flavors and then fine-tuned the recipes. The cheese counter had come to me. I turned family and friends into taste testers, and then I stared into the cheese drawer one day and thought, “I should visit the cheese counter.”
Saputo Cheese Recipes via Shaina Olmanson at FoodforMyFamily.com
I had the pleasure of creating recipes for seven different cheeses, some imported, some local. My favorite, however, was the Apple Wood Smoked Blue Cheese. Ole won’t shut up about it, and I agree with him. Smoked blue cheese where the nutty richness from the smoke combines with the pungent tang opens the door of this cheese to allow for a multitude of pairings. You can find my recipes on their DCI Cheese Company website:

Goat Cheese Croutons on Arugula with Preserved Lemon Honey Dressing
Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomato and Fontinella-Stuffed Chicken
Smokey Blue Cheese with Seared Brussels and Prosciutto
Manchego Gougeres
Butter Lettuce Salad with Feta and Strawberries
Pear Pistachio Brie Crostini
Ham and Lorraine Swiss Pretzel Sandwiches with Dijon Spread
Saputo Cheese Recipes via Shaina Olmanson at FoodforMyFamily.com


  1. I struggle to answer that question myself, Shaina. Most recently I’ve just stuck to “recipe developer”, as it seems the most palatable to people who wouldn’t even begin to understand “food blogger” or “managing editor”. And while you are simply one of my favorite writers, today, with this post? You’re also one of my favorite photographers. Stunning.

  2. Such gorgeous dishes and with one of my favorite ingredients too! Checking them all out now!

  3. I adore a well-assembled cheese plate. I tend to prefer smoky foods to the barbecue, but I wonder if I would like that blue cheese of which you speak. It sounds pretty great.

    Also, why not answer cookbook author? Just one of your many hats. But yet, tough question.

  4. I think you should tell them you’re aca-awesome ’cause it’s true!

  5. Danielle Hull says:

    I have recently introduced my kids to Brussel sprouts; I never had them growing up! When I checked out that recipe… where’s the polenta?

  6. Love all the recipes you developed – and the smoked blue cheese sounds incredible – I’ve never seen it before. Shaina, you are so gifted – your recipes are so original and creative, your photography beautiful, and your writing so fluid.

  7. great looking recipes!

  8. Oh yeah. I may live in the middle of nowhere, but we have a GREAT cheese shop just 20 minutes away. It’s connected to an award winning Cheddar manufacturer, so LUCKY. I can’t leave there without spending under $50 because I want to try all the cheeses.

    I too am nutbar over smoked bleu cheese. It has something so special about it. I love it on salads and pizzas.

    And as for what I do? I just say “I geek out about food and get paid to do it.”

  9. Hello obsession! I could eat a cheese and fruit spread (with wine of course) for dinner every. single. night.

  10. I could spend all day at the cheese counter and the thought of the smoked blue cheese is due some investigation for sure.

  11. Those manchego gougeres are calling my name! So delicious!

  12. I love this roundup of recipes! I too love spending time in a cheese section. Your Pear Pistachio Brie Crostini sounds delish! Gorgeous pictures!

  13. Absolutely beautiful recipes, photos, and cheeses! And “So, what do you do”…yeh, that. I get it.

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