published Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Side Orders: Sequatchie Creamery wins again

Middle and East Tennessee were well represented at the Good Food Awards held recently in San Francisco, bringing the state three winning entries, one of which is from nearby Sequatchie Cove Creamery, located in Sequatchie Valley. The creamery won for its popular Dancing Fern cheese.

“The list of recipients includes some of the country’s finest artisan producers, so it’s a great honor to be given such an award,” says Padgett Arnold, sales and marketing director for the creamery.

Sequatchie Cove has been making the cheese for the past two years and has received a good deal of attention since its flavor is a rare find in the States, a style which Arnold says is best compared to Reblochon, a cheese made in the French Alps from raw milk which, due to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, is not allowed in the United States.

This is not the first time Dancing Fern has received honors for its velvety texture and nutty flavor. In 2012, it won first place in the annual American Cheese Society competition.

Sequatchie Cove Creamery cheeses can be found in Chattanooga at the Main Street Farmer’s Market, Enzo’s Market, Main Street Meats, Whole Foods, Pruett’s Market on Signal Mountain) and Mooney’s Market in Sewanee. And you’ll find it used in dishes on the menu at such restaurants as 212 Market, St. John’s Restaurant, The Meeting Place, Urban Stack, Broad Street Grille, Easy Bistro and The Farmer’s Daughter.

In addition to Sequatchie Cove Creamery’s win, Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., outside Knoxville, was recognized for its Downer Brown, a creamy sheep’s milk cheese with a soft white rind. And Nashville’s Bathtub Gin, a business that makes artisinal preserves using fruits and liquors, took home honors for its limoncello strawberry preserves, a tangy spread that pairs homemade limoncello liqueur with candied citrus zest and ripe strawberry preserves.

Off the shelf

Registered dietitian and now cookbook author Carolyn O’Neil takes a solid approach to dieting in her newest cookbook, “Slim Down South: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Bacon and Biscuits” (Oxmoor House, $24.95).

Browsing through the pages, recipe after recipe, you can’t help noticing that it’s not your typical diet cookbook. As Southerners, we cannot deny our love for fried foods, cornbread, grits and sweets. Oh, how we love them, and how could anyone write a cookbook about Southern fare without including such foods? So you’ll find recipes for Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, Sweet Peach Cornbread, Pound Cake with Whiskey Sauce and all those other indulgences we find hard to deny. And yet, this is still a diet book.

O’Neil takes us on a culinary journey to our past when obesity wasn’t a problem and foods were full of flavor, a time before fad diets such as the one that had us eating cabbage soup for weeks on end. Instead, she focuses on a “stay-slim” philosophy that starts with ingredients we should be eating more: fresh peaches, pecans, greens, sweet potatoes and other flavors of the South.

And, if you follow a pattern of eating in moderation, it’s entirely permissible to allow foods such as fried chicken into your diet from time to time. Yes, you can eat peanut butter cookies, too. Here’s O’Neil’s healthier take on one of our favorite cookies. I even made them with stevia, and the results were simply the most amazing peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had. O’Neil suggests allowing them to cool before serving, but my husband and I couldn’t wait that long. These cookies melt in your mouth. They are flourless, so they are also perfect for those needing a gluten-free dessert.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup sugar or stevia

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Parchment paper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until puffed and very lightly browned. Cool before serving.

Note: Before cooling, you may want to flatten the cookies slightly with a fork.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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