Lately I have been enjoying recipes from the Bonne Femme Cookbook, recently released by the former Des Moines Register dining critic Wini Moranville. “Bonne Femme” cooking refers to everyday cooking that the average French “housewife” would prepare using fresh, locally available ingredients. I have found the recipes to be a great opportunity to use some of my finds from the Iowa Food Coop.
For example, “Melty Goat Cheese Salad with Honey and Pine Nuts” (p. 38) provided the perfect stage to feature Reichert’s Dairy Air’s Robiola di mia Nonna goat cheese. This is a simple tossing of greens (I used a mix of Berry Patch lettuce and spinach with green leaf lettuce from Krieger Greenhouse) with a light vinaigrette, topped with toasted pine nuts. But what makes this salad special is melting “soft-ripened goat cheese” on toasty baguette slices, then drizzling with honey, and serving the crispy melty toasts on the bed of greens. Now, whether Lois Reichert would call her Robiola a “soft-ripened cheese” is not certain to me—but it is perfect for this application. I used Novae Vitae’s Pure Honey to finish the toasty morsels. Though it is virtuous to serve them with a fresh green salad, it occurs to me that the toasts alone would be a lovely appetizer or a great accompaniment to any other kind of salad or light supper.
To make the toasts, slice a baguette into half inch slices and toast on both sides, either in a toaster or oven. Brush one side of toasts with olive oil, top with 1/8th inch thick slices of Robiola di mia Nonna, and place under oven broiler for 3 minutes or until melty but not scorched. Cool slightly and drizzle with a little honey; serve on a bed of greens, or however you want to eat them.
The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food that French Women Cook Every Day, by Wini Moranville, is available online or at local bookstores. You can connect with the author on Facebook at Chez Bonne Femme.
Review by Rita Pray, 11/10/12