Step Aside, Hummus. It’s time for Whipped Cheese.

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell

Whipped Cheese just might become your next hummus.  No tub of whipped Philly, this is a beautifully aerated cloud of ricotta, feta or goat cheese emulsified with a fruity olive oil. Which way to take this fluffy blank canvas?  With a few adjustments, it can close a meal as nicely as begin one.  Appetizer or dessert, it’s up to you.  Hummus can’t do that!

We asked the new chef in Nashville, Phillip Krajeck, to deconstruct for us some of his favorite whipped cheese applications.  Krajeck’s new restaurant, Rolf and Daughters, is opening in late fall in the old boiler room at the Werthen Mills in Germantown.  Whipping cheese fits well with his “modern peasant food” philosophy that stresses the simple and seasonal.  Chef Phil quickly rattled off a list of easily whipped cheese accessories—fresh herbs, fresh or dried chilies, toasted nuts, honey, seasonal fruits, roasted winter squash, crostini, and crudité vegetables.  Essentially, whatever’s in the crisper drawer and pantry.

The chef and restaurant business aside, this James Beard-nominated chef (formerly of The WaterColor Inn and Resort, Santa Rosa Beach, FL) sees a clear distinction between his restaurant cooking and his home cooking.  “At work, I strive to be fast, clean, precise and multi-tasking.  At home I’m chillin’ in the kitchen with my wife and kids, the music is blasting, and there’s probably a homebrew or an icy cold Miller High Life involved.”

So, whipping up some ricotta and getting creative doesn’t seem too taxing for a fancy chef’s day off or a home cook’s cocktail or dinner party.  Here’s our Cheater Chef version of whipped cheese and a few serving suggestions inspired by Chef Phil.  No doubt you’ll think of your own ideas.  Phil’s advice to the home cook?  “Don’t be scared to screw things up.  It’s how you learn.”


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