Posted by: acooksca | 04/03/2009

Blue Cheese and Oysters from West Marin

pt-reyes-blue-dressing-1a“By 1860 Marin County was the largest dairy producer in California, providing one-fourth of the state’s butter,” says the Grown In Marin website. More remarkable still, it states that “Virtually all of our farms and ranches can be called family farms. There are no factory farms.” California is today the largest dairy producing state in the U.S. and little Marin County bucks the trend of industrialization.

This is why a trip to West Marin is so delightful. It remains wonderfully bucolic and agrarian just minutes from San Francisco. Traveling down curvy Highway One you can fill your trunk with local produce, oysters and cheese. Recently we shopped the coast for ingredients to make the barbequed oyster recipe from New Orleans’ historic Red Fish Grill (see link below for the recipe).

The gentle environment of Tomales Bay seems perfect for bringing up a family of young oysters. Hog Island Oyster Company, nine miles North of Point Reyes Station, offers Sweetwater oysters, Altantics, Kumamotos, French Hogs and Manilla clams. Visitors can view them sparkling in shallow holding tanks. Or rent a picnic area with table and a bar-beque to grill your oysters. We packed large Sweetwater oysters in ice for the ride home.

Point Reyes Station is the tiny commercial center of the Marin coast. There is about one of everything. Many businesses are housed in buildings from the town’s railroad years (1874-1933). We often wander the cafes and shops but today we had a mission. We always seem to be in Point Reyes Station on days the Cow Girl Creamery store is closed (Open Wed-Sun 10am-6pm). This was a Friday and we stopped by for ingredients to make the blue cheese dressing for the oyster recipe.

Cowgirl Creamery offers a variety of cheeses handmade on site and from surrounding dairies such as the Point Reyes Cheese Company. This farm produces several wonderful farmstead blue cheeses. Their Holsteins graze on fog and sea breeze nurtured pastures. The resulting blue cheeses are sweet and salty-tangy, creamy and full-flavored, delightful blues.

It seems Point Reyes Cheese Company had done our work for us. Amongst their products we found Original Blue Dip & Dressing. The ingredients are exactly what you would use to make it from scratch: crumbled blue cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cidar vinegar, green onion, Dijon, Worcestershire, sugar and pepper. It’s very good! Try to find some.

There are many uses for Original Blue Dip and Dressing. Next I’m going to spread it on a  Panini using baguette and  sliced chicken drizzled with the leftover hot sauce from the oyster recipe.
Grown In Marin
http://groups.ucanr.org/GIM/Marin_County_Agriculture-_185_Years_of_Family_Farming/

Red Fish Grill oysters recipe
http://www.redfishgrill.com/recipe_display.php?id=2

Hog Island Oyster Company
http://www.hogislandoysters.com/v2/

Cow Girl Creamery
http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/

Point Reyes Cheese Co.
www.pointreyescheese.com.

 

Originally published in Farmstead Cheese News by Karen Bolla, edited for A Cook’s California (A Cook’s CA)  by Karen Bolla.

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