Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cheese Please: An Interview with Cabot Creamery's Favorite Foodie

"Big Cheese..."

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Finance Foodie and I am a turophile. Yes you heard right - a turophile. Let me explain (before anyone with their mind in the gutter forms an opinion) -- a turophile is another term for a cheese lover. And nothing makes me happier than coming home after a long day of number crunching to chilax on the couch with a ooey-gooey piping hot grilled cheddar and gruyere cheese sandwich. That's why when I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Candace Karu, the lifestyle commentator & "favorite foodie" (yes, that is her title) for Cabot Creamery -- well that just put a big "cheesy" smile on my face. Ms. Karu, will be in Boston on Dec 9th for the Massachusetts Conference for Women, a day long conference that provides connection, motivation, networking, inspiration and skill building for thousands of women each year. Candace will be representing Cabot at their booth as well as speaking on a panel about work / life balance (something I will definitely be checking out -- finance by day, foodie by night gets to be a struggle at times!).


Q: Hi Candace, thanks for taking the time to chat with financefoodie.com! So first question, how does one end up as the "favorite foodie" for Cabot Creamery?

Candace Karu: Hi Finance Foodie, well Cabot has always been a company that is very aware of health and fitness for their customers and employees. As they expanded, they realized there was a need for someone out there to represent a healthy lifestyle -- that was the direction they wanted go. Since I was formerly the Editor at Large for Running Times magazine, as well as an avid marathoner, I was and still am very active in the fitness community. How I got to Cabot, well my sister was the Senior Vice President of Marketing. So she and I started talking and we realized it would be a great fit. The interesting thing about Cabot is, especially in the marketing department, there are a lot of family ties with the employees. You can even say its literally one big happy family!

Q:  That's a great job hunting tip for you readers - leverage your networks! Switching gears now to the topic of health and fitness. So given the public's perception of cheese as a high fat "indulgent" item, what are some tips you have for incorporating cheese into your diet in a healthy way?

CK: Well, the government says that dairy is an essential part of a well balanced diet -- it's a good source of protein and calcium. For those looking to cut back on the fat, I recommend Cabot's reduced fat cheese. In fact, many in the food community regard our reduced fat cheeses as some of the best "diet friendly" products in the world. We have a 50% reduced fat cheddar, 50% reduced fat flavored cheeses - a whole range of products for any taste. However, we here at Cabot believe that regular cheese can be a great part of any diet when used in moderation.

Q: Terrific to hear! Do have a favorite quick and simple recipe you can share with our readers using Cabot cheese?

CK: Of course! [Ed note: see below]

Q: One last question, what is your favorite Cabot cheese flavor?

CK:Oh I get that question a lot! I really love the Horseradish Cheddar for out of the package snacking. If I am going to cook, I like using Seriously Sharp.

Q: The Seriously Sharp is my favorite as well. Great minds eat alike! Thanks again for your time Candace.

To hear more from Candace and to hear from more amazing women (like supermodel/activist Christy Turlington and Massachusetts' First Lady Diane Patrick), register to attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women on Dec 9th 2010 here. And for my "favorite foodies", below is Candace's recipe for easy-peasy make-at-home pizza!

THE PIZZA!

1 Thin Crust Boboli pizza crust
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 cup Cabot Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tbl Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tbl olive oil


Preheat oven to 400ยบ. Heat olive in a skillet. Add sliced onions to caramelize. Keep heat on medium high and stir until onions are very soft and starting to brown. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar and keep cooking and stirring until golden brown and caramelized. This can take up to 20 - 30 minutes. At the very end, add chopped dates to heat through and soften. Put Boboli crust on pizza stone and add the mozzarella cheese as a first layer. Next, layer caramelized onions and dates on top of mozzarella. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts on the onions and top with remaining cheddar cheese. Place the pizza stone in the center of the oven and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. The caramelized onions can be refrigerated in a closed container for up to three days, so this can be prepared in advance.

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