Halloumi Cheese

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Melody Dosch left behind a career in law to become the purveyor of The Artisan Cheese Gallery, a specialty and gourmet cheese shop in Studio City that she owns with her parents, Fred and Kay Heinemann.  Melody provides some fresh recipe ideas for Halloumi cheese, a Greek cheese from Cyprus that's traditionally made from sheep and goat's milk (although cow's milk can also be used).

Halloumi Saganaki With Tomato Sauce and Shrimp
Serves 6

1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 can (14.5 oz) whole peeled tomatoes, diced, with their liquid
½ cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ lb large (21-30 per lb) shrimp, deveined and peeled but with the tail left on
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 sprig fresh mint, leaves removed and torn into pieces
½ lb Cypriot halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch dice

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic and shallot in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, oregano, and half the salt, bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low and simmer briskly until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf and keep the sauce hot over low heat.

Preheat broiler on highest setting.

Season shrimp with remaining tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, remaining salt, half of the ground cinnamon, and half of the mint. Toss well. Heat a flame-proof, oven-proof 10-inch pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Turn off heat and put shrimp in pan in a single layer. Cover with one cup of the hot tomato sauce (reserve any remaining sauce for other uses) and top with the halloumi and remaining ground cinnamon. Place under broiler and cook until the cheese caramelizes, about 3 minutes. Garnish with remaining mint and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Halloumi Kabobs
12 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 sweet pepper, any color
1 red onion
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoon fresh finely chopped herbs (like, thyme, oregano, parsley, mint or any combination that you like or what is available.)
Crushed garlic
Lime juice or lemon juice
Black pepper
Chili powder (optional)
Skewers (wooden or metal)

Cut up the pepper and the red onion to match the size of the cheese cubes.  Combine the herbs, garlic, oil, pepper, chilil powder and add lime juice to taste.  Add the cheese, pepper, onion and mushrooms to the marinade, mix all together, cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours, give them a stir now and then.  The next day, thread the Halloumi mix onto skewers, barbeque or grill them untill the cheese is tinged brown on the edges, using the left over marinade for basting.

Melody likes to sprinkle the kebob with fresh mint once it is removed from the grill.

The Cypriots crumble the halloumi and sprinkle it with chopped mint on thinly sliced watermelon.  At Melody’s store, they grill it on the panini grill, squeeze lemon on it and then lightly cover it with chopped mint or drizzle it with a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar (older than 3 years provides the best flavor).

The Halloumi in Melody's shop comes from the Ballard Family Dairy in Gooding, Idaho.  The cheese is called Golden Greek because only cheeses produced in Cyprus can be called "halloumi."  The Ballard family uses sustainable farming methods and their herd is 100% Jersey cattle.

The Artisan Cheese Gallery
12023 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

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