OSU Food Science and Technology department is something to be proud of
Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!
That tagline, which I have used on this column for a couple of years, is not meant to be a casual sign off. It's intended to inspire you to put something special into your cooking, to try new foods and techniques and genuinely experience the joy of cooking.
It's a mission I live by, and as a result my dinner plate has been filled with some remarkable foods and shared with delightful people. Being open to culinary adventure has enriched my life in ways beyond imagination.
So when my friend Mike Bondi, director of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC), invited me to the Harvest Banquet last month, I quickly accepted. The center is Oregon State University's only agriculture field research station in the northwestern part of the state. The scientists and specialists employed there work with farmers to improve yield and nutritional quality on a variety of crops; vegetables, seed crops, berries, small fruit, Christmas trees and other produce small commercial farms might grow. The Harvest Banquet brings together farmers and food innovators, politicians and interested citizens like me to celebrate the bounty of our area.
For the harvest feast, Chef Jason Ball, the chef at OSU's Food Innovation Center, had prepared a diverse menu showcasing foods grown at the center or developed at the FIC. It was quite a meal.
To start off we were treated to a variety of Oregon State cheeses, made by the Food Science and Technology students. Beaver Classic, the original cheese, is made in the tradition of alpine cheeses from Europe, and has a subtle nutty taste. It's been a favorite cheese of mine since it was introduced. The students have expanded their offerings and now offer a smoked cheddar, and cider-, pinot- and porter-soaked cheddars, made using cider, pinot noir and porter ale made by OSU students. All are delicious but my favorite has to be the pinot-soaked cheese. It is soaked in pinot noir from grapes grown in the OSU vineyard.
During the evening I had the good fortune to meet Anne Goetze and Lisbeth Goddik, Ph.D. Anne is the senior director of Nutrition Affairs of Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, and Lisbeth is head of OSU's dairy fermentation program, the Paul and Sandy Arbuthnot Professor, the ODI-Bodyfelt Professor as well as the OSU Dairy Processing Extension Specialist. Lisbeth invited me to visit the OSU creamery and tour the fermentation and food technology facilities.
Another culinary adventure was in the making.
Lisbeth explained that OSU's Food Science and Technology program is the biggest food science program in the United States. It is the second oldest program in the nation (began in 1918), and superior research, teaching and outreach have characterized the program since its beginning. Oregon State is the first university in the nation to have a working research winery, brewery, distillery and creamery. We toured the three-story building and ended up in the processing area which is shared to make beer, cider and wine and process vegetables.
Have you been on the OSU campus lately? Wiegand Hall, where much of the food science classes are held, has a cozy classroom feel; every square inch is utilized to its best potential for the programs. While it has that comfortable Oregon charm, the classrooms are small and bursting at the seams.
Plans are in the works to expand OSU's nationally prominent programs with a new precision pilot-scale brewery, winery and dairy-processing facility.
According to materials from the University, the Fermentation Sciences Program at OSU has grown in parallel with Oregon's quality food and beverage industries. It supports sustainable, innovative approaches to the production of wine, beer, cheese and a variety of other fermented foods.
Simply put the programs need more space and up-to-date technology to keep pace with the industries.
The Oregon Quality Food and Beverage Products Initiative builds on OSU's excellence in every facet of food production, from soil to shelf. OSU's strengths in enology, brewing, distillation and dairy processing are coupled with outstanding programs in viticulture, horticulture, agronomy, microbiology, engineering, business and breeding and plant genetics.
Nowhere else in the world are all these strengths represented in a single institution. That is something for every Oregonian to be proud of.
The Oregon Legislature has committed $9 million toward building a new $18 million state-of-the-art facility at OSU for pilot-scale research and teaching. OSU could use your dollars to raise the matching funds to help ensure Oregon's role as a global leader in food and beverage innovation.
Today's recipe calls for smoked cheddar cheese. Order some Beaver Classic smoked cheddar and enjoy!
Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!
Mushroom and Smoked Cheddar Turnovers
with Apple Relish
For the turnovers:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cups mushrooms, large dice (your choice)
1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese like OSU Smoked Cheddar
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
For the relish:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme, and shallots to the pan and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add the mushrooms to the pan. Stirring occasionally, cook mushrooms until golden, another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and place mushroom mixture in a bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add cheese, mix and set aside. On a lightly floured board, roll out puff pastry to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch squares. Place mushroom mixture in the middle of the pastry then with the pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash along the edge of the pastry. Fold the square over the mushroom filling from point to point, making a triangle. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the top of each turnover. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
For the relish: In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until they are translucent. Reduce heat to medium and mix in the apples, slowly cooking them down to allow them to soften. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook until the liquid has almost completely reduced. Season to taste and allow to cool to room temperature.
Serve turnovers hot from the oven with apple relish.