This first appeared online on July 17. Michelle M. Winner and I wrote it together as we discovered Deborah together. It appeared in the print editions as shown below:
It’s always exciting to meet a new chef full of passion, inspiration, and success. Deborah Scarborough is the owner and chef of The Black Cat in Cambria, Calif.Maralyn Hill: How did you get started?
Deborah Scarborough: Like many other chefs, I started cooking with my grandmother, mother, and father. Each had different specialties, from country Southern, to great soups, and elite dinner parties.
My mother cooks wonderfully and knows how to develop flavors. My father cooked wild game and freshly caught fish. It is because of him that I have no fear of cooking any kind of meat.
Ms. Hill: As to using local ingredients, Deborah was absolute.
Ms. Scarborough: I am on the board of Pallet to Palate, which promotes the farm-to-table experience in California’s Central Coast. Before Pallet to Palate, I found it difficult to coordinate with the farmers. Now we have developed better communication between farmers and chefs. I am also on the board of Slow Food San Luis Obispo.
Ms. Hill: What has been your biggest “ah ha” moment in the field?
Ms. Scarborough: Peeking out from the kitchen and seeing a painting in the dining room of my restaurant that used to hang in my office, when I worked in television. I thought, “Oh my God, this is MY restaurant.”
I sometimes still walk in the dining room, listen to the ambience, and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I actually pulled this off and my dreams have come true.”
Black Cat Bistro Meyer Lemon and Chevre Cheesecake
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 11/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (room temperature)
- 8 ounces chevre (room temperature)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche
- 3 cups ginger cookies
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (purchase or you can make your own)
- 1 pomegranate, seeds only
To make crust:
- Make a crust with ginger cookies, melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. You don’t want it too wet or too dry. Adjust accordingly.
- Press into either individual ring molds or one spring-form pan and bake at 325 degrees F until slightly firm. Remove from oven and lower temperature to 250 F.
To make filling:
- Process sugar and zest in a processor with a blade until sugar is yellow.
- Beat cream cheese and goat cheese on low to break up and soften slightly, about 5 seconds. With machine running, add sugar mixture in a slow and steady stream. Continue to beat until mixture is creamy and smooth, scraping down bowl as needed.
- Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated, scraping sides after each addition.
- Add lemon juice and mix until just incorporated. Add crème fraiche and mix until just incorporated.
- Pour into spring-form pan or ring molds and place in 250 degree F oven, and bake until they puff up slightly and are no longer jiggly in the middle. Place a pan of hot water in the oven and mist the oven often during baking. Cool completely and then remove from molds.
Drizzle a little pomegranate molasses over top and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Written by the team of Maralyn D. Hill, the Epicurean Explorer, and Michelle M. Winner, the Culinary Traveler. For more information about the Black Cat Bistro please visit www.blackcatbistro.com.
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