Thursday, October 27, 2011

Greens Creek Gruyere Stuffed Pumpkin

This time of year you may find yourself doing unscrupulous things with pumpkins. I must admit, I carve goofy faces into a pumpkin every year. On the other hand, stuffing and baking a pumpkin will yield results that are actually sort of whimsical.

Locate your paring knife and get your hands on a nice chunk of Greens Creek Gruyere. This recipe may be easily modified and also makes a beautiful centerpiece.

* Thank you Charlotte for the suggestion to use Gruyere, the subtle nuttiness pairs wonderfully with pumpkin. Also, Nicole, thank you for the inspirational recipes! You ladies are rock stars of cheese purveying.

* Modified from Around My French Table

1 small baking pumpkin, about 3 lbs
4 oz stale bread, cut into 1/2 in cubes (day old Slow Dough baguette
is ideal)
4 oz Greens Creek Gruyère, cut into 1/2 in cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
2 green onions, chopped finely
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ground sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Center rack in oven and preheat to 350. Line a baking sheet or
casserole dish with parchment paper. Using a carving or paring knife,
cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween
Jack-o-Lantern). You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy
for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings
from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the
pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and place it on the baking
sheet or dish. You are ready to stuff. Mix the bread, cheese, garlic,
bacon, and herbs together and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The
pumpkin should be well filled, but not brimming. Stir the cream with a
pinch of all-spice, sage, salt and pepper and pour into the pumpkin.
You want the ingredients covered, but not swimming. Put the cap in
place and bake the pumpkin for 1 1/2 to 2 hours—or until everything
inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is easily
pierced. Remove the cap in the last 20 minutes to allow the stuffing
to brown.

Spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get ample amounts of
pumpkin. Serve over a creamy risotto or with a simple arugula salad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: The Not for Sissies Edition

Yes, this cheese looks like a Petri dish. Yes, you must be brave! If it helps, Hook's Bloomin' Idiot only has a mild blue flavor to its white interior. The tastebud punch lies in the bloomy rind and there are rumors that consuming it restores youth. It's like the Sword in the Stone though, you have to be the chosen one for that part to work. Otherwise, it's just a delicious snack.

While your nerves are steeled, one of our most controversial cheeses, the Red Hawk, is back at the warehouse this weekend as well. This award-winning cheese is beloved by Dairymaids for its beefy flavor and sweet buttermilk finish, but its potency does have its detractors. Choose your side wisely because Red Hawk lovers will make for a solid team come the zombie apocalypse.

But before that inevitable day comes, you might as well enjoy yourself with some Hoja Santa, the beautiful rounds of goat cheese wrapped in herbaceous Hoja Santa leaves, and smoked habanero Cheddar from Beehive. We'll have both of those available this weekend too, but no bug spray. You'll have to deal with that apocalypse on your own.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Goat Feta and Bacon Guacamole

Greek and Mexican fare is ever popular in Houston’s culinary scene, but they are not often spotted in the same dish. Our goat feta from Pure Luck has a lovely herbaceous undertone that blends well in a hearty guacamole.

This creative, yet simple snack is sure to impress. I know there is a sense of pride attached to one’s guacamole recipe. Everyone loves their own guacamole! But the question we need to ask ourselves is: how could guacamole with goat feta and bacon be bad?

2 large Haas avocados
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped 
2-3 Limes, squeezed
1 bunch cilantro
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
Chili powder and crushed red pepper, to taste
A few generous dashes of Cholula hot sauce 
4 oz Pure Luck Goat Feta, crumbled
1/4 lb. thick cut bacon (please see the nice folks at Revival Market)
2 dozen yellow corn tortillas, cut in fourths for chips
2 cups of canola oil

Preheat oven to 375. Place bacon on a cookie sheet and lay fresh cilantro sprigs directly on top of uncooked bacon. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, flipping half way. Discard cilantro after baking and let bacon cool completely. Coarsely chop the cooked bacon. Combine avocado, onion, jalapeno, bacon, and feta. Add spices and hot sauce and squeeze fresh lime juice over all ingredients. Mix well and enjoy.

For homemade chips:
Heat oil over medium/high heat. Fry tortillas until golden brown. Strain on a paper towel lined plate and lightly salt. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting: Falling For Cheese

Compared to the fading of peaches and the influx of root vegetables in the produce aisle these days, cheese isn't as obviously seasonal. But our tastes certainly are and the first gust of wintry promise has ignited a passion for hot chocolate and toasted cheese sandwiches within us. It's desperate, but it looks like you're wearing a scarf. No judgement.

Melting some Reading Raclette over potatoes sounds more appropriate now that we can do so while wearing thick socks at night. Have you been turned off by malodorous raclette in the past? This Vermont cheese from Spring Brook Farms was a regular at the Dairymaids last spring, and we definitely converted some haters with the crispy brown edges of a roasted wedge.

Harbison is back in stock at the warehouse this weekend, though in short supply. This bark wrapped, bloomy rind cheese with a woodsy, savory flavor practically is fall. And you get to sample the creamy paste with a tiny spoon--one of our favorite things about going out for ice cream.

We'll also have customer favorites Marieke Gouda, Nancy's Camembert and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. If you're thinking about making some macaroni and cheese, ask us for some suggestions and we'll set you up right.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bosque Beer Burgers

This is the first week we are presenting recipes that will feature our beautiful Texas cheeses. With that being said, let's not forget about Bosque Blue!

Bosque (pronounced Boss-key) is a Dairymaid essential. It can certainly stand alone or be enjoyed with a generous drizzle of honey (we prefer local… just sayin'). But it made my mouth water when I imagined a burger studded with this golden morsel.

You’re in good company if you grill over flame year-round, but a little spice and heat is welcomed with a nip in the air.

I hope ya’ll enjoy this fall-inspired burger!

2 pounds lean ground sirloin
1/3 pound Bosque Blue, crumbled
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper, more or less to meet your taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion
1-2 generous pinches of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 oz beer (I used St. Arnold’s Amber)
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 Slow Dough Pretzel Buns
Bib or romaine lettuce, for topping
Sliced sweet bread and butter pickles, for topping

Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Place the meat in a bowl and add the crumbled cheese. Peel the onion and halve it. Grate about 3 to 4 tablespoons of onion directly over the meat into the bowl. Finely chop the remaining onion and reserve for topping. Add spices, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire and beer. Mix well. It’s best to just get in there and use your hands. Form 4 large patties. I like to use my thumb to make an indention in the center of the patty. A thinner center will prevent burger bulge. Drizzle a little olive oil over the burgers then grill about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, 5 minutes on each side for medium and 6 to 7 minutes on each side for well done.

Serve patties on a lightly toasted pretzel bun and top with lettuce, pickles, and chopped raw onion. Slather bun tops with mayo or a grainy mustard if desired.

Yields: 4 hearty burgers

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This Week's Warehouse Tasting

There have been many famous Sofias throughout history. Sofia Coppola has made many a fine film about young ladies lounging around in their underwear. Sofia Vergara is probably asked to lounge in front of a camera a lot because she's so good looking. But neither of these women has ever been described as "a lovely brick" with a "white bloomy rind," and for that they're grateful.

That distinction goes to Sofia the goat cheese from Capriole Dairy in Kentucky. It's hand-ladled into molds and layered with vegetable ash to very pretty effect. We'll have it this weekend at the warehouse.

Another lovely cheese in stock this week is the Tarentaise from Springbrook Farm in Vermont. It's styled after a Swiss or French Alpine cheese such as Gruyere or Comte and has a lemon yellow color thanks to grassfed cows.

Come for either of these or our stock of Dunbarton Blue, Matos St. Jorge or Pure Luck Feta. We're also regularly stocked up on pizza crusts now and highly recommend our recently acquired honey spread. To be enjoyed separately, of course.

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX