Monday, April 23, 2012

This Week's Tasting Plate: Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

We didn't start the fire. It was always burning since the milk's been churning. And it just so happened to smoke a little nearby Marike Gouda, which we will have in the store this week and in Elizabeth's words, you're going to "freak out" about it. The plain, extra-aged and cumin variety are already fan favorites so be prepared to get your freak on. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Another cheese we don't see as often as we'd like is the Pure Luck Del Cielo. This pretty, Camembert-style goat cheese round always sells out fast so beat your Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser aand Prokofievto the stash. And to round out your week's grocery list, we'll also have some double-cream Cremont, Green's Creek Gruyere and Caveman Blue from Oregon. Til next week, Billy Joel fans.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This Week's Tasting Plate: A lot of good reasons for cheese

As I was pondering what to write about this week, a few different possibilities came to mind. The arrival of spring, the Tupac hologram and 4/20 were all in the mix and probably all of equal relevance to cheese and interest to you. Then I remembered that it's Earth Day on Saturday. So now you have the munchies and a charitable donation motivating you to come by.

The Dairymaids are participating in the Give 5% program, where 5% of our sales on Saturday will go to conservation groups in Houston. To lure you in for cheeses for trees, we brought in the new Asher Blue from Sweetgrass Dairy. It's a beautiful raw cow's milk round with a natural rind and an earthy, salty flavor.

We also have Cow Girl Creamery's first aged cheese, Wagon Wheel, which is a great melter and might remind you of an Asiago or Fontina. You will probably recognize Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Sottocenere, our decadent Italian truffle cheese, which will also be on the plate. We'll have the cheeses all week, even if you don't make it Saturday, but remember, a lover of great cheese is also a lover of planet Earth.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Eat Some Cheese and Help the Trees

Green grass and clean water makes for healthy cows, which makes for good cheese. Good cheese makes for happy Dairymaids (the clean water doesn't hurt either). So we owe the environment a lot for what it gives to us and we're celebrating planet Thanksgiving on Saturday, April 21 by participating in the Earth Day Give 5% program.

Whatever we make on Saturday, we'll give 5% to five conservation non-profits including the Bayou Land Conservancy, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Galveston Bay Foundation, Houston Audubon and Katy Prairie Conservancy.

If you're saving up or stocking up, be sure to come by on the 21st and help these great organizations that work hard to help the environment.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mango Caprese

The nice folks at the Mozzarella Co. make fresh mozz like you never tasted. This week we are featuring Scamorza on the tasting plate, but I went with it's non-smoked, conservative cousin. The mild mozzarella brings out the creaminess in a perfectly ripe mango. This salad is surprising; flavors are balanced, but still interesting. So good! 

1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced 
1 mango, peeled and sliced
Cilantro leaves (about 10 - 12 leaves or to taste) 
Arugula (about 2 handfuls) 
Extra virgin olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste

* Serves 2

Slice mozzarella ball into 5 or 6 1/2 inch slices. Overlap arugula, mangoes, slices of mozzarella, and cilantro leaves on one large serving plate or 2 individual plates. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This Week's Tasting Plate: Where There's Smoke Edition

It’s around this time of year that Houston air starts to smell more like pool chlorine and barbecue smoke. Yes, it’s almost summer and our noses always perk up to the scent of grilling steaks and burgers. Along those lines, this week we’re featuring our scamorza from the Mozzarella Company in Dallas.
Smoked over native pecan wood, scamorza is similar to a firm mozzarella. For smoking, it’s dipped in wax and suspended by a string as per Italian tradition. (That makes it look like a snowman, which is not very seasonable, but life is full of inconsistencies.) This one in particular has a great melting texture and is delicious sliced over a hot burger.
We’ll also have Bosque Blue on hand, which you could also crumble atop a burger (you dog!) and the Marieke Gouda, similarly excellent on sandwiches or slightly melty.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Deviled Eggs with Chevre & Cucumber Caviar

Houston has only a few short months of  “California-ish” weather. Now is the ideal time for bike rides and picnics. No picnic would be complete without cheese, wine and deviled eggs.

This is a classic recipe for deviled eggs that has been verbally shared in my family since the 1950’s. The addition of fresh chevre and cucumber caviar is my dairymaid touch. Happy Sunday and enjoy!

5 eggs
1/2 of one portion of plain Pure Luck Chevre (about 4 oz)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chives, finely sliced
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
2 – 3 cornichon pickles, very finely chopped
Pinch smoked paprika
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste

For garnish:
2 tablespoons cucumber caviar
Fresh dill

* Yields 10 deviled eggs
* Cornichon pickles available at the warehouse

Set eggs out at room temperature for 10 minutes (this makes them easier to peel). Place eggs in a small pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 12 minutes. Drain hot water, run cool water over eggs, and peel while still warm. Slice in half lengthwise; reserving yolks in a mixing bowl and whites on a serving platter.

Add the remaining ingredients to mixing bowl and blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip; pipe the mixture into the cavity of each egg white. For cucumber caviar: peel the skin from a cucumber. Using the meaty part of the fruit without seeds, cut a thin piece that is 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch thick. Slice into matchsticks and then in 1/8 – 1/4 inch squares. Before serving, spoon a little caviar on top of each egg and garnish with fresh dill.

Monday, April 2, 2012

This Week's Tasting Plate: A Star is Born Edition

Raise your hand if you consider Beyonce our true Texas star. Now raise your hand if you you think it's Gary Busey. That probably covers the spread on Dairymaids readers, but you are all wrong. It's Woody Harrelson. Just kidding, it's a new cheese from the Veldhuizens called Texas Star. It tastes similar to a cheddar and has a creamy texture that coats the tongue like a custard. Its rich yellow color speaks to the cows' healthy grass diet.

We'll be showing off the Texas Star for the first time this week, as well as another cheese from Rogue Creamery called Crater Lake Blue.  It's the dairy's most robust blue, sharp and sweet with a rich buttery finish. The contemporary blend of blue molds from around the world make for a cheese that tastes like a blend of Roquefort and Danish Blue.

The store will also be fully loaded on Nancy's Camembert, San Andreas and Reading Raclette. Here's to cheese stardom.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chocolate Chili

Vegan Dairymaid is right next door to jumbo shrimp and girly man, but we are equal opportunists, so this recipe is for our vegan friends (omitting the cheese garnish). Apart
from cheese, we have a hand picked selection of specialty foods such as pickles, olives, nuts and jellies, just to name a few. A new Dairymaid favorite is the Taza Chocolate.

When a customer at a tasting mentioned that she put chocolate in her chili, my eyes lit up. You may be thinking chocolate chili is another oxymoron, but the addition of dark chocolate adds unexpected flavor and depth to any spicy dish. Get in one more batch of hearty chili before summer is here! Garnish with the Veldhuizen’s best seller, Texas Gold (it’s optional, kind of).

* Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (or to taste, 1 tablespoon will make it hot!)
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, fresh ground
1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can whole tomatoes
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeds removed and minced
1 disc (about 1 oz) Guajillo Chili Chocolate Mexicano, grated
3 (15.5 oz) cans beans, drained (I used kidney, black and pinto)
1/4 – 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup strong coffee
4 oz Texas Gold Cheddar, shredded

In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in spices. Hand crush whole tomatoes and add to the pot with chipotles and chocolate, stir until well blended. Add beans, coffee and desired amount of vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes. Add a little more liquid if chili becomes too thick. Garnish with Texas Gold.

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX