Thursday, March 28, 2013

Say Hello to the Cheese-ter Bunny!

We know you grew up with and have come to love the traditional Easter bunny. What's not to love about a mystical creature who brings you tasty treats once a year? We know; we know - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

But bear with us while we introduce our new and improved version... the Cheese-ter Bunny! 

This magical being will provide you with delightful dairy not just once a year, but on demand throughout all the seasons! Come visit us this weekend and celebrate the creation of the Cheese-ter Bunny! 

Tangible mascots appreciated. 

Photo source credit: blog here, photo here

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eagle Mountain Visit

Part of what sets Houston Dairymaids apart is our focus on the relationship between cheesemaker and you, the consumer. As such, we love to go visit our dairies and farms and get to experience the process of cheesemaking from milk to finished product so that we can then bring that story back to the shop.

Last week, Shannon and I went out to Granbury, TX to meet with Dave and Matt Eagle of Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese. To say this trip was amazing would be the understatement of the year. Dave, Matt, and their fellow cheesemaker Corey invited us into their cheesemaking facility first and allowed us to help them with the flipping and pressing of the cheeses. Eagle Mountain makes cheeses on Monday and Thursdays, so Friday was a pressing day. While the cheese is being pressed, each wheel must be flipped regularly to ensure an even distribution of butterfat and an even expulsion of whey.

Shannon hard at work flipping some Granbury Gold

After we spent time learning about the process of cheesemaking, it was time to go visit the cows! Eagle Mountain gets their milk from Sandy Creek Farm in Bridgeport, TX. This Grade A dairy uses only Brown Swiss cows to produce their high-quality raw milk. Shannon and I made fast friends. 

Mike Moyers, in the background, is the Dairyman!

Dave Eagle is gettin' some love!

Mike Moyers, the owner of Sandy Creek Farm, took us around the land and through the milking room. Shannon and I even got to milk a cow! Needless to say, this was an experience of a lifetime and one that I will remember fondly throughout all my mongering days!

This cow is ready for milking!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Winner, Winner Cheesy Dinner!

We have a treat for you Dairymates this week! We're featuring the first and second place winners from the 2013 US Championship Cheese Contest on our tasting plate. Say hello to the fabulous Marieke Aged Gouda and our runner-up, Tarentaise!

These lovely cheeses impressed the judges with their ability to stay delicious even in the face of tough questions. Marieke snuck ahead due to her downright delightful notes of caramel and sweetness. Tarentaise is sure to impress though, with her smooth texture and Gruyere-esque style.

Be sure to come by and see if your taste buds line up with those of the judges. Maybe you'd have given the crown to a different cheesy contestant?

Tell us in the comments what the number one cheese would be in your heart if you had to pick right now!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Visit to CKC & Pure Luck

We pride ourselves in representing Texas cheese. We love to visit farms, see how cheese makers are crafting their cheeses by hand and then we bring it to you. We’re proud to share these cheeses and stories. It’s why we do what we do!

I had the great pleasure to visit some Texas farms: CKC Farms in
 Blanco and Pure Luck Farm & Dairy in Dripping Springs. These folks have hearts made of gold and genuinely love what they do. Believe me, love is what you taste when you try their award winning cheese.

Chrissy Omo of CKC Farms is a person I have always wanted to meet. I consider her a hero, having her business running and her recipes perfected
 by the time she graduated from high school! Chrissy and her family are world travelers. As we walked around on their 67 acre farm, Chrissy and her mom shared stories of cheese making in Italy and Germany. Her goats 
are so sweet and full of personality! The baby goats love affection and will cuddle up to you just like a puppy.

Amelia and Ben at Pure Luck were so warm and hospitable. Amelia welcomed us in her kitchen with iced tea and a spread of wonderful her cheeses. After a tour of the farm, she grabbed a basket of fresh chèvre out of her pristine cheese making room. The smell in this room was incredible: sweet and herbaceous. She turned the basket mold out onto a plate and cut a slice. It was straight from the momma goats, no more than 48 hours prior to us eating it.
 It was the freshest and richest thing I ever ate.

We also witnessed the birth of two baby goats! Goat labor is referred to as “kidding”. The beautiful momma named Sandia – Spanish for watermelon, picked a cozy spot and gave birth to her part Nubian, part Alpine doe. They immediately snuggled up next to each other to bond. What an incredible experience.

Needless to say, my day visiting with Amelia and Chrissy was nothing short of amazing. Thank you to these lovely ladies for sharing and thank you to Lindsey for allowing me to be a part of it all!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Grown Up BLT

It seems we are all grown up now. Being a cheesemonger requires passion, cheese nerdery and math skills. Dairymaids can easily tell you how many ounces are in a pound and how much cheese equals 1/2 cup shredded. As the Dairymaids expand and grow, so do our cheesemongering abilities! Come by and check out our new and improved digs and get all the ingredients you'll need for this fancy BLT.

1 loaf Slow Dough sourdough, sliced 
1 package La Quercia Prosciutto
1 4 oz package Purple Haze goat cheese 
4 green tomatoes 
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour 
Canola oil 
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 bunch Baby Kale
1 Lemon

To prepare fried green tomatoes: slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Whisk egg with milk, set aside. Season the flour with salt and pepper to taste. Heat enough canola oil to cover the bottom of shallow pan. Dread each tomato slice in egg mixture and then flour. Fry tomatoes in oil over medium - high heat. Remove when golden brown and place of paper towel to strain. Toss baby kale lightly in olive oil and lemon juice. To assemble sandwich: spread Purple Haze onto lightly toasted bread. Stack a few slices of prosciutto, fried green tomatoes and kale. 

Makes 4 sandwiches

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX