Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's a Whole New (Cheese) World!

As many of you know, we've been through some big changes this weekend at the Houston Dairymaids. To celebrate this auspicious occasion of our grand re-opening, I'd like to slow down and take a moment to share what Houston Dairymaids means to me. I never expected to become a cheesemonger and happened to come to work here through an unusual series of events. Now that I'm here, however, I just can't imagine doing anything else with my life. It feels like I'm home. Getting to come to work everyday and tell people about something you love is the best feeling in the world. Even eight months in, I never get tired of showing others the joys of cheese. There's just something special about bonding over a mutual love of food, being able to relate to others and guide them as they experience new flavors and different palate sensations.

What Dairymaids means to me is that I get to spend my life with like-minded individuals (both employees and customers) who love food, who care about their community, and who want to support each other in an increasingly corporate-driven world. Not to get too sappy, but working at Houston Dairymaids has brought more happiness to my life than I knew a job could offer.

So I'd like to say thank you. Thank you to each person who has come into Dairymaids. Thank you to our faithful regulars who share their lives with us during the brief span of a tasting. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you and for you. Thank you to my fellow Dairymaids (and Dairydudes!) for being supportive, positive co-workers. This renovation and period of growth just goes to show what a gem this place is for the Houston community. It is through your support that we are able to bring you the best of the best from all over Texas and the US.

If you haven't had a chance to make it out to see the newly renovated Dairymaids yet, then clear your to-do list and head on over! We've plastered and painted, toiled and tiled all to better fulfill your cheesy dreams. It's still a work in progress, as is any life-long ambition, but we're so proud of the changes we've made and just can't wait to share them with you. Thank you again for being part of our family.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Redneck Skillet Cornbread

Even though we're busy with the renovations this week, we have not forgotten about our Texas pride. I dusted off my cowgirl boots from the back of the closet and felt inspired to make a hearty pan of cornbread. Bake it in your seasoned cast-iron skillet and spread some honey or jalapeño jelly on while it's still warm. I trust you stocked up on yummy Texas cheeses for your rodeo cook offs and Oscars parties...

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
6 oz Redneck Cheddar, or 1 cup shredded
2 tablespoons Lucky Layla Butter

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk and eggs and whisk gently to combine, then mix in cheese. Put butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, bake until butter is melted. Remove from oven and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Pour batter into prepared skillet. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. For a sweet and savory side, glaze with honey or jalapeño jelly before cooling.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dairymaids Renovation

This is just a friendly reminder that our shop will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, February 21st through Monday, February 25th for a renovation. We will re-open for regular business hours on Tuesday, February 26th at 10 am. Thank you all for your continued support of Houston Dairymaids. We look forward to serving you even better after our short face lift. Please come visit the new and improved Dairymaids when we re-open next week!

Friday, February 15, 2013

This Week's Tasting Plate: Cheese-pocalypse

Ladies and gents, I am sad to report that the cheese-pocalypse is nigh upon us. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a teensy bit (so not like me). But really, Houston Dairymaids headquarters (HDM HQ) will be undergoing a renovation next week. As such, we'll be closing for five days. Five withering, excruciating, devastating days without cheese. I am actually worried about my health and well-being given that cheese is one of my main food groups.

I guess all this means for us cheese-lovers out there is that we have to stock up. And oh, will I stock up! Because we here at HDM HQ decided that if we have to leave you temporarily, we're gonna go out with a bang. This week we're featuring our "Greatest Hits" if you will. We're starting off the plate with a much beloved classic, the Bonne Bouche. Creamy and fudgy, this aged goat cheese from Vermont is a reigning favorite. Next up is a 100% raw sheep's milk cheese from Bellwether Farms in California called San Andreas. Try melting it for an added bonus in dishes. The Marieke Gouda, a creamy Dutch style Gouda, gives off sweet notes of carmelization that just beg to be tasted again. Let's not forget Challerhocker, a cheese that made us break our streak of domestic-only offerings. Aged for 10 months, it's studded with crystals that light up your taste buds. Add that to the fact that it's washed in wine and spices, and you've got a true winner. Finally, we turn to the Dunbarton Blue, an amalgamation of two distinct cheese varieties, cheddar and blue. Dunbarton truly embodies the adage, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

So somehow, dear friends, we must make it through our seemingly endless desert of cheese. But until then, let us feast!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Capri Cupcakes

I have to agree with Haley, Valentine's Day is back in vogue. Who dosen't enjoy brightly colored carnations and those cheap conversations hearts that make your teeth hurt? I always get a kick out of all the guys cruising the greeting card aisle. Naturally, my favorite part about Valentine's Day is an excuse to share cheese. A close second to cheese is chocolate.

The ingenious cheese makers at Westfield Farms combined the two: tangy chevre with rich chocolate. What better vehicle for this lovely concoction, than cupcakes. It makes a great fruit and cookie spread too. This batch of petit cupcakes is super easy to make. Guys, skip the card and impress her with scratch made cupcakes.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Measure and sift flour and cocoa. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Using a stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients, except the hot water. Mix on low speed until incorporated, add half of dry mixture, then add the hot water and then the remaining dry mixture. Scrape sides and continue to mix on medium speed until smooth. Fill paper lined mini pans with one tablespoon of batter. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on racks completely before frosting.

For frosting: Allow capri to become room temperature before mixing. Using electric beaters, combine sugar and capri until slightly stiff and smooth. You may have to use more or less sugar, so add small amounts at a time. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto cupcakes.

Yields about 4 dozen petite cupcakes

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This Week's Tasting Plate: I LOVE You, Cheese!

It has become cliche to hate Valentine's Day in this day and age, and Singles Awareness Day is just the start. I'm not sure whether I agree with the hype of hating Valentine's or not; it just seems to me like we could all use a little more love in the world.

Now maybe the love of my life is cheese, but hey, it could be a lot worse, right? Luckily for me, cheese has never let me down, broken my heart, or even stood me up. In fact, it's always there for me. Just when I need it. So here is my poem to cheese.

Roses are red,
Roquefort is blue,
Chocolate is sweet,
And so are you!

Oh cheese... I do love thee. Especially this week with your creamy Mt. Tam perfection. Your chocolate chevre that is a dessert and a cheese all rolled into one. And let me not forget the beauty of your Barely Buzzed with those oh so subtle floral notes. Cheese, you are so wonderful to me. Now I just have to get working on my cheese-inspired version of this classic love song. I'll get back to y'all with that. In the meantime, come try our V-Day cheeses and order this fab gift bag for your real-life love.

Friday, February 1, 2013

This Week's Tasting Plate: SCORE!

If you're ready and excited for Superbowl Sunday, then look no further than your friendly Dairymaids warehouse. We've got all your sweet and spicy needs covered, because, let's be real, it's all about the food, not the football. With the Texans out of the running, we're all just focusing on saving the day through snacks.

This week we've got a great line-up and we're ready to score with these cheese suggestions. First up is Devil's Gulch, a sweet and spicy double creme brie from the always excellent Cowgirl Creamery. Follow that up with the Mozzarella Co.'s mozzarella rolls. These beauties come in flavors of green olive, jalapeno, and prosciutto. Yum! I especially want to slice them up, toast it on some bread, and enjoy as a gooey appetizer before kick-off. Not to be outdone, the Hoja Santa is a bright, lemony little goat cheese also from Dallas. This cheese is just dying to be consumed with some booze. Try it with our Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc for a perfect pairing!

For all you spicy lovers, we haven't forgotten you! The Smoked Habanero Cheddar from Beehive in Utah is sure to hit the spot. Smoky on the front, spicy on the finish, this cheese is sure to please! We're rounding out the plate with the classic Buttermilk Blue from Wisconsin. This smooth, creamy blue will make the perfect bleu cheese dressing for those homemade chicken wings you were planning on trying.

With these fabulous cheeses, we can forget about football, and get back to what Houstonians really care about on Superbowl Sunday- Beyonce!

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX