Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mint and Chevre Couscous

Mint Chevre Couscous

As the warm weather vastly approaches, I transition to lighter food and drink. Rather than spotting the couscous with crumbles of chevre, I incorporated them together by dressing it with a creamy sauce. This couscous is fluffy and herbaceous, making it perfect to pack up for a picnic or enjoy in the backyard with grilled pork chops. 

1 cup dry couscous
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Lucky Layla butter
2 tablespoons Terra Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz Pure Luck Chevre
1 cup organic chicken broth
1 cup frozen petite peas
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 lemons

Bring 1 cup water to a boil and add butter. Turn heat off and add 1 cup of couscous to the water, stir and cover for 4 - 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before adding sauce. For sauce: sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broth, chevre and peas and stir over a low simmer until creamy. Add desired amount of couscous to sauce and mix well. 1 cup of couscous yeilds about 2 cups cooked. I added a bit more at a time until I got a consistency like oatmeal. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in zest and juice from 1 lemon and fresh chopped mint just before serving. Garnish with a lemon wedge. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Visit to Cowgirl Creamery

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I recently spent my honeymoon in lovely California. The hubby and I camped in an Airstream in Forestville. We made day trips to explore the breathtaking sights and sample the local fare. I love visiting little towns, the food is farm to table and the people are friendly. Naturally, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit the nice folks at Cowgirl Creamery.

We drove along the coast to visit the Point Reyes shop. This location is where Cowgirl Creamery began. The building was once a working hay barn and was lovingly restored to the cheese room and kitchen it is today. The kitchen, or the "Cowgirl Cantina", features a mac and cheese made with Red Hawk and Wagon Wheel, and believe me, this dish alone is worth the trip! We met with Michael for a private tour and tasting. I was surprised to learn what makes Red Hawk so exceptional.

There is a special b-linen bacteria that occurs naturally in Point Reyes, making this spot exclusive to Red Hawk production. What I didn't know is that the award winning Red Hawk was discovered by accident. They were able to cultivate those ambient bacteria by washing the rind of their Mt. Tam, and letting the bacteria develop on its own. Thus, a beautiful washed rind triple cream was born.

Additionally, the Cowgirl Creamery has a very close relationship with their dairy farmers as well as those that sell their products. They pride themselves in being persnickety and pay careful attention to detail and quality. You can certainly taste it in their cheeses. I consider myself very lucky to be able to share their cheese with you!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Harbison Au Gratin

After honeymooning in California, I returned to Houston inspired by all the beautiful food and wine (more on that later). Upon our return, I asked my husband to run by the warehouse to restock our fridge with fresh cheese for recipes. I gave him a list and he said "these sound fancy". Harbison from Jasper Hill Farms sounds fancy because it is!

The spruce bark that wraps Harbison is harvested at Jasper Hill as well, giving this cheese a unique, vegetable like taste (think mushrooms and asparagus). This spoonable, special occasion cheese is not typically intended for cooking, but some of the best dishes break the rules. Why not make a rich potato gratin that is layered with creamy Harbison? It is one of the yummiest things I've ever made!

2 tablespoons Lucky Layla butter
2 tablespoons Terra Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 10 oz wheel Harbison
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 pounds mixed organic fingerling potatoes, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
6 oz SarVecchio, grated 
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add onions and garlic, season with a pinch of kosher salt and sauté until soft. Turn off heat, add cream and half of the grated Sarvecchio. Fingerling potatoes should not be peeled and sliced thin using a mandolin.

Grease a 9" pie dish with olive oil or butter. Transfer half of the onion-cream mixture into prepared pie dish, and place one layer of potatoes on top. Open the wheel of Harbison like you would open a tin can. Spoon or drizzle the Harbison on top of the potato layer. Sprinkled a dash of pepper on top of Harbison. Repeat layers of remaining onion-cream mixture, potatoes, Harbison and pepper. Lastly, top with remaining Sarvecchio. 

Cover pie dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives if desired. Serve a slice with a juicy steak and mixed green salad. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And they're right; I can never do this photo justice, but I'll at least give it a shot. The gorgeous cheese you see above is a one-of-a-kind Texas made aged Parmesan by the Veldhuizen family in Dublin, TX. This raw cow's milk cheese has an incredible marbled appearance (due to the 3+ years aging) that I just can't get over. And the taste!? Oh the taste of this cheese is sharp and nutty and warm and bright all at the same time.

So basically, what I'm telling you is to come taste this cheese before it's gone forever, and I have a permanent sad face.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brew Name It, We've Got It!

Petrus Aged Red Sour Ale, Jester King Noble King, Southern Star Rachbier, Wicked Beaver Cream Weaver

We've been stepping up our beer game here at the Dairymaids. Just within the past week, we've added the Jester King Noble King, Southern Star's smoked Rauchbier, and Wicked Beaver's Cream Weaver. Another special addition is the rare Petrus Aged Red Sour Ale. We can't wait to start pairing these exciting new offerings with our wide array of cheeses. Stop by for a sampling of cheeses, and we may even be breaking open a bottle to try!

Are there any other beers you think are an absolute must for a tiny cheese shop?

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX