Friday, January 31, 2014

Curry Queso

Curry Queso

In the weeks building up to Super Bowl Sunday, I receive an unusual amount of phone calls from my dad. We have very important discussions regarding game day menu, Super Bowl trivia (which I suck at) and reminders that we start pre-gaming at 10am. Since working with the Dairymaids, I have really up'ed my queso game. Last year, I made a Spicy Cajun Queso. I was extremely flattered that The Queso Queen herself, made my recipe and lovingly called it "Queseaux". Hopefully, she will approve of this creamy curry concoction and give it a better name. 

3/4 cup Mill King whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 oz Marieke Cumin Gouda, grated
8 oz Wagon Wheel, grated (or any melter you like)
1 15 oz can chickpeas
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Terra Verde Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon curry 
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
Garlic naan bread, toasted and cut into wedges

Heat oil and saute onions and chickpeas together, season with salt and a pinch of curry. Cook until onion is tender and chickpeas are golden and cooked through. In a separate saucepan, whisk milk and cornstarch together until no lumps remain. Cook over medium heat and continue whisking, until mixture thickens. Stir in cheeses. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in onion, chickpeas and remaining curry powder to combine. Keep warm in a mini slow cooker and serve with toasted naan.

Tasting Plate Close Up: Eagle Mountain's Tomme de Hood

When the Dairymaids visited Eagle Mountain Cheese in Granbury last spring, they came back with a new experimental cheese. It was Eagle Mountain's first tomme and it was delicious. Beneath a pretty patterned natural rind, the paste was smooth and dense, and the flavor buttery and sour cream-like with a hint of sharpness on the finish.  

Tomme means "wheel" or "round" and is used to describe a variety of cheeses from France and Switzerland. They are typically small to medium in size and have a natural rind and smooth paste. Tommes are usually named for the region they come from (ie. Tomme de Savoie hails from Savoie). With this tradition (and a touch of playfulness) in mind, Dave named his new little cheese Tomme de Hood, since his dairy is in Hood County. 

For me, Tomme de Hood falls in the "table cheese" category which includes such favorites as Bellwether Carmody and Pt. Reyes Toma. These cheeses are mild yet intriguing. You could melt them, but I wouldn't. They are so good for snacking and look great on a cheese plate. Pair them with tart apples or even some of the Blue Heron Cajeta.    

Because response has been so positive, the Eagles are ramping up production. We have a good amount now, and should see ample supplies soon.

It's on the tasting plate this week. Come by and give it a try!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Roasted Radish and Truffle Crostini

Sottocenere is a cheese we love so much that we named a cat after it. This truffle laced, ash rind cheese makes an appearance on this yummy snack. Radishes in the raw are peppery and slightly bitter. Roast them and they become sweet, buttery and the color is just gorgeous. It's the perfect compliment to earthy truffle. Keep the pretty radish greens intact for presentation and crunch.

1 bunch radishes, cleaned, trimmed and cut in half, or quartered if larger
2 tablespoons Terra Verde Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 Slow Dough Baguette
Lucky Layla Golden Butter, room temp
1/3 lb Sottocenere, grated
Truffle oil

Heat oven to 375. When cutting radishes, you want a uniform size. Toss radishes in evoo, lemon and season with salt and pepper. Spread radishes onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned around the edges and fork tender. Set radishes aside to cool. Slice baguette at a slight angle. Butter each slice, top with a generous pinch of grated Sottocenere. Cut thin slices of radish and layer on top of crostini. Broil crostini for just a few minutes, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Finish with lemon zest and a light drizzle of truffle oil. 

Tasting Plate Close Up: Latte Da Gouda

Latte Da Gouda from Flower Mound, TX
Anne Jones of Latte Da Dairy is the kind of cheesemaker who makes cheese because it enables her to have goats. A retired veterinarian, Jones applies her expertise and great love of animals to the running of her dairy. To give them the best possible care, she keeps her herd small, just 20 or so does of the Nubian and Lamancha breeds. She's quick to tell you that her girls are stars, winning numerous accolades from the American Dairy Goat Association.

Her cheeses are stars too. The American Cheese Society has graced them with multiple ribbons, including a 3rd place for her Goat Caerphilly in 2012. Jones makes delicious chevre and feta, but she sets herself apart with her aged cheeses. Hard, aged goat cheeses are rare, especially in Texas. Good hard aged goat cheeses are even rarer as they are not easy to make well.

We love her Goat Gouda. The texture is firm, but the mouthfeel is rich, not dry or waxy. It's sweet and delicate in flavor, with hints of salted caramel.

It's on the tasting plate this week. Come by to give it a try!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Quiche with Redneck Cheddar

Winter Quiche with Redneck Cheddar

I love quiche for several reasons. For starters, you can put anything your little heart desires in a quiche. You can go crustless and vegan or rich and decadent. It's an opportunity to use your favorite ingredients, mine being caramelized onion (I know, I have a problem). I used some beautiful Winter veggies from Utility Research Garden, a dash of Californian fennel pollen and Redneck Cheddar. Quiche is also a food that can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Not that the "rules" ever stopped me from eating cold, tex-mex leftovers for breakfast. 

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cups chopped cabbage
3 or 4 mixed Daikon Radishes, trimmed and halved
Terra Verde Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup half and half
3 farm fresh eggs
1 cup grated Redneck Cheddar (1/2 lb)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Pollen Ranch Fennel Pollen, a pinch or two
1 9-inch pie crust, recipe here or store bought

For crust, roll out and place in an un-greased, deep dish pie pan, pressing to edges. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 for about 11 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool completely before adding custard. For daikon, drizzle a little evoo, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast daikon at 375 on a baking sheet for 20 - 25 minutes, or until tender. Over medium heat, cook onion in a few tablespoons of evoo, until caramelized. Add cabbage to onions and cook until all liquid evaporates and cabbage is golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. When daikon has cooled, chop and add to cabbage onion mixture. Season veggies with salt, pepper and fennel pollen. Set aside. Whisk half and half, eggs and a pinch of salt for custard base. Stir in veggies and cheese. Pour into crust. Bake until filling puffs and starts to brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with a simple arugula salad.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Close-up on this Week's Plate: Green Hill

Green Hill

When we decided to expand our selection beyond Texas, one of the first cheeses we sought out was Green Hill Camembert. Seven years later, it's become a reliable good friend. Whenever we need a cheese to delight a crowd of folks with diverse cheese preferences, Green Hill comes out and wins over the room.

Sweet Grass is a family-run dairy in Thomasville, a town in southern Georgia near the Florida border. Not as small as many of our dairies, Sweet Grass has over 600 (mostly) Jersey cows spread over three farms. Their mother farm was one of the first in the U.S. to implement New Zealand-style rotational grazing. By moving the cows from pasture to pasture, they give their land time to replenish its nutrients while giving their cows ample amounts of fresh green grass. As they well know, good grass=good milk=good cheese.

Green Hill's inconspicuous bloomy rind surrounds a rich, cream-colored paste remarkable in its melt-in-your-mouth smoothness. It tastes like sweet cream butter with a bright tangy finish.

Kerrisa has a great Baked Green Hill recipe too if you need something to warm you up.

Green Hill is on the tasting plate this week at the shop. Come by and give it a try!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cheesy Turnip and Potato Soup

Cheesy Turnip and Potato Soup

Draping ugly sheets over plants in your front yard sure does work up an appetite. This hearty winter soup will make you feel warm and cozy on a cold day. You should break out your immersion blender before our bi-polar city changes its mind.

4 tablespoons Lucky Layla Golden Butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 turnips (about 2 lbs), peeled, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
1 pinch kosher salt,
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Mill King whole milk
8oz Marieke Gouda, 1 cup grated
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb bacon, chopped

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and onion, season with kosher salt and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sliced turnips and potato, season with pepper and saute an additional 10 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Puree soup in a blender in batches, or with an immersion blender until very smooth. Return to pot. Add milk and cheese. Bring to simmer until creamy and cheese is melted. Cook bacon until crispy. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chopped bacon and fresh black pepper.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Espresso Stout Braised Short Ribs over Point Reyes Blue Grits

Espresso Stout Braised Short Ribs over Pt. Reyes Blue Grits

If this blog post title didn't grab you, we simply cannot be friends. The very makeup of all my relationships is based on a mutual love for cheesy grits. All of these flavors are just wowza. The Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout that I braised these short ribs in is so delightful, you will need to get one bottle to cook with and one to sip on.

For short ribs: 
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Coleman's dry mustard
2 - 3 beef short ribs (about 2 lbs)
1 - 2 leeks (1 cup chopped)
3 tablespoons Sola Stella Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 purple carrots, greens trimmed (but not cut off) and cut in half
1 - 2 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup beef broth
1 11.25 oz bottle Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
Fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish 

For grits: 
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup Mill King whole milk 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 generous pinch crushed red pepper 
1 cup corn meal 
1/3 lb Point Reyes Original Blue, crumbled 
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Stir together brown sugar, paprika, cumin, pepper, salt, and mustard in a small bowl until combined. Generously rub all sides of ribs with spice mixture. Chill uncovered for 1 hour to marinate. Meanwhile, prep remaining ingredients and chop veggies. Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 300. Heat evoo in large, oven safe pot or dutch oven over high heat until hot, but not smoking and quickly brown ribs on all 3 meaty sides (but not bone side) about 1 minute per side. Transfer meat to a plate to rest. Then add leeks, carrots, celery, and bay leaves to the same pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add broth, beer, tomatoes and then ribs. Bring liquid to a boil, uncovered. Cover pot and transfer to oven, then braise until meat is tender, about 3 hours. In last hour or so, prepare grits: bring broth and milk to a boil, add garlic and red pepper. Gradually whisk in corn meal, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in blue cheese until melted and combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle grits into a bowl and place a short rib and some veggies on top. Garnish with parsley and serve with a glass of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout.

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX