Friday, April 25, 2014

Dairymaid Baklava

If it's wrong to layer baklava with triple cream, I don't wanna be right.
I will say this take on baklava is more "pc" than "Baracklava". Despite the addition of Mt. Tam, most of you may take one look at the directions and opt to go buy some at your favorite coffee shop instead. Really, it's pretty simple. I turned to The Dairymaids' baking guru, Shannon to gain a little confidence. Her advice - just be gentle with the phyllo. If I can do it while keeping a toddler entertained, anyone can. And I know it's hard to resist the still warm baklava, right after you pour liquid crack over it, but it has to set. Please enjoy after at least an hour.

1/2 cup Freddy Guys Hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup Spanish Marcona Almonds, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
20 sheets of phyllo dough
1 cup Lucky Layla Golden Butter, melted
1/2 round of Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, rind removed and softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup Native Nectar Wild Texas Guajillo Honey

Preheat oven to 350. Combine nuts and cinnamon, set aside. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment and brush with butter. Layer 5 sheets of phyllo dough in baking dish, brushing with butter between each layer. Sprinkle an even layer of the nut mixture over phyllo. Layer 5 more sheets of phyllo brushed with butter. Dot this layer with pieces of Mt. Tam, then layer 5 more sheets of phyllo brushed with butter. Sprinkle another even layer of nut mixture over phyllo and finish by layering the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo and butter. Cut diagonal strips into baklava, each way, creating a diamond pattern. Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown. While baklava bakes, combine sugar, honey and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove baklava from oven and pour honey mixture evenly over baklava, top with remaining nut mixture. Allow to set for at least one hour.

Friday, April 18, 2014

His & Hers Breakfast Crostini

His & Hers Breakfast Crostini

Men and women are different. Sometimes it seems we aren't meant to be on the same planet. I have quite a long list of idiosyncrasies that my husband tolerates with a smile (mostly). I may never understand how or why he reads technology magazines and watches boring documentaries from the 60's. So we have our quirks... One thing we both recognize is the importance of breakfast. This make your own breakfast crostini bar will not solve all of life's problems, but it will cure breakfast boredom. Since we're not about gender discrimination, the savory bacon and Hook's 5 Year Cheddar is for her. The harmonious blend of honey, thyme and pepper in June's Joy, paired with strawberries, satiates his sweet tooth. Or pick your favorite cheese and accompaniment. Happy wife, happy life. 

For toppings: 
Crispy bacon
1/3 lb Hook's 5 Year Cheddar
Fresh strawberries
Slow Dough Baguette
Smoked paprika

Slice baguette at an angle, brush with olive oil and season with salt and smoked paprika. Grill or toast baguette until crisp and golden. Pile on the toppings and enjoy. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tarentaise & Roasted Endive Potato Salad

Tarentaise & Roasted Endive Potato Salad

During picnic and barbeque season potato salad is a hot topic. Everyone likes their own recipe. I'm insulted when someone brings the store bought tub-o-potato salad to a picnic. Seriously, Miracle Whip is just plain offensive. The only logical way to solve this argument is through friendly competition. Potato salad competitions are real and taken very serious. To judge fairly and unbiased, you have to break it into 3 categories: Classic Deli, German Style and Creative. I once made a sardine and saltine potato salad, so I guess my style resides in the creative camp. It was gross. This recipe, however, is a blue ribbon.

2 heads Belgian endive
6 red potatoes, not peeled, cut into uniform bite size pieces
1/2 cup Spring Brook Tarentaise, coarsely grated
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
Terra Verde Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Terra Verde Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper 

Heat oven to 400. Remove any bruised or wilted outer leaves on the endive. Cut each head of endive in half lengthwise, leaving the root end intact. Drizzle evoo and balsamic over each piece of endive, place on a baking sheet cut side up, season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss potatoes in a generous amount of evoo to evenly coat. Season with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet with endive and roast together for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Toss potatoes in sour cream and mix in the cheese and onions. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm and top with endive. Add crispy bacon if you're into that sorta thing.   

*Makes a perfect side for 4

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cheese Plate Close Up: Spring Brook Tarentaise

photo courtesy of Spring Brook Farm
Tarentaise is a favorite. This raw cow's milk cheese is modeled after a cheese made in the Tarentaise region of the French Alps. The folks at Spring Brook adapted the French recipe to use on their 1000 acre Vermont farm.  

With the milk from their own herd of Jersey cows, they make Tarentaise using traditional methods. During the five or more months of its aging, Tarentaise is repeatedly washed and turned. The result is a dense, firm paste with delicate flavors of brown butter and roasted nuts. 

Spring Brook Farm doubles as a charitable enterprise called Farms for City Kids. Cheese sales support their mission of educating city kids about sustainable agriculture by inviting them to come to the farm and participate in daily activities. Great cheese and a great idea!

Every week at Dairymaids we select six cheeses to include in our free cheese tasting. Whenever we are open, we are tasting cheese. On Wednesdays, we sample a wine, cider or beer as well and all wine and beer is 10% off. Our hours are Tuesday thru Friday 10 to 6, Saturday 10 to 4, and Sunday 11 to 4.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Homemade Broth using Farm Veggies & Cheese Bits

Let's talk broth. Making it is time consuming. Do you need 8 hours and a chicken carcass to make a broth that is risotto worthy? Despite the fact that making broth yourself is the right thing to do, most cooks reach for the can, bury the guilt, then hide the can and hope no one notices. There are worse sins. This broth uses leftover hard cheese ends and pieces of natural rinds, that would otherwise become a science experiment in your fridge. Throw in some farm share veggies, a few herbs and simmer for a mere 45 minutes. It fills your house with a smell that is just magical and you get a rich broth that is economic, versatile and vegetarian.

6 cups Houston's finest tap water
2 tablespoons Lucky Layla Golden Butter 
5 green onions, roots trimmed and cut in half 
1 or 2 handfuls of baby rainbow carrots 
Ribs & stems from kale/chard/greens   
(I used veggies from this week's CSA, but you can use anything in your garden/fridge) 
3 gloves garlic 
3 Bay leaves
a few sprigs Fresh thyme 
1 tablespoon black peppercorns 
1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt 
8 oz leftover cheese bits/rinds 
(I used Sarvecchio, Sand Creek Colby and Tarentaise rinds) 

In a large pot, melt butter. Add veggies, herbs and cheese bits, cook until fragrant, stirring constantly so cheese doesn't scorch. Add water and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove solids and strain broth with a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to a large container and allow to cool. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

*Makes 4 cups of broth

Cows in Repose on Veldhuizen Family Farm. Dublin, TX