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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grilled Cheese Month Comes to a Close

For the last day of the month I've decided to go old school. This is a tuna melt. The tuna salad was made with red peppers, onions, mayo and a drained can of tuna that was packed in olive oil. The cheese is Gruyere. Delicious!


I've got some fantastic news! I'm going on a cheesecation! How did I decide where to go? I have a week off, I took $xxx and said "hey I wonder where I can go with that". The answer...drum roll please...LONDON! Yup! I spent a huge chunk of the money I've been saving this year and bought a plane ticket and hotel in LONDON! I've never been, I have no idea what I'm going to do there, but I don't care. I'm so frickin' excited! In approximately one week, and 2 hours I will be in LONDON! Any suggestions as to what I should do, or where I should go would be greatly appreciated.  I'm obviously looking for foodie and cheese things to do, but also some off the beaten path, not surrounded by fanny* packed tourists, or a McDonald's suggestions.

I am taking any and all suggestions.  

*By the way, one of my friends told me that the word fanny means something very very very different over there.  If there are any potentially embarrassing cultural clashes please let me know.  The word pants also means something a bit different.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wenchy weekend

Let me start out by saying that all the chocolates went out today. For those of you who live close to Chicago, your stuff went first class mail (I was assured it would get there as quickly, but less pricey than priority.) Junglefrog, I hope that chocolate gets to you in good condition.

Let me tell you about my weekend. On Friday my little white Mac laptop (her name is Camembert)* stop working. I took her to the Mac Dr. on Sunday and I was told that I had a system failure. Complete failure. They couldn't get anything off of my hard drive and a new one had to be implemented. I was crushed. Luckily I am a good wench and back my files up pretty regularly. Because of this I only lost my bookmarks.

On Sunday morning my Ma flew into town. Instead of spending time having pancakes and yumminess, I was at the apple store trying not to hyperventilate. Today I worked like a dog, and spent the better part of my free time re-installing everything on my computer. CURSES! Then I remembered that the deadline for the ACS retailer scholarship is May 1, and I hadn't finished my essay. So I did that, found a late night FedEx place and sent it off. When I got home after spending about $30.00 to print it, and send it (my printer is being cranky) I open up an email from a co-worker that says she talked to the ACS people and you can send the application by email. CURSES! Nowhere on their website, or application does it say that. CURSES!

So that's what's happened here in my neck of the woods. I'm hoping to get my mojo and computer back up so I can post more cheese love. Hopefully by tomorrow everything will be fixed. I hate ending on a sour note, and this post has had too much of the "woe is me" tone to it. So, I leave you with a joke. This is not a good joke. This is a great joke. It always cheers me up when I hear it and my brothers and I often say it to make the others laugh. Ready? Here goes:

Q: What's brown and sticky?
A: A stick

I told you it was great!

*All of my electronics have cheese names. My ipods are/have been: Roquefort, Lamb Chopper and Cocoa Cardona. My last camera was Purple Haze and the camera I have now is Red Hawk. My new portable external hard drive is O'Banon and the big desktop one is Figaro. I am a cheese dork.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chocolate Update

Dear readers-especially directed to ten of you,

As I mentioned, I went to get the Chocolate bars this week. I'm going to be sending the bars out on Monday and still need addresses from a few folks (Girlichef, Leftover Queen I'm looking in your direction).

This was a really fun idea inspired by Girlichef's comment. I can't wait to hear what you all think of the cheese/chocolate and to see what neat things are from your neck of the woods.

All of the chocolates sold at Marion Street Cheese Market are the product of Mary Bodach. She went to the French Pastry School right here in Chicago, has worked with some great talent both abroad and here, and has even owned her own shop. Experienced? Yeah, I'd say so.

The Gouda bar is 54% dark chocolate with two year old L'Amuse Gouda studded throughout. The orange coloring on top of the cheese is a food paint used to mimick the goodness you'll find inside. This is one of the instances where a cheese has become orange not due to additional food coloring, but careful affinage.

Thanks for reading my cheesey musings, and happy snacking!

-Cheesewench

Dutch Girl Creamery

I have been waiting with breath that is bated for the birthing season to end so I can get some good tasty fresh goat cheese I know that's selfish, I don't care. WANT CHEESE! Well, finally it's here! Fresh goats are coming into the store and I'm not even kidding around! Get it? kidding? I'm so punnish.

This past weekend Charuth from Dutch Girl Creamery in Lincoln, NE came to the shop with her cheesey partner in crime Krista from Branched Oak Farm also in LIncoln. Charuth has a lovely fresh goat cheese. The plain unadorned cheese is delicious. The right amount of tang, slightly crumbly, but not dry. Delicious! But when she adds herbs (rosemary, chives, pink peppercorns) to it it's even nicer. My plans are to buy one of these guys and put it into a delicious spring salad. Being a cheesemonger has benefits. Tasty ones.



This is a lovely little treat. One of the (many many many) benefits of working with the cheesemaker is that often times they will bring tasty nibblettes for you. Charuth brought us some of her 4 month old raw goat's milk Tomme. The outside is coated in vegetable ash. This cheese is insanely tasty. If you're ever had Garrotxa, this is similar in flavor. Just better. Am I biased towards this cheese because I met Charuth and think she's an awesome rocking chick? Abso-freaking-lutely. She's a great woman, and a fantastic cheesemaker! My job is kind of awesome!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cheesewench Conundrum

So here's the problem I'm having. This weekend I got to meet two cheesemakers from Nebraska. Charuth from Dutch Girl Creamery and Krista from Branched Oak Farm. This weekend I also reacquainted myself with an old flame. A triple creme washed rind cheese from California. I was playing with the photo cube and accidentally took a ridiculously good photo of an orange (that's right, orange) Cheddar. On top of that, it's still grilled cheese month. I have too many cheese thoughts in my head right now. I'm thinking about this too much.

Here goes. I'm going to show you what we made for staff meal yesterday. It was just the three of us on the schedule, and it was miserable weather outside. I decided that we should have an homage to grilled cheese month, and this rockin' chick I work with (also a pastry chef) decided to make up a dessert.

For the grilled cheese I took some day old bread, Asiago Fresco, Taleggio, oil marinated artichokes and oven roasted tomatoes. Put it on the panini machine and in 8 minutes we had gooey, yummy, lunch to warm us up.



For dessert Alison picked up a few things from our shelves and a fresh goat cheese from our new friend Charuth. She grilled up a few mission figs, added some local honey, a grating of 70% chocolate and a sprinkling of lemon zest. This was perfect. A great way to end an impromptu cheesey luncheon. Working in a cheeseshop has it's tasty tasty perks.



Friday, April 17, 2009

Cultural Food Exchange

I really really like the idea of getting to share some yummies from Illinois with you guys. Here's the deal. I'm going to go to get 10 chocolate cheese bars next week. Be one of the first 10 people to send me an email (it's there on my profile) with your address, and I'll send you a bar of chocolate.

The only rules are these:

1. You've got to send me something tasty too
2. It shouldn't be perishable. I know how much it costs to send perishable things through Fedex. It can be outrageous and you don't need to incur that cost. Plus, then I'd feel guilty and awful. NO one needs that.

I'm not sure the best way to ship abroad, but if you send me your address, I'll give it a shot. Everyone else gets the USPS.

I'm so excited to see what unique foodstuffs you all have.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chocolate Cheese

*2/16 Update: I just got off the phone with the people at Marion Street and they assure me that they can do shipping of the chocolate. They ship through UPS, so obviously charges would vary depending on location. For anyone who'd like some I'll offer a trade. I'm going back out that way next week. I'll send you a yummy bar of chocolate if you send me something unique to your region. Let's share!*

The other day I went to check out a cheese shop in Oak Park (a Chicago suburb) called Marion Street Cheese Market. They have a lovely wine set up, a place for you to create your own six pack, and a restaurant in addition to a cheese counter.

I bought a few cheeses including baked lemon ricotta which I've never had before. This is crucial to the second part of the story. My favorite thing though was the Cheese and Chocolate bar. Dark Chocolate studded with two year old L'Amuse Gouda. Sooooooo yummy. According to the label, they make it in house. The only thing that could improve this delicacy is a sprinkling of fleur de sel on top. Lucky for me, I had some at home.



Remember how I told you I bought some lemon ricotta? Once I got home I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I opened up the freezer and saw some frozen berries, and some puff pastry. And so the Piestry was invented. It looks like a pie, but made with pastry dough.


If you're like my guests that evening you're probably thinking something along the lines of, "What the hell happened?" Let me tell what what happened.

  • The top pastry was too much. It turned this from a ricotta and berry dessert to a puff pastry dessert with a wee bit of filling.
  • Even though I'd cooked the berries beforehand, they were super wet and soaked right through the ricotta.
  • The berries were stronger than the amount of ricotta I had and kicked it's butt.
  • The texture was...um...atrocious. The ricotta was too grainy. I should have smoothed it out with some mascarpone, or creme fraiche or something.
What we ended up with (besides a good laugh) was an anemic looking, gritty, grainy, berry-soaked, too much puff (especially in the crust) piestry catastrophe. On the positive side though, we'd had enough good food and wine during the course of the night that one sad little piestry didn't spoil the evening. Plus, we had cheese studded chocolate to nosh on.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Soy "Cheese"

A few days ago a reader asked me a question about soy cheese. She said that she is lactose intolerant and was wondering if I knew of any good soy cheeses. I was going to respond in the comments, but answering her question is turning out to be a bit more involved than I'd initially thought.

Most soy cheez I've tried is awful. This is (IMHO) because they are imitating cheese food, processed cheese product, and not cheese. When I have seen rice milk cheez or soy cheez they are often packaged like processed cheese food slices, or the shredded awful bagged, flavorless cheese stuffs hanging next to the canned croissants. This stuff isn't good when it's made with milk, and making it soy doesn't enhance the flavorless plasticy profile.

I, dear readers are what you might call a cheese snob. How could I not be? I get the chance to work with really great cheeses almost every day. Many of the cheesemakers are people who put their heart and soul into their animals, the milk, the land, and of course the cheese. I have never encountered artisan soy cheese, but if anyone out there has, please let me know. I'd like to try it. As for now however, I cannot in good conscience give you any soy suggestions.

Thank you Ursula for bringing up lactose intolerance though. What does it mean to be lactose intolerant? Lactose is a milk sugar. To digest lactose, our bodies have the enzyme lactase. Being lactose intolerant means you don't have this enzyme and have difficulty digesting products with lactose in them. Usually, if you consume small amounts of lactose every so often you should have minimal problems.

Luckily, there are options for lactose intolerant people.

  • Don't eat cheese Okay, let's be serious here. I'm a cheese lover, sniffer, taster, eater, and adventurer. There is no way I was going to tell you to not eat cheese.
  • Younger and fresher cheeses have more lactose than your aged varieties. Try switching to some aged Gouda, or a nice Pecorino, stay away from the Brie. Just a warning, the aged cheese has a higher fat content than the fresher ones. It's true. I'll get sciencey some other post.
  • You can try goat's or sheep's milk cheese. Many people have difficulty digesting cow's milk products, but find goat and sheep to be easier on the tummy
  • Eat cheese around those who love you. If cheese gives you...um...well...if cheese makes you sound as though you are playing the trumpet, trombone, or in extreme cases, the tuba, people who love you will forgive.
  • Take a pill. In the current issue of Culture I can't believe you haven't subscribed yet. What are you waiting for?! Kate Arding addresses the lactose intolerance question. In addition to the aged cheeses, and goat and sheep suggestions, she has one other suggestion:
    "A trip to your drug store can equip you with the pharmaceutical version of lactase. While it's not medically recommended that you remain on a permanent course of this replacement enzyme, occasional use prior to an unrestrained cheese fest is considered a prudent way to have your cheese and eat it too."
Mmmmm. Unrestrained cheese fest. I can't wait for the ACS festival of cheese. Kate doesn't work at Cowgirl anymore, but I really like this article and thought you might also.

There are different ways to work around an intolerance. Give them a try and see what happens. Soy products are tasty mmm jerk tofu but they are not cheese, nor are they an adequate cheese substitute. If you can't eat cheese at all, I'm afraid that having a grilled cheese sandwich is not a possibility in your world. I feel sorry for you. I will celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month in honor of all those who cannot.

Please bear in mind that I am a cheesy wench, not a doctor. I don't' know you (except for you guys over there) or your body.
That sounds dirtier than I wanted it to. I would like to add that you should always discuss any change in your meds and supplements (even over the counter ones) with your doctor. If you are having bad reactions to any food, you should discuss it with your doctor. I want you to be good and healthy and strong of tummy so that you can enjoy cheese.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Booty from NYC part 4- the final chapter

I had no idea how much time I was going to have to spend eating these 9 cheeses. Day in and day out. Tasting them bit by bit, until I have nothing left but mac n' cheese fodder. Most of the cheese I got were great (Forsterkaase just didn't impress me) and most of the people I got to talk with were awesome (yes, I'm talking about you Saxelby). With this last post I realize how much fun I've had collecting my cheeses, tasting them, and then letting you guys in on the goods. I've got to take more cheese trips.

Ok, on with the show. Next up on the hit parade is Kunik. This cheese was a melt in your mouth, spreadable, salty, buttery delight. This was the first cheese to be devoured. Kunik is a triple creme cow/goat blend cheese from Nettle Meadow Farm in upstate NY. Usually I'm not a 3x creme gal. I find them to be salty, and a bit like eating a stick of butter. There are however exceptions, and this is one of them. It's the goat in it. The goat gives this cheese depth, and tang, and tastioscity.





Next up is Square. Yes, I know it's in a triangle. My brother pointed that out to me. I had to pinch him for being a turd. This cheese is from Twig Farm in Vermont. Yes, another Vermont cheese. I'm biased. I know. I don't care. Vermont rules! This is a raw goat's milk cheese that I imagine is inspired by Drap. This cheese is shaped with cheese cloth, and has an indentation from the knot of the cloth. This cheese might also be inspired by Garoxxta, but it's yummier. The rind on this cheese is out of control. They call it rustic. I agree. I found it to be a bit mineraly, like wet rocks. I like that. The nutty, tangy, surprisingly creamy paste was absolutely delicious!

The only problem I had was with the rind a few days later. The rind got a distinctive Mr. Clean/ammonia odor. If you have a cheese that has developed this odor, do not throw it away-yet. Unwrap it and let it sit out on the counter and let it think about what it wants to do. A half an hour should do it, the smell should dissipate. Most of the time it's gotten that smell because it's been wrapped up too long, or tightly, or because it's just being a cranky bitchy little cheese. In this case, the rind never lost that smell. I cut around it, and ended up shaving the paste onto salad. Tasty, and a good way to save cheese. I just hate throwing out cheese. Even if it smells like Mr. Clean.



The last cheese on our journey is the Barick. Saxelby spoke about this cheese back in 2007:

"Barick Obama:
(Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield VT)
Laini Fondiller has got to have one of the busiest brains in the cheese biz. Not only is she relentless about inventing new cheeses (I think her average is about one a week) she isn't shy about giving them some pretty hilarious names. Barick is a little paving stone shaped cheese of buttery, creamy, earthy cows' milk cheese with a beautiful washed rind kissed by patches of purplish and yellow mold."

Laini is a bit of a cheeky monkey when it comes to naming her cheeses. Have you tried the Tomme de lay? Lazy Lady Farm is one of those names I always trust. I hardly ever get to eat it anymore since I'm way out here in Chicago, but I always get some of her stuff when I'm back east. It's always pounced upon, and I rarely share. This cheese is a double creme washed rind cheese. It is buttery, beefy, a bit fruity, and made me wished that I drank more so I could have a beer with it. Perhaps an IPA or something else hoppish.



For those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter! Happy Passover! If you don't celebrate, Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yogurt!

Dear White Cow Dairy,

I heart your yogurt. Why can't I get it in Chicago? I would pay $3.50 even. It's not fair that I can only get it when I'm back home. I've got a hankering for it now, and I can't do anything about it. Damn you!

-Cheesewench



I found it! I found the picture of the yogurt that was driving me crazy. I don't usually go on and on about yogurt, but this stuff was soooooo good. I'm bummed. If I'd known I would have to check my cheese, I would've brought a 12 pack. Yes, I would have spent $36 on yogurt.

By the way, I am in the process of moving my blog to http://www.cheeseisalive.com I am also working on a new blog design, because apparently I think that I have pockets of time in which to learn HTML. I apologize in advance for any weirdness that happens. I'm doing my best. I know about cheese, not code.

Booty from NYC part 3 with grilled cheese bonus

This is the Ascutney Mountain cheese from Cobb Hill Cheese in Hartland, VT. Their website describes this cheese as being similar to an Alpine cheese such as Comte or Gruyere. Sure. It is done in the Alpine style. But this cheese is so much more.

Where a Comte or Gruyere lays on the tongue gently, the Ascutney Mtn. is more assertive. It tastes green. When I gave some to our cheese buyer to try he said "Vermont cheese always have a vegetal taste to them." I agree. This cheese has a clover, dandelion, grassiness to it, but I also get a wee bit of artichoke, and onion. Ramps really. She is a wild, untamed, luscious Goddess and I love her so.

All told I bought 9 cheese from NY. This was the only cheese that I'd ever had before. She is one of my favorite cheeses. Ever.

I also bought some Magic Mountain from Woodcock Farm, also in Vermont. I am not putting the pic up, not because this cheese isn't tasty, but because my photo is awful. It makes the cheese look hideous, and the cheese deserves better. This cheese is a sheep's milk cheese, that has a nice round flavor. A bit grassy, a fatty mouth feel, and toothy texture.

After tasting theses cheeses I tried to think about what I was going to do with them all. Lucky for me it's National Grilled Cheese Month! Well, instead of putting my scraps into a mac and cheese, I made a ridiculously tasty grilled cheese.

I call this the Magical Ascutney Mountain. I took some Magic Mountain, and some Ascutney Mountain, put it in between two slices of wheat bread, and tada! Magic!


I also decided to make a grilled cheese with Asiago pepper bread. I filled it with Asiago Fresco, Grafton Premium Cheddar and added some oven roasted tomatoes for kicks. I love grilled cheese month!


*The Ascutney and the Magic are both from Saxelby Cheesemongers. Saxelby specializes in American cheese. The have really close relationships with the farmers and makers of the cheese, and do a great job promoting them. If you are in NYC take a trip into Manhattan, and check them out*

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Booty From NYC part 2

Read part 1 of the NYC post for an update on Murray's photo policy. Now, since we're already talking about them, lets do part 2 about the cheeses I got at Murray's. I'm going to warn you about the photos. I took these in NY at my Nanas house. I was going to take more photos once I got home. Then I had some cheese with friends. Then I brought some in for some co-workers. Then the cheese buyer and I had a cheese meeting. By the time I came home today, most of the cheese was gone. The remaining scraps are only good for one thing. My tummy.

Tumbleweed. This cheese comes to us from 5 spoke Creamery in upstate NY. This cow's milk cheese was AWESOME! Sharp, tangy, herby,crumbly, toothy, delicious. Somewhere between a Salers, and a Cheddar. Luscious. Yum. I want to do other things with this cheese. I think it might want to be a grilled cheese sandwich, or perhaps it's mac n' cheese time.


This one is Forsterkaase. A Swiss cheese. According to the Murray's staff, she is the inspiration for Winnimere. Of all the cheeses I bought, this one was...okay. Knowing Winnie the way I do, I expected a lot from this cheese. It was tasty, but mild, and bordering on bland.

So why did I buy it? Cheese tastes different during different times of day, depending on what you've been eating earlier, your mental and emotional frame of mind. A lot can change how food (in this case cheese) tastes. I love Winnie, and I wanted to love this cheese. Instead I found that I was right. I should have stuck with my gut.

On the other hand, one of my girlfriends loved this cheese. She said that it tasted like sea spray. Someone else said that they got sesame seeds. Both kind of odd for a cheese that translates to "Lumberjack cheese". This is why you've got to taste the cheese guys. Three people, all with good palates, in the food industry, and cheeselovers had three different opinions.



Stinking Bishop. This big stinky mess is from Gloucestershire. This cheese is washed in strong pear cider. The pears used for the cider are called...wait for it...Stinking Bishop. This cow's milk cheese is wrapped in beechwood to discipline the cheese and keep it from running amok.

Some people say that this cheese doesn't taste as strong as it smells. Those people are liars. This is a big
big Big cheese. It is fruity, and creamy and milky and buttery. I want to put it on toast, but fear that the smell of hot Stinking Bishop might get me evicted from my apartment, or at the very least some super cranky neighbors.


All in all, a successful cheese day. I bought some cheese paper and some other things. I had an orange Fentemans soda for the drive home, and finished it before I even got onto the Manhattan bridge. I got a little spoon for scooping out the good Winnie yum. I went into work yesterday only to find out the awesome pairing I came up with was so good, we ended up selling out of my heart's desire.

I also got this fantastic yogurt. I thought it was from black cow dairy, but now I can't find it and I must have left the jar in the recycling bin at Nana's and it's too late to call her, and who makes a 91 year old woman go through the recycling bin to find a little glass yogurt container. It was made of milk, maple syrup, and black cherry juice. So good. So worth the insanely expensive price. If you've ever had real milk from the farm you know that the cream at the top of the barrell? This cream is thick and unctuous and delicious. This yogurt had that thick dense creamy goodness to it. I can't believe I forgot the jar. Bad cheesewench!

Booty From NYC part 1a

I forgot to tell you guys about the trip back with all of this cheese. The last time I traveled with this amount of cheese was in December when I flew back to Chicago from N.H. Apparently the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has gotten more hard-nosed with their regulations.

I had bought a little cooler for my cheese and had an ice pack in it. I asked if I could bring the ice pack if I put it in a ziploc baggie since it was less than 3 oz. I was told no. Then she started going through the cooler. She picked up a cheese and started squeezing it.

"Don't squeeze it." I said to the woman with the power to detain me and not let me get on any flight ever again.

That's when she told me that I could bring the cheese on as a carry-on, but not the soft cheeses. when I asked her why she said,

"because it's spreadable"

I was flummoxed. I asked her if I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would that get confiscated as well? Without dropping a beat she replied yes.

I then had to stand in line to pay to check my little cooler. When I brought it to the security booth the guy asked me what was in the cooler that was so important. I told him. He started laughing.

At baggage claim the couple standing next to me saw my little cooler and laughingly wondered who would check such a small thing-especially since you have to pay for any checked baggage. I was waiting for my cooler like an anxious mother. I had packed it adequately for a carry-on. I didn't pack it in anticipation for it being thrown about by baggage carriers who don't care about my precious. Everything was ok though. Thank the cheese Gods.



My morning croissant on the other hand. Well, it didn't fare as well. I forgot it was in my backpack and...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Booty From NYC part 1

I've been sitting in front of the computer trying to come up with a NYC post. It's just not going to happen in one post. Of all the cheeses I bought, I'd only ever had one of them before. I've only tasted each of them twice now, and I don't really know them as well as I'd like. Tomorrow, I'm going to sit them down, and taste them all again. I'll do posts during the week on my findings.

Although I lived in NYC for a lot of my childhood, I'd never been to Murray's. When people ask me how that's possible I tell them the truth. I lived in Queens. About one mile from Long Island. For me to get to Murray's on the train (I didn't drive until I was 20) it would have taken me 1 1/4 hours. At the time, that seemed outrageous. I am older and wiser now (I took a car-and found street parking-what a coup!)

Murray's doesn't let you take photos. When I asked if I could take a few pictures, I was given an emphatic "No". From what I understand from a friend, rivals come into the store, take photos and then copy their shop layout, and the cheeses they carry. I always ask before I take photos and I advise you to do the same. It's the respectful thing to do. Most places allow you to take photos, and are really glad that you asked, but you never know who might be a "Murray's". I bought three cheeses here.

*Update: I received an email from Beth at Murray's today. She told me that Murray's does allow personal pictures of the store. When people come in with professional equipment they do question them a bit more about their purpose, but that bloggy photos are ok. When I asked, I was told no. I am going to stick with my previous advice. Ask first. The next time I go home I'll have to go to Murray's again, taste and buy more cheese and take pics. I know, you feel sooooo sorry for me right?*
.


I went to the Essex St. Market for Saxelby, and Formaggio Kitchen. I only bought one cheese at Formaggio. Her name is Robiola di Capra Incovolata. This Piedmont goat's milk cheese is wrapped in Cabbage leaves. The one I got was RIPE. We're talking full on, gooey, ooey, creamy, don't let it sit out because it will turn into a puddle of fondue, tangy, green but not skunky deliciousness. Soooooo good. I scooped it off the plate with crusts of bread.


Over at Saxelby, the monger was Veronica an ex-Chicagoan who used to work with a co-worker of mine. She's been a cheesemaker in Georgia (see if you can guess where based on the pic) and she was super friendly and wicked nice. She was also incredibly knowledgeable and had me tasting some "stuff from the back". One of my favorite sentences in the world is "I've got something in the back you should try." Usually it means I'm going to be a very happy wench.


All total I only bought six cheeses from Saxelby at the Essex St. Market.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Technology...meh.

I wanted to see if I could really make a post from my cell phone. This is a photo of a small cheese plate I made for my Nana.

I think I'm only going to use this in times of desperation. You know, like if I bump into Jeffrey Roberts or Allison Hooper, or Santa.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I LOVE goat cheese

So a while ago I wrote about goat cheese. Well, I decided to do a goat cheese tasting for a few friends. We did four cheeses for our tasting and paired them with a sourdough bread and an apple-quince chutney.



Starting from the left

1. Lincoln Log (little oval) from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, MI: This goat's milk cheese is young-aged for about 2 weeks. It is also very delicate in flavor and yet very "goaty". When I lived in VT there was a man who would come into town every so often and sell homemade raw milk fresh goat cheese. It was soft, silky, milky, and with that citrus tang that fresh goats have. The Lincoln Log has all of those characteristics but is pasteurized. Amazing! I tried eating it with the apple quince chutney, but this cheese wants to be left alone. Bread and a knife are really all you need.

2. Bucheron (the big round mammajamma) is a goat's milk cheese from the Loire Valley in France. It is aged from two to four months. This cheese is incredibly mild. It's great for salads, or for pairing with stronger condiments. The chutney enhanced this cheese immensely. Adding a slight mustiness to a cheese that I find is often one note.

3. Cana de Cabra (the smaller round) is from SE Spain. Mushrooms, barnyard, nuttiness and joy is what I get from this creamy, silky/crumbly robust cheese. This cheese loved the chutney, and I love this cheese. While this cheese is inspired by Bucheron, it is aged for less than half the time, at just 21 days. And yet, the flavor is so strong. Is it, could it be, terroir?*

4. And we go back to Zingerman's with the Detroit St. Brick. Named after the street where they live. Suddenly I have an urge to watch My Fair Lady Could she really have danced all night? I doubt it. I'm going to have to change my stance on peppered cheeses. Usually I don't like them. I'm not a huge fan of biting into a peppercorn, just like I don't enjoy eating twiggery (rosemary in particular) with my cheese. Those folks in Ann Arbor have changed my mind though. While the cheese is lovely, one of my friends commented that she felt as though she was getting to experience pepper in a whole new way, with a cheese bonus.

If you can get a hold of these cheeses, give them a try. I like trying a bunch of different cheeses from the same family all at once. It's a great opportunity to notice the subtle variations between different and yet similar cheeses.

Well, I'm in NY now and exhausted. I'm only here for a two days. I'm hoping to make it to a shop or two. Will update you guys later.

*I do not know how to add accents onto words. Tildes, umlauts, and the like. If anyone knows how to make the magic happen, send me an email. cheeseisalive@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day

Let me start off by saying that I can't stand April Fool's Day. It's probably repressed elementary school trauma. There is however an exception to this rule. ThinkGeek. What is ThinkGeek? A pretty rad website full of geeky/nerdy/dorky/dweebish paraphernalia. Every April 1st they do a joke home page. Full of products that you can't buy. You've got another few hours to check them out. Well, as you may not know, I love unicorns. I don't have figurines all over my apartment, but man, I do dig those mystical, magical creatures. This is one of the funniest videos. Ever.

I know that this post has nothing to do with cheese (although the acting is pretty cheesy) I'm not even supposed to be on the computer. I should be packing for my long weekend, and cleaning the apartment. Not looking at videos. Oh well.



I guess by you coming here to read about cheese, and instead getting a video about unicorn juice I kind of played an April Fool's Day joke on you. Sorry. but only a little bit.