Showing posts with label Blue Ledge Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blue Ledge Farm. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April is Grilled Cheese Month!

Every April I go to the cheese counter looking for new combinations of lactic goodness, searching for tasty answers to the question, "will it melt?"  This year I'm starting the month off with something a little sweet.

Usually grilled cheese is for lunch or dinner (or breakfast), but I wanted to try for a dessert-ish sandwich.  My inspiration was the New England classic, apple pie and cheddar cheese.  For those of you not familiar with this tasty treat, typically the cheese (white cheddar) is melted on top of the pie.  The pie is all warm and nummy and the cheese is just melty enough.  I wanted to see if I could do a recreation of that in sandwich form.

I'm not going to give you a recipe per se, but I'll tell you what ingredients I used.

Nummy goat cheese with ash.
I almost always have a hunk of cheddar in the fridge and for this sandwich I used Extra Sharp Cheddar from Cabot.  For cheese number two I went for Lake's Edge from Blue Ledge Farm in Vermont.*  This is a young mold-ripened cheese with ash and filled with tangy, creamy, salty, goaty goodness.  Usually I do a little shmear of this on toast with a bit of honey, so it seemed like a good idea for a grilled cheese.

For the spread I used jam from Elmore Roots Nursery.  They're a local VT business and have wonderful spreads.  Although all of the jams I've had from them have an apple base, for this sandwich I went for the super appley crabapple flavor.  The sweetness of the jam was a perfect pairing for sharp acidic cheddar and salty, citrusy, goat cheese.

So here's the "recipe".

  • Take two pieces of bread and do a light smear of crabapple spread on one side
  • Put a few slices of cheddar on top of the jam
  • Add a few slender slices of goat cheese-with the rind
  • Put second piece of bread on top
  • Put in pan until toasty, melty, goodness occurs
  • Put it in your tummy
It's a little bit sweet with a nice tanginess from the goat cheese. So good!  So how are you going to celebrate this month?

*If you don't have access to Blue Ledge Farms' cheese you can substitute Humbolt Fog.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vermont Cheese for Breakfast

I know it's been a while since I last posted. Things in Chicago are getting a bit stressful. We're coming upon the holiday season which means that I'm working more and sleeping less. On top of that, I'm trying to find a job and apartment in Vermont so that when I move in the new year I don't have to live on the air mattress at my folks' house.

Last week I was back in Vermont supposedly checking out the job and apartment scene. On Tuesday however I was being a lazy gal, sitting on the porch watching Netflix streaming video and tempering my cheese for breakfast.

First up is from Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont (although on their packaging it says they're in Leicester.) Blue Ledge Farm is a small family farm making farmstead seasonal cheese for ten months of the year. According to their website they have around 75 milking goats who produce enough milk to make approximately 11,000 pounds of cheese. I know that sounds like a lot of cheese, but it's really not. Let's compare Blue Ledge to another artisan farmstead goat cheese producer and let's use really round numbers.

Let's say that you have 1000 goats on your farm. Each of those goats produces 1 gallon of milk a day. It takes about 10 gallons of milk to make 1 # of cheese. That farm could potentially make 100 pounds of cheese a day. Blue Ledge on the other hand, with their small herd would make less than 10 pounds of cheese a day. Of course there are variations to consider such as what kind of cheese the cheesemaker is creating that day, the composition of the milk they're using (butterfat is soooooo important*) and how long the cheese is going to be aged but that just gives you a rough number to look at.

Enough with the math, back to the cheese.

Crottina is a young bloomy rind cheese aged for less than 30 days (that means it's pasteurized) that looks similar in shape to Constant Bliss or a slightly bigger (than I'm used to seeing) Crottin. The outside is super fluffy and white like chalk. It smells a bit like mushrooms before washing, and a bit like watercress. The interior of the cheese has a very soft and creamy appearance and tastes goaty, vegetable-y, with just a wee kick of salt and a nice mushroomitude that makes me quite happy. Fantastic farm and delicious cheese.

They also do a lot of flavored fresh chevre. One of my absolute favorites is the maple chevre. What do you do with maple goat cheese? You can make stuffed french toast, pancakes, crepes, flan, cheesecake, swirl it into a brownie, napoleon, salad, stuffed in a chicken breast, or pork loin. I mean...there's so much you can do with that little package of tastiness. Next time I get some I'll make a tasty recipe and share it with you. Promise.

No trip to Vermont would be complete without me getting a tasty treat from Lazy Lady Farm. Today's treat is called Sweet Emotion and is a mix of goat milk and cream from a nearby cow dairy. This cheese has a very stong mold aroma to the rind. The paste itself is very different. It has a slightly sour tang like sour cream, has a mild goaty flavor and tastes the way a bell pepper smells when you cut it. Interesting, very mild and another unique offering from Laini and her goats.

Me, sitting on my brother's porch on a rather overcast day. Just eating cheese.

*Milk that has a higher butterfat content means that you can make more cheese, with the same amount of milk. Again, it depends on what style of cheese you're going to make, but butterfat is a very good thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vermont Cheese 3 little cheeses

One of the best parts of my cheese vacations is when I get to come back with a cooler full of cheese. Going back to VT for the cheesemaker's festival was one of my favorites, because I got to come home with some of my favorite cheeses and I got to make some new cheese friends.

Today is all about the three little cheeses. The little round white one is Crottina from Blue Ledge Farm. the white square is from Willow Farm and her name is Alderbrook. Finally, the big orange mama up front is from Dancing Cow and her name is Sarabande.

Sarabande. I've never had this cheese before although I have had others from Dancing Cow. One of my favorites is the Bouree which spends some time in the JHF cellars. I was very eager to try this stinky pyramid of goodness.

Raw cow's milk cheese it is stinky on the outside and luscious, creamy, sweet like caramel, smokey, buttery, and is frickin' fantastic! It had quite a hoof on it, but I didn't care. We ate it up. Sooo good.

Why Willow Hill Farm? Why?! Usually all of their cheeses are delicious. I've had Alderbrook before. My memory tells me that it was buttery creamy, a bit grassy and had that wonderful fatty mouth feel that sheep milk cheeses tend to have. Unfortunately the piece I had didn't taste like that. The paste was...ok-ish, but the rind! It tasted like soap!

Was this an off batch? Had the cheese turned? Had the people behind the cheese counter ignored it for too long? Who knows. If I'd been back in VT I would have gone back to the Co-Op I'd bought it from and return it. Since I was in Chicago I had to throw it out.

Crottina. This was hands down my favorite cheese. I've never had a bad cheese from Blue Ledge Farm, and the Crottina is another one of their outstanding goat cheeses. Creamy, slightly sweet, a little bit of that green vegetal-grassiness that all VT cheeses have with a nice fudgy texture.

I have a few more cheeses from VT to talk about for next time. Right now I'm looking for some new cheeses to bring into the house. I'm thinking blue.

BTW guys, there are only a few days left to enter the Oregon Cuisinternship contest. I've got a few ideas for my video, and I'm doing it on Sunday. In an act of maybe foolishness I'm going to post the video on this blog for you all to see. I am a complete dweeb on film, but I'm okay with that if it means I get to make cheese at Rogue Creamery.