Showing posts with label goat cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goat cheese. Show all posts

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mozzarella Company

I know almost nothing about Texas. What I do know is based on my visit to Austin for the ACS conference last year and what I've read on the back of cars:

1. Texas summers are too hot
2. The tacos weren't as fantastic as I was lead to believe they would be
3. Although no reason has ever been given I believe I'm not supposed to mess with Texas
4. They make some tasty cheese

Today we're talking about a delicious goat cheese from the Mozzarella Company in Dallas. Inspired by the French cheese, Banon Hoja Santa joins my ever-expanding list of cheeses I adore.

Hoja Santa (translated it means "sacred leaf") is a plant found locally in Texas. It has a heart shape and can grow to be 1 ft in diameter. The best thing about the plant is the flavor profile. Sassafrass, eucalyptus and mint are all characteristics of this incredibly versatile plant that can be used as a wrapping for tamales, in sauces or in today's focus as a wrapper for cheese.

Fresh goat cheese usually has a citrus acidity to it, but I've noticed that goat cheeses from Texas seem to have a bit more of a peppery piquant flavor as well. This is where terroir comes into play. The grasses that animals are eating in dry areas is going to be different than the ones in New England or Wisconsin, so instead of a fresh grassiness, you get more dried hay, and toasted, flavors.

This slightly peppery goat cheese, when combined with the Hoja Santa leaf makes for a fantastic cheese treat. The texture is soft, creamy and moist while the flavor just explodes in your mouth. If you're thinking that root beer, pepper and mint sounds like it might be a weird combination in your mouth you're so wrong! Eat this cheese straight up, turn it into a savory flan, or pair it with horchata and a crust of bread. Any way you slice it, your tummy is in for a taste sensation!

Friday, April 24, 2009

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 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.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Goat Cheese

I am on a quest. My mission is to change the minds of those who don't like goat cheese.

More often than not when people come into the shop they're not quite sure what they want. I ask them what kind of cheese they like and then I'm sure to ask them which cheeses they don't. That's just as important in the fragile cheesemonger/cheese buyer relationship.

"I don't like goat cheese"

It is after hearing this declarative that I find I have to remind myself that "he didn't like goat cheese" is not a valid defense in a trial. At least not yet.

Upon inquiry I find that what they mean is that they don't like fresh goat cheese. Now that I can work with. I love all kinds of goat cheese, but the fresh goat cheese market has some good quality stuff, and some cheese that could turn me off from all things cheesy if I let it. While I love it, fresh goat cheese is not the end all be all to what goats' milk can become.

You can find goat cheese in every part of the cheese world. You can make bloomy rind cheese, cheddar, gouda, aged cheeses, washed rind stinkers and blues. Snow White Goat Cheddar from Carr Valley Cheese Company won first place at the ACS competition last year. They also make one of my favorite blue cheeses, Billy Blue. Humbolt Fog, the cheese that started my love affair with cheese is a goaty delicacy.

Try the triple creme from Coach Farm in upstate NY and then try to tell me you don't love goat cheese. Oh, you're still not convinced? Fine, how about some lovely Mad River Roll from Cypress Grove? No? You're still determined to not let happiness into your soul and goodness into your mouth? How about some Elk Mountain from Pholia Farm? Still no? I am determined. I will find that cheese. cue the dramatic music I will convert you and then you'll never go hungry for a lack of goat cheese again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Goats are Great

I am a biased Cheesewench. While I love cheese made from cow, sheep or water buffalo my heart lies with the goat. When I take cheese home from the shop there is almost always a goat involved. Aged, blue, fresh I don't care. Loves the goat. It is my precious.

This past September I went on a field trip to Prairie Fruits Farm in Champaign, IL. Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell make yummy yummy cheesy, goaty goodies. They also have a chef on-site who prepares farm dinners. They use organic produce grown right there on the farm, and meat from their neighbors down the road. If you can get reservations for the farm dinners you're a lucky s.o.b. and should consider yourself blessed.

We did a tour of the cheesemaking facility, the farm, ate some lunch and met the goats. Goats are friendly. They also want to nibble on boots. And pants, and your fingers, and feed and grass and your bottom.

Lunch was incredible and the goats were fun and sweet. Leslie has an enthusiasm and nurturing attitude that translates to having happy healthy goats and yummy cheese.

This was my first visit to a cheesemaker. I am trying to decide who I want to visit next. Of course being a Vermonter in flatlander clothing I want to go to VT, but honestly, how do you choose? There are too many artisan cheesemakers to choose from. Isn't that great?!

What a gourdgeous veggie!

The cheese course was wonderful with organic fruit grown right there on the farm.

Goats are silly. And hungry.

My personal favorite goat was the bellwether.