Boska USA, purveyors of fine cheese gadgetry and upholders of great European cheese traditions, recently sent along a sweet set of photographs of an event they'd held with the help of Jason Sobocinski, host of the Cooking Channel's The Big Cheese. Now, besides looking overwhelmingly delicious, the photos got me thinking—especially this one:
April was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month and The Lady and I, your humble Feline Foodie, promised 30 new grilled cheese recipes… alas… to mis-quote the late, great John Lennon… “we had grilled cheese plans and then life got in the way”… so even into mid-May, we are still posting grilled cheese recipes… this one today is #26 and as with the last, this is actually an open-faced cheese melt.
The Lady took Jasper Hill Farm’s sample #120125 to make her latest cheese sammy…
Using Original La Panzanella Croccantini for her bread base, she topped it with Prosciutto and then JHF’s sample #120125. She sprinkled a little rosemary on top.
She popped it in the toaster oven and three minutes later… ta da… we had dinner.
Another terrific grilled/open-faced sammy for the grilled cheese recipe vaults and future reference… living with The Lady does have at least one good side… Cheese, Glorious Cheese…
-- Spaulding Gray, The Feline Foodie, for Marcella (The Lady)
Here's a peek at what I've been up to...
I spent last weekend at Shelburne Farms, hangin' out in a 19th century bedroom with a sobering portrait of Napoleon staring at me from above my bed. Actually, I spent more time outside touring the property, the garden, the bakery, and of course the dairy. On Saturday I made cheese all day (or watched, at least). It was awesome. If you’re jealous, I’m sorry and I don’t blame you. The sweeping lawns/pastures and beautiful architecture in this pocket of Vermont are almost too good to be real.
Lucky for me and my fellow weekenders, the weather behaved the whole time (my sunburned nose is proof). Nat, the diplomatic and unflappable head cheesemaker, led our group through every level of the farm’s operation and even fed us fresh curds in the make room.
First and Foremost thanks to Jasper Hill and Culture for selecting me to be a cheese tester.
My name is Joe and I live in Sun Prairie Wisconsin. By occupation I am a police sergeant and by hobby I am cheese maker. I have been married for 25 years and have two daughters. While I like cheese and live in the dairy state, I am a novice as a formal cheese tester. I was thrilled but a bit intimidated at being selected to test a new cheese. As a home cheese maker I have given birth to some cheese myself so I appreciate the desire to test one's cheese at various stages of development and the reaction of others while tasting the cheese. I hope that my feedback helps Jasper Hill with the successful delivery of their cheese.
***I updated this post at 5/15/2012, 10:10am PDT, to correct the Giacominis' official job titles.***
To reach the Fork on this beautiful spring day in April, the new educational and event building at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, my cheese photographer Gavin and I had to first leave San Francisco, drive past miles of fields punctuated by knobby, massive boulders, and climb a single-lane road flanked by roaming cattle. Actually, the drive was only an hour long. I still can’t get over how suddenly the scenery shifts once I leave San Francisco and its somewhat precious bedroom communities.
Scientists appreciate experiments...and well, we’re scientists. Food scientists, to be precise, at Cornell, studying dairy chemistry (Steve) and foodborne pathogens (Daina). So when we realized we were examining the results of a Jasper Hill experiment, we were excited. Three almost identical wedges arrived, challenging our powers of discrimination with subtle differences. Surely, just a variable or two were tweaked in the process of crafting a new cheese.
Probably the most spectacular aspect of this mystery Alpine style was its natural, bright orange rind, already described by others. You’d expect that color from a softer washed rind cheese, but on a hard aged cheese?! Mindblowing. The rind definitely had the funk of a washed rind cheese but quickly faded into a mild, creamy paste. We could have used a little more funk in the center, and like many of the other tasters have already shared, we thought they were all too bland.
My name is Jenna and I am a periodontist from lovely Charleston, South Carolina. So if you haven’t guessed by that statement yet I’ll just come out and admit that I am no cheese professional. That is unless you count eating and then I might just approach championship status. I am extremely fortunate in that I have been able to travel a fair amount and even more fortunate that I have someone to travel with. The man-panion and I often make arrangements to investigate local cheeses on our vacations. We have come across many incredible cheeses and found ourselves in some really neat caves during our journeys.
My first Jasper Hill tasting got off to an inauspicious start. I’m sharing with a coworker and while we planned to taste together, overdue deadlines and too much coffee on the palate led us to the dish room at work late Friday afternoon, divvying up our wedges on a cutting board, teetering atop chest freezer.
Then, a humid, rowdy ride home; I work in Brookline, Massachusetts and live in Boston, meaning that my commute brings me right by Fenway Park, where there was a Red Sox game that night. Still, even after a hot, crowded and drunken (not me…at least at this point) hour on the train, my three little wedges of cheese were intact. Unfortunately my self-restraint was not. Starving, I broke into one right away, slicing off a couple squares, I’m not even sure which.
I’m Jackie and I live on a small farm in Western Pennsylvania where I raise old-fashioned Milking Devon cattle. This farm evolved from my frustration with America’s industrialized food system. Auburn Meadow Farm is a living experiment in sustainability and humility. And deliciousness.
The farm is in a rural community called West Middlesex, a little over one hour north-west of Pittsburgh. It’s a Walmart sort of town, but our more upscale local grocery chain attempts a fine cheese case. You have to check regularly, as sometimes there are random treasures, but most of the time, the cheeses are safe, pre-cut & wrapped and completely misunderstood by their caretakers.