Prairie Fruits Farm is nationally known and renowned for their goat cheese. Julianne Glatz of the Illinois Times visits the farm in Urbana, Illinois.
When I first came to PFF in 2006, a multitude of baby goats rushed to a fence as I stepped out of my car, their faces squashed together, bodies almost obscure, in an impossible-to-resist pleading of “love me, pet me, love me.” There was a barn, a pristine milking room, an even more pristine room where the cheeses were made, and a temperature- and humidity-controlled room for aging the cheeses.
In the aftermath of last week's earthquake in northern Italy, culture has been attempting to get in touch with producers, cheesemakers, affineurs and distributors who might have more information on the plight of the Parmigiano Reggiano aging houses. Although it's been difficult to reach the people involved, we found a comprehensive update here, thanks to Nancy Radke. (now posted at parmeson.com)
300,000 Wheels Down
The May 20th earthquake primarily affected producers and agers in and around Modena, Mantua, and Bologna. Here 300,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano fell from collapsing shelving in several aging rooms when the 6.0-magnitude quake hit.
Just 10 Facilities Hard Hit
The results are in, and the finalists have been selected for the 2012 sofi Awards. Among the finalists for Outstanding New Product is "Finca Pascualete Mini Torta" by the Rogers Collection, which is the only cheese that made the cut!
The sofi Awards, now in their 40th year, are open to members of the NASFT, a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. The awards recognize excellence across 32 categories, from Outstanding Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa or Dip, to Outstanding Vinegar. This year’s contest was the most competitive yet, with 2,520 entries overall.
Since the recent U.S. recession began, more and more small dairy farmers have been closing their doors. Prices have rebounded, but are expected to drop again this summer, causing farmers like the MacLaren brothers in Vermont to call it quits.
"The day of the small farms, I think, is gone," said Steve MacLaren, 54. "A lot of people are going to hold on as long as they can, but we decided not to. Why struggle on it any longer?"
Economic issues aside, the MacLarens are tired of being tied to the farm seven days a week. They plan to keep the land and grow feed – corn and grass for hay and silage – on more than 500 acres.
Okay, okay -- so American "cheese" isn't real cheese, but you've got to give it props for its melting abilities, especially with grilling season in full swing. Burger, anyone?
We blind-tasted nine different brands of yellow American cheese, taking special care to note each one's properties after being melted. Though there weren't drastic differences in flavor, their textures ranged from creamy to rubbery and even plasticky. We had strict guidelines in terms of testing only those "cheese foods" labeled as "American cheese." We didn't test slices labeled as "cheddar flavored" (such as the popular Kraft Deli Deluxe Sharp Cheddar Singles).
Just in time for National Burger Day, here's a list of some of North America's regional favorites.
Celebrating our differences makes each day worth living. As you travel across North America, you'll find people from all walks of life, which truly makes up a mosaic. Much like the people who inhabit this continent, the burgers they eat vary from region, location and city. Here are ten burgers from ten very different areas of North America.
A new robotic milking system has relieved stress on farmers and udders at Jobo Farms in Greenbush, Ontario. Cows have access to milking stalls all day long, and usually opt to be milked three times a day, making for healthier and more comfortable cows. The robotic milking arm can sense if there isn't enough milk in the cow's udder, and will not offer up the snack that the cows get as a reward after milking. For the first time ever, the Oosterhof brothers that run Jobo farms were both able to enjoy a birthday dinner with their mother at the same time.
The robotic milker, combining an inhuman patience and ability to shrug off a chance kick, also has a sensitive side.
More numbers tallying up the loss and damage experienced by the Parmesan industry after Sunday's earthquake. Cleanup is under way:
Although some of the damage wheels can be used in the short term, they are estimating that 10 percent of the Parmesan industry will be affected.
Cesare Casella, chef of Salumeria Rosi, spoke with producers in Grana Padano to get an idea of the damage that had been done.
“The point is that yes, they say ‘they lost $250,000,000 worth of cheese.’ But I don’t think there is going to be a shortage. I think they are going to raise the price because maybe it’s a good opportunity to raise the price,” said Casella.
A lavish, dense "pie" stuffed with penne pasta, mouth-watering Wisconsin Asiago, cheese and Tuscan kale - complete with a truffle oil potato pie crust. This recipe is actually a variation on timballo di maccheroni, a traditional dish from Naples. In a word, YUM.
Some few years ago, in a movie called "Big Night," the preparation of a timballo di maccheroni was featured in a big way. It made a big impression on audiences. Me included. Recipes for timballi proliferated and suddenly the dish came to the attention of Americans. Since then I have made some variation many, many times. But the more I make it the more it becomes (at least in my mind) another great take on good ole Mac & Cheese. Another example of cross-cultural culinary calisthenics.
Sour cream gives this dessert a super-creamy boost without adding too much sweetness. A perfect accompaniment to fruit pies or a hot summer day, it can easily be made at home.
I recently made my first strawberry rhubarb pie of the season and served with it an ice cream made from scraps in the fridge. I had an open container of sour cream, the dregs of a pint of yogurt, a lemon on its last legs, but no eggs. The resulting tangy sour cream ice cream was, like many kitchen inventions, a happy accident because along the way I discovered the perfect ice cream flavor for pie.