At Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Christensen serves these crisp, cheddar-flavored bites with classic aioli and chow-chow, a Southern relish typically made with cabbage, red bell peppers, onions, and green tomatoes, spiced with mustard seeds and turmeric.
Heat the water to a boil in a large saucepot with the salt. Whisk in the grits and return to a boil. Stirring continuously, cook until the grits are well blended with the water, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring every few minutes with the whisk. The grits are fully cooked when any bitter corn flavor is
The first time I saw udders up close and personal was from the rear of a brown Nubian goat. It was my first day as a volunteer at Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie, New York. I had my hands on two plastic cylinders protruding from a metal contraption, reminiscent of something from the Jetsons; it was meant to suction onto those two udders to milk the goat. I was terrified to use them. I didn’t grow up around farm animals (or any animals, really, besides a lazy cat), and I feared doing anything that would hurt the goat. I listened carefully to my milking mentor:
The Murciana is an elegant yet rugged Spanish breed of goat known for its ability to convert forage from the barren Mediterranean steppes into rich, delicious milk perfectly suited to cheese production. Native to the Murcia province in southeastern Spain, the Murciana has spent centuries grazing the hot, dry pastures of this arid region. Through careful selection, local shepherds (with the help of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture) shaped the breed into the ultimate lowmaintenance grazing machine. Murcianas have excellent migrating abilities and will happily travel long distances in search of every type of food, from wild herbs and native grasses to agricultural by-products.
Virant preheats a large baking sheet in the oven before roasting the vegetables, to ensure they caramelize faster. He prefers to slice them on the bias for the same reason. Read more about Paul Virant and his restaurants in Relish the Season.
Every time I judge at the annual American Cheese Society competition, there are more cheeses, more entries from a wider variety of producers, and better cheese than the year before.
This year did not disappoint; we saw a record 1,771 entries from 254 cheese companies. Seeing what shows up gives perspective on where the American cheese scene is headed. Those of us who served as cheese judges and participated in the conference noticed three unique trends in 2012.
Quality in Quantity
The only thing better than bellying up to a lip-smacking piece of cheese is doing it with others. As vice president of Queso Diego, San Diego’s ever-growing cheese club, I can vouch for that firsthand. To date, there are 141 members in our club, and all of us actively engage in every opportunity to share cheese experiences.
Queso Diego began as a small gathering of friends, local cheesemakers, and cheese enthusiasts connecting through a Google forum created by current president Chris Banker. The group was established to encourage some healthy cheese discussion and to serve as a resource for the “cheese curious.” We soon found ourselves yearning to meet, to put faces to names, to hear our own voices, and to share our homemade cheeses. With that, a group of enthusiasts met to discuss the scope of cheese and cheesemaking.
If you want to skip the canning procedure, brine the tomatoes in a nonreactive stockpot, cool, transfer to a container, and store in the refrigerator, tightly covered. They'll keep in the refrigerator for up to several months. (You can also purchase sweet pickled cherry tomatoes from pickleguys.com.) Read more about Paul Virant and his restaurants in Relish the Season.
In the Bible it’s said that man cannot live by bread alone. However, it may be possible to temporarily survive on doppelbock, a brawny German beer that’s nicknamed “liquid bread.”
The hearty doppelbock resides in a category of strong German lagers called bocks. Its lager cousins curtail fall’s first chill, but winter’s icy clutch requires the warming prowess of a true doppelbock (“double bock”). It’s a fairly hefty beer style, with an ABV hovering between 7 and 10 percent and, typically, a hue that ranges from rich gold to a ruby brown. As for flavor and aroma, top billing goes to malt, with notes of toffee, caramel, dark fruits, and chocolate along for the sweet ride; bitterness hides in the backseat.
Cheddar is the predominant cheese flavor in chef Ashley Christensen’s mac ‘n‘ cheese, but a handful of Grana Padano adds a pleasant sharpness and Jarlsberg lends its classic mellow nuttiness.
Simmer the cream in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, until it has reduced by a quarter. Lower the heat to medium. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cooked macaroni and 3/4 cup each of the white cheddar, Jarlsberg, and Grana Padano.
Set an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler, and preheat the broiler. Transfer the macaroni mixture to a large baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Jarlsberg, Grana Padano, and white cheddar evenly on top.