Who is your pick for the next Commander in Chief?


I know this has nothing to do with cheese…or farms or food….or does it?

This is an election year.  I am not one to get into political fisticuffs with folks….but I do think you need to be an informed voter. Who is your best match? Take this quiz and find out….it just might surprise you….it did me.

Take the Candidate Match Quiz now!!!

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MMMM…Bacon…known to tempt even the strongest kosher eater


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Since being introduced to the cheesemonger, he and I have gotten along splendidly. But, as with any marriage, we have come upon some differences….not too shocking. One difference in particular involved our beloved bacon…..and how to prepare it.

He comes from the cast iron contingent….I come from the microwave contingent. He likes it chewy…I love  it crispy. Before you begin to bombard me with insults for microwaving my bacon….click on the picture of the pig and read the Grateful Palate’s take on cooking bacon. Microwaving isn’t all that bad.

So, how do you like your bacon prepared?

Cheesemaker of the Week: Everona Dairy


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Everona Dairy started because Dr. Patricia Elliott bought a Border Collie puppy on impulse in 1992 at the Montpelier Spring Wine Festival. Then she had to get sheep so she could have work to do. One day, she was trying to think of some way for the sheep to pay their own way , and it occurred to her that she might milk them. She didn’t know then that there are more sheep milked in the world than cows. Or that sheep’s milk cheese was so delicious!One thing thus led to another and now Everona Dairy is milking over 100 sheep and has 4 employees. In addition, Dr. Elliott carries on her medical practice, raises Border Collies, writes when she can, and has many other interests.


Diamonds….nah…I’ll take a BLT


Found on the Food Section NYC:

Sandwich Style

BltringForget diamonds. Nothing says true love like a BLT sandwich… that your lady can wear on her fingers. The BLT Ring is composed of five individual rings — a bacon ring, a tomato ring, a lettuce ring, and two bread rings — that stack together to form a sterling silver BLT sandwich. $150 at The Grateful Palate.

The Grateful Plate is one of my favorite sites.  It’s where I go when I have money burning a whole in my pocket.  They have loads of hilarious yet practical gifts for the food enthusiast in your life.

Cheesemaker of the Week: Bleu Mont Dairy


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The Farm and Sustainability

Bleu Mont Dairy is part of a farmcommitted to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. The farm sits atop a ridge near Blue Mounds State Park in the picturesque driftless region of southern Wisconsin. Even from a distance, the main power source — a 10kw wind generator — can be spotted above the treetops. A long driveway leads past a field of rotational organic gardens up to the passive solar home, straw bale greenhouse/cave, and orchard. Besides assorted organic cheeses, they grow in-season garlic and asparagus.

Making Original Cheeses

Bleu Mont Dairy began over 20 years ago with an array of delicious Swiss-style cheeses, but in the last several years, Willi has started to develop a line of original artisan cheeses.

In 2003, Willi built a straw bale “cave” that includes an aging room lined with cedar boards. The thick straw walls of the cave help Willi control its humidity and temperature, critical components of aging. Because of his ability to control temperature and humidity, he can conduct cheese experiments. That helps him learn what works and doesn’t as he develops new cheeses.

With help from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Dairy Research, Willi traveled to England to learn from their cheddar artisans. He brought back new (old) techniques that he learned there, and he is now figuring out how to use those practices in his experiments with cheeses.

I ain’t scared of no Mad Cow! Bring on the Haggis


This article ran across my computer screen this afternoon. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with haggis….but it’s good….when done properly. I like it almost as much as I like black pudding. mmmmmmmm…..congealed blood sausage.

LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland is considering lobbying the United States to lift a ban on haggis, hoping to boost sales of the sheep-stomach-based national dish.

The U.S. banned imports of Scottish haggis after Britain’s outbreak of mad cow disease, which is linked to the human brain illness Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Scotland’s government insist its haggis — which usually contains the heart, liver and lungs wrapped inside a sheep’s stomach lining — is safe and wants the ban lifted.

“The Scottish government will consider engaging the U.S. government on its haggis import ban … It is safe or we wouldn’t eat it here,” said a spokeswoman. “We think there is a large market for it amongst expatriate Scots there.”

She cited growing sales of tartans and the prevalence of Scottish clubs as evidence that Americans were taking greater interest in their Scottish heritage.

Haggis, a globally recognized symbol of Scotland alongside bagpipes, kilts and Scotch whisky, is an essential part of Burns night celebrations, which commemorate national poet Robert Burns and fall on January 25.

Burns was the author of “Ode to a Haggis.”

 

burns.jpgSpeaking of Burns Night, I hope you all can make it down to the Schlafly Tap Room on Janurary 24, 2008 to celebrate with us. I can just feel the weight of the pint glass in my hand as I tip back and the Schlafly Scotch Ale just falls down my throat. Ugh…so good.

For details: www.schlafly.com

P.S….this just in…cheesemonger wants to go to the Scottish Arms….ugh.  Since Sarah isn’t here to to to the Tap Room with me…I MIGHT go with him to the Scottish Arms.  I do like it there and they have scotch eggs.  We’ll see!

I have a slight addiction to Super Mario Bros…..doesn’t everyone?


supermariocupcakes.jpgFor Valentine’s Day last year, I sold my soul for a Wii for the Cheesemonger. Just the look on his face when he opened it made my year. Little did I know that I would enjoy the Wii as much as he did. The Wii, if you don’t know, can act as your wireless internet router in your house. Per the cheesemonger, my resident IT guy…the Wii itself is not the router…you can just use it with your internet service.  I could have sworn he told me it was the router.  Oh well, I just use it.  If you have this service enabled, it allows you to download retro Nintendo games from thier homepage. Simon got me Super Mario Brothers. It didn’t take long for my brain to shine up those synapses and before you knew it….I was back in action…it was like I was 12 years old again. I remembered where all the hidden mushrooms were, which tubes took you to the underground coin chests….you get my drift. I loved it. I even worked up some callouses on my thumbs again.

As time passed, we downloaded Donkey Kong and a bunch of other shoot ’em up games I don’t care about. I love it. I still play SMB on a regular basis. Now, Naomi has made my dreams come true. I want to have Wii party, play SMB and Pacman and eat her cupcakes.

Cheese of the Week: Vacherin du Jura


jura.jpgVacherin du Jura, made only in the Fall/Winer on the French side of the Alps, is an aromatic washed rind cow’s milk cheese. It is a pasturized cheese that smells of earth and mushrooms as it ripens. Secured in spruce bark to keep it formed, when ready you can almost eat it by the spoonful.

Of course, available at the Wine Merchant in Clayton.

Pairings: Beaujolais Nouveau, any BIG red or even Champagne! Any Cote du Jura.

Funny Fact:  Formerly ILLEGAL in the US!

222 Artisan Bakery….you should go there


logo_222bakery.jpg Located at 222 Main Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. It is by far one of the best bakery within a 45 minute drive of the City of St. Louis. As I sat parked in the public lot a few doors down from 222 Bakery, peering into two boxes filled with various pastries I wondered: “Do other people spend $40 on a Saturday morning at 222?” As guilt began to set in I remembered that this was my first visit to 222 and as a consumer, I needed to get a diverse selection of product to develop an informed opinion. As I tucked in to the bear claw I wondered if I would need to find a place that sold whole milk. Small flakes of deliciousness landed on my chin and then my sweater. Opps..I just cleaned the car…a little sugar glaze won’t hurt…I’ll just sweep it under the seat!

The crispy tawny outer layer gave way to buttery soft innards. A thin layer of sweet raspberry jam was just enough. So often, jam filled sweets go overboard on the filing and it overpowers it’s delicate cradle. This was just right. Enough to hit you with raspberry flavor but not too much that you sweater will carry a stain. The light glaze was perfect. Just a thin drizzle topped with toasty almond slivers for that added crunch. It was gone before I new it. Open flew the box and out popped a croissant…and it landed in my mouth!!! It was what I was hoping for: flaky, buttery with crunchy end bits. It really went well with my coffee (roasted by Debbie and Matt I might add). Ugh. I wonder why my pants are getting tighter!

Saved the big boy cinnamon roll for the cheesemonger…along with a savory ham and cheese croissant….some rum balls, a pecan pinwheel, chocolate croissant, raspberry and pear scone and a loaf of 9 grain bread. I stocked up because I know I won’t be able to get back over for a couple of weeks. But, if you are free…I urge you to gas up the car, pile in the kids and head across the river to 222 Bakery. It is worth the gas, time and money. Debbie and Matt put thier hearts and souls into everything they make! I found myself heading back to St. Louis wearing a giant grin and singing. What other place can you say that you leaving smiling and singing??? Not many!

Ranch sells beef for dinner, bones for surgery


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http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2008/01/cow_bones

 

After suffering a long and arduous journey with a broken foot….I can come to appreciate breakthroughs in orthopedic surgery.    This article demonstrates this industry’s commitment to using every part of their livestock.  Commendable to say the least.  It’s not easy being a rancher and one would love to be able to get by on just that.  But these ranchers are making a living by dipping their brands into another fire:  healthcare.   Being a nurse and a foodie….it just makes sense.

 And for some, the hide becomes collagen for lip plumping procedures.  Hey, if you won’t eat the cow, let me inject it into your lips!  Again, something for everyone.

Cheesemaker of the Week


Fraga Farm

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We are a husband and wife team who together are living a dream we envisioned and have prepared for since 1993. Our purpose is to provide a superior cheese, abundantly rich in life force coming from our high quality, organic milk produced from our small herd of Alpine and Nubian goats. Our goats are lovingly cared for. We believe it all begins with the goats. Content, healthy,well respected animals produce superior milk. You can taste it in the cheese! Our employees have the same high regard for the goats and the cheese as we do,it makes for a very satisfying work environment. That care and attention goes into the cheesemaking and only the finest high quality ingredients are used. Our cheese is offered to our customers with pride, Knowing that they will taste the difference. Our mission is to produce a high quality organic goat cheese, full of vitality.Our intent is to increase health and enjoyment to our customers

This one is for my pal Mac….soon to be moving to the Pacific Northwest! I love seeing couples working together and creating a nutritious, healthy, delicious natural products. I can’t help but envision my life in a couple years from now on the farm in Wisconsin.

“St. Louis Good”


I’ve been having some very interesting conversations with other local eaters regarding this locally used nomenclature.   Over the past  few years there has been a rise in attention to the culinary arts here and the request for well prepared, local, seasonal ingredients in our restaurants.  The movement is still very small but is evolving.  Some of the non-local eaters have dubbed the phrase ‘St. Louis Good’ equating it to notion of mediocrity…or just plain ‘acceptable’.  Being born and raised here, I have no problem with the phrase….I even have adopted it into my vocabulary.  On the other hand, some local food industry people have not taken kindly to it.  Any thoughts about what is happening in your city?  The evolution of the mainstream restaurant?