Who said life would slow down after graduation?!?


Well, I thought it would…but I was wrong. I am just filling my time with other things besides studying. Catching up with friends and family…driving up to N. Wisconsin for a little R&R and trying to get the house in order. It’s amazing how quickly a 1000 square foot loft can become a disorganized little mess when you are in grad school. Top it all off with running down to the Farm a couple times a week to keep things going….life gets away from you.

Let’s talk about the farm for a minute. Things are going well. The garden is going gangbusters. But Simon and I both agree…it would be a million times better if we were living down there full time and able to tend to it everyday. The weeds get out of control FAST! If more then 3 days goes by without tending to them….well, lets just say it isn’t pretty. This little garden experiment really reminded me of my novice status when it comes to farming/gardening. I’ve always managed my little raised beds in the city but the sheer size of the farm often leaves me overwhelmed. But, again…living down there will make it easier to manage.

When we were away last week, my Dad managed to get down to the farm a couple times to check on things. He got some good tomatoes…we came home to ALOT of tomatoes that were ready to be picked. Lost some watermelons b/c the rotted on the vine. We’ve been getting lots of rain at the farm.  That bummed me out b/c they looked great. Managed to pick 2 tiger melons. But the sheer amount of tomatoes is awe inspiring! Will be canning some sauce in the up coming days.

Whew….I’m sure there will be more to add soon. Our life is always changing. Always.

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Artisanal Cheese 101-Dig In!


cross posted at Menuism!!

This is my very first blog post over at Menuism! It will be a monthly spot highligting all things cheese. Pop over to Menuism and take a look! Be sure to sign up and/or log in to keep track of your eats…and see what is happening in the food world!

One of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s most famous quotes describes the passion that most countries—notably France—have for cheese: “A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.” However, here in the states I have found that a good majority of folks think cheese only comes from cows, shrink-wrapped in individual slices and stacked in neat piles on the shelves of our mega-mart’s refrigerated sections. Friends, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.Cheese is a complex, varied and often misunderstood part of our culinary and agricultural history. So, here I am: a girl from South St. Louis, willing and ready to give you the basic nuts and bolts of artisanal cheeses.

What’s so special about artisanal cheese?

What in the world is artisanal cheese? Well, that is a both a simple and complex question. In a nutshell, artisanal cheese can be described as cheese made by hand in small batches using traditional methods that have withstood the test of time. With this method comes great variability in the end product, which is part of the true beauty of artisanal cheese. Over the next couple months we will delve into every aspect of artisanal cheese, from sourcing milk to production methods, aging, and finally, the joy of EATING artisanal cheese!

Where does it come from?

Like I said before, cheese is not only a product of dairy cows. Think about it: cheese is made from milk. What other animals produce milk? Cows are the first that come to mind, yes, but there are also goats and sheep. Many Mediterranean and European countries have relied on sheep and goats as their main source of food for hundreds or even thousands of years! In turn, they have perfected the art of making cheese from the milk of these animals. Waste not, want not.

First lesson: cheese can be made with cow, sheep or goat’s milk. Those are the most common types of milk we use in the U.S. to make artisanal cheeses. (In the Middle East and parts of Asia, the milk of other mammals is used for cheese. But that’s another story for another time.) Each type of milk can be used alone, or blended for a more complex flavor profile. Depending on the animal, there is a different fat content and of course, flavor. Sheep’s milk has the highest fat content out of our milk triumvirate. Next in line is cow’s milk, and finally, our ornery friend, the goat. Factor in where the animal was raised, what type of food it ate, the production method and the aging process, and you can see how artisanal cheesemakers are able to create a multitude of distinct-tasting cheeses.

What’s next? Where can I get my hands on some tasty artisanal cheese?

So I’ve planted the seed in your brain. Artisanal cheese sounds like a pretty fabulous idea, right? Next step: venturing out into your community in search of some artisanal cheese. I suggest starting with your local farmer’s market. You are bound to find some artisanal cheese there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Farmers and cheesemakers love what they do…and they love to talk about what they do with you! Try something new and stay tuned for more cheese talk!

This has been a very brief introduction to artisanal cheese. If you want more information, I suggest starting with the American Cheese Society.

– Annie Lehrer

My Menuism Introduction!!!!


Here is the link to my introduction on Menuism! I’m so excited to be a part of this enthusiastic food team! Stay tuned for monthly expert posts from amazing folks all over the country. And if you haven’t poked around the new Menuism site…get over there! It’s a great place to keep track of your eats and find new exciting spots in your hometown!

Menuism….they think cheese is important.


So, along with all of the exciting graduation news….I have some exciting blog news too. I have been asked by the founders of the new website Menuism, a new website that combines restaurant menus, food/restaurant reviews, dining journals and social networking, to be an guest author! Menuism  was started as a means for friends, family, and community to enlighten each other about their dining decisions at local restaurants. Part of the Menuism project is to utilize experts to offer up opinion, advice and information about particular subjects pertaining to dining, food, entertainment and good living. And they asked moi to be the expert blogger on cheese!  I’m VERY excited about this project and looking forward to sharing the world of artisanal cheese.  So, check it out! The expert blog launch is scheduled for July 19th! There is a super neat roster of expert bloggers and more will be added as time passes.

Hey?!? Who’s a graduate school graduate?


ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s right kids. This cheesemonger’s wife graduated. No more 12 page papers on hemodynamic monitoring…no more midterms and finals…and best of all…NO MORE 4am wake up calls! Whew….thought this day would never come. But, I have to be honest. Now that it’s over….I’m having a bit of separation anxiety. I don’t know what to do with myself. I still feel guilty spending hours down at Gelateria Tavolini or Foundation Grounds NOT studying Nursing but blogging, catching up on my aimless internet browsing and reading my Kindle. Continue reading

Here goes nothing….


Well, the garden is in. Simon and I have been working on the test garden down at the farm for the past couple weeks. With both of us working full time, and me finishing my last semester of grad school….it took us awhile but we finally made some headway. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures to show yet…but soon we will have some video/photos of the farm to share. Looks like there will be some film students doing the initial filming of the beginning of the farm and I’m very excited about that. I want to document this amazing opportunity we have and just don’t have the time to do both the filming and the farming. Continue reading

Filmmaker/Photographer Needed for farm project!


To all my friends in film/photography: I am in search of someone (or a group of someones) to document the start of our life on the farm. If I haven’t talked about it enough already, my husband Simon and I are embarking on a new journey of sorts. We’ve been given the great gift of a large parcel of land in Festus, MO to start a farm and cheesemaking business. We have grand plans for the farm and are looking for someone to document the process from start to finish. It is an opportunity for you to film us from the very first planting to when the animals arrive and we start making our own cheese.

If you know me, you know that I am a city girl at heart….so this is going to be a major departure from my norm….but I have to be honest ans say that I am VERY EXCITED about this new venture.
So, who’s up for the job? This would be a great opportunity for a film student to do a project…or a novice photographer to get some experience. We won’t be able to offer a salary/payment for your services. But you will get as much veg/cheese/wool that you can use as the years pass. It would also be necessary for you to be in the southeastern MO area/St. Louis area.

Drop me a line if you want to give it a shot!

Cheese of the Week: Seehive from Beehive Cheese Company


Still toiling away in graduate school but couldn’t miss this opportunity to tell you about Seehive!

photo courtesy of Beehive Cheese Company

From the Beehive Cheese Co. website “…..is hand rubbed with Beehive wildflower honey and local Redmond RealSalt. The honey is harvested from a local farm where the bee’s visit wildflowers and fruit orchards. The salt is from an ancient sea bed near Redmond, Utah and contains unique flecks of color that are the result of more than 50 natural trace minerals. This cheese is shaping up to be one of our best experiments yet and is a true expression of our local flavors”

This interesting specimen is now available here in StL.  Buzz on over to The Wine Merchant and ask Simon for a taste. You won’t go home empty handed!

Cheesemaker of the Week:Star Thrower Farms


School started again….and my posts will be few and far between.

Until next time, check out this amazing sheep farm in Minnesota

Star Thrower Farms

***select products availabe at The Wine Merchant in Clayton

This may be my new home…still working out the details..


but things are looking good.

Kunik…it’s all the craze. Cheesemaker of the Week: Nettle Meadow Farm


If you have been reading The Novice Foodie or my Twitter posts then you may have some idea about Kunik. Kunik is a triple cream cheese made in Thurman, NY by Nettle Meadow Farm. Owned by Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan, Nettle Meadow Farm is nestled on a cozy 50 acres just below Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks.

Kunik is a white-mold ripened cheese made from goat milk  and jersey cow cream. It has a delicate bloomy rind that smells sweet and grassy…but the inside yields a unctuous and buttery cheese with gracious tang.  Perfect on a slice of baguette topped with fruit chutney….or just slathered graciously on a toasted bagel.

Best at room temperature (like ALL CHEESE), Kunik has a permanent space on our kitchen counter.  Delicate and powerful…Kunik is by far becoming the favorite cheese of us here in St. Louis.  It is by far, my current obsession….delivered in small dreamy little rounds it doesn’t last long once cut into.  To be honest…I don’t think we have ever failed at finishing off the round once we got started.

The current batch at cheese counter at The Wine Merchant is by far the best we’ve had in Missouri……and that is saying a lot because ever subsequent batch and been perfect.

The Shaved Duck to open for lunch


The Shaved Duck to open for lunch

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From Ally Nisbet:

The Shaved Duck in the Tower Grove East neighborhood located at 2900 Virginia Street is opening for lunch starting Monday January 4th.
The Shaved Duck specializes in traditionally smoked meats using oak and hickory, and  will now be smoking earlier in the day to ensure that everything is fresh off the pitt for their guests.
Please stop by for some great smoked meats, flatbreads, homestyle sides and expanded lunch menu, or contact Matt Fournier, Catering  Manager for any catering functions coming up.

You only have scraps of cheese???


No fear…you can now have what the French call Fromage Fort. It is the EASIEST recipe you will ever read.  It goes alittle something like this:

1. Gather up about a 1/2 pound of cheese scraps

2. Chuck ’em in the food processor

3. In goes a couple cloves of garlic

4. Slosh of white wine

Salt and pepper to taste….

Whiz it all up til kinda smooth…depending on how you like it. I like a little texture.

Put in ramekins…serve at room temp with crackers, toasted baguette…BILLY GOAT POTATO CHIPS

It keeps forever in the fridge if wrapped airtight. I love this stuff….and it’s different everytime…depending on what kinda cheese you have. I’ve never had it NOT turn out delicious.

Enjoy!!

Find us on Twitter!!


Both The Cheesemonger and I have Twitter accounts. My tweets are merely jovial…but The Cheesemonger keeps everyone up to date on what is coming into the shop…what he wants to see in the shop and special cheese events in St. Louis!  Look us up!

@MerchChzmonger

@Chzmongerswife

Happy Tweeting!