American Artisanal Cheesemakers: Introducing Baetje Farms


**cross posted at Menuism

Artisanal cheese can be found in pretty much every state in the union. I dare you to try and name a state that doesn’t have at least one dairy or creamery. Even the island of Hawaii is home to some great cheesemakers! Over my next few posts, I’ll talk about some of these great American cheesemakers, starting with my home state of Missouri. Continue reading

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

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!

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!

Full Moon Feast


Simon and I were invited to attend an installation of Full Moon Foodies Dinner.  Full Moon Foodies is a monthly late-night dinner event hosted by Wes Johnson, Chef de Cuisine and Brendan Noonan, Executive Sous Chef at Eclipse in the Moonrise Hotel.  Each month, a melange of St. Louis food enthusiasts and culinary professionals are invited to partake in a themed meal on the night of the full moon.  This month’s full moon landed on a Friday night and a vegetarian feast was on the books.

Dinner guests included a who’s who of the St. Louis’ professional  food-writing community, chefs and local food enthusiasts, including Mathew Rice, Sara White, April Seager and my new friend Gilberto Pinela.  Our evening began with cocktails at the bar.  Packed in on the ground level of the restaurant were loads of patrons vying for a spot on the rooftop.  The wait was over an hour when we arrived.   With spectacular views, perfect weather and tasty drinks, that was enough to lure the crowds high above the street.  But, we were looking forward to a small intimate dinner in the cozy corner of the restaurant, so the rooftop would have to wait.

As guests arrived, we took our seats and began to anticipate the bounty for which we were gathered.  The meal was based on a video game played by Brendan.  Harvest Moon, a Japanese farming-simulation game was developed by Yasuhiro Wada.  The object of the game is to maintain a farm over a period of time, tending the crops and livestock through the seasons, while befriending the nearby townsfolk and getting married in some games.  With this in mind, Wes and Brendan focused on local (when appropriate), fresh vegetables for the meal.

To start out the meal, we nibbled on spiced roasted nuts.  Crunchy, spicy and sweet…they accompanied our cocktails perfectly.  Secondly a serving of warm herbed olives…with a great underbelly of heat. Simon offered up a new concoction he devised earlier that afternoon at The Wine Merchant.  Local goat cheese, whipped with mango honey and scotch bonnet peppers was coined The Goat Fire Ball.  It was another delicious nibble that brought the spice and heat.

And thus the feast began!  Bowls of pickled wax beans cooled your palate.  Along with watermelon dressed with pickled carrots, there was vast platters of fresh vegetables.  Plates of heirloom tomatoes with Koren melon dressed in a balsamic reduction, tempura of Ozark Forest mushrooms, okra, poblano and red bell peppers.   Knowing that some dinner guests were of the vegan persuasion, the tempura was executed san eggs.  Even with the egg omittance, the tempura was crispy and perfect.  Heaping bowls of Ozark Forest mushrooms were served. Maitake, Lobster and Hen of the Woods were sauteed with butter and thyme.  One bowl was sauteed with olive oil for our vegan guests.  A  rich carrot and potato curry was the main course.  The curry was hearty, with warm spices that satisfied.  A dollop of the Goat Fire Ball gave a second layer of flavor and heat that was genuinely scrumptious.  Fresh figs with cracked black pepper were piled high in a bowl.

Cocktails, such as Lemon Lime Gin & Tonic infused with sorrel were consumed…along with Champagne/Elderberry flower liqueur concoctions.  On a sweet note: Brendan found some “sweet crunchy sticks” at the local Asian Market. And that was the literal translation, folks.  There were rice sticks covered in a fine sugar from what I could tell.  The package was brought out and  in a hilarious twist of fate…fitted right in with the video game themed meal!  I never got a chance to read the actual ingredients…all I heard was that they were vegan so they were OK for all at the table.  Finally, a meringue topped with local peaches were the final course.  The meringue was light, sweet and fluffy.  The peaches, although local and fresh, were a tad under-ripe.

All in all, the Full Moon Foodies dinner was an amazing experience.  Food enthusiasts and professionals gathering together to enjoy good food, make new discoveries, exchange ideas and just have fun is a wonderful concept.  A giant thanks to Wes and Brendan for being such gracious hosts and putting together a delicious vegetarian meal!

I can only hope I am lucky enough to be invited back for another Full Moon Foodies Dinner!

Simon Says Cheese @ the Kitchen Conservatory


Shameless plug…I know.  But I don’t care.  Simon will be doing an intro class on cheese at the Kitchen Conservatory on April 17th.  Please visit www.kitchenconservatory.com to sign up.

you know you want to.  just do it.

http://www.kitchenconservatory.com/Schedule2.htm