Oh happy day! CHEESE glorious cheese!

Made my first mozzarella braid tonight!

Now that this cheese fiend has taken the first small (& pretty dang easy) step into cheesemaking I can say i’m hooked.

Knowledge comes courtesy of the fantastic Ricki Carroll of the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and some starter cheese kits. Check her out at www.cheesemaking.com

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Locavore love – Lots of cheese & the Olivator!

Recently was invited to attend a fun Locavore dinner group – with the theme of Sexy Foods for the potluck extravaganza in honor of February. 

After being stumped for a few days I hit the ‘Google’ and found a great list of foods known as aphrodisiacs  - including dates and truffles. 
And in my world – anything that has cheese around, in or over it is damn sexy as well.

If in previous posts I’ve expressed my love of all things pastas – cheese is a close second. In my next life phase I hope to become an artisan cheesemaker… no joke! 
And I figure that trying as many delicious types of cheese as possible during this phase sets me on the right path.

Two of my favorite local cheesemakers are Rollingstone Chevre and Ballard Family Dairy. Both of which wound up in my take on this Truffle Mac n’ Cheese recipe
From a locavore standpoint, the dish included:
- Ballard White Cheddar
- Ferranti Fresh Pasta – Penne
- Basil from Purple Sage Farms
And if you appreciate great cheeses – spend a bit more through Idaho’s Bounty or the Boise Co-Op and snag some of Ballard’s fantastic Cheddar!
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And besides drenching pasta in it – it’s always delightful to shove cheese inside of something.

For the second locavore dish I took some of the Rollingstone Chevre to try and replicate a yummy dish I’d had at Twig’s Wine Bar

Goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto. Pit the dates, shove in the cheese, wrap the strips of prosciutto and broil for a few minutes until the proscuitto just starts to crisp.
Super easy and super delicious bite-sized appetizers. Oh, and I got to use my newest random kitchen gadget too! (full disclosure: it was the main reason I wanted to make these!)
The Olivator! Want to shove something delicious inside something else delicious? This is your tool. (Snagged mine at the Pottery Gourmet)
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manchego + membrillo = delicious

I have been serving manchego and membrillo ever since I moved to Boise and could get a steady supply of the stuff (thanks, Boise Co-Op and the Basque Market!)

What? You’ve never heard of membrillo? You poor kid. You’re missing out.

The full name is dulce de membrillo, but all you have to know is that membrillo is quince fruit, water and sugar (and lemon and/or cinnamon, depending on what you buy) that has been slow cooked into a sugary, quivery mass of orangish-pinkish-reddish deliciousness. It is traditionally (and rightly) paired with manchego cheese from Spain. You can even make a little manchego-and-membrillo sandwich. Or four. It’s great for parties — put out a hunk of sweet membrillo, a chunk of nutty manchego, salty olives and good bread and you practically have a meal.

By the way — membrillo often isn’t super cheap, but a little goes a long way. And it lasts for a very long time when stored in the refrigerator.

- Julie

Membrillo

Cheese n Tomatoes Locavore-style IMG00025.jpg

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Nothing better to break up a long work day then a dinner binge on fresh golden tomatoes pulled from the garden (plants courtesy Peaceful Belly) with freshly grilled Idaho Golden Greek Halloumi Cheese from Ballard Cheese. Hmmmmmm
Definitely think my next business will be an artisan cheese shop. What other food group makes people so happy?
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