Creating a recipe for a month of Mac & Cheese was a fun challenge especially since I’ve rarely-if ever-actually made mac & cheese. I wanted to make something that was faithful to the traditional style, but I wasn’t even sure what that was! Luckily I had Keith around to help. He grew up on mac & cheese (and it’s part of his triumvirate of comfort foods along with meatloaf and mashed potatoes) so he let me know when my first few ideas strayed a little too far from the tried and true (I guess southern style mac & cheese terrine is a bit out there…). In the end I came up with something I’m very proud of and I think it balances tradition with bit of novelty. I chose to use Carr Valley’s Creama Kasa, a triple cream cow’s milk cheese, along with Brussels sprouts, and pork rinds. Enjoy!
Continue reading Creama Kasa con Chicharrónes Mac ‘n Cheese
First, let’s just get this out of the way:
Packers won the Super Bowl!
Ahem. Anyways, I just wanted to give Mayor Dave (Cieslewicz) of Madison a shout out for his excellent choices of gifts to bring when he was invited to watch the Super Bowl at the White House. The snacks included:
-Gail Ambrosius Chocolates
-Edelweiss Emmentaler cheese
-Extra Aged Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese
-Sassy Cow Creameries Green and Gold cheese curds
and one bottle each of:
-Ale Asylum Hopalicious
-Capital Brewery Wisconsin Amber
-Lake Louie Brew Kiss My Lips
-Tyranena Bitter Woman IPA
-New Glarus Spotted Cow
My only question is…just one bottle of each!? Come on, you’re from Wisconsin, man!
Up next is Monroe, WI aka the “Limburger Cheese Capital of the USA”. The town is situated in the bountiful expanse of Green County where they claim to have some of the best cow’s milk in the country. With great cheese come the cheesemakers, many of them Swiss immigrants. Of the 34 cheese factories in Southwest WI, Green county has a total of 9, the most in any one county in Wisconsin. If you think that’s a lot, wait ’til you hear this. Green County used to have more than 100 small cheese plants, all of which produced the very odorific cheese called Limburger. As the years passed, people had less affection for the cheese so 100 turned into 1, Chalet Cheese Cooperative, the only plant producing this cheese in the country. Cheesemaking in Wisconsin began in 1840 and continuing that tradition with much vigor was our destination of the day, Roth Käse.
Continue reading Fondue at Roth Käse (Cheese Tour Part III)
We’re doing a bit of catching up here at the Driftless Appetite. Here is part two of our southwest Wisconsin cheese tour last October sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. (See part one here.) We got the chance to visit Willi Lehner, a Swiss-American cheesemaker at Bleu Mont Dairy in the small village of Blue Mounds. He started to learn about the art of cheesemaking from his father before he was even ten years old. Later on, he learned cheesemaking in Switzerland as well as in the UK. He is also an affineur, an expert in the art of aging or maturing cheeses, specializing in aging clothbound cheddar. Several years ago, he built an underground cheese cave that is the envy of many if not all the cheese afficionados in the area.
The first thing I noticed right after we got off the bus were the large solar panels at one end of the property then a windmill toward the other end. Another structure of note was the in-ground greenhouse with a sod roof. We found Willi standing outside his house with a cup of something warm in hand, ready to give us the grand tour. As he addressed our group, a couple of sweet kitty cats stole some of our attention while the family dog tried to take over the tour, urging us to come along toward the pièce de résistance, the underground cave.
Continue reading The Cave at Bleu Mont (Cheese Tour Part II)
Hi there, how was your Thanksgiving? I hope you finally feel better after the weekend of gluttony. Keith’s family drove all the way to our house from upstate NY. It was wonderful to get to spend some time with them since we don’t get to see them very often. Our party included five adults and two grand dogs, Ollie & Nikita. I’ll let you guess which dog matches what name below.
Continue reading The thanks is there for the taking!
By now, the story of Uplands Cheese is fairly well known to anyone who pays even a little bit of attention to Wisconsin cheese. From its beginnings a decade ago, Uplands has become one of the most heralded of the New World cheese makers. Their commitment to rotational grazing, their continuing efforts to crossbreed the nine different breeds in their herd, their un-abashedly putting quality ahead of “productivity” (or yield, or efficiency, however you want to phrase it)—it is not hard to understand why this is the case. They have channeled all of their efforts into producing a single cheese from their exceptional milk: Pleasant Ridge Reserve.
Continue reading Rush Creek Reserve Cheese
Rush Creek Reserve is the new cheese from Uplands, only their second after the award winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Yesterday I was lucky enough to purchase a wheel of Rush Creek from Andy Hatch, their cheesemaker (he even said I was the first official customer). The cheese will be available at Fromagination in Madison within a few days and in New York and Chicago in the next week. It is a beautiful and seriously decadent cheese as you can see from the picture below. Just thought we’d give you a little taste of what’s to come.
Rush Creek Reserve on Windy Ridge Pottery plate
Continue reading Rush Creek Reserve & A Giveaway
So, I’m reading Tony Bourdain’s Medium Raw right now. In chapter 7 he’s talking about the changing face of fine dining in America and he quotes Jonathan Gold: “While nobody was paying attention, food quietly assumed the place in youth culture that used to be occupied by rock ‘n’ roll–individual, fierce, and intensely political”. This strikes me as so obviously true that it isn’t even necessary to conjecture. David Bowie has become David Chang. That being the case, I don’t think Leslie went too far a few weeks ago when she called Andy Hatch “a rockstar in the cheese world”. Andy is the cheesemaker at Uplands Cheese, the Wisconsin outfit that produces Pleasant Ridge Reserve, winner of the Best in Show at the American Cheese Society competition (in 2010, as well as 2001 and 2005). If the name is still not ringing a bell, check out the cover of the Wisconsin Cheesemakers calendar I’m sure you’ve bought by now. Andy joined Uplands Cheese as an assistant cheesemaker in 2007. I’m sure this year’s ACS award was extra special to everyone since it was the first Best in Show since Andy took over most cheesemaking operations from Mike Gingrich (one of the owners) in 2008. Just to make it clear how impressive this achievement is, no cheese has won the ACS three times…or even twice.
Continue reading The New Rock & Roll (Cheese Tour Part I)
We were shopping at the Driftless Market in Platteville last weekend and we picked up a slice of Dunbarton Blue from the Roelli Cheese Haus in Shullsburg. We’d never had anything from Roelli before, even though we drive past their store whenever we go down to Illinois to visit Leslie’s family. For some reason, Roelli wasn’t on my radar in the same way Uplands, Hook’s, Fayette Creamery, or other local artisan cheesemakers. Well, the imperfection was mine. And I’ve been really missing out.
Dunbarton Blue is nutty, cheddary, subtle blue cheese created by cheesemaker Chris Roelli (you might recognize him as Mr. March from your Wisconsin Cheesemakers 2011 calendar). It is relatively new; I believe it’s been on the market since 2009. I hear it’s been selling very well, particularly in Chicago, but it hasn’t gotten the same press as other (deserving) cheeses like Pleasant Ridge or Hook’s 15 year cheddar. I don’t know Chris Roelli, so I can’t give you any details about how he makes the cheese you can’t get from other reviews (here and here, for example). The closest comparison I can think of is Blue Mont’s bandage wrapped reserve (another favorite), but really even those two are quite different.
Continue reading Roelli Dunbarton Blue Gnocchi