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Archive for the ‘Foodie’ Category

This coming Sunday, October 17, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon plan to attend the apple and cheese pairing at the Old City Cemetery in downtown Lynchburg.  Apples and cheeses were hand-selected by Lynchburg’s own “Professor Apple,” Tom Burford, and Magnolia Foods.

Be sure to register in advance!  There are only 24 seats available for this unique and delicious event.  And while you’re there, be sure to enjoy the Cemetery grounds.

**On an exciting side note, our Herbs de Provence chevre will be served, paired alongside a wonderfully crisp Winesap apple!

 

Updated Wednesday 10-13-10: We’re sorry to announce that the pairing has been canceled due to lack of participants. 😦

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It’s the middle of July and if you’re like me, you’ve found your garden overrunneth with squash and zucchini.  If you were able to avoid the squash bugs, which we lucked out in accomplishing, by no means of our own.

This year, a friend who sells at the Lynchburg Community Market graced us with a flat of seedlings promising a harvest of heirloom zucchini.  We put on our game face and planted the seedlings, watered them a few times and then we didn’t receive any measurable amount of rain for over a month.  Despite the drought and lack of care, our zucchini pulled through and is giving us a bountiful harvest.

The garden plot we planted zucchini is across the front hay field and down in the hollow between hills.  It’s a hike to get to, and we’ve been busy.  So our zucchini are harvest on the large side, but they are still very tasty.  Last week I took a huge load of zucchini to work to give away.  Some of my co-workers were offering to PAY for the zucchini.  They couldn’t believe they were edible, because of course, being heirloom varieites, we had beauties like these:

Heirloom Zucchini!

So what can we do with all these zucchini?  Well last week I made a pasta featuring sauteed zucchini and grape tomatoes in a cream sauce.  Delicious!

Today for lunch, I’m taking inspiration from one of the veterinarians at work.  Thus, I present you with the latest segment of Cooking with Goat Cheese.

Chevre and Herb Stuffed Zucchini

Chevre and Herb Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

Zucchini – these can be of any variety, I chose to use one of my little round heirloom

Chevre – I used one flavored with herbs de Provence because it’s what we had in the fridge

Herbs of your choice, whatever you like, whatever is in season

Herb paste (if you like, I do!)

Salt and Pepper

Parmesan cheese (if you please)

Recipe:

Preheat your oven to 425F.  Start with a clean zucchini.  Cut the top off and scoop out the inside.  Save the zucchini “guts” in a bowl.  Once you’ve scooped out a sufficient amount, chop up any large chunks of zucchini saved in the extra bowl.  Add chevre to the zucchini guts, as well as fresh chopped herbs, the herb paste, and salt and pepper.  Mix and adjust according to your taste.  There is no scientific method to this madness.

Put the zucchini mixture back into the zucchini.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.  Back for 15-20 minutes, until the Parmesan is brown and the skin is soft.

Feel free to dress this up as you like.  I imagine roasted red peppers in the mixture would be delicious.  Serve as a main dish alongside a salad, rice, or pasta.  Or, serve as a side alongside steak or pork.

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This past Sunday we had the honor of supplying a friend’s wedding with some of our goat cheeses!  We often barter with our friends for fresh veggies and salad greens (nothing like greenhouse-grown bok choy in January!), so we were thrilled when they asked us to supply cheese for their wedding!  All the food offered at their wedding was fresh and local, what a statement!

A few months ago we sent them a sample platter with the varieties of chevre and other cheeses we’ve been playing with.  They chose four varieties of chevre: plain, herb, chipotle, and pepper.  We also supplied a few chunks of feta for inclusion in their salad.

Photo by Spring Mill Farm

HB went over Sunday afternoon to deliver the cheese and set it up on platters.  The platters were old slate roof tiles and absolutely gorgeous.  While he was working the photographer came over and took some beautiful pictures of our cheese!  The picture above was taken by HB.  You can see them on the photographer’s blog.

Our best wishes go out to Chris and Melissa!

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Off of the Rockfish Valley Highway in Nellysford, VA, in a small building toting a gas station, bakery, and natural foods store, is a little hole in the wall restaurant called Blue Ridge Pig. It’s easy enough to find if you follow your nose to the smokey goodness that presides.  Prepare yourself for something delicious.

Imagine from Quinn Creative

Before stepping inside, take a moment to enjoy the outside decor.  Summed into one word, I would call it “pigaphanalia.”  From the road sign (featured above) with a happy dancing pig touting “roasted … sophisticated … smoked meats and sandwiches” to the big pink pig made from an old gas tank over the front entrance, you know you’re in for something special.  Passing through the screen door, you enter the seating area surrounded by dark wood and a variety of tables and chairs.  Everywhere you look (and there is not a lot of space), you see business cards.  They are stapled to the walls, the ceiling, and the windowsills.  One wall is devoted to articles about the restaurant, articles from various newspapers and magazines (including the prestigious Gourmet) praising the food.

Behind the counter you will find “Strawberry,” looking like a wild mountain man (and I mean that adoringly) cooking up delicious creations of beef, pork, and chicken with a secret barbecue sauce.  In our household, barbecue is a special thing.  I’m from North Carolina, home of the vinegar-based sauce, while HB, being a Virginian is partial to a tomato-based sauce.  I’m not sure where the sauce at Blue Ridge Pig falls in to place, but it definitely goes under the title of “amazing.”

After driving by Blue Ridge Pig for several years now, this past Saturday we finally decided to give it a try.  We were not disappointed!  Eating an early lunch, we both ordered BBQ pork sandwiches with cole slaw and fresh squeeze lemonades.  The sandwiches came on a type of crusty roll crossed with a bagel.  The sauce, slightly spicy with a slight vinegar twist and maybe a hint of mustard was generously dolled out over smokey, slow cooked pork.  So good!

Aside from a variety of BBQ sandwiches and croissants, the Pig also offers BBQ plates that come with two sides, options including: baked beans, macaroni salad, and cole slaw.  With the exception of the ribs plate, most menu items can be had for $10 or less.

Blue Ridge Pig

2190 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford, VA 22958

(434) 361-1170

Open daily 11am to 8pm

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I hope you enjoy the first of what I hope will become a regular series of posts.  In the words of my favorite lady, Bon Appetite! -Danielle

After a hot, busy Saturday we wanted something easy and fresh for dinner.  We pondered the contents of our fridge, reviewing the fresh fruits and veggies we picked up at the market today.  We did a few searches on the internet and came across this recipe for a crustless quiche with sausage and Swiss chard.  Perfect!

Sausage, Chard, and Chevre Crustless Quiche

Of course, we modified the recipe slightly, so here’s what we did:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork sausage, medium hot; cooked and crumbled (from Rocky Top Farm, Appomattox)
  • handful Swiss chard (from Island Creek Farm, Huddleston)
  • 1.5″ spring onion (from Three Springs Farm, Lynchburg)
  • 6 eggs (from Rocky Top Farm, Appomattox)
  • 2T evaporated milk
  • 4T herb chevre (of our own making)
  • 1/4c grated Gruyere
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease casserole dish.

Heat small amount olive oil in frying pan.  Once warmed, tear up the chard and saute with the onion until the chard is wilted and the onion is slightly brown and translucent.  Remove from heat.  Add crumbled sausage and chevre.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix with evaporated milk.  Stir in the sausage-chard mixture.  Add gruyere.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into greased casserole dish and bake in oven until the egg is cooked through.  In a glass dish, it took the original author about 20-30 minutes.  In our ceramic dish, it took 35-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Image from Blue Rose Dairy

Like to cook?

Like goat cheese?

Why not combine the two?

Goat cheese, especially chevre, lends itself well in the kitchen.  It is helpful that many cheese producers make multiple types of chevre flavored with herbs, dried fruits, and other spices.  Each unique, and deserving a life outside of being a cracker passenger.

About a month ago, Caromont Farms posed a question on its Facebook page, challenging its members to think outside the box and cook with goat cheese.  And the responses poured in.  I contributed some of my favorite ways we’ve incorporated goat cheese into dishes at home.  Every time we cook with goat cheese, I take a picture of the finished product.  Eventually I plan to start a series of posts on cooking with goat cheese.

I recently stumbled across this article, Bleating Heart: 10 things with goat cheese, published in The Orange County Register back in April.  The first part of the article tells of the author’s travels and visits to a few goat dairies, and the subsequent tasting of delicious cheeses (and wines!).  The latter half of the article lists 10 ways goat cheese can be incorporated into dishes – from the routine to the more adventuresome (asparagus lasagna? weird, but I am so in).

So I challenge you, readers out there to put aside the Parmesan and pick up a chevre.  If you let me know about it, I’ll include it in my upcoming (and hopefully, regular) series of cooking with goat cheese.

Oh, and don’t forget, in Michael Pollan’s latest book, Food Rules – An Eater’s Manual – rule #33 says “Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi.”  While he mostly refers to kimchi, soy sauce, yogurt, and sourdough bread; I think it’s okay to include cheese in that list. 🙂

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The goat kids are growing like weeds.  I weighed them the other night, they average around 30 pounds, just over one month old.  Fred and Bogart (Memphis’ kids) are the biggest, and the youngest.  Their bone structure is much more substantial, while Rock and Doris (Abba’s kids) are taller, leaner, but weigh more than you think!

One month.

I can’t believe it.

I spent five months waiting, planning, and in the span of 30 days, time has flown by.  We have a new routine, new kids to play with.  To laugh at.  To cuddle with.  To wince at when they chew a little too much on your hair…

We expect Xenia to kid soon! She is due on Thursday the 29th.  She’s no where near as big as the other does were this close to birth.  Her udder isn’t nearly as full, but I really do think she’s still pregnant – over the past month her sides have taken on a more rotund dimension.  She’s such a high-stress girl.

All the kids have homes:  Doris will remain with us and become a future milker, Bogart will move in with Donut once he’s old enough for weaning – we plan on him to become a companion as we will eventually have to put Sweet Roll down due to his illness.  Fred and Rock will move in with Donut and be fed out and sold to buyers in North Carolina, co-workers of good friends there. I think I managed to pick the most mischievous buckling to keep for our own pet (he will be castrated shortly).  Bogey’s into anything and everything and often keeps me company while I do chores and clean Huck’s paddock.  He finds great joy and jumping on and off objects.  I love his zest for life.  I love all of the goat’s enthusiasm towards life.  It’s something good to model in our own lives.

We put a deposit down on a buckling this week, and we will go pick him up this summer.  He’s a nicely bred French Alpine with good conformation and bloodlines that overlap very little with our current stock.  I wouldn’t have minded something a little more flashy – a nice wide belt? – but we’re not breeding for color — we’re breeding for quality stock with good conformation, attitudes, and milking ability.

Our cheesemaking is going well.  We’ve had chevre transported up and down the East Coast by friends, who all come back with rave reviews.  Our friends have been known to hoard their chevre.  We’re up to several different flavors: plain, herbs de provence, cracked peppercorn, and the newest – a smokey chipotle.  My co-workers love me, since I regularly bring in cheese to share.   I luckily work with some pretty daring taste-testers, lots of foodie’s in one animal hospital!  We call them our “R&D department” and test run new flavors on them and get feedback on new flavors to try.  Some work, others need some tweaking.  They in turn share it with their friends, and we’re already developing a future customer base.  It’s the life of the party.   Not really.  But close. 😉

My father has surgery tomorrow, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  I’m likely to be gone for another short stint depending on how everything goes.  It’s been a rough week:  last Thursday HB’s mom had her first chemo session at the same time her father was having quadruple bypass surgery.  Everyone is doing well, thankfully.

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