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Posts Tagged ‘goat’s milk’

Valencay-style goat cheese

Friday night we split open the first of HB’s experimental Valencay-style cheese.  Is it not beautiful?

According to artisinalcheese.com,

Valençay is one of the classic raw milk mold-ripened chèvres from the Loire Valley in the central western region of France. This pasteurized version of young goat’s milk cheese is distinctly identified by its pyramid form which is blanketed by an ash mold. After ripening in the caves … the texture is smooth and dense with a mild, lemony, and altogether clean flavor. A versatile pairing partner for most dry white wines, we especially recommend that you pair Valençay with Sauvignon Blancs.

Creamy and very mild, and startling white on the inside and outside, with a small layer of vegetable ash in between.  We’re trying to determine when the pyramid is at its best.  We’re letting another pyramid age another week, to be opened this coming weekend and tested.

Overall, very promising and simply gorgeous.  Well received by our market friends and taste testers as well.  You can read more about its making at HB’s blog.

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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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Nubian Dairy Goat from Dairy Goat Journal

Last week the CBS Early Morning Show had a segment on goat cheese featuring Bobby Flay and Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese.

You can view the segment here.

Part of the segment focuses on the versatility of goat cheese.  The ladies at Rainbeau Ridge have produced a cookbook with this focus, entitled Over the Rainbeau.  The book also shares its focuses on sustainable living.  I’ve yet to get my hands on a copy, but it is on my wishlist!

We had a friend over the other weekend who made a cheesecake using our plain chevre.  It was AMAZING, topped with fresh strawberries.  Don’t just use your cheese with crackers.  Experiment.  I’m keeping a photo log of every recipe we use that includes our cheese.  It’s fun, and tasty, to experiment this way!

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As you can tell, the neighbors came over to visit little Rock and Doris, see the horses and other animals, and help me milk Jacqsonne last evening!

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Abba, 148 days

Today marks 148 days bred for Abba and Memphis.   This morning I measured the circumference of their ever-widening abdomens.  Their last measurement was at a month out, so about 3.5 weeks ago.

Today’s measurements:

Abba – 50 inches

Memphis – 51 inches

That’s a gain of nearly 5 inches each!  It’s been a lot of fun watching their bellies (and udders) swell as the time draws closer.

They say their tail ligaments soften as they approach kidding time.  You see the same things in horses, the tail head begins to feel very flaccid.  I’ve been feeling the ligaments for over a week now, at least twice a day, and I don’t really know if they feel “soft” or not.  They’re certainly a lot softer than Jacqsonne or the other goats!  I figure one day I’ll palpate the ligaments and be like “OH!” and know what it’s supposed to feel like.

The girls have been loving the break in weather, warm days combined with extra sunlight and fresh green grass in the pastures has made them very happy.  Yesterday Jacqsonne’s milk production increased by 2/3 of a pound!  She gave a full 3/4 of a gallon yesterday – her biggest production day yet, and definitely the biggest increase we’ve seen in her production.  I couldn’t believe how full her udder looked last night.  I’m sure I insulted HB when I questioned if he had milked in the morning – she was just that full!

We’ve started letting Sweet Roll, Donut, and Xenia out in the barn lot during the day.  Xenia is cooperating with the new schedule, and Sweet Roll enjoys the sunshine so much.  I hate that it’s bad for him – UV light aggravates his pemphigus (go figure).  While I figure out the next step for him, I figure why not let him enjoy sleeping in the sun?  Today is such a nice day, that as long as everyone gets along, I’m letting Huck roam the barn lot with the boys and Xenia.  They adore Huck’s haynets to the point where I’m considering getting them their own!

Well I better get busy.  HB and his dad are putting the roof on the barn shed today.  I picked up some summer-blooming bulbs that need planting (glads and dahlias) and I really want to start some seeds today too.  And Huck needs a ride.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

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Last week, a Charlottesville-area television station had a short segment on local goat dairies.  Included in the spotlight were Night Sky Farm of Brookneal, Caramont Farm of Esmont, Goats R Us of Blackstone, and Iron Rod Chevre of Earlysville.  You can view the clip on the Edible Blue Ridge website.

***

It’s been a very busy week, so I apologize for the lack of updates.  I worked all through the weekend, and on Monday I had the opportunity to spend the day with Jennifer Downey at Night Sky Farm (link above and under the “Favorites” tab).  It was a wonderful, informative day.  I arrived in time to “help” with the morning milking of 13 does and her wonderful Jersey cow, Emily.  Jennifer has a wonderful team of helpers and the milking runs like a well-oiled machine.  While the does were milked, I learned about udder structure and mammary attachment by viewing a variety of udder shapes and sizes.

Once the milking was complete and the machines were cleaned, we headed up to see the “nursery” where all the older kids are kept, ranging from 4 days to several weeks old.  Part of the reason for the trip was to inspect prospective bucklings — HB and I are debating over purchasing our own buck for the upcoming breeding season,  “borrowing” a buck from a friend, taking does to a buck, or investing in artificial insemination (the least likely option).  Jennifer has 2-3 buck kids that have potential AND come from completely unrelated bloodlines from our does.  We just need to decide what we want to do.  And decide quickly!

Once we had played with the kids, we went to the make room where I got to learn a little about her cheesemaking process and pasteurization.  We wrapped up the day with a visit to her bucks and junior herdsires.  The young bucks were really cute – still on the small side, and so curious.  I adore the way bucks seem to have the little tuff of hair on their foreheads.  The buck our Toggenburg, Xenia, is bred to has a big curly forelock.

Let me just say, that while the day was very educational, it was just a lot of fun to see all the goats and watch them interact, soak up some sun in the pasture, and play with the KIDS!

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Today my mother in law had surgery to remove a small growth in her breast.  She was diagnosed just over a month ago, and after a series of tests finally had the tumor removed.  Her surgery went well, and we’re hoping that the pathology reports will come back next week with clean margins.  We spent most of the day at the hospital, but were able to come home and within a few hours HB had put the floor on the goat shed for the hay loft.  I stayed inside to do a few chores and clean the barn a little.

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Last fall HB stumbled upon a cheese magazine entitled Culture.  Two copies were given to him by the owners of a local meat & cheese shop.  At $10/each, this wasn’t a cheap gift.

HB brought the magazines home and we devoured them.  Great articles, beautiful photographs, and delicious cheeses filled every page.  One of the first issues featured Virginia’s own, Pat Elliot and Everona Dairy.

For Christmas my parents gave HB a subscription to the magazine, so imagine our delight this week when I found this in the mailbox –

Culture magaine, spring 2010 issue

It’s a really interesting, beautiful magazine.  A few stores in south central Virginia have begun to stock it as well.  For more information, check out their website.

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