Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fall Apple Chutney- Cheese’s Circle of Friends

A fall chutney

As I’ve been known to say before, cheese has a wide circle of friends. An extremely social animal, it loves hanging out with seasonal produce and adores being paired with dried fruit, honey, and preserves.

Seeing Instagram photos of my former roommate visiting her family friend’s apple farm, or watching apples roll off the tables at farmer’s markets (I’m a bit clumsy, what can I say), always makes me think apples in the kitchen (I’ve gotta find a way to cook all those bruised apples I bought at the farmer’s markets, don’t I?). And you know what else is always on my mind? Bet you do.

Though it’s true that cheese has a sweet tooth, it also likes acid, and more savory flavors like onions or mustard seed, like those often found in condiments like chutney.

Meet chutney, one of cheese’s closest aqauntainces.

This recipe is one that I developed for the GoBoldwithButter blog. It’s a classic chutney- sweet, tart, savory- except that it has butter in it. Creating recipes for the butter blog has given me an excuse to put butter in everything (hi-five!). But according to my new roomate’s father, who’s British, it’s a darn good chutney. And, yes, I went there. I made an English man taste the chutney. So call it UK approved, and a little lusher than normal, which means it won’t last as long (from two to three weeks), but it’s fun to give away little jars away to visiting friends.

Note- this batch size is large. I often make just 1/2 the recipe.

 

Fall Apple Chutney

Ingredients
1 ½ pounds granny smith or other tart variety apple
1 pound yellow onions
1 cup raisins
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard seed, black and yellow
2 allspice seeds
5 cloves
5 cardamom
2 pieces star anise
2 tablespoons butter

Directions
Trim, and finely chop the apples and onions, slicing around the apple core. Put the apples, onions, raisins, vinegar, and mustard in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Tie the dried spices in a cheesecloth. Add this and the butter to the pot. Let everything simmer for around two hours. Let come to room temperature and remove the cheesecloth before serving.

 

And yes, that is last week’s Calvander featured next to the chutney!

What fall flavors do you enjoy with your cheeses?

Chapel Hill’s Calvander & the Southern Artisan Cheese Fest

Chapel Hill’s Calvander, with apple chutney

Cheese wise, my mind has been deep in the south. North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia….. Besides all those amazing wheels they’re pumping out, it’s possible that my current fascination has also been influenced by me getting hooked on fried pork skins and hush puppies during the ACS festival in Raleigh, or all the Carolina Chocolate Drops videos that I’ve been watching. Either way, I’m sold on the region and it’s dairy.

Today I highlight one of my favorite southern beauties, Calvander. But the southern artisan dairy buck doesn’t stop there! One of my favorite southern gals has put together a mean conference honoring the region’s offerings. Check it out below. If you live close enough to visit, I’m jealous.

First, meet Chapel Hill’s Calvander, above. 

Made with raw Jersey milk, Calvander is an Asiago-style cheese made in Chapel Hill, Carolina. Portia McKnight and Flo Hurley, Chapel Hill’s owners and cheesmakers, only make this wheel from March-December, when their pasture is best for grazing. The two started making cheese with plans of buying milk from local dairies to support the industry, but fell so in love with dairying and cows that they went full throttle. Now they own a farm and use all their own milk

The cheese is an easy-to-love one. Buttery, slightly herbal, with slight walnut flavors, Calvander is a subtle wheel that develops sharper, spicier notes from aging. It’s semi-hard and grates well- good for melting when young, and for Parmesan-type activities when older (i.e. sprinkled over pasta). I like it with a Chardonnay (oak-friendly), Pinot Noir, or Viognier or white Rhone blend.

Where can you get it? Well, definitely in the south and in many areas of the east coast. I’ve also found it in smaller gourmet cheese shops in the bay area. Ask your monger! Or… sometimes my pal Kathleen Cotter at The Bloomy Rind ships from Tennessee.

Which brings us to….

 

The Southern Artisan Cheese Fest!

2011 Cheese Fest

Kathleen Cotter, an awesome gal I’m honored to call my friend, is a force in the southern cheese world. She single-handedly put together the first Southern Artisan Cheese Fest last year. And it sold out. The first year! Girl knows how to gather the artisan forces.

If you’re in the area or want a little southern cheese love this October, I would highly encourage you to head to the festival. The list of cheesmakers and events is even lengthier than last year, promising even more deliciousness.

Here’s a short list here:

AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery GA  |  Belle Chevre AL  |  Bonnyclabber Country Cheese VA  |  Boone Creek Creamery KY  |  CalyRoad Creamery GA  |  Caromont Farm VA  |  Chapel Hill Creamery NC  |  Goat Lady Dairy NC  |  Heritage Homestead NC  |  Kenny’s Farmhouse KY  |  Looking Glass Creamery NC  |  Manyfold Farm GA  |  Nature’s Harmony GA  |  Noble Springs Dairy TN  |  Prodigal Farm NC  |  Round Mountain Creamery NC  |  Sequatchie Cove Creamery TN  |  Split Creek Farm SC  |  Stone Hollow Farmstead AL  |  Sweet Grass Dairy GA

 

Interested in pairing any sotuhern favorites to their alcohol counterparts? Check out this link to a southern cheese & spirits class I just taught.

 

“It’s Not You, It’s Brie” Book Events!

The Book.

Well friends, I must say that when I got my first email a couple months ago from a book store manager asking me if I would like to have a book event with her, I was more excited than a cheese geek in a Roquefort cave. They were asking me? My week was made.

Well the pleasure produced from book stores being interested in my work has not subsided. I’m an avid reader and imagining something I wrote sitting even across the shop from books written by my favorite authors, well, it’s humbling. My parents used to drop me off at libraries when I was young (maybe with a little trail mx or something to nourish me) and I was happy to stay there for four, five, six hours. I um…. will still do this on occasion today. So being invited to places that house so many  of books that I adore, well, it’s more than flattering. My book geek heart is ecstatic.

More events are in the works, but here is a list of places that I’ll be visiting to promote the book. They’re not until October and beyond, but hey, doesn’t hurt to know ahead of time. I hope you see you at one or more! And yes, there will be cheese!

And,…. I’m happy to announce that “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese” is now on Amazon and at Powell’s for pre-order. It publishes Nov 6th, and if you’re willing to wait, you’ll also likely find it at your lovely local book shop! Support the locals too!

 

EARLY EVENT ANNOUNCMENTS: 

Pasta Shop Foods, Berkeley, California, Saturday Oct 20th 1-4pm

October is American Cheese Month, and we’re putting together an event around the month that highlights the cheesemakers in my book. And by the way, I used to work behind the cheese counter here….    There will be festivities, cheesemakers sampling their goods, and me, signing book copies for the first time ever. The book’s officially released Nov 6th, but there just might be a copy or two available….  Plus, Pasta Shop will be cooking recipes from my book an entire week before the event to promote it. How cool is that? Yes, I’m super excited!

 

Books Passage, Ferry Building, San Francisco, California, Wednesday Nov 7th, 6pm

I’ll be signing books, possibly reading a lil’ something something, and, serving a Cowgirl Creamery cheese and beyond for you to sample. Ain’t it cool to have an event in the same building as Cowgirl Creamery?

 

Books Inc, Marina, San Francisco, California, Thursday Nov 8th, 7 pm

Tasting, Signing, Drinking. Good times! I’m super happy to announce that Seana Doughty of Bleating Heart Cheese will be here tasting a delicious wheels too (this awesome lady is featured in my book). I’m a lucky girl!

 

Solano Cellars, Albany, California, Saturday Nov 10th 3:30-7 pm

This is my official book release party. Tasting, Singing, Drinking, all. You are invited! Darren from Cream and the Crop distributors (one of my faves) will be sampling his cheeses, many of which are featured in my book too.

 

18Reasons, It’s Not You It’s Brie! American Cheese & Beer Class, San Francisco, CA, Nov 27th, 7pm

Cheese author and educator Kirstin Jackson joins 18 Reasons for a night of fermented glory. After visiting creameries and interviewing more than 48 cheesemakers for her recently published book “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese,” she’s ready to tell the stories of some of her favorite domestic cheeses, while holding a pint glass. The selected artisan cheeses will be explored in unison with American beers, most local. We will taste through 6 cheeses and 6 beers!

Books will be for sale and Kirstin will have a pen handy for signing after cheese consumption.

 

Omnivore Books, Signing and Tasting, Wednesday, Nov 28th, San Francisco, 6-7pm

Tasting, Signing, Drinking. Good times! At an entirely food focused book store -be still my heart! I’ll guide you through making the perfect holiday cheese plate. Then we can eat it together.

 

More events in the works!

Murray’s Cheese- Dec 3rd! More info soon.

The Cheese School – TBA

Chicago/Wisconsin- TBA

Party Cheese: The book ball is officially rolling

Party Cheese & Figs

As the date for my book release grows nearer (Nov 6th is soooooo close), I’m keeping myself busy. The book ball, my friends, is round and rolling. It’s a fierce ball too. Picture a vintage bowling ball, light blue, heavy as a lead pipe, with a little glitter. Once this baby gets going, it just ain’t stopping.

Final copy edits are in. The book cover is set. Promotional copies are printing. Pitches have been sent out. Events are arranged, more are arranging, classes are planned, and …. I’m ready for a power nap. You know, one of those naps where you get a good 5-10 minutes of sleep because you can’t help but spend the rest of the time trying to figure out what your life will be like once you wake up. Anyhow,… disco naps- I’m your biggest fan. Give me 25 minutes and I’m a new girl.

Sliced missions

Sliced missions

But I’m also taking time to revel in the deliciousness of life. Taking a day off here and there to host friends, visit museums, go to Willie Nelson concerts (thanks, Mom & Dad!). Or, when I don’t have time to do that, I’m at least making sure I walk around the block once or twice before I sit down to type. Breathing and moving your body- I hear it’s good for you.

The Sunday before Labor Day I had some of my favorite folks over for a little detox. Work detox, that is. There was plenty of mezcal, mojitos and wine. When the point of a party is to relax with friends, I like to keep the appetizers I serve easy. One of my go-to apps is roasted fruit and cheese.

This is how the simple fruit and cheese ball app rolls:

Take a luscious seasonal fruit. Figs, persimmons, peaches. Whateva. Slice it into portions that are easy to pick up and put in your mouth so your guests don’t get that oh-my-god-is-everyone-watching-this-hard-to-eat-salad-fall-out-of-my-mouth feeling. Lightly sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roast the fruit for 10 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Or, if it’s a crispy, apple-kinda seasonal fruit, just slice. Top with cheese. I used queso fresco. Any cheese may apply. Serve to good friends.

By the way- new classes are up at The Cheese School of San Francisco. There are some mighty fine ones this semester!

Hope to see you at one of mine (looks like there’s a little space in my Pink & Beyond class on Sept 18th, hint, hint), and I’ll announce book events soon!