Each month, your Neighboring Food Co-ops feature our region's artisan cheesemakers by offering a specially selected cheese at great price. Look for the "Cave to Co-op" sign in the cheese section at your local food co-op. To find one near you, visit www.nfca.coop/members.
This month's special cheese is ASCUTNEY MOUNTAIN from Cobb Hill Farm, Hartland Four Corners, VT.
Cobb Hill is an intentionally planned community in Hartland Four Corners, begun by Donella Meadows, renowned founder of the Sustainability Institute. In 1997, two local dairy farms were purchased and merged into a 260 acre co-operative community and farm. The community members are all dedicated to living in ways that are socially and ecologically responsible. Cobb Hill cheese is made from the raw milk of their grass-fed Jersey cow herd. Cobb Hill cheesemakers follow the age-old process of heating milk, adding lactic bacteria and vegetable rennet, hand stirring the curd, hooping and pressing, then aging to perfection.
Ascutney Mountain is named after a neighboring peak, and it is a sweet and nutty natural rind tomme, modeled after Gruyère. This Alpine-style cheese is firm and creamy with a clear flavor of milk and the pasture.
Here are a few seasonal recipes to warm you on these cold February days:
Baked Eggs w/ Mushrooms and Ascutney Mountain
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ½ t fresh thyme
- 4 large eggs
- 4 ounces shredded Ascutney Mountain
- 2 T heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400°F
Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and the thyme in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Grease an
8 inch baking dish. Scrape the mushrooms in to the dish. Crack the eggs over the mushrooms and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs, then drizzle the cream over the top. Bake in the oven until the whites are set and the yolks are velvety and just barely runny, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.
Parsnip Gratin w/Ascutney Mountain
- 2 ¼ lb. parsnips, peeled
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 C heavy cream
- ¼ t grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 1 T fresh thyme
- 1 T flour
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 ounces Ascutney Mountain, grated
Pre-heat oven to 400°F
Using a mandolin, slice parsnips to 1/8 thin slices. If you don't have a mandolin, slice them as thinly as possible. Generously grease a 6x9 inch baking dish with butter. Layer the parsnips and onion and ½ of the cheese and ½ of the thyme, reserving the bigger pieces of parsnips for the final layer. Press down and make sure layers are even. In a small pot heat the cream. Whisk in salt, nutmeg, the remaining thyme, white pepper, flour and the garlic and when it just comes to a simmer, pour over the layered parsnips, slanting the baking dish to get the cream in all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, a few more leaves of thyme and a little sprinkling of nutmeg. Cover securely with a lid or foil and bake for 50 minutes on the middle rack. Remove foil, pierce with fork, and if the parsnips are not tender cook them a bit longer with the foil on. When tender, bake another 15 minutes uncovered or until golden and bubbly. Let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to thicken before serving.
Shredded Potato Muffins w/Bacon and Ascutney Mountain
Makes 12 muffins
- 5 slices bacon
- ¼ cup diced sweet onion
- 3 large russet potatoes, shredded, rinsed and squeezed dry
- 8 ounces shredded Ascutney Mt.
- Sour cream as a garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Crumble when cool. Then add the diced onion and sauté until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the onion to a large bowl and add half of the bacon, reserving the remainder for garnish. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the onion, cheese and bacon and mix the ingredients together well. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin and spoon mixture into each tin filling to the rim. Use the back of the spoon to push the potatoes down into the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with sour cream and the reserved bacon.
Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provisions International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. The NFCA is a network of more than 30 food co-ops in New England, locally owned by more than 90,000 people like you. For more information, please visit www.nfca.coop.