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 SIMPLY SHEEP from Nettle Meadow Farm, Thurman, NY.
Nettle Meadow Farm is a 50-acre goat and sheep dairy and cheese company in Thurman, New York just below Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks. Nettle Meadow Goat Farm is currently the home of more than 300 goats and dozens of sheep as well as several guard llamas and friendly chickens and ducks. Over 100 goats are milking at any one time and there are goats of all ages living on the farm. There are several juvenile and adolescent goats as well as a number of geriatric goats enjoying their retirement. The goats and other animals are housed in four large barns and four outbuildings including a brand new barn and an historic barn built in 1903 and restored in 2013. The farm includes a rescue sanctuary that cares for a variety of farm animals including fowl, horses, older animals, and other barnyard friends.
Sheila and Lorraine make a variety of goat, sheep and mixed milk cheese. The sheep and goats’ diet includes a variety of natural ingredients including organic hay, grains and wild herbs, raspberry leaf, garlic, and kelp for balanced nutrition. Nettle Meadow is committed to the principles of natural ingredients, happy and healthy animals, and carefully hand-crafted artisan cheeses.
Simply Sheep is a decadent, buttery, 100% sheep milk bloomy rind cheese that is rich in flavor and extremely creamy. Made with the milk of Nettle Meadow sheep, the flavor ranges from smooth to robust as it ages. Perfect on its own with a slice of fresh fruit, Simply Sheep can also be used in the kitchen. Here are some ideas.
Jamie Oliver’s Baked Bloomy Rind Pasta
- 1 Simply Sheep cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off the woody stalk
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3.5 oz grated parmesan cheese
- 1 package dried rigatoni or pasta of your choice
- 6 oz. fresh spinach
Place the cheese in a small oven-proof baking dish that just fits. Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle some pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in the oil.
Bake the cheese in a preheated 350° F oven for about 25 minutes, until golden and melted. When the cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pan – it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so. Drain the pasta and spinach to the pan and let it wilt. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of reserved cooking water to thin out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.
Remove the cheese from the oven. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted sheep cheese on top or pop cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.
Roasted Grapes with Simply Sheep
Serves 4 as a simple and delicious appetizer or dessert
- 2 cups of red or green grapes or a mix
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 Simply Sheep cheese, at room temperature
Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Mix the grapes with the oil and vinegar and spread them ina simgle layer on a rimmed baking pan. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until soft and caramelized. Watch them carefully to make sure they do not burn. Cool slightly. Place in decorative dish and serve wedges of the cheese with a slice of baguette and a spoonful of the roasted grapes.
Baked Simply Sheep with Mushrooms and Thyme
Serves 4 – 8
Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F
- ½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
- 2/3 cup dry red wine
- ¼ stick unsalted butter
- 6 oz. crimini mushrooms, halved or quartered
- 6 oz. shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 t of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Simply Sheep cheese
- 1 baguette
Rinse dried porcini to remove any grit. Place porcini and wine in small saucepan. Bring to simmer over low heat; remove from heat. Let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer porcini to work surface and coarsely chop. Line strainer with damp paper towel; strain wine into small bowl and reserve.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crimini and shiitakes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add shallot and stir until soft, about 1 minute. Add chopped porcini and strained wine. Boil until almost dry, about 1 minute. Stir in thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. Score a circle into the top of the cheese rind, then lift it off and discard. Place Simply Sheep in a small baking dish. Mound mushroom mixture on top of the cheese. Place cheese with mushrooms on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until cheese begins to melt and mushrooms are warmed through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer dish to a plate and serve hot with slices of baguette.
Grilled Cheese w/Nutella and Raspberries
A perfect dessert for two
- 4 slices crusty bread
- 4 T unsalted butter
- 4 T Nutella
- 2 handfulls of fresh raspberries
- 1 Simply Sheep, cut into 6 slices
Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the unbuttered side, cover each slice with Nutella. Top with the cheese and the raspberries. Close the sandwich and place in a skillet that has been pre-heated over medium heat. Cook until the cheese is starting to melt and the bread is golden and toasty. Flip and cook on the other side. Remove from pan, slice each sandwich in half and serve immediately.
Cave to Co-op’ is a partnership between Provision 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.