Special Artisan Cheese for February, 2016
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 VERMONT FARMSTEAD ALEHOUSE CHEDDAR from VT Farmstead Cheese Co., S. Woodstock, VT
The Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company is the first community owned artisan cheese and dairy facility in Vermont, started as a neighborhood effort to save a local hillside farm and its surrounding rural landscape in South Woodstock, Vermont. In very short order, the dairy farm was transformed into an award-winning cheese company that is creating an entirely new generation of unique farmstead and artisanal cheeses. Vermont Farmstead’s multi-breed herd, sustainable dairy farming, and creative cheese makers have added a distinctly Vermont take on traditional “old-world” cheeses.
In 2012, they created a cut and wrap and shipping facility in Windsor, Vermont, to help with the ongoing company growth. While eagerly embracing the effects of this anticipated growth, the company remains firmly dedicated to its founding principles to produce a variety of unique and excellent cheeses, gently care for its own herd of cows and farm land, serve as a model of sustainable dairy farming, and support Vermont’s family farms and rural communities.
The entire line of Vermont Farmstead cheeses is all made in small batches at the farm and creamery in South Woodstock, Vermont. The farmstead milk comes from their mixed herd of Holstein, Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorn. This blend makes for exceptional milk with each breed contributing a different component for a unique and excellent combination for cheese. Any other milk that is brought in for their artisanal cheeses is 100% Vermont milk from local farms.
Starting with their own Vermont artisan cheddar, Vt Farmstead makes it tipsy by adding two kinds of brew from local brewer Harpoon®; Munich Dark and their IPA to soak the curds during the cheesemaking process for full ale flavor. Their imported peg mill tears the curds giving them more surface area to really soak up the flavor of the beer. AleHouse Cheddar leads with a fragrant ale nose, has a flavorful balance of cheddar and nuts and ends with a strong hop finish. Makes a great pairing partner to any brew. Great on a burger, in grilled cheese or grated on a baked potato. Try out these recipes!
Alehouse Cheddar and Scallion Muffins
6 giant or 12 standard muffins. Pre-heat oven to 350°
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ cups chopped scallions
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder (or use 1 tablespoon dijon mustard)
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated Alehouse Cheddar
Generously grease a 12-cup muffin pan (or a giant 6-cup muffin pan).
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add scallions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until just slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, milk, broth, olive oil, sugar, salt, and mustard. Add flour and baking powder and stir gently until evenly combined. Fold in grated alehouse cheddar and cooked scallions. Divide into prepared muffin pan, and bake about 20 minutes, or until puffed up, golden around the edges, and a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Larger muffins will take about 5-7 minutes longer. Cool on rack and serve.
Alehouse Cheddar Soup
4 to 6 servings
- 2 medium leeks cut into ¼ inch dice
- 2 medium carrots cut into ¼ inch dice
- 2 ribs of celery cut into ¼ inch dice
- 1 garlic clove finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ stick unslated butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 14 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 t dry mustard
- 1 t salt
- ¼ t black pepper
- 1 lb. (4 Cups) grated Alehouse Cheddar
Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk and broth in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Discard bay leaf. Serve.
Alehouse Cheddar Pretzel Dip
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 3 T all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup ale or dark beer
- 1 t dry mustard
- 2 T Worcestershire sauce
- hot sauce, to taste
- 12 oz. grated Alehouse Cheddar
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and beer, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Working in batches, add the cheese in large handfuls, whisking until each batch has completely melted before adding more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with pretzels, toast points, crostini and crudités for dipping. Makes about 2 cups.
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.