This Month’s Selection:
WEST WEST BLUE, PARISH HILL CREAMERY, WESTMINSTER WEST, VT
A Raw cow-milk creamy textured cheese with a natural rind.
Parish Hill Creamery produces seasonal, hand made, raw milk cheeses inspired by the traditional cheeses of Italy. Peter Dixon brings over 30 years of cheesemaking experience and he is joined by his wife Rachel Schaal and sister Alex Schall. The creamery is the culmination of Peter’s years making cheese, teaching classes, solving problems, and imagining possibilities. Peter, Rachel and Alex love making cheese. They make cheese traditionally, simply, as near to home as possible, and with the highest quality ingredients and results as can be had.
Parish Hill gets beautiful milk from Elm Lea Farm at the Putney School, just up the road from the creamery, and the milk is the result of healthy animals grazing lush pastures. Protein and fat are balanced ideally for the cheeses produced, and the cheese changes subtly throughout the season, reflecting the growth and maturation of various pasture plants.
Their starter cultures are made from the milk of four individual cows. Helga, Abigail, Clothilda, and Sonia were chosen for their health, their components, and their disposition. As a result, Parish Hill makes mother cultures that are truly an articulation of their milk and the resulting cheese is a revelation of that milk, the cows, the pastures, the water and the land.
West West Blue is a traditional, two-curd Gorgonzola, made with whole, raw milk from Elm Lea Farm. The cheese is made in a multi-stage process, with curds held overnight mixed with warm, fresh curds the next day. The colder curds have a higher acidity, which is a very attractive space for the blue mold to grow. The edible rind surrounds a dense paste with streaks of blue mold, a creamy texture and a spicy, earthy flavor.
Sophia Loren’s Pasta
fancy or simple, depending on your mood, serves 6
- generous 1/2 pound West West Blue
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small stalk celery, roughly chopped
- ½ onion, roughly chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 hard-boiled egg yolk (optional)
- handful of finely minced Italian parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 ½ pounds dry pasta of your choice
Place cheese, butter, celery, onion, garlic and a pinch of pepper in a blender or the work bowl of a food processor. Process to a smooth paste; when the mixture is well blended, add the cream, milk and egg yolk; add the parsley and salt to taste. Blend until the sauce is very smooth. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente, then toss it with the sauce
Blue Cheese, Spinach, and Walnut Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- 1/8 cup walnut halves, toasted
- 1/3 cups West West Blue, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Use your hands to squeeze out as much excess liquid from the spinach as possible. Place in a small bowl. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a small pocket in the side of each chicken breast (do not cut all the way through). Coarsely chop one-quarter of the walnuts. Place the spinach, chopped walnuts and one-quarter of the West West Blue in each pocket. Use a toothpick to enclose and secure filling.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown and just cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil; set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
Blue Cheese Sauce, makes 3 cups
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 4 oz. West West Blue, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Bring the heavy cream to a full boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes, until thickened like a white sauce, stirring occasionally.
Off the heat, add the West West Blue, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm. If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.
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. The NFCA is a network of more than 35 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. For more information, please visit www.nfca.coop.