Our Yearly Ritual and Making Pap-pap’s Italian Sausage with Pastured Pork!

I apologize for my extended absence these past few months. It was not an intentional blog break and I am not sure that it is over yet, either. But today I felt inspired to share with you an activity that has become a favorite family tradition for us over the past few years. This activity really kicks of the holiday season for us. It is food focused and a time for celebration with good friends.

It all started 3 years ago when we met a pair of young farmers at our local farmers market. They were growing food on a small diversified farm and had some options for meat shares. We liked the idea of buying a whole animal and then stocking our freezer with healthy meat. This is when I met Cole Ward, The Gourmet Butcher. He was doing a workshop on breaking down lambs and so Roberto and I decided to take the course using the lamb we bought from the farmers.

I have talked about Cole in the past, but I don’t think enough can ever be said about him. Over the years he has become a great teacher to Roberto and I, but those he has taught probably number in the hundreds. He has an immense wealth of knowledge being in the business of butchering for over 50 years. He has such a passion for his art and for teaching others the little known skills of breaking animals down into primal and gourmet or retail cuts. He believes in small local farms and farmers that raise animals who get plenty of sunshine, and exercise and are fed without antibiotics, GMOs and hormones.

At that first workshop with Cole, Roberto and I first met our very dear friends Corey and Kurt. We hit it off immediately – foodies can pick each other out of a crowd! Since that day 3 years ago, we have been cooking and eating delicious food with these guys and having a great time. We all care deeply about where our food comes from, and supporting local farmers and we love to cook, have fun in the kitchen and do foodie projects together.

So for the past two years we have bought a whole pig with them and have brought Cole back each time to help us break it down. After several hours breaking down the pig, we all sit down to an amazing lunch prepared with some of our fresh pork, drink some wine and share stories. Then the next day we get together again and spend the day making various kinds of sausage. Each year we experiment with different kinds so that in 10 years or so we’ll know exactly which ones to make! We grind the meat and fat, mix in giant quantities of spices (that usually cause sneezing fits), drink wine and just laugh together. Sometimes there is even dancing to German Oompah music! Or hog casing jump rope.

This year though we made the best Breakfast Sausage yet and made for the second year in a row the same Italian Sausage (my grandfather’s recipe) and Smoked Kielbasa recipe. Those I will share with you today, in a lazy sort of manner. But I just want to say, I love this yearly ritual. It is a great time to catch up with friends, be thankful not only for the friendships but sharing this task together. We talk about food and work together on something that truly has meaning. It is a way to support local farmers who are raising animals humanely and healthy. It supports your local economy and rewards people who are doing things the right way. It harkens back to the days when butchering an animal for food was a communal thing, something to be celebrated and respected. It is something I recommend to anyone that eats meat to try at least once. Maybe you’ll end up loving it as much as we do and will make it a yearly tradition of your own.

If you are interested in learning how to butcher an animal, Cole is the best in the business. If you can’t make it to a live workshop he has an amazing DVD series that goes through all the steps for various animals: beef, pork and lamb. Then he and his friend the amazing Chef Courtney Contos create delicious recipes with those cuts. He also has a blog  and a facebook page  both of which are full of lots of wisdom, tips and recipes.

These are the books we use to make sausages:

Home Sausage Making: How-To Techniques for Making and Enjoying 125 Sausages at Home

Mastering the Craft of Making Sausage

RECIPES:

Pap Pap’s Italian Sausage

Ingredients for each pound of pork/fat mixture. For sausage your meat should contain 30% fat:

1 level tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 TBL fennel seed
pinch of cayenne pepper

METHOD: Knead well until thoroughly mixed. Sausage can be eaten right away but tastes better if it sits in the fridge for 24 hours for flavors to marry. Store in fridge or separate into smaller packages and freeze.

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Best Breakfast Sausage

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Smoked Kielbasa

 

Your Favorite Posts of 2011

 

I really want to take a moment to thank all of my readers and blogging friends for your support this year, both on this blog, as well as through Facebook and Twitter! As social media grows, it seems more of our interactions together take place on other websites, for example my Facebook page and Twitter account has amassed so many followers, I am just astounded and overwhelmed. I have really enjoyed getting to know many of you this way! Thank you!

It is hard to believe another year of blogging has gone by! Getting these posts together every year is always a great look back on all the wonderful food we have enjoyed. I hope all of you reading this also had a great 2011 and are all looking forward to 2012! Here are the top 10 posts from this year. If you enjoy something that I post, please click the “like” button at the top, to “like” it on facebook, also feel free to tweet about it or leave me a comment. This is very helpful to me to know what kinds of posts you all want to see!

Please leave a comment and let me know what kinds of posts you would like to see on this blog in 2012! Happy New Year!

 

NUMBER 10: Breakfast of Champions and my First YouTube!


 

Number 9: The BEST Gluten-Free Pancakes EVER

 

Number 8: Drying Apples For Winter Storage

 

Number 7: Raw Avocado Chocolate Pudding

 

Number 6: Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Parfaits

 

Number 5: Musings on Homesteading

 

Number 4: How to Make Kefir at Home…and Why You Should!

 

Number 3: DIY Holiday Gift Series: Dairy-Free Decadent Chocolate Truffles

 

Number 2: Making Yogurt at Home: Filmjölk

 

And your favorite post of 2011: Number 1: Got Raw Milk? Food Freedom Fighters!


Emma’s Vanilla Beet Cake (Gluten-Free)

 

You know how Red Velvet cakes have been all the rage these past few years? That bold red color certainly makes a statement and looks so inviting. When I realized it was only vanilla cake dyed with red food dye, it totally lost its luster for me. A cake filled with artificial dyes that can be harmful to some people just doesn’t get me all that excited, to tell you the truth, no matter how cute it is. In fact, now, every time I see a recipe for Red Velvet Cake, I get a little angry, now it makes me SEE red! So imagine how intrigued I was when I heard about this cake from a fellow CSA member. A red colored cake that was made with natural ingredients, and gives you the nutritional benefit of the beautiful beets as opposed to filling your body with a large dose of chemicals in every bite.

This is a beautiful, unique and delicious cake recipe that was created by one of our fabulous CSA farmers, Emma. Emma and Ben planted a wonderful CSA for us, their members, this year. Even though we grew our own garden, it wasn’t big enough to allow for extra to preserve and we all know how much I love preserving! This was their first year doing a CSA and they did a perfect job! If you are a local, please check out Hatch Brook Gardens for next year – this young and very talented couple would appreciate your support!

You can see Emma’s Original Recipe here, but I had to modify it a bit to make it gluten free. It is a wonderfully moist cake that I think would lend itself beautifully to a nice cream cheese frosting. You don’t taste the beets in it, if anything; the beets add an extra wonderful earthy sweetness. If you really want to wow your guests this holiday season, this cake will do it! :)

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cake:

2 C beet puree – I roasted the beets at 400 for about 40 minutes and then pureed, roasting brings out the natural sugars in the beets.
1 ½ C GF oat flour
1 C coconut flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups pure maple syrup
½ C melted butter or coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¼ tsp. cinnamon

For the Glaze:
¼ c melted butter
¼ c melted coconut oil
¼ c maple syrup
Maple confectioner’s sugar to dust

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix all the cake ingredients together in one bowl. Emma suggests you use your “batter intuition” if it looks loose, add more flour and baking powder to match. Then pour into a prepared cake pan (I used a traditional round). Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool a little bit. I didn’t and so my frosting just kind of sunk into the cake, which wasn’t too terrible of a thing to happen! :)

For the frosting, Emma mixes together 1/2 cup of butter, maple, and confectioners’ sugar and applies it when the cake is still warm so it melts in to a glaze. I liked the addition of a bit of coconut oil as well and I used maple confectioners’ sugar.
I think it would be wonderful to double the recipe and make a layer cake with cream cheese- maple frosting. At least that is what I am doing next! :)

Enjoy!

 

Every Day Chef Challenge – Autumn Bisque

In my last post, I shared with you my first Every Day Chef contest entry, Pumpkin Pie Parfaits. Today I will share with you a delicious holiday starter, Autumn Bisque.

Here is my inspiration for the recipe:

“I love cooking seasonally, and autumn is my favorite season. I adore the bright orange squashes that are so plentiful this time of year. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I wanted to create a wonderful seasonal starter with delicious local vegetables, local beer and sharp cheddar cheese – all three things we are known for in terms of food culture here in Vermont.”

So yes, this delicious and creamy soup contains, vibrant orange winter squash, local beer, sharp cheddar cheese and BACON! So what’s not to love?

Recipe ingredients:
1 cup carrots cut into chunks (@ 2 small carrots)
3 cups red kuri squash, halved (@ 3 medium squashes)
Olive oil to drizzle
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 apple, cored, seeded and chopped (@ 1 small apple)
½ cup yellow onion, chopped (@ half of a small onion)
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced (@ 1 medium clove)
½ teaspoon sea salt
Dash of black pepper
¼ teaspoon of dried ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
½ cup of gluten free ale (local is best!)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 strips of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces (optional garnish)

Cooking instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the squashes in half and lay cut side up on a cookie sheet. Also place carrots on cookie sheet. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for about an hour, or until fork tender and slightly caramelized.
2) Scoop out the insides of the squash and set aside with the carrots.
3) Brown butter in the bottom of a large soup pot, over medium heat, sauté apples, onion and garlic until they browned – about 5 minutes. 3 minutes in add the salt and spices. Stir frequently.
4) Add Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, turn heat up, stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until apples are tender – about 5 minutes.
5) Add beer, squash puree, and carrots. Stir and heat through.
6) Add entire contents of pot to a blender. Puree in a blender; be careful not to burn yourself. Make sure the lid is on tight, and don’t do the whole thing at one time, unless you have a large capacity blender.
7) Carefully return contents to the soup pot, add the cheddar and lemon juice, and stir over low heat until incorporated.
8) Top with bacon crumbles if desired, serve immediately. Can also be reheated for later use.
9) Serves: 4 appetizer sized bowls.

Please click on this link to see the recipe and vote ! It only takes a second, you don’t need to register to vote, or anything. AND, you can vote everyday! So if you feel inspired and like both this recipe and the Pumpkin Pie Parfaits, you can vote for both, everyday until November 14th! Thank you so much!

Curried Apple Soup

 

Happy Halloween, Samhain, etc. to all my readers who celebrate this day, for Pagans, this marks the beginning of our New Year. We remember our ancestors on this day, and set in motion all the things we hope and strive for in the coming year. The harvest is winding down, or is over (like in our case) and it is time for inner reflections, nesting in the home, and keeping healthy and strong during the winter months which are upon us. To me this equates with making nourishing and delicious comfort foods, enjoying them while sitting by the wood stove and spending evenings cuddling with my loved ones, human and otherwise. So in essence, my favorite time of the year!

(My latest needle felting piece)
I like to celebrate this night eating seasonal foods. Don’t get me wrong, I always love eating seasonally, but I suppose some of my favorite foods also come at this time of year: bright orange pumpkins and other winter squashes, savory apple dishes, hard cider, earthy potatoes, turnips and rutabagas, and lots of wonderful braises and slow cooked meats in the tagine. So good.
Tonight’s menu includes a delicious apple and winter squash soup loosely based off this one I am going to share with you today as well as pork chops with apples and cabbage and some nice pumpkin oat bread, which I will be sharing soon, as well.


This soup was inspired by a soup I had out a few weeks ago. It was one of the most delicious soups I had ever had, and I wanted to re-create it at home and eat it for a week! I looked through Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest, there is a great selection of unique soups in there, and she had a recipe for curried apple soup. This one is somewhat different from her recipe (the addition of coconut milk especially and some difference with the spices), but very similar to the one I tasted and loved. A great result!
You will definitely enjoy this unique soup. It is quick and easy to make, and perfect for warming anyone up before a chilly night out trick or treating or going to Halloween parties. In fact, take a pot of it to you Halloween party! Would also be a great starter for Thanksgiving dinner. I will definitely be making it again!

 

INGREDIENTS:
2-3 TBS coconut oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 large clove of garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried ginger
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp mango powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp cayenne
1 TBS curry powder (add more if you like a stronger curry taste!)
5 cups peeled, chopped apple
1 cup water
2 TBS lemon juice
1 can coconut milk (regular, not light)

METHOD:
Heat coconut oil in a soup pot and add onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion begins to soften. Add all the spices and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add apples, water and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid on, after 10 minutes the apples should be very tender. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Puree in a blender; be careful not to burn yourself. Make sure the lid is on tight, and don’t do the whole thing at one time, unless you have a large capacity blender, like a vitamix. Serve. Makes 4 appetizer sized bowls.

 

IMPORTANT POST NOTE: At this time, Michael Schmidt, Food Freedom Fighter is still fasting. We are now onto DAY 32 of his no food, drinking only water HUNGER STRIKE!  So please do what you can to help, his only request to end his strike is to speak with the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty. How this “man” sleeps at night letting another man starve for freedom,  is a wonder to me. If you wonder how this concerns you, please read my post about it and PLEASE HELP.

Drying Apples for Winter Storage

Fall is certainly apple season. One of the ways I like to celebrate my favorite season, autumn is by picking apples and pumpkins. I know here in Northern Vermont, apple picking season is pretty much over, but for all of you in slightly warmer climates, you probably have abundance all around you right now.

I must admit, as I have before on this blog, that I have never been a huge fan of apples. I am not sure why. But I think maybe they are just too sugary sweet for my taste buds. Over the past few years, I have learned to really enjoy whole, fresh apples in savory applications like this Apple Chard Cheddar Tart, which we love making at this time of year, when all the ingredients are still in season, or how about a new take on pulled pork with an Apple Barbeque Sauce? I have another fresh apple recipe I will be sharing with you soon.

I also have come to really love dried apples. In fact, this is my favorite way to enjoy apples. I first made Roasted Pork Chops and Cherry Sauce with Wine Kraut and Red Cabbage last year for our Yule celebration, and this combination of roasted pork, cabbage and slices of dried apple have become a favorite meal of ours this fall season.

Generally, I just sear the chops in coconut oil, butter or bacon fat, and then put them in my tagine. Then I dump shredded cabbage, maybe some homemade sauerkraut, sliced onion and minced garlic and some strips of dried apple. I season this all with salt and pepper, some coriander and raw apple cider vinegar. I put it in the oven at 350 F, for about 2 hours. If you don’t have a tagine, you could use a Dutch oven. It is simple, yet super delicious and flavorful.

So as you can see, there are a lot of savory applications for apples. Since we use them now, I thought about drying some for use over the winter. Drying apples at home for winter storage is really easy. You don’t need any special equipment and all it takes is time.

We harvested about 12 lbs. of apples. I saved about a dozen for eating, and used the rest to make dried apples. I cut the apples in thin, round slices. Then I laid them out on cookie trays, being sure to give them space. When you oven dry fruit or veggies it is important they don’t touch. This helps them to dry better and more evenly.

The first batch I did at 200 F for about 2-3 hours. They didn’t really feel dry enough, so I put them in mason jars and stored them in the fridge for later use. For the second batch, I did about 3 hours. I wasn’t sure they were dry enough either, so I put them on a plate on my kitchen counter and covered them with a kitchen towel. I mixed them with my hands every day, and then put the towel back over them until they felt really dry – about a week. Use your own judgment here. If you have eaten dried apples before, you know what they are supposed to feel like, leathery and a bit sticky from the caramelized sugar.

I made about 4 trays of dried apples, which equates to about 6-7 pints.

We are really hoping to revitalize the apple trees we have here on the homestead, and maybe add a few more trees next year. I am really excited at trying my hand at hard cider and making my own raw apple cider vinegar. Dried apples also make a great DIY handmade holiday gift for the foodies in your life. In fact some of my loved ones may receive some in one form or another this year. That is, if I don’t eat them all myself, first!

Sometimes if I have a craving for something sweet, I reach for a slice of dried apple. Its concentrated sweetness kicks the craving, and all I need is one!

 

Equipment for Drying Apples at home:

*An oven set at 200 F
*Cookie sheets covered with parchment paper (makes it easier to remove the apples, the sugar tends to caramelize and stick to a naked tray)
*Plate and kitchen towel for extra air drying time
*Mason jars for storage

GoodBye Irene…Hello Autumn

 

It has been a very humbling few days for us, here,  in the wake of tropical storm Irene. We have been reminded once again that Mother Nature is a powerful force and once she gets rolling, no one, no human, no machines, no technology can stop her. Living in Vermont, we have been getting a lot of heartfelt and concerned messages about how we weathered the storm, and I am happy to say that we were extremely lucky and are all OK.

The animals, homestead, buildings, and even the garden came out of the storm with no damage. We are very grateful to have been spared and at the same time feeling devastated  for our fellow Vermonters who were not as fortunate. It broke my heart watching videos of  Irene’s  devastation in Wilmington, a town we lived very close to 5 years ago – the river rose so fast and most of the town was left underwater. One woman was even swept away by the rising waters while her boyfriend could do nothing but watch.

I got a message from my best friend Liz, who weathered Irene in NYC, she was feeling really sad about Vermont when she heard about all the terrible flooding here. Through her visits to see us, she has come to know Vermont as a friendly yet hard-working place, full of mom and pop stores where people talk to you like you are a human being with smiles on their faces. Yes, that is Vermont, and because this way of being is so akin to the people that live here, it means that those in need aren’t going to have to look very hard for a helping hand.

I have to say though, as Irene was bearing down on us, and state officials were telling us to prepare for the worst, I was so thankful for all the canning and preserving I had done throughout the summer. I was thankful to the garden, and to the chickens, both for eggs and meat. This is the first time we actually really NEEDED to be prepared for something major, and it was nice not having to worry about that, on top of all our other preparations.

I was also thankful for social media – through facebook and twitter (amazingly we did not lose power!) I was able to keep tabs on the storm and what was happening in our local area. We heard about evacuations in nearby towns at midnight yesterday morning – and learned about a website where we can see all the road closures in the state. Vermont Transportation Agency officials stated that every major road across the state has some kind of damage, and many town roads are facing much worse.

So on that note, as Autumn is starting to make itself known here in the North Country, I am going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging during the month of September. There is a lot going on and life is sort of taking over at the moment, which right now is definitely a good thing. Especially in light of terrible events that have happened over the last few months, I am concentrating on slowing down a little and spending time with family. It is all good stuff, so nothing to worry about. I have arranged for some of my favorite bloggers to fill in for me in my absence. I know you are going to enjoy their posts, and I will be back with new blog posts in October!

Getting Cheesy…

Do you ever have a post that you wish could always stay at the top? That is how I feel about my last post, Homemade Nutella for Norway . But I suppose when faced with tragedy, the most important thing is to continue living and moving forward, and so with that, I will move on with this blog, always keeping loved ones in Norway close to my heart.

It feels like the past few months of my life have been really cheesy. It all started with the course I took at Sterling College. Then 2 Thursdays ago, while the tragic events in Oslo happened, I was standing over vats of hot curds and whey all day, oblivious to the outside world, at The Cellars at Jasper Hill. My friend Sarah, who with her husband Jason owns a fabulous catering business JDC’s, is also a cheesemaker at Jasper Hill. So she invited me to spend the day there shadowing her and seeing how a large cheesemaker operates.

It was an amazing experience, a much larger scale than any other cheesemaking experience I have had so far, either at Sterling or in my own kitchen. After getting outfitted in a pair of white plastic clogs, a white jacket and a hair net, I was able to cross the threshold from the outside work, to the curd world.

(Ladling Constant Bliss)

Sarah was in the middle of something, so she sent me downstairs to watch and chat with Calista and Evan who were ladling curds into molds for Constant Bliss . We talked about their experiences in the cheese world, which greatly outnumbered mine. But we all agreed that there was something zen-like about ladling hot curds. I would have loved to ladle with them, but didn’t want to upset the obvious groove they had going!

After a while I went back upstairs, and watched while Sarah used a big machine to cut the curds for another batch of cheese, this time Moses Sleeper. What the machine didn’t cut, we used small cheese knives to do by hand. We then took baskets of the steaming curds, dumped them on huge trays, with drainage mats (for the whey) and fluffed the curds, and then dumped the fluffed curds onto another tray, which Sarah then stuffed into molds. We did this with two different batches. It was awesome. Hot, but awesome. The second time, a film crew was there, from a new Food Network Show, The Big Cheese (which is not even on the air yet…). So who knows, our work that day may end up on an episode, but really the film crew was there for the cellars. I wish I could have gotten photos, but really the work was too wet for a camera to be safe. So you will have to imagine…

If you live in Northern Vermont, you have surely heard about the Cellars. Even if you are not in Northern VT, you may know of them. The Cellars are two thousand square feet and 7 vaults of beautifully delicious aging cheese – some of it, Jasper Hill makes, but a lot of it is from other cheesemakers in Vermont.

The largest vaults are only of Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar. The photo above is just one vault, and is only of two rows in the vault, of which there had to have been at least 8. But it is more about cheese, it is about a local movement, and helping Vermont’s dairy farmers, and small artisan cheesemakers, continue to be viable and to thrive! I really can’t say it better than their website:

“Farm viability is at the heart of the mission of the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The state of Vermont has seen a precipitous decline in the number of viable dairy farms in the last fifty years, and the Cellars is a business created to halt that decline. Dairy farms help to define the working landscape of Vermont, and artisan cheesemaking is a growing industry that provides an outlet for New England dairy farms to turn their landscape into milk, their milk into cheese, and their cheese into profits.

However, starting a cheesemaking business can be challenging enough without the added stress of aging and marketing that cheese. The Cellars at Jasper Hill provides a place for cheesemakers to send their “green” cheeses to be ripened and marketed by staff who are specially trained to do just that. By reducing the initial investment and training needed by farms trying to diversify, the Cellars at Jasper Hill will provide opportunity to a greater number of those farms.

We hope to relieve small cheesemakers – who wish to simply make cheese – of the burden of being constantly engrossed in all of the intricate details that are involved in maintaining customer relations and keeping their cheeses in healthy circulation. By having a central location from which to distribute and ship the cheese, the Cellars at Jasper Hill helps to ensure that cheese arrives to its destination in the shortest time and best condition possible.

Through all of this, the Cellars at Jasper Hill contributes directly to the expansion of the farmstead model of cheesemaking. We are a mission-based company, and our mission is to preserve all of the integrity and beauty of Vermont’s working landscape.”

(Von Trapp OMA)

…And this is one of the many reasons why Roberto and I moved to this part of Vermont. The dedication of local producers, and their willingness to help others in their industry, all in the name of keeping Vermont a happy and prosperous place. Jasper Hill is a big operation, but it needs to be because it houses so many cheese varieties from all over the state, including some of my personal favorites, like Oma, from the Von Trapp family. Yep, those Von Trapp’s.

They also house Ploughgate Creamery Cheese. In fact last night I met Marisa Mauro, owner and cheesemaker at her one woman cheesemaking show! She invited me to come over to the creamery sometime soon to see how things are done there, and I very much am looking forward to it.

The cheese world is small and feels even smaller in Vermont. I am trying to learn, and observe as much as I can from as many cheesemaking operations as I can. I have met many contacts, and hope to meet more via my friend Taylor, co-owner of Good Food Jobs (a great resource if you are looking for a job in the food industry) who used to work at Murray’s Cheese in NYC. So she knows a lot of cheesy people.

(Cabot Clothbound Cheddar)

I feel very lucky to live where I do, as an aspiring cheesemaker. There are a lot of resources here and a very rich dairy history that is well-established and in the process of being revitalized through the hard work and dedication of people like the Kehler brothers who own Jasper Hill and all the small artisan cheesemakers who are bringing back true farmstead cheeses for consumers.

As a side note, I learned another important thing during this experience – the true reason for sweat. This particular day I was there was during the big heat wave. It was about 90 degrees outside, and at least 90% humidity. The cheese room(s) have no AC. So I literally sweat my own body weight that day. Once I left, I felt rather cool, and when I got home, I felt refreshed. All I could think about all day was taking a shower as soon as I walked in the house, but once I got home, I was cool as a cucumber, and Roberto was still sweltering! I realized you have to sweat A LOT to get the cooling affects, instead of sweat just being annoying, it is miraculous! I guess that is why everyone was making jokes all day about how there are no fat cheesemakers!