Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Day A-Whey Does Po-Town

Can it be? September is almost over?!

Well, the seasons roll on and so do we here at Saxelby Cheesemongers. We're switching from our tomatoes and cheese pants to our apples and cheese pants, in a manner of speaking, and planning our final Day A-Whey trip of the year! In just a few weeks be heading up to Poughkeepsie (aka Po-Town, Po-Vegas... any monikers you'd like to submit are heartily welcomed) for some tasty farmstead cheese and an afternoon in an orchard amidst some of the most spectacular fall foliage this side of the Hudson. Read on, good cheese eaters, and see what's in store!

A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm and Terhune Orchard
Sunday, October 26th
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
For tickets ($95) click here

We can't think of a better place to learn about farmstead cheese than Sprout Creek Farm, a lush little parcel o' green just outside of Poughkeepsie. Margo Morris and Sue Rogers founded Sprout Creek in the 1980's with the intention of creating a place where kids of all ages could learn about agriculture and get re-connected to where good food comes from. What started off as a summer camp has blossomed into a multifacted year-round farm and market, busting at the seams with home grown produce, jams and jellies, home spun yarn, a delicious array of cheese, and local meats.

For our Day A-Whey Margo and her most excellent cheese maker Colin will lead us on a grand tour of Sprout Creek, explaining the ins and outs of running a farm and all the glorious insanity it entails. We'll begin in the cheese room, learning how farmstead cheese is made, and get a glimpse into the aging caves where all those hearty tommes are matured to perfection. Next, we'll head out to the barnyard for some sunshine and see where the cows and sheep and goats like to roam, or escape, as it were... (last year there was much excitement when the sheep got out of their pen and ran amok for a brief while) We'll also take time to visit the chickens, ducks, and greenhouses, rounding out the incredibly diverse range of farmy enterprises in the works at Sprout Creek.

After the tour, we'll be treated to a harvest lunch and cheese tasting in the comfy old barn featuring a splendid spread of local fruits and veggies, freshly baked breads, cured meats, and of course, plenty of delicious fromage!! Daytrippers will have time to sit and dish and picnic the afternoon away, and gather up some goodies from the farm to bring back home.

Come afternoon-time, we'll hop back on the bus and take a quick jaunt over to Terhune Orchard for some late season apple picking. At the end of October, we'll be munching and crunching on Mutsu, Granny Smith, and big red Rome apples, just to name a few. Terhune is a family owned orchard that has been in the biz for over 70 years, and boasts some of the finest apples these mongers have ever tasted. We'll take a wander through the orchard and soak up some good fresh air before heading back home, sleepy and sated!

So what are you waiting for? The apples and cheese are a-calling, and it's bound to be a fine farmy day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cheese Tastings A Go-Go... Plus, Anne's Luddite Manifesto

The Luddites were on to something I tell you. This is my way of saying that I have a good excuse for being a day late with my email this week... as I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon locked away in the sunny, spastic confines of the Mac store Genius Bar. My history with technological devices has been speckled with moments of bliss and order and happiness, but mostly it has been a comic tale of woe and confusion. Ever since I left for college, I have managed to have more strange things happen to my computers than I care to recount. It makes me feel a little bit proud though, that usually these problems, hiccups, and glitches stump even the most seasoned techie veterans. The common refrain when I bring my computer into tech support with some sort of ailment is usually something to the tune of, "Uh, that's strange, we've never seen that happen before..."

I will digress for a brief reference to Looney Tunes (pre-computer animation, and formative material of my childhood) before returning to my tale.

Has anyone ever seen the cartoon where the man finds a little frog in a top hat and suit that will sing and perform Broadway show tunes, but only for him? The minute he brings the frog to anybody else to show off his strange and wonderful talent, the frog simply sits in the box and ribbits and displays all the glamor of a dirty, wet dish towel. So, the man with the frog, who from the get-go was bent on making millions off of his slimy little buddy, finally goes nuts and attempts to bury the frog once and for good in the cornerstone of some New York City skyscraper. I should be so lucky to be able to do that with my computer.

So, my new-ish laptop was in the habit of making a hideous beeping sound whenever I turned it on, sort of like a tiny little air raid siren going off. I don't know whether it was trying to announce my incompetence or just its hatred of me, but whatever its motivations were, something was amiss. At the Genius Bar, I explained my situation to the amiable nerd charged with helping me, and went to turn the computer on to demonstrate this terrible racket. Sure enough, just like the frog in the cartoon, the computer turned on without an iota of beeping, making that crisp and sexy Mac gong just like it's supposed to. After two or three more feeble attempts to prove myself not crazy (the laptop started up with the grace of a Russian figure skater landing a triple lutz each time) I shrugged my shoulders and relinquished custody of that nasty little machine to Mac for further inquiries.

So, the Monday email was shot, but I am sitting at home now with a much clunkier and more reliable old computer and do want to tell you just a few things about cheese before the morning slips away from me.

Saxelby Cheesemongers is sprinting into fall with a pretty intense lineup of tastings and gatherings and hooplas of all sorts. The fun begins tomorrow at Against the Grain and continues well on into October. So check out our new calendar and mark your own for some cheesy exploits. We hope to see you out on the town! Thankfully we'll never need a computer to slice you a piece of cheese...

Wednesday, September 24th
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Against the Grain and Saxelby Cheesemongers Present...
A Farmstead Cheese and Wine Tasting

Five flights of cheese and wine with other delicious little trifles.

For tickets ($25) and reservations call 212-358-7064

Tuesday, September 30th
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Jimmy's no. 43 and Saxelby Cheesemongers Present...
Chocolate, Cheese, and Beer! (back with a vengeance)

Chocolate from Nunu's in Brooklyn, Craft Beers from Across the Globe, and Cheese from Yours Truly.

For tickets ($35) and reservations call 212-982-3006

Saturday, October 11th
11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Gowanus Harvest Fest

Join Saxelby Cheesemongers, Sweet Deliverance, and Just Food for a day of fun, food and music! We'll be bringing our stinky grilled cheese show on the road... maybe with a twist for fall.

For tickets ($10 in advance, $12 day of) and more info visit www.theyard.ws

Sunday, October 26th
8:30 am to 7:30 pm
A Day A-Whey to Sprout Creek Farm

Our last Day A-Whey of the year! Don't miss out as we travel up the Hudson for a day of cheese, farms, and fall foliage. Tickets will be available later this week...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's Time to Harvest Cheese!

It's harvest time out there. And whether you're a cheese maker or growing gobs of veggies, there's lots of cooking to do. Over the last couple of weeks we've been inundated with peaches, berries, melons, tomatoes, corn, beans, and a whole slew of other good things too! This week, Saxelby Cheesemongers is here to give you a few tasty, dairy-centric recipes to help put all this harvest time bounty to good use.

Squash Blossoms:

What could be better than squash blossoms stuffed with some magnificent fresh goat cheese or hand made ricotta and then fried to golden toasty perfection?! We think a little Beltane fresh chevre or our good old Salvatore ricotta would do just the trick. Another way we've had them is fried (I'm beginning to see a theme here) but not stuffed with fromage. After you've fried the blossoms, arrange them on a plate with a deliberate dusting of sea salt and a few meager but potent shavings of an aged cheese like Vermont Shepherd or Ouray. Squash blossoms aren't around all that long... we see no need to justify that extra fried goodness!

Sweet Corn:

There is only one word. Succotash. Perhaps one of the most delicious meals on earth, succotash seems to be the perfect bridge from summer to fall. The corn is light and sweet, the beans are rich and hearty, and there's cream spilled all about the midst of it, locking it all together with a butterfatty seal of approval. I first encountered succotash just a few years ago, but have been an ardent supporter of (and eater of) the stuff ever since. Pick up a pint o'cream and go nuts... it's the kind of thing that you can make a whole bunch of and eat all week long.


The salad options are endless! Carve 'em up with some fresh mozzarella, some decadent creamy burrata, or combine them with all those cucumbers lolling about, add some garlic and a little crumble of feta and voila! Greek salad galore. (another one that gets better the longer it sits) Or, if you're into making your own tomato sauce, heat a little bit of that up, wilt some spinach or chard and plop some ricotta down on top for the best ten-minute-prep dinner you've ever had.

All that fruit, berries and peaches and the like:

Compote, cobbler, and pie, oh my! There are a boatload of fantastic desserts to be gleaned from all these late summer fruits. Just remember that the second most important part of any proper dessert is the cream. Be it whipped or frozen and turned to ice cream, for the love of cheeses don't omit this ingredient! A little bird told us the Evans Creamery makes some of the best in the land... We see no reason to disagree!


If you want to see the harvest in full swing, join us for our next Day A-Whey to Long Island's North Fork, where a mini food revolution seems to be underway. We'll be stopping off at Catapano Goat Dairy, Corey Creek Vineyard, and Sang Lee's renowned farm stand. Sundays don't get much tastier than this...

A Day A-Whey to Catapano Goat Dairy
Sunday, September 21st
8:30 am to 7:30 pm

For more tickets ($115) and more information, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/41742