Archive for July 28th, 2007

The 3 B’s in my kitchen all summer long

BEETS, BACON, and BAYLEY HAZEN BLUE

These three items have graced my table, both lunch and dinner, many times during the last month and a half. When you eat cheese every day, it is important to continue expanding the repertoire… Each of these ingredients pulls its weight as an individual and together they make a stellar combination of salty, sweet, and creamy that results in serious umami.

BEETSBEETS: Since returning home from our Cheese by Hand trip we have focused on eating from the farmers’ market and with a handful of exceptions- coffee, flour/sugar, butter, creme fraiche- we have been successful. The success of this experiment has gone well beyond the original goal, it has inspired variety in our pantry and encouraged me to work on my cooking.

Beets- the things I wouldn’t imagine poisoning my plate with a year ago, (we had the canned variety in my house growing up) have become something that I think I could eat every single day. I love roasting them and then plunking them in tarts, laying them over the top of our salads, etc.

My favorite baconBACON: This pig product has been the downfall of many vegetarians. Many. And for great reason- I don’t need to sing the praises of bacon as a general category- because almost no one reading needs to be convinced that bacon is worth eating. I will run my mouth off about bacon from Tamarack Hollow Farm because it is worthy of the highest praise.

The slices are what I would call medium cut, each is well marbled and the flavor is really heads and tails above others I’ve tried. Tamarack is run by former vegetarians Mike Betit and his wife Elsa. They believe that pigs should be out rooting around in the woods and fields and have a great life right on up to the end.

Bayley Hazen BlueBAYLEY HAZEN BLUE: There is no shortage of posts about brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler at Jasper Hill Farm. Because I’m not currently working in a cheese shop I find that I eat a lot less cheese than I used to. Since Bayley isn’t at the farmers’ market, my JHF cheese intake has plummeted. Shocking and shameful I know but between my visits to their farm and Mateo’s trips to NYC- I’ve managed to procure a few morsels.

Bayley is a milder blue and while I’ve eaten it steadily it never really captured my attention much until our visit to the farm in May. In the Kehler’s fridge there is always a marred wedge of Bayley Hazen that gets lumped up and added to whatever is on for lunch or dinner. Spring and summer are huge salad times for the JHF crew- they have an excellent, local supplier, Pete’s Greens and one of their staple salad toppers is Bayley Hazen Blue. Our visit fell within the season of greens and our salads have not been the same since.

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