Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cheese Monday: Sir Francis Drake

Ahhh, Valentine's Day, when a girl's thoughts turn to love and stanky, gooey cheeses....

So of course I have to post about one of my favorite cheeses to spread on crispy baguette!1   SIR FRANCIS  DRAKE!    A triple cream Cow cheese that some say has a lil taste of the Pacific ocean, which makes me think it is a love letter to the actual sea captain Sir Francis Drake.2

sir francis drake

In any case , it's buttery, nutty and  exceptionally spreadable.  All my favorite things in a gooey cheese!!  Sir Francis Drake is made by the famous Cowgirl Creamery and they source their milk from my always favorite Straus Family Dairy.

As usual, this is very hard to find beyond the Bay area, but can sometimes be founds in a Whole Foods in California.  But, the best place to check is the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Counter .   Seriously though,  people go crazy for this cheese, camping out at their local cheese shops March-April waiting for it's surprise appearance!3

The reason it is so rare is that the cheese happens by complete accident!  Basically, all of this occurs  during the aging process when Cowgirl's famous Mt. Tam cheese gets a bloomy rind thats a lil slimey, instead of it's usual silky texture.  So they wash those slimey cheeses in Beaume de Venise (French Dessert Wine) and sprinkle some yummy dried currents on top!  TA-dah! A deliciously addictive cheese emerges and you have a beautiful bloomy number to enjoy on your platter!

Definitely, let Sir Francis Drake ripen, so you can get the full effect of spreadable cheese!  I sit mine on the counter for a good hour, even though it stinks up the joint.  But, hey, thats what scented candles are for!

And here's a lil valentine for you to enjoy today.  


1  That sound a lil tooo like sexual innuendo...hah enjoy the day!
2 Or it could just be that their Point Reyes location is on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard....  
3 Well mayyybbeeee, not that intense.  I always think of the "Blossom" episode where she camped out for C&C Music Factory tickets when I daydream of intense waiting......

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gouda Part1

Gouda Part2

            If I was Ginger Rogers, I would totally have a piece of cheese in my pocket to snack on between twirls.  But, I'd probably be way too heavy for Fred Astaire to lift in the air then....
Anyway the whole story behind this comic is about when I worked at a cheeseshop and the owner told me I needed to pronounce gouda the correct way, which is  ɣʌuda (How-da).   So I started doing this but then realized no one knew what cheese I was talking about and I sounded like a BIG pretentious A-hole, so I stopped.  I mean, everyone knows Gouda as Goooo-daa and thats how it is.  When I go to the Netherlands though, I'll be sure to pronounce correctly.

            So in keeping with the pretentious A-hole theme, my cheese review of the week is Beemster XO Gouda!  If you love an aged gouda, like many of my friends do, then you'll be in heaven with this one!  Beemster has been producing cheeses for over a century, so they got the cheese knowledge to make your mouth go BOOM with Happiness.  XO is Aged for over 2 years in old warehouses at a co-op in the Netherlands to get that yummy butterscotchy taste! 

This cheese is unique in the way it manages to be creamy, yet still have that crystallization I know many of you crave. 

Their gouda is made with pasteurized cow milk that comes from a sustainable program called Caring Dairy, so you can feel good about buying Beemster products!  Also, they use the same dairy cows that provide the milk for Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.  So if you like ice cream, you'll definitely love this cheese hah!.  

So if you're craving a nice Dutch Cheese or something everyone at your party will enjoy,  definitely look up Beemster XO Gouda as it can be found at many grocery stores throughout the country!  

Also, if you're interested in cheesemaking, here's a great recent article about it.  I've only experimented with making ricotta or shaping mozzarella out of curd.  I hope to one day make some sheep and goat cheeses, when I can finally actually own one!! A girl can dream, ehhhh

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Texan Love #1

Never have truer words been uttered, eh?

Actually, the above was said by my brother-in-law to my sister one night when they were about to head to their fave Tex-Mex joint....   And THAT inspired me to do a few Texan Valentines this year!  So keep your eyes peeled for a few more before the big day.   Do any of you have plans for  Vday?  

Mr. Phi and I are going to our usual grilled cheese tasting dinner.   Wooooooo  I'll try to actually post a review this year.  I know, I know.... big talker!

Also, I still owe you a cheese review this week.  Took longer than I expected! eeks  Well here's a Cheese Valentine done by Murray's Cheese to tide you over until tomorrow....  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Arkansas Visit!

Fried Chicken Dinner Part 1

So this past weekend we visited one of our favorite couples in their home around Northwest Arkansas. TBH, I wasn't tooooo excited about the trip...until I looked at the food possibilities and I then I got dizzy with visions of fried chicken, fried catfish and the holy of fried holy, chicken... fried... STEAK. My friend even got into the act and put together an eating itinerary for us. Here is the creme de la biscuit of our adventures...
Fried Chicken Dinner Part 2


If death is anything like Beatlejuice, I hope I'm forced to spend eternity in a fried chicken restaurant. 1 And Mont Ne Inn would certainly do.....
All-you-can-eat Family Style Fried Chicken Dinners for $9.99!!! (Unbelievable price, you can wipe away those tears)

My favorite parts of the meal were the bean soup, hot fresh bread loaves with apple butter and fried chicken. The chicken wasn't the best I've ever tasted, but I certainly wouldn't kick a bucket out of bed. The sides were the usual fare of mashed tatos, creamed corn, green beans...but nothing to write home about honestly.
The worst part of the meal was the cobbler. I asked if it was fresh fruit and apparently opening a brand new can makes it fresh. I HATE canned fruit in sugar syrup. HATE HATE HATTEEEEE. Seriously, nothing puts me in a worse mood than poorly made cobbler, especially if its peach. But the cobbler costs extra, so you can easily avoid it. If you want desert, just cut off another slice of bread and spread a thick dollop of apple butter on it. DONE!

We are pretty big coffee snobs, and I blame the Bay area for this. So when Mr.Phi had a coffee at Tusk & Trotter and proclaimed it make his coffee list. 2 I knew we had something special! I quickly looked up places we could get it and discovered a delightful bakery in Fayetteville that served it. I even bought my parents a bag of their decaf blend for my parents who loved it.

Our friends were excited to take us here and after we tried the hot crispy hushpuppies, we understood why. This place is known for their fried seafood with all the unending fixins' of hushpuppies, coleslaw, pickles and pickled green tomatoes. Mr.Phi and I split a fried platter of catfish, frog legs and chicken strips. Our absolute fave was the frog legs, they were just so juicy and flavorful. Shocking, ehhhh? I think if more people know about how good they are we'd see more frog leg restaurants than chicken wings. But still... those hushpuppies, oooooh yah....

This Farmers Market was surprisingly awesome. Plenty of fresh produce, beautiful flowers, garlic braids and homemade soaps! Definitely will be back!

And of course our trip is never complete without our friend's legendary CFS! But sorry peeps, this is always a private affair! Gaze as it descends from the heavens. (swwooooon)

Tusk & Trotter - coffee awesome, sausage good, lamb-burger good, everything else pretty disappointing....maybe cause we went during lunch service? Or maybe we're used to a higher level of tastiness for upscale cafe food because of the Bay area?

Bliss Cupcake - despite a promising mini red velvet cupcake, this place was a bust. Super dry and icing just ok....so sad

List for Next Visit

Any pie shop that looks like this, I MUST GO THERE!

In addition......
Bean Palace Buckwheat waffles
Stonemill Bread Love a place where I can buy fresh flour
Front Porch Diner Fresh biscuits!
Wagon Wheel Country Cafe peanut butter pie....
Wooden Spoon supposedly great pies n cobblers
Also I'd like to try some local cheesemaker....

hah I guess you can tell we're already gearing up for our next visit! Can't wait to do a new report for next time! (even though it results in a huge amount of drool on my keyboard...)

1. There better be eating abilities in the afterlife or I don't want it....

2. Mr.Phi's Coffee List is now 1.Blue Bottle 2. Ritual 3.La Mill 4. Mountain Bird 5.Abraco He says he only does top 5. (Hes actually a really good judge cause he doesn't add anything to the coffee or expresso.)