cheese · eggs · farmers market · healthy eating · organic · vegan · veggies

A soggy start to market season

~Today was the day I’ve been waiting an entire year for: opening day of the Frankfort farmer’s market!!! This is my Christmas! I’ve been counting down the days for weeks and it finally came, but at a small price that I was willing to pay. This weekend the weather has been nothing but cold and rainy, which I normally love but not during a market. I checked The Weather Channel app on my phone before heading over there and it said that it wouldn’t rain til more in the afternoon. It was about 9:30-10am when I checked, my hope was to get there early enough to avoid the downpour to come. My boyfriend picked me up around 10:30 and off we were to Frankfort. The short ride there I was practically jumping out of my seat with excitement and he looked over at me and smiled. When we got there, there was a very light drizzle and only a handful of vendors, those brave souls dedicated to their craft and crop to withstand the less than ideal weather.

Our first stop was at Stamper Cheese Company. As usual there was a line of cheese connoisseurs clambering to get the freshest of the fresh. After waiting about 10 minutes (although it felt longer) it was finally my turn. Chad, the guy that runs the stand at the Frankfort market, recognized me and asked how I was doing and how the blog was doing. I’m kind of surprised that he remembered me! After some small talk, I ended up purchasing a small chunk of my favorite goat Gouda, a package of cheese curds and a package of smoked mozzarella string cheese for my mom.

We then moved a few tents down to Drover’s Trail, aka some of the best produce you’ll ever find! (I’ll be posting about them in particular at a later date). One of my favorite things I get from them is their microgreen mixes, either mild or spicy. Today I went with their mild blend, but I might be adventurous next week and get the spicy. I also tried one of their green smoothies called Sickness Slayer, which combined peaches, pineapple, banana, swiss chard and carrot tops. It was green alright, like fresh-cut grass green. After a moment’s hesitation I took a sip and it was actually really good! You could hardly taste the greens since the flavors of the banana and pineapple dominated. My boyfriend admitted that it didn’t look appetizing at first but liked it once he tried it. Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it’s gross 😉

The last two stalls we visited were prehaps my favorite, the first being Doug from Waterfall Glen Soap Company. He was very excited to show off the changes he had made to some of his popular soaps and premiere some new ones. One of the ones I liked in particular was called Riverside, a newer flavor infused with honeysuckle. It was the bar I kept coming back to and sniffing, Doug even said that it had my name on it. And so it was meant to be! I can’t wait to shower with it tomorrow morning! The final stall we went to was a complete and very happy surprise. American Pride Microfarm, aka the quail guys, were making their debut at the Frankfort market! (I had only seen them at the Downers Grove market). I was beyond excited that I was even tugging on my boyfriend’s jacket and pointing “Oh my God it’s the quail guys!” He was utterly confused but went along with it, such a good sport 🙂

There was no question I was going home with a dozen quail eggs, but I also wanted to sample some of the greens. The one that drew my eye almost immediately were the onion greens. They’re a thin green with a fragile black bud at the end. One of the guys of American Pride, Bradford, had said “if you love onions then you’ll really love these” as he hacked off a few pieces with a miniature axe, which I thought was charming and reminded me of one of my favorite shows, Vikings. The onion greens were exactly as he said they would be, very onion-y. I got and ounce of those and sugar snap pea shoots.

The rain started to pick up, so we knew it was time to go. But overall I am completely happy with my purchases and meeting up with the vendors was awesome.

Happy Market Day my little sprouts! ❤

 

 

cheese

Oh Camembert, Oh Camembert…

~Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Joyous Kwanza to all! My apologies for my hiatus, I’ve been feverishly preparing for the holidays and gathering notes for several future posts.

I was able to cross another farmer’s market find off of my list: Camembert cheese! A close cousin to Brie, Camembert is more savory that sweet Brie and displays a distinct nutty aftertaste. After opening gifts, I thought today of all days would be best to bust out the cheese.

I cut a small wedge and spread it on some butter crackers and the taste sensation commenced. The buttery, crunchy cracker paired wonderfully with the creamy, nutty cheese. Although I didn’t find this Camembert from Stamper Cheese Company (they couldn’t produce it in time before market season ended), I would still put it on any meat and cheese plate.

I’m looking forward to utilizing Camembert to its full potential and experimenting with it in my cooking adventures!

cheese · farmers market

Curd is the Word

~Everyone knows that Wisconsin is known for one thing (aside the Green Bay Packers, boo), and that is cheese. And if anyone has ever visited the dairy state you must stop by one of the dozens of cheese stores littered along the highways. What I believe to be the staple of cheese country is the humble curd, the lumpy precursor to cheese that you know of. These creamy, bite sized nuggets of deliciousness pack a flavorful punch and give you an insight to the cheese itself.

As a kid, my family and I went on summer vacations to northern Wisconsin and as soon as we crossed the Illinois-Wisconsin border, we stopped by this store called The Cheese Palace. It was wall-to-wall cheese from cheddar and beyond. But we always bought a packet of cheddar cheese curds to eat in the car until we reached our final destination, Hayward.

But you don’t have to travel all the way to Wisconsin to try cheese curds. Most grocery stores sell them in the deli aisle. But the best and freshest way to eat a cheese curd is from a farmer’s market of course! More specifically from the Stamper Cheese Company, where I had the pleasure of running into them at the Palos Heights Farmer’s Market this morning. They offer curds in two varieties: plain white cheddar, and white cheddar flavored with garlic and dill.

 

cheese · farmers market

Goat Cheese? Yes Please!

~The folks of the Stamper Cheese Company in Chicago are on to something. Their catchy slogan “Caseum Diem-Cheese the Day” is enough to draw you to their stand, if you can manage to squeeze in. Each time I tried to visit, there was already a sizeable gathering ahead of me. But last Sunday I had a lucky chance and squeezed to the front, where the young man behind the stand was cutting a wedge of blue cheese into chunks. He passed around a few samples, and with slight trepidation I tasted it. Blue cheese has never been a favorite of mine, but it was worth trying.

It had a rich, creamy texture, which was inherently pleasing. But I couldn’t wrap my head around buying moldy cheese. The next cheeses I sampled were of a Gouda cheese made in two styles: one with cow’s milk, the other goat’s. First was the cow’s milk Gouda, which had a dry, crumbly texture, followed by the tangy, creamy goat Gouda. At first the familiar funk of the goat’s milk didn’t hit me right away. It wasn’t until I had swallowed it when I picked up the tang. I have had goat cheese in the past, but nothing like this.

The creaminess of the cheese coated my tongue in such a way that it reminded me almost of ice cream. And it was sensational melted over the cremini mushroom crostini I made and topped with the amazing garlic infused olive oil and a little bit of salt. So go ahead, cheese the day!

*See the unique cheese options of the Stamper Cheese Company by visiting their website  http://www.stampercheesecompany.com/home.html*