Recipe: Rhubarb marmalade (for your spring cheese plate)

Photo Credit: Grow It Can It Cook It

For many cheesemakers, the arrival of spring means the return of fresh cheeses like chevre, ricotta and surface-ripened styles. Even if they’ve been making cheese throughout the winter (due to a staggered breeding schedule, which is what Haystack Mountain relies on for its milk sourcing), kidding, calving and lambing season peaks this time of year and with that comes a surplus of milk.

Our cheesemaker Jackie Chang, is busier than ever, starting new batches of washed rind cheeses (which sold out over the winter). What we’re really psyched about now, however, is using our chevre and bloomy-rind cheeses such as Cashmere and Snowdrop in simple dishes that sing of spring.

One of my favorite ingredients is rhubarb. It grows abundantly in the wild in Colorado, and has greener stalks than cultivated varieties, which makes the latter more popular for use in desserts. A relative of buckwheat and sorrel, rhubarb is best-known as a pie ingredient paired with strawberries, but its appeal extends far beyond pastry (note that it should always be cooked; the leaves contain toxic amounts of oxalic acid, although the stalks only have trace amounts).

Haystack Mountain Cashmere

I love rhubarb prepared as a savory or sweet quick-marmalade, which makes for a beautiful- and unusual- condiment for pairing with fresh or bloomy-rind cheeses or a topping chevre or ricotta cheesecake or ice cream. You can also poach the stalks until tender in a simple syrup and use them in a salad paired with aforementioned cheeses (alternatively, try them with a mild, creamy blue) and toasted hazelnuts.

 

Photo credit: The Pioneer Woman

Recipe: Rhubarb Marmalade

Serves 4

¾ cup water

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated, peeled ginger

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out

1 pound rhubarb stalks, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

Pinch of kosher salt

>In a saucepan, combine with water, sugar, ginger, allspice, and vanilla bean and seeds.  Add rhubarb; bring to a boil.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is jam-like, about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with a pinch of salt, discard vanilla bean.

Rhubarb & Chevre Parfait makes an elegant brunch dish. Photo credit: What’s for lunch, honey?

Recipe: Grapefruit & Avocado Salad with Haystack Mountain Peak

Ruby Star grapefruit: in season now. Photo credit: Backyard Fruit

As a child of California, I grew up immersed in a culture awash with citrus and avocados. I recall plucking tangerines from orchards and eating the sun-warmed fruit as a snack, and marveling over the many varieties of avocado at our county fair. Years later, as a farmers market vendor in the rain-drenched Bay Area, I overcame the winter doldrums by admiring (and eating) the vibrant array of citrus fruits sold by my colleagues.

One of my favorite ways to use citrus is to combine it with goat cheese. The acidity and residual sweetness in the fruit compliment the tang of the cheese, making them the ideal companions for a winter salad. Balance things out with a bitter or spicy component (think kumquats, dates and watercress, or orange and endive).

The following recipe celebrates one of my favorite things from Texas: Ruby Red grapefruit, now at its peak. Combined with the nutty, creamy avocado and the piquant, earthy notes of Haystack Peak, it’s a simple, grounded dish that speaks of sunny days to come.

Serves 4

Vinaigrette

½ small shallot, minced

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Salad

2 pink grapefruit such as Ruby Red, peel and pith removed and sliced crosswise into ¼-inch thickness, or cut into supremes

2 ripe avocados, sliced ¼-inch thick

4 ounces Haystack Mountain Peak, sliced lengthwise to ¼-inch thickness

Flaked sea salt, to taste

Daikon radish sprouts or microgreens, for garnish (optional)

 

Arrange grapefruit and avocado on a serving platter. Rewhisk vinaigrette and drizzle atop fruit, and season with salt. Add slices of Haystack Mountain Peak and finish with a scattering of radish sprouts.

How to section citrus fruit. Photo credit: Patricia Salzman

 

©The Sustainable Kitchen®, 2017

Recipe: Winter Squash Soup with Applewood Smoked Chevre

Photo credit: Bourbon and Brown Sugar

Photo credit: Bourbon and Brown Sugar

Baby, it’s cold outside. Snuggle up with a bowl of this rich, sweet, filling soup, heaped with smoky chevre. Mmmmm.

serves 6Smoked Chevre Soup

1 large kabocha or medium butternut squash, about 4 lbs.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 slices bacon, diced

1 large yellow onion, chopped

6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cups heavy cream

juice of one orange

salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil, for garnish

fried sage leaves, for garnish*

4 ounces Haystack Mountain Applewood Smoked Chevre, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve squash lengthwise, and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet.  Bake until  squash can be easily skewered with tip of a paring knife, about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  With a spoon, remove seeds and discard.  Scrape the pulp and reserve in a bowl.  Discard the skin.

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a stockpot over medium heat.  Add the bacon and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and the bacon is just turning golden, about 7 minutes.  Add the squash and chicken stock, and simmer until the squash falls apart, about 30 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.

Working in small batches, puree the soup in a blender (don’t fill it more than half-way, or the hot soup can explode from the container) until very smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer or chinois into a clean stockpot, and add the cream and orange juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  If the soup is too thick, thin it with a bit of stock or water, and reheat if necessary

Ladle the soup into hot bowls, and garnish with a drizzle of the olive oil. Crumble a bit of chevre over each bowl, garnish with *two sage leaves (fry them lightly in olive oil until crisp), and serve immediately.

©Laurel Miller, The Sustainable Kitchen ®, 1999.

Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese with Young Lettuces & Orange Vinaigrette

Photo credit: Celebrated Memoir Ghostwriter

Photo credit: Celebrated Memoir Ghostwriter

from Jason McHugh, Cooking School of the Rockies

For the Goat Cheese:
4 or 6 Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, stemmed and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, stemmed and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, stemmed and chopped
freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:
3/4 lb. young local lettuces, washed and spun dry
4 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 – 1/2 cup orange vinaigrette (recipe follows)
optional: orange sections

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the oil in a small bowl and coat each cheese round with oil. Place the herbs in another bowl and toss the rounds with the herbs to coat. Place the goat cheese on a small sheet pan and season with a few grinds of black pepper. Bake the goat cheese for 10 minutes.

As the cheese bakes, prepare the salads. Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette just to coat and arrange on individual plates. Garnish with the hazelnuts and the orange sections if desired. Serve.

Orange Vinaigrette:
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 small shallot, peeled and minced fine
1 tablespoon honey
2 – 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil
1-2 teaspoons orange oil
salt and white pepper

Place the orange juice and shallot in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the juice to 2 tablespoons and add the honey to dissolve.

Cool.

Combine the reduced juice and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and some salt. Taste the combination and decide if more vinegar is necessary. Whisk in the canola oil or add in a blender. Add the orange oil and correct the seasoning with salt and white pepper.