What's in Season: The Anti-Velveeta



Photo by Karen Sabath, Rainbeau Ridge

Coming from a Velveeta childhood, I did not take kindly to goat cheese. Tanginess was not a flavor profile I appreciated. Now, having made up for lost time, I can’t get enough of it. And much of the world would agree. In rural kitchens across the globe, goat-milk-curd-laden cheesecloth bundles drain near a warm fire, to be pressed and spooned up within days. Or for those able to delay gratification a few weeks, brining and cool storage will produce the firm, piquant discs I covet. Their classic tanginess derives from a combination of surplus fatty acids and a goat’s egalitarian diet—they’ll devour bitter, thorny, fibrous things any self-respecting cow wouldn’t touch. And goat’s milk is higher in protein than that of those fussy bovines, more similar, in fact, to human milk. In most non-Western cultures, it’s the milk of choice.

At Bedford Hills’ Rainbeau Ridge Farm (49 David’s Way, 914-234-2197), it’s owner and cheesemaker Lisa Schwartz’s choice too. Her three-dozen farm-born Alpine goats are milked this month for the five or six fresh cheeses varieties she’ll produce over the next few weeks. And fresh they indubitably are. “The milk’s source is right here,” Schwartz says proudly. Once collected, “the milk goes just a few feet from the barn to the cheese house to be pasteurized and fabricated.” (Pasteurization is legally required for cheeses aged less than 60 days.)

And you can be eating it as soon as two days later. That two-day prodigy is her Chef’s Choice, a delicate soft-curd cheese ideal for spooning atop compotes or brioche. Three days later, her hand-molded rounds debut, the snowy ChevreLait and cloudy ash-cloaked Meridien. About a week later, the drier, tangier rind cheeses make their entrance, the Mount Vivant, ChevreLog, and Li’l Bloom. They’re all available for purchase on the farm’s website, which also lists shops and restaurants that offer them. Or better yet, take a ride over to the farm (check website for visiting days), where you can pet the goats before picnicking on their mixed-herb or cranberry/walnut progeny slathered on some country bread. “It’s the essence of farm-to-table eating,” Schwartz says. Yes, and it’s right down the road.

Crustless Sorrel Quiche


From Over the Rainbeau: Living the Dream of Sustainable Farming
By Lisa Schwartz, Judith Hausman, and Karen Sabath
(Serves 9)
 
4 whole eggs
3 egg whites
2 cups milk
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
2 to 3 cups sorrel leaves, washed, dried,
and chopped  (spinach can be
substituted)
½ bunch chives, minced
6 oz Fontina cheese, grated
6 oz ChevreLog, grated (Goat Gouda can
be substituted)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of an 8” x 8” baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine whole eggs and egg whites, then whisk. In a small bowl, combine milk and flour. Pour into eggs and mix well.

Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Spread sorrel, chives, and cheeses evenly into baking dish. Pour egg/milk mixture over. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is golden and puffed. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

 

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