Posted on

Cheese Wiz: Shepherd’s Hope

Back again from our friends in Nerstrand, MN, Shepherd’s Way Farms, I reintroduce to you:

Shepherd’s Hope is a unique mild, fresh sheep’s milk cheese with a gentle citrus note at the finish. Another multiple award-winning cheese from Shepherd’s Way Farms. Shepherd’s Hope is exceptional with a crisp Chardonnay and a fresh baguette, or in a tomato basil salad.

But wait… haven’t we had this cheese before?
YES! AND IT’S AMAZING.

However, there is something a little extra special about this specific batch of Shepherd’s Hope.. You may recall from my last cheese update that I went down to the farm and spent the afternoon learning about Shepherd’s Hope. More specifically about the drop in barometric pressure caused all the mama sheep to give birth to baby lambs all at once. 120 lambs to be precise!
After a mammal is born, it is extremely important that they have their mother’s milk. This first milking is hyper packed with nutrients and protein and is called colostrum. This cheese IS NOT colostrum milk. Rather it is the first batch of cheese made from the mother sheep’s milk after the baby lambs have had their fill.

REALLY EXCITING MILK!

 This sheep didn’t appreciate me staring at all the butts


Posted on

From TK’s Desk: Friesago

New cheese this week!

Last weekend, Nic and I had the pleasure to travel down to God’s Country, southern Minnesota, where we spent the afternoon at Shepherd’s Way Farm, a sheep & cheese farm. Jodi Ohlsen Read, the Master Cheesemaker, is a master of her craft and a badass person. For her, cheese and raising animals isn’t her job, it’s her life and passion…. And just as the barometric pressure dropped (when we got that big snowstorm) ALL of their pregnant sheep gave birth, AT ONCE! This can be a common phenomenon in the animal world.

Shepherd’s Way cheese is classified as farmstead cheese – meaning that the animals are raised and milked—and the cheese is made—right on site. Not a very typical practice in this day and age.

From the farm, I present to you, FRIESAGO  (free sah go)  $28/LB –

A 2017 First Place American Cheese Society winner for Farmstead Sheep Milk, Friesago is a natural-rind semi-aged sheep milk cheese with a dense texture, pleasant mild flavor, and a slightly nutty finish. A multiple award-winner, Friesago is versatile as a table cheese and as a cooking cheese.

Substitute Asiago cheese with this local Friesago and you will thank yourself.  Grate this over your pasta, soups, salads or try this: Brown some butter, drizzle it over thinly sliced smoked ham, then with a mandoline, thinly slice the cheese over it… man, oh man, I’m making this at my next dinner party. Woof. Or put it on your charcuterie plate.  

A little tidbit about sheep’s milk & cheese… sheep don’t produce the same volume of milk as cows do (sheep yield about 1 qt of milk a day where a cow can be milked twice a day getting 8 qts). Sheep’s milk has almost double the amount of protein in it (as well as double the amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc,  thiamin, riboflavin, Vit. B6 and B12, and Vit. D, and the 10 essential amino acids) – meaning there is almost double the amount of solids in it, allowing you to produce the same amount of curds with significantly less the amount of milk. Wild, isn’t it? And sheep’s milk tends to be easier on the stomach for folks who cannot digest cow’s milk.

Here are some photos I took of the farm & creamery:

OH! AND WE HAVE CHEESE CURDS FROM EICHTEN’S (out of Center City, Minnesota). We’ll let you know!

Posted on

Tubesteak Boogie

Tubesteaks are fresh and in season! Wait… what the heck are tubesteaks??? Well, it’s what my grandfather called sausages for supper to make us think we were eating steak. Though Northern Waters Smokehaus is most known for our smoked fish and meats, we are always stocked full of haus-pumped and tied fresh sausages – and in my personal opinion, our fresh sausages are some of our best products. So, pull out the grill, invite friends over, and put the beverages on ice- It’s tubesteak time. Totally tubular, brah!

Hailing from a family of Germanic and Czech heritage, holidays were a bounty of glistening sausages, savory smoked meats, and sauerkraut. Here at the Smokehaus, our fearless leader Eric Goerdt has taken his own culinary traditions and pumped them into a mouthwatering spectrum of fresh sausage flavors. Sweet maple syrup, spicy jalapeños, savory italian notes, & sweet apples are just a few of  the amazing flavors that lend to the relishing quality of our sausages. Seriously, if you haven’t tried any of our handcrafted and flavorful fresh sausages, you need to come down to our deli and pick up a pack! Or, if you live out of town, check out our website and order ‘The Fresh Pack’; we’ll send any combination of our best-selling fresh sausages right to your door! Not sure what we have to offer? School is in session! All of the delicious fresh sausages described here are available for order online in The Fresh Pack, and of course, in our Canal Park deli.

Starting with my personal favorite, our Classic German Brat is a perfect harmony of flavors – we’re talking veal, Berkshire pork, whole milk, and spices that make you long for a heaping pile of sauerkraut and mustard. This sausage is what all other German-style brats strive to be, and the attention to detail that we spend on our products really shines through in this instant classic.

 

So, we all know that beer and sausages are undeniably perfect together. So in the spirit of friendship, we created a beer brat, coined The Big Friendly; made with fresh ground Berkshire pork, Smokehaus bacon, our secret spices, and that classically sweet Minnesota brew, Grain Belt Premium. The Big Friendly is the perfect tubular vessel for accoutrements such as (of course) mustard, pickled relish, sauteed onions (deglazed with beer, obviously), or dare I even utter the word… ketchup. To each their own, I guess.


One of our most versatile sausages, The Italian, will make you scream  “MIA MADRE QUELLA SALSICCIA!”… or you can just say “Damn! That’s good.”  This sausage features Berkshire pork, salt, pepper, cayenne, crushed pepper, garlic, dried parsley, coriander, fennel seed, & bay leaves. But what makes it so versatile? Well, with this sausage you could definitely keep steady and put it on a soft white brat bun, but why stop there when it’s plump with so many flavors? Do yourself a favor and buy a pack of Italian sub rolls and top it with spicy giardiniera. YUM. Feel like eating with a fork and a knife? Rough chop and cook these sausages with your favorite red sauce to serve over a delicious plate of noodles.


One great aspect of living in the Midwest is having 4 distinct seasons. Autumn in Minnesota brings apple season, thus inspiring us to capture that tart yet sweet flavor in our outstanding Apple Brat. Made with delicious dehydrated apples, organic apple cider, freshly ground Berkshire pork, salt, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, caraway, marjoram, pepper, and cinnamon, this sausage absolutely sings when topped with delicious sauerkraut. With a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavor, we recommend enjoying this seasonal taste year-round!

Now, when the the spice gods created the jalapeño, it was written that salty pork was destined to find the jalapeño. With that understanding here at the Smokehaus, we created a monster! Smokehaus bacon, freshly ground Berkshire pork, jalapeños, and spices are forced together (through a sausage stuffer of course) to create the one and only Jalapeño Bacon Brat. This brat is the perfect balance of salt, pork, and spice. When cooking, I prefer to cook these on the grill and let them get a little crispy. The crunchy & snappy casings compliment the spicy jalapeños and succulent salty pork.

While we still have jalapeños and salty pork on our minds, we are going to venture out of hog casings and into the world of uncased sausages to talk about a spicy fresh ground sausage with inspiration derived from the amazing culinary traditions of Mexico. Let me please introduce to you our Chorizo Fresco. Made with Berkshire pork cheeks, tongues, hearts, and other organs, red wine vinegar, salt, ground Mexican chilies and jalapeños. Our ground chorizo explodes in your mouth and mind with vibrant and savory flavors. This chorizo is sold both online and in our deli in one pound packages and we guarantee that it will take your tacos and burritos to that next serious level of delicious and savory complexity.Pro tip: we also wholesale our chorizo! Find it in the Classic Provisions catalog or call us to inquire.


Let’s take a serious minute to talk about breakfast. We’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet we often skip breakfast or eat things like a simple banana. Is this because we simply don’t take breakfast seriously or don’t have time to cook a delicious breakfast? Maybe. But if this next product passes your lips, you will never want to make excuses to skip breakfast again. Please, allow me to introduce one of my very favorite Smokehaus products, THE MAPLE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE. Allow me to state that this breakfast sausage is the best breakfast sausage you or I will ever taste again. I’m f*****g serious. Made with Berkshire pork, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, sage, marjoram, cayenne, maple syrup, and honey, these little sausages with satisfy you beyond your wildest breakfast fantasies. Cook them up in a skillet with your basic breakfast, chop them up and add a bunch to your biscuits and gravy, incorporate them into a breakfast burrito or breakfast sandwich, or be the true glutton you really are and fry up and eat the whole pack (about 8 per pack or 1 lb’s worth) by yourself. You deserve it!

So there you have it! We hope that this Smokehaus fresh-sausage primer has given you something to think about when planning your next meal (or not even planning it and deciding on the fly). We will also leave you with a friendly reminder: these tasty tubular treats can also be enjoyed on the first Friday of the every month this summer at HOOPS Brewing here in Canal Park for our Summer Pop-Up Restaurant (call or look to our social media for specific times and details). And if you’re ever having a severe case of the Mondays, stop in to our Deli and try our Smoker’s Choice Sausage Special (Served 11am until they are gone), served on a Haus-made potato rosemary bun with all the necessary accoutrements provided. We look forward to seeing you!

Prost!