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Cheese Wiz: Morcella

I have been waiting for this cheese & this moment since last spring…. Let me cordially invite your life into the life of foraged perfection – Morcella.

Handmade by our great friends at Shepherd’s Way Farms, Morcella is a seasonal, soft-ripened sheep milk cheese with local morel mushrooms. Made in small batches with only spring and summer milk, Morcella is a creamy, earthy cheese with a mottled bloomy rind. Like the morel mushrooms it is named for, Morcella is only around for a limited time… this is seriously something you do not want to go with out.

From Penterman Farms out of Thorp, Wisconsin, I introduce Marieke Gouda. This gouda is classified as a “young” gouda and is aged in the traditional Dutch fashion. Aged only for 2-4 months, this cheese made from raw cow’s milk, salt, enzymes, and cultures.  

Creamy, buttery and mild with slightly sweet notes. Pair with peach preserves and toasted almonds, buttery Chardonnay or any farmhouse ale.

Expert, licensed cheesemaker, Marieke Penterman and her team, handcraft traditional Dutch Goudas using the time-tested, Old World, cheesemaking methods Marieke brought with her when she emigrated from the Netherlands. Marieke transforms farmstead-fresh, raw, cow’s milk from her family farm into award-winning cheese, which is then carefully cured on imported Dutch pine planks in temperature and humidity-controlled aging cellars.

Back by popular demand – CHEESE CURDS!

Eichten’s Hidden Acres cheese curds are sold in 8oz containers for ONLY $4!

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Cheese Wiz: North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster

More cheese from the Land of 10,000 Lakes…

NEW TO US from the redheaded cheesemaker at Redhead Creamery, out of Brooten Minnesota, welcome their French-inspired-with-an-American-twist, North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster!

This American-style Munster is a soft ripened cow’s milk cheese with a washed rind of local whiskey—Panther Distillery’s “Minnesota 14 Whiskey” out of Osakis, Minnesota. This collaborative cheese experience found itself winning 4th place at the Minnesota State Fair in 2017.

Looking past the local achievement and publicity, to the cheese itself, this French-inspired munster has a russet-colored rind with a chalky-white interior. Like many other soft ripened cheeses, this Munster will become more oozy, develop a stronger aroma, and the rind will darken with age.

This farmstead cheese has notes that will remind you of the barnyard it is made in. Creamy, rich, and pungent this cheese pairs well with an array of food: Sweet fruits, such as cherries, pears, plums, and many other stone fruits, as well as rustic breads, such as rye bread with flavors of anise, fennel, and licorice.

This cheese pairs well with many lagers or pilsners, and juicy red wines: pinot noir and Beaujolais (my personal favorite red) as well as sweet white wines: chardonnay, pinot gris, and riesling.

This cheese is best served at room temperature. Leave it out for 20 minutes before diving in!        

We have become familiar with Shepherd’s Way Cheese these last few weeks, most recently the Shepherd’s Hope fresh sheep cheese. Welcome to the case Shepherd’s Hope with garlic & herbs!

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… now with the added flavors of fresh garlic & herbs!

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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


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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!

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From TK’s Desk: Raclette

Its Alpine cheese season.

Welcome this magnificently melty cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland: Raclette!!

Raclette is the cheese of legend, based on the story of a man from Valais by the name of Leon. One cold day, with food scarce in the open pastures, Leon heated up a piece of cheese on the open fire to ease his hunger and keep warm. He found the melted cheese had a transcendent flavor. It not only complemented other foods – it made a great, satisfying meal for his family. Popular since the Middle Ages, Raclette is still produced with milk from cows that are fed fresh grass in the summer and meadow hay in the winter.

The word raclette stems from the French verb racler, or “to scrape.” This cheese is a staple in the Swiss & French Alpine culinary culture and has to follow strict regulations from the cows to the creamery to the finishing process (the affinage). Each raclette has to have an official quality mark AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegée) which is reserved for traditional products with long-standing regional origins.

Melt this cheese and serve it on top of anything from bread to cured meats, potatoes, pickles, or just about anything else.

Enjoy raclette with a glass of Alpine wines, such as the Swiss Fendant, French Savoy, rieslings, or pinot gris. Not into wine? Try it with warm tea or other warm beverages.  

Sold in our deli for $23/lb.

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From TK’s Desk: Rush Creek Reserve

When we get new, exciting cheeses in the shop, TK writes us a memo detailing how to describe it to customers. These write-ups have frequently inspired me to serve and experiment with these cheeses. Here are his notes:

Uplands Cheese Company’s Rush Creek Reserve, is a washed-rind, raw, cow’s milk cheese that is an Autumn exclusive.

As the cows begin to change their diet from the fresh pastures of Summer to the Fall and Winter hay, their milk becomes rich and silky.

Rush Creek Reserve is made to show off the rich, unctuous texture of his hay-fed milk. This delicate, soft and seductive cheese is beautifully hand-wrapped with spruce bark, then aged 60 days.

Rush Creek Reserve is made in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.
Each wheel is 12oz and is retailed for $35/wheel. They will not be cut into smaller portions.

We are fortunate to bring in this extremely seasonal and small batch cheese.. We will be getting only 16 of these wheels in from now until December.
A few words from its maker, Andy Hatch, “…savory custard, as it exudes a very soft, delicate texture with a savory, rich finish likened to cured meat…”

Since the cheese is produced in the fall and only available in November and December, it is typically served during one sitting and not stored for any extended period of time. If you do not finish the cheese in one serving, shame on you. Just kidding… Simply wrap it up in its breathable wrap and store in the coolest part of the fridge.

To properly eat this cheese, let it settle to room temperature (approximately 30 minutes of sitting out), then slice off the top rind, exposing the custard-like, soft center that has a paste-like consistency. This can be scooped out with a spoon and applied in healthy-sized portions onto a cracker, slice of bread, or any other face-stuffing vehicle.

Pair with sparkling or dry white wine (think Sauvignon Blanc, chardonnay, or a flowery riesling (German rieslings are a perfect seasonal fit). Rush Creek’s flavor also complements stone fruits, braised red meats, pates, and Smokehaus salumi (saucisson is my favorite with this, but pepperoni is also amazing).

Thanks, TK. Rush Creek Reserve is available in the deli now until it’s gone.

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Top Five Boursin Recipe Ideas

boursin jars

Boursin is a versatile, flavorful, creamy addition to many meals. We started making Boursin at Northern Waters Smokehaus on a whim and it has now become one of our most popular cheese case items. Over the years, we’ve learned to concoct some simple dishes with our Boursin, adding an herbal, lemony lift to veggies and meats alike. Our Mother’s Day Gift Box is a favorite – the combination of smoked Sockeye salmon, crispy crackers, and fluffy cheese is an elegant, binge-worthy snack. Here are the top 5 Boursin recipe ideas (so far) for you. For more exact recipes, email creative [@] nwsmokehaus.com and we’ll do our best to get you cooking with Boursin to mathematical perfection!

Five time-tested, Smokehaus-approved recipe ideas for our Boursin:

#5: Boursin and Endive Bites

Belgian endive is almost always available at the grocery store, even here in the Great White North. These delicate little torpedoes of green are crisp, sweet, and very slightly bitter – a perfect foil for creamy, citric, floral Boursin. Simply trim the endive ends and gently separate the leaves. You will find a delicate little shovel – a great conduit for many mediums, and excellent for a dollop of Boursin. Use a teaspoon to smear the Boursin or get fancy and pipe it (with a pastry bag or clipped plastic one – up to you). We garnish ours with jolly little Sweetie Drops, or pickled Peruvian peppers, but feel free to use your own favorite garnish – paprika, parsley, anything pickled – or go au naturale and let the bite speak for itself.

#4: Steak and Boursin

What can we say? Compound butter + grilled beef = heaven on earth. Useful on any cut, but especially the fatty, interesting ones, like New York strip, Boursin will be the equivalent of a Valentino gown on Sophia Loren: it will cling to it in all the right places. Salt and pepper your steak, let it get to room temperature, cook it over or under hot flame for your desired temperature, let it rest for 5 minutes, dollop with a Tablespoon of Boursin, and let rest for at least another 5 minutes. Devour, with or without starch to sop up the resulting incredible juices.

#3 Chicken and Boursin Surprise

The real surprise here is that this doesn’t exist at every fast-casual American eatery on the planet. This is a simple yet luxurious meal that is quick to construct, satisfying, and actually makes great leftovers for sandwiches. Pound chicken breasts to a ½ inch thickness, spread an even layer of Boursin approximately ¼ inch thick,  and add a layer of cured muscle meat, like prosciutto, jamon serrano, or copa (if you live near the Smokehaus deli or are a member of our Smokehaus of the Month Club, we recommend asking for our Speck or Lonzino). Roll the cutlets into wheels, secure with toothpicks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and fry in good oil until golden and cooked through (165 degrees). Great with buttered, Parmiganno’d pasta, roasted asparagus, or sliced after cooling and served on a leafy green salad.

#2 Boursin Toast

Inspired by a local business that boldly decided to exclusively offer coffee and toast (we miss you, JPH!), we salute the simplicity of a crusty, magnificent slab of Duluth sourdough stuffed into the nearest (and most accommodating) toaster, grilled to pedal-to-the-metal blackish-brownish, and smeared with enough Boursin that it qualifies as a “barge.” Extra points for those who first slather their toast with butter, but enough Boursin will certainly do the trick. Top with sun-ripened tomatoes, crumbled bacon or pancetta, a raisin smiley face (probably gross, but pretty kitschy, no?), or nothing at all.

#1 Boursin and Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

At the risk of redundancy, we here at the Smokehaus are really into sandwiches. We live sandwiches from the moment we flick on our meat case lights and start cutting cucumbers in the morning to the end of the day when Jerry ushers out the last stray customer with a flourish of his vest and stamp on their sandwich card. We fully realize that many would place a steak at #1 on this list, especially considering that a lowly turkey sandwich had secured the top ranking. But we are not many. We are sandwich people. Our original intent for Boursin was on a turkey sandwich, but we quickly realized the delicious nature of said sandwich would backfire and we would have to hire a whole separate person in the summers to exclusively make Boursin to keep up with demand. So here is the catalyst for the hundreds of cute little medicine jars of Boursin we sell, revealed at last, The Green Meanie: buy or make some naan (we use Stonefire, and it’s really good), and warm it in the oven. Slather liberally with Boursin. Aim the point of your naan to the left to orient the sandwich. In a vertical line down the center, place an even row of cucumber slices, basil leaves, pickled jalapenos, and as much smoked turkey as you like (but don’t get crazy, you need to roll this up). Starting at the wide end, roll the sandwich, tucking stray ingredients as you go. Slice in half and savor a Smokehaus secret.