5.27.10 Totally Rawesome
I can't take credit for that: my friend Louise told me about a Rawesome food co-op in Venice, California, that sells raw milk—she's going there to stock up! I feel like the Pied Piper of natural dairy. Love it. I'm jealous because they sell raw butter there. The farm I buy from doesn't separate the cream from the milk and I haven't quite figured out how to do that successfully. Every source says you just wait for it to rise to the top and skim it off, but that seems to leave me with something more like half-&-half. Any thoughts? Raw cheese, on the other hand, is pretty easy to find—as long as it's aged. I guess they figure any harmful bacteria will have died off, so by law raw milk cheeses have to be aged at least 60 days to be considered fit for human consumption. Whatever. You know I'll get my hands on some fresh raw milk cheese very soon. Thinking about making my own mozzarella. Yep, I'm a radical. (By the way, did I ever tell you that my father contracted bovine tuberculosis in Mexico when he was 19? Saved him from going into the service during WWII! Nowadays, even mom-&-pop farms do regular testing to make sure that doesn't happen.) So I did pick up some raw milk cheeses at Lucy's Whey in the Chelsea Market this week. I sampled them for lunch today and they were truly delicious. (I also picked up that lovely tray from Brooklyn Slate. Great packaging; would make a nice housegift for some cheese-loving host.)
This is Old Kentucky, a raw goat's milk Tomme, a sumptuous cheese with a hint of mushroom. The other two above are a raw sheep's milk blue from Blackberry Farm (super rich and herbaceous), and a creamy, Italian-style raw cow's milk cheese called Pawlet from Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont. You can order all these cheeses online, but it seems like we should be able to save postage (and the environment) and find fresh raw milk cheeses at our local famers' markets, doesn't it?
Speaking of ecologically unsound choices, I picked up a bag of French walnuts at Fairway, and I pounded open a few to eat with my cheese at lunch. They are from Périgord, a region known for its cuisine—foie gras (mixed feelings about that one) and truffles especially, but also these walnuts. There is evidence that the nuts have existed in that area for 17,000 years! We're talking Cro-Magnon! The French use the leaves to wrap fresh cheeses. They really know what it's all about. (Too bad they're so fussy and self-congratulatory.) I found a recipe for a Périgord walnut tart that may find its way to our table very soon.