Jul 28 2012

vermont cheesemakers’ festival

The Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival is the culmination of all of my favorite things, so it’s no surprise that I had been looking forward to it for months. As I’ve blabbered on about in the past, I absolutely love Vermont, particularly Burlington and nearby Shelburne Farms. I adore cheese, especially Vermont cheese. And don’t let the name of the festival fool you – with chocolate, beer, wine, spirits, and more, all from Vermont, there was much more than just cheese here. Need I say more?

Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival 2012

I’ve seen fliers for the event over the last couple of years, but we’ve never made the trip up from Boston to go. This year, however, my wonderful husband got tickets more than a month in advance as an anniversary gift. My friends and coworkers have heard of nothing else lately but my trip to Shelburne, Vermont for the festival so that when I got back to work the question on everyone’s lips was, “how was that cheese thing?”

Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival 2012 - Jasper Hill

In a word? Amazing. If I had three words, I would say amazing and sooo crowded. Ok, that’s four, but really, we were sardines in there, shuffling through, trying to maneuver lines to get to the delicious cheeses. I heard several disgruntled comments from people who have attended in previous years that the organizers sold too many tickets this year. This was our first time, so I can’t say if there were more people than in the past, but I will say that it was a little intense for us, especially with the high temperatures and lack of AC. It especially irked me because I was hoping to get some good photos of my favorite finds and getting photos ended up being low on the priority list because getting good food, staying out of the way, and trying to stay cool were high on the list.

Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival 2012

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Jul 21 2012

limoncello

Limoncello

I first found out about limoncello from my sister who essentially described it as a liquid lemon drop that was alcoholic. I was pretty much sold on it right then and there based purely on that description. And then she brought me a bottle from Italy and it sat on a shelf for months.  Literally months. You’d think I wasn’t interested, but the problem was really that I was terrified to open it because I didn’t want to finish it. I kept waiting for the perfect excuse to open it… and waited…and waited. When I finally opened it, I sipped slowly, enjoying every drop.

Lemons

Lemon Peel Strips

And then several months ago I came across a recipe for limoncello. What? I had no idea I could make it! I had to make some, and stat. My sister’s birthday was coming up and thought it would be the perfect gift for her (plus there would be plenty left for me!). Limoncello takes a a little over a month to make, so I had to get going. I got my bottles, my vodka, a recipe from the fabulous Eat Boutique, and got started.

Pouring Vodka Over Lemon Peels

Making Limoncello

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Jul 16 2012

pluot and blueberry galette

Pluot and Blueberry Galette

I had never heard of pluots before, but when I saw the bright red color (not to mention their low price) I grabbed a few along with a pint of blueberries to make a galette for some Fourth of July festivities. Yes, I know, we’re halfway through July and the Fourth has long since come and gone. I’m embarrassing late telling you about this tasty tart. I’ll spare you the excuses and divert your attention back to the matter at hand: pluots.

Pluots and Blueberries

Pluots and Blueberries

Pluots are part apricot and part plum, but a little closer to the plum side. To be honest, I was a little nervous when I cut the first one open and ate a slice. It was incredibly juicy and a beautiful deep red color, but its pizzazz kind of ended there. It didn’t actually taste like a whole lot.

Making Pluot and Blueberry Galette

Pluot and Blueberry Galette

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Jul 7 2012

goat cheese ice cream with roasted cherries and dark chocolate freckles

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries and Dark Chocolate Freckles

If you thought I was excited about the roasted strawberry ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home, just wait till you hear about this one. I am seriously in love with this goat cheese ice cream with roasted cherries. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the goat cheese, but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavor that it added to the ice cream. To be honest, I don’t think I would have ever guessed it was goat cheese if I did I blind taste test, perhaps in part because it’s not an ingredient that I expect in my ice cream.

Roasted Cherries

I’ve been anxious to try this recipe for a while, but was not so patiently waiting for cherry prices to drop first. When they were suddenly $2.98 a pound, I grabbed a big bag of cherries, did a little dance, and pulled out my OXO cherry pitter. For the cheese I used a Vermont goat cheese that we picked up on a day trip to Southern Vermont that we took to restock on maple syrup, cheese, more cheese, and supplies at the King Arthur Flour store (oh how I love Vermont!!). When you’re using fresh local ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong!

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries and Dark Chocolate Freckles

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries and Dark Chocolate Freckles

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