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Willamette Cheese Steward Cassie Stockton knows cheese. Also a wealth of wisdom when it comes to the many other accompaniments found at your Market cheese shop, such as oils, vinegars, salts, fruits spreads, honey, crackers, nuts, pâtés and dried fruits, Cassie offers practical advice and insight for both the novice and culinarily gifted.

MOC-cheese3.2Summer is finally here and it is time for fresh veggies and herbs; this means tomatoes and basil to me! I tend to assume that most of our customers are aware that we stretch fresh mozzarella year round at the Willamette Market of Choice.

What you may not know is HOW MUCH we stretch in the summer months compared to the colder parts of the year. During the fall, winter and early spring, we stretch approximately 15-20 pounds of cheese a WEEK. During the summer months, production will increase to 15-20 pounds A DAY! It is really incredible to watch it fly out the door.

MOC-cheese2.2Usually we pull ten pounds in the morning and ten pounds in the evening. Our fresh mozzarella has a wonderfully clean, milky flavor and a tender texture. It doesn't get fresher than this. We purchase the mozzarella curd in ten-pound bags from BelGioioso Cheese in Wisconsin. BelGioioso has been producing Italian-style cheese since 1979. There are currently seven state-of-the-art facilities that handle the process from start to finish in and around the Green Bay area. We are pleased to assure you that they only use milk that is hormone and antibiotic free for their products. Fresh mozzarella is a great cheese for summertime fare such as cold pasta salads, grilled pizza and caprese salad. Here is a recipe that I enjoy and hope you do too!
Fresh Mozzarella Pockets

16 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 ½" chunks
15-20 fresh basil leaves
30 sheets wonton wrappers
1 egg + 1 T water for egg wash
1 c olive oil
1 c warm tomato sauce, your preference

Drain the mozzarella on a paper towel. Wash and dry the basil and cut into thin strips (chiffonade). Whisk the egg and water together. Place a chunk of mozzarella and a sprinkle of basil on top of a wonton sheet. Brush around the inside edges of the wonton with the egg wash and fold in half. Brush around the seams again and fold edges in, let rest about 1 min to seal.

Heat the oil in a lrg pan until it reaches 350°. Place the pockets in the pan and cook until golden brown, approx. 1 min per side. Drain cooked pockets on paper towels then sprinkle with cheese of your choice (Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, etc.), if desired. Serve immediately with the warm sauce and enjoy.

There are many ways you could modify this recipe by swapping out the basil for other veggies, tomato or artichoke pesto, olive tapenade, etc. Anything that sounds good to you, give it a try and experiment.

Many people are aware of the wonderful blue cheese made at Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Oregon. Rogue has been producing blue cheese since 1957, starting with the original Oregon Brand Blue Cheese (now known as Oregon Blue). This was followed by Oregonzola, Crater Lake Blue, Smokey Blue, Rogue River Blue Reserve, Caveman Blue, Echo Mt. Blue and Flora Nelle. In 2007, the creamery became the first artisan cheesemaker in the U.S. to export raw milk cheese to the European Union.RogueBlueHeaven

Now Rogue Creamery is proud to introduce the newest addition to its product line: Blue Heaven. Blue Heaven is a blue cheese powder with a mellow flavor and smooth texture. The applications of this cheese in a shaker go way beyond cheese popcorn! Try Blue Heaven on French fries, eggs, salads, nuts, soup, quiche, risotto, polenta and more.

Blue Heaven is a blend of Oregon Blue, Crater Lake Blue and Rogue's special reserve blues.

The Rogue Creamery uses raw whole milk that is rBST free. Its blue cheeses are aged a minimum of 90 days and are suitable for vegetarians. Try them!

Humans have been making cheese for centuries. According to the journal Nature, in the 1970s archaeologists in Northern Europe discovered pieces of clay pots with small holes in them dating back 7,000 years. Speculation as to the use went unanswered until recent technology allowed for analysis of the clay. These tests showed cows' milk residue and it was deduced that these vessels were used for draining cheese.

Have you ever wondered how cheese is made? Making a fresh cheese product generally takes less than an hour and is an interesting and rewarding process! Try this easy recipe for fresh ricotta:

ricottaFresh Ricotta

1/2 gal of whole milk (NOT ultra pasteurized)
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t fine ground salt
1/4 c distilled white vinegar

Line a large, fine-mesh strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a nonreactive (such as stainless steel) bowl.

In a large saucepan mix milk, cream and salt; set over med heat until the mixture reaches 175-180° on a thermometer (approx. 5 minutes). Remove pot from heat and slowly pour in the white vinegar while stirring steadily. Stop stirring as soon as all the vinegar has been added. Allow the mixture to sit while the milk solids coagulate and float to the surface leaving they whey on the bottom (approx. 20 min).

Ladle the solids into the strainer and discard the liquid whey. Drain the ricotta (without pressing down on the curds) until most of the whey has drained (about an hour). Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and store in a covered container for up to one week.

urbancheeseThe Willamette Market Cheese Shop is very excited to stock a variety of cheese making kits for our hands-on customers. We carry a Mozzarella/Ricotta Kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company in Ashfield, MA. We are also proud to stock local DIY cheese kits from Urban Cheesecraft located in Portland, OR. These kits include Paneer/Queso Fresco, Mozzarella/Ricotta and a Goat Cheese Kit. All kits include the supplies necessary to make cheese EXCEPT milk. These make perfect gifts and are a real learning experience for all involved. Kids and adults love the process and are jazzed to consume a product they had a hand in making. Come on and get crafty!!!!

We are really excited to introduce Beehive Cheese Company from Northern Utah. Let me begin with the back story!

beehiveIn 2005, brothers-in-law Pat Ford and Tim Welsh decided to trade in their fast-paced careers for the simpler and quieter life making cheese. Their creamery makes a variety of cow's milk cheeses from milk sourced from nearby Wade's Dairy, which is home to both Jersey and Holstein cows. The milk is hormone and antibiotic free and Beehive uses only vegetarian rennet.

Market of Choice is proud to offer a selection of Beehive Cheeses for our Savories ad that will begin on May 17th and run through May 30th. This ad will feature:
Barely Buzzed - A sharp cheese rubbed with espresso and lavender.
Teahive - A tangy cheese coated with black tea and bergamot.
Seahive - Rubbed with Utah honey and salt.
Apple Walnut Smoked Cheese - Smokey and Sweet!

We are thrilled to announce that we will be hosting two "Meet The Cheesemaker" events with Pat Ford of Beehive Cheese. Pat will be demoing his cheese and answering customer questions. These events will take place at your Willamette Market of Choice on May 31 from 3-6 pm and at your Corvallis Market of Choice on June 1 from 12-3 pm. Please come and taste some cheese and meet YOUR cheesemaker!

Are you aware that we have a regular weekend demo schedule set up at your Willamette market? On Friday and Monday evenings, we feature an item from our Meat and Seafood department. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, we showcase items from our Specialty Cheese Shop. Demo times are approximately 5-7 pm on all four days. Come by and have a taste!

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