Happy Easter Everyone

I had to sneak this recipe in. It is a kind of Aegean Cheesecake for lack of a better description and are an Easter speciality in certain parts of Greece. In Crete they make mini tarts known as Lyhnarakia which translates to Little Lanterns. But we will be making our full size version, so a Large Lantern I would say.
This recipe might look intimidating, but trust me it is not. I used a  ready made pie crust to save time and I had a 9 inch baking tin. Not a proper pie pan. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees while you are getting ready.

What You will Need

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup of Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of Regular Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Logs of Allegheny Chevre (Room Temperature)
  • 3/4 to 1 Cup of Milk  (I used Skim)
  • 4 Tbsp of Honey 
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

This recipe calls for a cheese similar to a ricotta. Keep that in mind. We are going to make our chevre have that kind of consistency. When your logs of chevre have gotten to room temp toss them into a bowl and grab your mixer. Slowly add the milk and mix on low until its good and mixed. You can mix it on high for a few seconds. It needs to be fluffy and a have a slight resemblance to ricotta cheese.

For the filling: Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the powdered sugar and the flour and beat until well mixed. Add this mixture to cheese. Add the honey and half of the cinnamon and blend until well mixed.

Get your baking tin ready. Place your crust in there and push it all the way to the bottom edges, you want the filling all the way in. With a sharp knife trim off any pieces that are sticking up. Pour in the cheese mixture and let it level out.

Place a large baking sheet in the warm oven on the middle rack. Place to pie tin on top and let bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges get a nice golden brown. Do not get alarmed when it puffs up above the height of the baking tin. It will sink back down when it is removed from the oven. Sprinkle on the rest of the cinnamon and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

This is great all alone but it is really nice with some fresh sliced peaches or nectarines.
Flour Mixed with Pepper and Onions.
Waiting to go into the Batter.
Going in the Oven to Bake.
The House Smells Amazing.

Welcome to My Very First Post! Thank You for Checking it Out!

This is an easy favorite when I have lots of eggs and milk in the house. I have made this from multiple other recipes and finally morphed it into my own. It was total curiosity that I put the cheese into it. Oh am I glad that I did! These babies are good for anytime of the day. 

What You Will Need..

2 Cups all-purpose unbleached flour

2 Tablespoons Chopped Spring Onions (Green Parts Only)

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper (More if you Like)

1 Teaspoon Nutmeg

3 Large Eggs (Room Temp)

2 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (I used skim because that’s what I had and prefer)
Of Course Cabra la Mancha! Cut it up in small cubes. About a small handful to toss in.
I do not own a specific "pop over" pan. I already had a Texas Muffin Pan.

    Whisk flour, spring onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl
     until  well blended. Gently whisk in flour mixture (do not over mix).

    Preheat oven to 425°. While the oven is heating, place the pan inside to warm it up. Remove the pan and grease         the  6 oversize muffin cups with 1/2 teaspoons butter each. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling cups             three-quarters full and dividing equally. Sprinkle on the cubes of Cabra la Mancha.

    Bake popovers until puffed, golden brown, and crispy around edges, 30-35 minutes. Using a thin knife or an             offset spatula, remove popovers from pan. Serve immediately.
SPRING 2013 has finally arrived; and with it our inspiration to return to Our Local Pantry.  Thanks to Zach at Tree and Leaf Farm for his beautiful baby leeks.  They inspired this simple and delicious spring dish.
Yes this is as easy as it it looks -- a dish that lets the wonderful ingredients stand alone and shine together.

We prepped the baby leeks by washing and cutting them in half.  Then, we tossed with a bit olive olive and seasoned them with salt & pepper.  We grilled the leeks -- happy to be huddled around the grill in the brisk Garrett County evening -- until they were beginning to soften.  We moved them directly from the grill to a warmed plate and topped them with a few wedges of Merry Goat Round.  The heat of the grilled leeks warmed and melted the goat cheese beautifully.
The baby leeks from Tree and Leaf Farm - 
simply prepped for the grill.
Merry Goat Round: clean, creamy and lactic with earthy undertones that amplify with age.
Last weekend we attended the annual Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster. We were thrilled to be met by such a warm crowd of people excited about goat cheese! Besides sampling and selling our cheeses, we provided a few tasty accompaniments for the festival goers. One of them was Pablo's homemade tapenade, which was so popular it sold out! So in the spirit of all that is delicious and goes well with wine and cheese, we wanted everyone to be able to make their own tapenade at home.
When Pablo shared this recipe with me I was shocked at how simple the ingredients were. Make this the night before serving  or allow tapenade to cool in fridge for at least two hours to let the flavors blend. 

Here's what you'll need:

1 jar fire roasted red peppers
1 jar garlic stuffed green olives  
Dried oregano
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Olive Oil 
Balsamic Vinegar 

Drain liquid from roasted peppers and olives. In a food processor add the peppers, olives and 3 0r 4 pinches of dried oregano. Pulse for about a minute. Pour mixture into a large bowl and add a few tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season the tapenade with sea salt and black pepper to your own taste. Cover and refrigerate.
You can use this tapenade in a variety of different ways. Try using it on pizza, on a crostini with cheese, atop grilled chicken, or as a dip with tortilla chips. Get creative! 
I'd never heard of cooking pizza on a grill before this summer, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. Turns out it is super easy, quick and requires little clean up -- my kind of recipe. There are a few essential steps to keep in mind: have your toppings organized and ready to go, make sure your grill is hot, and grill the dough plain on one side first.
I used fresh pizza dough from Whole Foods for this recipe, but Martha Stewart has an excellent recipe on her website if your in the mood to make your dough from scratch. You can also find pizza dough frozen in many supermarkets.

Here's the ingredients you'll need:

- Pizza dough
- Olive oil
- Flour for rolling out the dough and dusting the cookie sheet
- 1 red onion
- 8 0z log Allegheny Chevre
- 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 bulb garlic, roasted on grill 
- Fresh arugula

Start by heating up your grill. Cut the top off of garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in some tin foil and place on grill to roast -- about 15 minutes. Shape your pizza dough on a lightly floured surface -- I like to flatten the dough with my finger tips outward until a nice shape and thickness is achieved. Let dough sit for 5 minutes, then form dough once again until you have desired shape. 

Prepare your toppings: unwrap chevre log, shred your cheddar, and set aside a small bowl of olive oil. To caramelize onions fast, place 1 bulb of sliced red onion in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until brown. Add olive oil, a dash of salt and reduce heat to a low flame. Cook for about 5 more minutes.  

Dip paper towel in olive oil and rub on hot grill with a pair of tongs. Slide pizza dough off flat cookie sheet onto grill. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Dough will bubble, that's a good sign. Remove from grill, and carefully flip dough over to other side. Brush grilled side with olive oil and add toppings. Slide pizza back onto grill and cook for another 5-8 minutes or until bottom has a nice char and cheese is bubbling. Cut into squares and serve!

-- Grilled Pizza with Chevre, Cheddar, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Garlic & Arugula provided by Daniel.
If you've never added brie to a BLT before, you are in for a treat. The subtle mushroomy hints from the Merry Goat Round pairs really nicely with the salty flavor from the bacon. I tend to keep classic sandwiches such as these close to how you might find them in a diner, but I always make sure to buy quality ingredients. 
BLT's come together in a snap, the results are always delicious, and they're easy to make if you're having friends or company over for lunch. If you're a fan, BLT's are just one of those sandwiches that "hit the spot." 

Here's what I used to make this BLT extra special:

Rosemary artisan bread
Frisee lettuce
Vine ripe tomatoes 
Merry Goat Round -- halved and then sliced lengthwise 

As far as condiments go, I added a swipe of mayo and a dollop of grain mustard after the bread toasted. That's it really! 

-- Merry Goat Road BLT recipe provided by Daniel
I've been on-site out in Garrett County, Maryland at FireFly Farms headquarters this week! This recipe post wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration and generosity of our awesome team members. Joanne, one of our retail specialists and farmers market liaisons offerred up a gorgeous zucchini from her garden in Friendsville, MD. Thanks Joanne!
I love this recipe for two reasons: it's easy and always comes out moist and delicious. One of the fun things about making sweet or savory breads is you can easily throw in extra ingredients (I added dried cranberries) to make the recipe extra special. 

Here's what you'll need:

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 - 3 teaspoons vanilla
 1 large fresh grated zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Allegheny Chevre (optional)
Apple & Peach Raw Blossom Honey (optional)

Wait until loaf has cooled completely before cutting!

How to do it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Scatter baking soda and salt over the mixture and blend in. Add flour, about a third at a time. Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in the dried cranberries. 

Divide batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Makes 2 loaves.

Toast a few slices of the bread on a panini press (or toaster oven) until golden brown. Spread Allegheny Chevre on toast and drizzle with honey. I had this for breakfast with blueberries and coffee. Absolutely divine!

--  Local Zucchini Bread with Allegheny Chevre & Raw Honey provided by Daniel 
This week's recipe is in honor of MountainTop Bleu's recent bronze medal award at the 2012 American Cheese Society Conference that took place in Raleigh, NC a few weeks back. It had been far too long since i'd made stuffed peppers -- something I often ate growing up in my Italian-American household. This time I substituted rice for quinoa, and the result was spectacular. I am not sure i'll ever go back to a traditional rice-stuffed pepper again!
Stuffed peppers are a total nostalgia food for me -- so I always find them really fun to prepare. I found the quinoa to be an excellent alternative to rice in this case, and highly recommend it -- but if you like to stick to what you know, rice would work just fine. 

Here's what you'll need:

1 cup of quinoa 
2 cups of vegetable stock or broth -- I used veggie stock for added flavor
4 medium to large bell peppers
1 shallot -- finely chopped
1 small eggplant, skinned & cubed -- I used an organic purple eggplant from Whole Foods
1 tbs minced garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil
Cayenne pepper 

Start by combining 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of veggie stock/broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until quinoa is translucent -- when you see a white ring around the grains you'll know they're done. 

Warm a medium sized saucepan over high heat. Coat saucepan with extra virgin olive oil. Add shallots and garlic -- cook for a few minutes. Add the cubed eggplant and basil. Allow eggplant to cook for about 8 minutes -- or until soft but not mushy. In the meantime, prepare your peppers to be filled! Wash and remove stem, core, and seeds from pepper. Halve them lengthwise. Preheat your oven to bake at 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil -- shiny side down and coat with some olive oil. 

Combine your cooked quinoa to eggplant mixture in saucepan and season with a few shakes of cayenne pepper. Let quinoa/eggplant mixture warm over low flame for a few minutes -- stirring throughly to evenly distribute flavors. Spoon filling into peppers and pop into oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and place a few strips of MountainTop Bleu over peppers -- place back into oven for another minute or so, allowing cheese to fully melt. Prepare your palate for a truly delicious tasting experience and dig in! Or, as my grandmother says: mangia! 

-- Quinoa & Eggplant Stuffed Peppers with Melted MountainTop Bleu provided by Daniel
It happened to me again this week ... I had an insatiable craving for a big plate of yummy carbs. So, while perusing the aisles of Whole Foods Market P Street - I came across some beautiful, large wild-caught (rated yellow by Blue Ocean Institute) shrimp. It's a tad dangerous for me to eat pasta alone ...  so I invited a friend over from the Art Institute in Arlington, VA to assist me in the kitchen. His background in Culinary Arts elevated the quality of the dish from good to superb! 
The key to this dish is patience and preparation. Overall, this recipe is quite easy to make -- but there are a few key steps make it a tad time consuming, so make this meal when you have amble quality time to devote in your kitchen. 

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

1 lb pasta al dente -- we used De Cecco Spinach Linguine 
4 1/2 oz butter (unsalted) and clarified 
1 bulb of garlic -- roasted in oven (about 10-15 minutes)
Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
1 lb. fresh/raw shrimp -- shelled & deveined 
1 medium sized shallot - finely chopped
Grated Bella Vita

Get all the time consuming steps out of the way first: heat your pasta water, roast your garlic in the oven, and clarify your butter. Clarifying butter is really easy, just be patient with it so as not to burn the butter. Simply warm butter over a low flame/heat until all the impurities float to the top; skim the cloudy film out with a spoon and voila you have clean, clear and delicious clarified butter. 

Clean your shrimp, chop your shallot, zest your lemon, and grate Bella Vita while you wait for above ingredients to be done. Mince garlic when roasted. Warm a large saute pan over medium heat. Coat bottom of pan with clarified butter (a few tablespoons). Add garlic and shallots to pan, cook until shallots are translucent. 

Add remaining amount of clarified butter, raw shrimp, and season with cayenne & black pepper. Shrimp takes about 5 minutes to cook. Add lemon zest and juice. Combine cooked pasta to saute pan and give ingredients a good toss. Simply plate and top your pasta with Firefly Farms goat parmesan, Bella Vita, and enjoy! 

-- Bella Vita Topped Spicy Shrimp Scampi provided by Daniel & DJ.
These bite-sized appetizers pack a hefty punch. The flavor from the sopressata and Black & Blue combined with the salty-crunch of the roasted potato makes for a bold tasting experience. This appetizer would best be served before a nice, light and healthy main salad. Just a few of these are enough to satisfy even the hungriest of appetites. 
This is a pretty no non-sense kind of appetizer to prepare. The most time consuming step is leaving enough time for the potatoes to roast, about 30-45 minutes -- to ensure they've cooked through and are crispy. I used small, red-potatoes for this recipe but any variation would be equally as good. 

Set your oven to 375 degrees. Wash your potatoes and pat dry. Halve them. In a medium-sized mixing bowl add: 2-3 tbs. of extra virgin olive-oil, a pinch of sea-salt, a generous amount of black pepper, and a few shakes of cayenne pepper. Lay the seasoned potatoes out on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Pop into oven, and roast until crispy.

Remove from oven and assemble your potato bites while they're still hot! Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend everyone.

-- Roasted Potato & Blue Cheese Sopressata Bites provided by Daniel
Delicious sopressata from Three Little Pigs Charcuterie & Salumi,
 pork provided by Evensong Farm.
Slice-up the Black & Blue into neat little 
squares, to perch atop the sopressata & roasted potato.