Sunday, September 23, 2012

Say Cheese! Inspiration from Wisconsin's dairy country...

"It's gonna be a long, hot summer, we should be together with your feet up on the dashboard now..."  On the one hand it seems like just yesterday when Keith Urban crooned those very words, to me and me alone of course, as I sat in the balmy Wisconsin night, a frosty adult beverage in one hand and, naturally, cheese curds in the other (when in Rome, they say). But when I really think about it, we are officially into autumn and that perfect June night was a solid three months ago.  A long, hot three months ago - the man delivered on his promise. Never one to lament the end of summer, I'm not complaining about the impending change in seasons.  In fact, I'm quite pleased with the already cooler days and downright chilly evenings, but it does have me wondering where my summer went and what, at least culinarily, do I have to show for it?!

I may have neglected my blog this summer, and my kitchen in general for that matter.  May have neglected my grill. May have neglected feeding my boy homemade yumminess on the regular and maybe, just maybe, may have neglected eating as healthily as I would have liked. But I did make homemade cheese.  Call it inspiration from my trip to Wisconsin. Call it dairy addiction. Call it fan-freakin-tastic! Because, I will tell you, if I did one thing right this summer it was this cheese.   If you've been following along on my culinary journey, you already know that I have a bit of a cheese problem.  I mean, I'm the girl who waxed poetic about the virtues of baked ricotta with chocolate chips for a full paragraph.  I'm the girl who has never met a cheese she didn't like.  And just to prove it, I'm also the girl who has spent no less than an hour sampling an abundance of cheese at the Fairway cheese counter (yes, they'll let you taste the cheeses and seem happy to do so, even if you want to taste ALL of them!!!).  So for this love story to progress organically, the next logical step is for me to remove the middle man from me and my cheese.  Which is exactly what I did.

It began innocently enough when I returned from my Wisconsin trip with six pounds of cheese curds in tow (cheese problem).  Granted, a pound or two were to be gifted, but the remaining cheese was for us.  To say that it didn't last long would be a grave understatement.  I can say with relative conviction that our cheese was gone within the week (cheese problem).  Which led Doug and I to perform an Internet search to purchase cheese curds and have them shipped to us (cheese problem).  Exorbitant shipping costs, however, prevented us from completing our purchase but left us fiending for some cheese to Fairway we went. In search of squeaky, delicious cheese curds.  Which they did not have.  What they did have was fresh mozzarella curd and inspiration struck.