I picked up a new cheese at Whole Foods this weekend, a Smoked Cheddar from Carr Valley in La Valle, Wisconsin. It is terrific - lightly smoked with Applewood and then rubbed with paprika. It is also available online. I'm using it in a Shrimp with Smoked Cheddar Indiana Grits.
"Sonny Slopes" may sound like the name of a Vaudeville comedian but "Sunny Slopes" is actually a farm in Lynn, Indiana (Randolph County) where Steve and Rosalie Deatline produce maple syrup, cornmeal, grits, and soft-wheat flour. If you are headed to the Indiana State Fair this year you can visit the Deatlines, see them operate their portable grist mill, and purchase their products at the Pioneer Village. Rosalie will be dressed in prairie-style period clothing, BTW. The Deatline's wheat flours are milled from wheat they grown themselves and the corn comes from other Indiana farms. They also sell wheat berries for people who want to do their own grinding.
I've had grits on my mind all week since returning from the Carolinas where I enjoyed them not only for breakfast but also in Shrimp and Grits for dinner at The Parson's Table in Little River, South Carolina. Sunny Slopes Farms offers both white and yellow grits. Rosalie tells me that the yellow is a wee bit sweeter than the white.
The Deatlines sell their products year round on the farm. Their "side-porch sales room" is operated on the honor system when they are not around. They will also ship. Sunny Slopes is located at 7773 South 100 East in Lynn. They can be reached by phone at 765-874-2170. They can also be reached by email.
Swissland Cheese makes goat, raw milk, grass-fed organic, and specialty cheeses. Much of their milk comes from the Old Order Amish community near Berne, Indiana. Specific varieties available include grass-fed organic, raw milk in several varieties and styles made from both cow’s and goat’s milk. Swissland is Indiana’s only producer of goat milk feta. Swissland also has a line of specialty cheeses, most of which start with Cheddar as a base. These include Chedda Choco Nut, a sweet and salty combination of Cheddar, cocoa, and English walnuts. The specialty line also includes Chedda Feta Bluz a mixture of Cheddar, feta, and blue cheeses. Their products are available online and at their Cheese Outlet (818 Welty St.) in Berne. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Originally published in fork-tender newspapers on August 16, 2007
Want to set aflutter the heart of a carnivorous foodie? Mention Kobe Beef! In the mid-1990s, the most elite of the who’s-who-in-food began buzzing about beef coming from the Kobe region of Japan. Stories of how the cattle was raised seemed outrageous - daily massages, a diet that included beer. The fascination grew and a staggering number of people began paying prices of well over $100 per pound for this Japanese delicacy.
David Rosengarten of the Rosengarten Report, a popular newsletter for those into food, recalls his first experiences with Kobe. “I remember eating it deliriously in the late 1990s at New York steakhouses…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and tasting - beef that, when raw, was so intensely marbled with fat it looked like it had been gang-injected with cream cheese. And the mouth feel was literally unbelievable: this stuff didn’t metaphorically melt in your mouth, it literally melted in your mouth, accompanied by wonderful waves of sweet beef and butter flavor.”
It did not take long for the American entrepreneurial spirit to take over and Kobe beef was being raised here in the U.S. As it turned out, the secret was not in the beer and the rub downs, but in the basic genetics of the breed of cattle - Wagyu. This type of cow is an anomaly among cattle. Its meat is much more marbled than any other breeds and it has a higher ratio of mono-saturated fats to saturated fats. Some claim that it also has high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Amazingly, this is not only some of the most delicious beef in existence, but may also be some of the healthiest.
You may be saying to yourself, “This is all quite interesting but I don’t get to New York City very often.” Well, you don’t have to go quite that far. In fact, Kobe is now not only available in Indiana, but being raised here. In 2003, the famed Joseph Decuis restaurant in Roanoke, Indiana began serving American Kobe as a featured menu item and it was an immediate hit with their discriminating clientele. Restaurant owners, Alice and Pete Eshelman set out to learn more about Kobe. They met and became friends with the handful of people who were pioneering Kobe beef to the U.S.
The Eshelmans set their sites on raising American Kobe beef themselves on the Joseph Decuis Heritage Farm, located just six miles from the restaurant. They acquired the finest breeding stock, consulted with the experts, and began raising cattle in a healthy, drug-free, stress-free environment. The calves born at the Heritage Farm are part Angus and part Waygu which produces robust beef that maintains the Kobe tenderness.
They now are their own supplier to the restaurant, making them the only establishment in Indiana, and perhaps the Midwest, serving home-grown American Kobe beef. Not only do they serve Kobe at the restaurant, they also sell it directly to the customer at their Emporium, located next door. Since there is no middle-man, their Kobe prices are much lower than you would find nearly anywhere else.
Joseph Decuis Kobe is available in halves or in individual cuts. A half Kobe will provide about 200 pounds of meat. The number of halves available is limited, so customers are encouraged to call and lock-in an order. Halves start becoming available each April. Individual cuts for purchase include filets, ribeyes, strip loins, and ground steak (this makes a phenomenal hamburger). Phone orders and shipping is available for Indiana customers only. The Joseph Decuis Emporium is located at 191 N. Main Street in Roanoke and they are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. They can be reached by phone at 260-672-1715. More information is available at here.
I'm consistently amazed at how love of food and entrepreneurship come together. On this weekend's visit to the Zionsville Farmers Market, I met David Rowe. David is a hoot to talk with and he is making a terrific product - Mouse Oil. There is a story behind the name, but I'm not going to share it because Dave is a much better story teller than me. Show up at the Zionsville Farmer's Market and hear it first-hand from him.
David's The Mouse Oil Company does one thing - herb-infused olive oils - and they do it masterfully. David starts with imported cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil he gets from a Chicago distributor, his own home-grown herbs, and the magic happens. His oils come in seven varieties - basil, oregano, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, and one that combines all of the other six. I sampled them all and each and everyone are amazing. The oils come in 4 ounce bottles and sell for five bucks.
I walked away with garlic and rosemary. I made pizza crust (recipe here) and used the garlic oil. It provided a beautiful new layer of flavor and aroma to an already pretty good pizza crust recipe (I must say). In talking with David, he mentions that he likes to scramble a simple egg using his oils. Although I've not tried it yet, I plan to use the Rosemary for that purpose.
Mouse Oil is currently available only at the Zionsville Farmer's Market but David can be reached by email here. The market is located in the parking lot at the corner of Hawthorne & Main Streets. It operates June through September and the hours are 8:00 to 10:30 am.
My mom is a good cook and there are several things she makes that I love that I've learned to make as well. Her meatloaf is tops on the list. As good as it is, however, I'm not sure I would be confident enough to build a business around it. Fortunately for all of us, Mark and Wendy Miles didn't have the same doubts. Mark is such a fan of his mom's applesauce, he and Wendy decided to bottle the stuff and sell it. I became a customer, and fan, while visiting the Zionsville Farmer's Market. It was my two-year-old son, Oliver, actually, who prompted me to make the purchase. We both took advantage of a free sample and he piped up, "I want some of that." What's a dad to do?
After talking with Mike and Wendy, I learned that this is part of their sales plan - when kid's get to sample, mom and dad buy. Truth be told, I would have bought anyway based on my own taste test. This is really good applesauce - made with Indiana apples and some warm spices. Almost like apple butter but not as thick and sweet. They are also introducing a sugar-free version.
You can find Mama's Old-Fashioned Applesauce at farmer's markets and several Indiana retailers. You can find out exactly where, and get all sorts of other information, at their website (available here). The site also has some great recipes including applesauce popcicles!
The following is a transcript of what was originally heard on RadioMom 91.1 FM on June 22, 2007
What do you do on a Saturday morning when your children wake up at 5:17 am? Well, at our house we make breakfast. Biscuits are among our favorites. I have old pictures of me helping my step dad make biscuits and this scene gets repeated at my house only now I’m the dad and I’ve got two helpers. To make it even more fun we sometimes use cookie cutters and end up with dinosaur or doggy bone-shaped biscuits.
Although the kids are happy with butter and jelly, I love sorghum on my biscuits. My favorite is Pickett’s Autumn Gold Sorghum made in nearby Sheridan. It’s the perfect accompaniment to biscuit hot out of the oven. Pickett’s sweet and earthy Autumn Gold is a staple in my pantry.
Here is a great idea from a Seattle start-up called Eat Local - frozen meals (i.e., TV Dinners) made with local foods. Not much on their website yet. Hopefully, there will be more info soon. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a nice article here about the company. We heed a Hoosier version!
We had friends over on St. Patrick's Day and we started with a Ploughman's Platter. As I shopped for the components, I got panicky when I couldn't find chutney at my local Kroger. In the past, I had purchased the basic Major Grey's Chutney at this store, but none was to be found on Saturday. I hadn't really planned on making my own but realized I would have to.
When I got home, I decided to make it a blueberry chutney (not really Irish, but that's okay). I reached for a jar of Blue Sky Berry Farm (Wanatah, Indiana) 100% Fruit Blueberry Spread. I plopped about a cup's worth into a sauce pan and added a splash of red wine vinegar, some red pepper flakes, ginger, cloves. and a handful of raisins. I brought this to a boil, let it simmer for a few minutes, let it cool, and I was all set - blueberry goodness spiked with the complexity of the other ingredients.
I had met Jennifer Van Meter and her one-year-old son Kyle last week at a local foods expo in Valpo. Along with the fruit spread I picked up some blueberry syrup. Can't wait to fix pancakes. Jennifer and her husband Lew have been in the blueberry business since 2001. They offer U-pick, Ready-pick from July 1 through mid-August. All of their products (i.e., fruitspread, syrup, etc.) are made with their own berries,
Kim and Kristi (The Two Cookin' Sisters) just might be a pair of DNA-sharing evil geniuses. Beneath their Brookston storefront I'm sure they have a secret test-kitchen lair where they concoct their diabolically delicious products. Once these salsas, jams, jellies, and other delights are consumed by the unsuspecting public, the masses become hopelessly addicted and can't go more than a few hours without a fix.
I recently found myself in possession of one of their newer products - Carrot Cake Jam. What impressed me first about this product, as with all their products, is the list of ingredients. This the CCJ here is the inventory - sugar, carrots, pears, pineapple, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pectin. That's it. This would certainly meet the Michal Pollan test (everything in this would be recognized as food by your grandmother).
Another thing I love about this product is the Ball jar it comes in. A sort of gentle nostalgic breeze blows over me each time I open a Ball jar for the first time - unscrewing the outer ring, reaching for a knife to gently prying up the metal disk that tops the jar, that little pop, and then the unfettered goodness inside.
I opened the CCJ jar this morning and had some of it on whole wheat toast. I also used it to top the boy's waffles. By gum, this stuff really does taste like carrot cake - fruity, a bit crunchy, infused with warm spices. As delicious as it was on my lightly-buttered toast, I'm betting it would be even better on a bagel with cream cheese. As for my progeny, they loved it as well. The oldest is not a fan of carrots but ate this right up.
It has been awhile since we last checked in with the sisters and much has changed. Along with an expansion of their product line, they've taken over the space next door to their storefront. At the Prairie Street Market you can find things like local (in-season) produce, eggs, cheese, and a bunch of other good stuff. The main store, along with the new market, make this definitely worth the trip to Brookston. If you can't get by, order some Two Cookin' Sisters products from the website.