Monday, August 23, 2010

Dawn Kay in Water Valley, Alberta

In May we posted an article about one of Jim Wallace's advanced cheesemaking workshops in Ashfield, MA.  (Jim is our technical advisor.)  Dawn travelled over 2000 miles from her farm in Canada to attend it.

Dawn loves her farm and she appears to be living in paradise.

She calls this picture, "Reason Not to Leave the Farm."
This is the view from her verandah . . .
I asked her to tell us more about how she began making cheese:

After raising a commercial flock of sheep for 20 years, I was given 2 goats by someone moving away.  The 2 goats grew to 10 and before I knew it I had sold my sheep and was milking every morning.  We love to raise our own food- chickens, lamb, beef finished on goats milk and ducks.  I love the goats, and enjoy my time with them.
The dairy component just seemed to be a natural progression.  Yogurt, and soft cheese was easy, and then friends started asking for Feta.  I love to cook so ……. cheese making gave me a whole new way to try new recipes.  I have started to record all my new recipes as I modify others to work with goat cheese.  Who knows, in 10 years I may have my own cookbook!

I have several salad recipes, spinach and goat cheese, watermelon and feta salad, and 3 fantastic cheesecake recipes using Fromage Blanc.  I am making Feta crumbled and in brine, Fromage Blanc, and now Camembert!  I am just making these in my kitchen for now and my existing cold room in the basement is working wonderfully as a cave for the Camembert.

The first photo is blurry, sorry, but is of my home made Fromage Blanc cheesecake with blueberry preserves.  
The second photo is a sampling of what I have for cheese during peak milking.  Feta in brine and crumbled.  Fromage blanc on the bottom and my first attempt at Camembert sitting on top of that.  My favorite!  Chevre coated with dry basil and garlic.

Self sufficiency is our goal.  Bartering with cheese for other homegrown products works wonderfully in our remote area.  Here is a recipe that is timely.  I have so much lettuce and spinach in the garden right now, and the strawberries won't stop.

Fresh Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh strawberries washed and sliced
4 cups of fresh garden lettuce or baby spinach leaves
4 oz. goat feta
Vinaigrette
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup white wine
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a blender mix ¼ of the fresh sliced strawberries, mint leaves, lemon juice, wine and olive oil.
Wash your garden fresh lettuce and pat dry.  Add the remaining sliced strawberries and vinaigrette.  Toss.  Sprinkle with crumbled goat feta.  YUM!

Thanks, Dawn.  Let us know when that cookbook comes out!

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