Enter to Win Reetsyburger's Cheese Giveaway!

When a box of cheese arrives at your doorstep, an average day gets upgraded to first-class - especially when it’s Culture Magazine sending you new cheese from Coach Farm. And today could be YOUR most excellent day too. Right here, right now, you have an opportunity to win free Coach Farm goat cheese from yours truly.

Earlier this month, I was selected by Culture Magazine for their "Hello My Name Is...Blogger Contest" to write about a new style of cheese. For this particular contest, they sent me a shipment of Coach Farm goat cheese including a brand new variety of raw goat’s milk cheese.

Many remember Miles and Lilian Cahn as the owners of the famous Coach Leatherware Company – you know, the makers of belts, wallets, and those oh-so coveted handbags. Well, in 1985, the Cahns sold Coach Leatherware, and since then they’ve been “held hostage” by their herd of more than 1000 Alpine French goats at Coach Farm. 

Located outside of New York City in the Hudson Valley, Coach Farm's cheesemaker Mark Newbold crafts artisanal goat cheese for a wide variety of customers, including foodie major leaguers like Mario Baltali and Pierre Chambrin. Coach Farm bagged a 1st place prize at the 2008 World Championship Cheese Contest for their Triple Cream Wheel, and that’s just one of many awards they’ve locked down.

Coach Farm's new, raw goat's milk cheese. Photo by Marie Flanagan.
The as yet unnamed, Coach Farm raw milk goat cheese that arrived on my doorstep was all dolled up in an insulated box, tucked in alongside a few cheesy companions. As I unpacked the box, I smiled when I got my mitts on the big hunk of raw goat’s milk cheese. Reminiscent of bûcheron, a French cheese which is usually aged for 25-50 days, Coach Farm's raw milk cheese is made with unpasteurized milk and aged for at least 60 days. 

It has a bloomy, edible rind, and inside the rind, the cheese proffers two layers of flavor and texture. A thin creamline of smooth pâte gives way to a substantial layer of semi-firm, slightly tangy chèvre. Pair it with a glass of sparkling Vouvray and some grapes, and enjoy it at brunch or for an evening dessert. The flavor is clean and bold enough to pair with your beet salad, but it expresses itself more nobly alongside some simple fresh fruit. And for that reason, I suggest Noble Raw as the name for this new cheese. 

My first-ever cheese giveaway. A collection of Coach Farm cheeses. Photo by Marie Flanagan.
With so much cheesy splendor in the house, I'm obligated to pay it forward, so I’m sharing some of this shipment with one, lucky reader. Included in the shipment will be a round of their award-winning Triple Cream, 4 ounces of their classic fresh goat cheese, and a piece of their brand new, unnamed raw goat’s milk cheese. 

The time is NOW. Do what the readers of this blog do best – gush about food. To enter for a chance to have this cheese shipped to you, either share this post on facebook -OR- write a description of your favorite goat cheese dish in the Twin Cities in the comments section below (if you live elsewhere, share a favorite restaurant's goat cheese preparation in your locale). This is your chance to WIN FREE CHEESE! Enter by the 18th.

Please note: This has been posted on multiple blogs. You need only enter on one of them.

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Rachelle's Fanciful Figolli

Look at this awesome wedding. 
A couple of our travel junkie pals, Dan and Rachelle, got hitched in Malta in 2004. To commemorate their time spent in Malta, the ever-thoughtful Rachelle started making a Maltese speciality - figolli - for Easter celebrations. 

Figolli are
colossal, splendid cookies stuffed with almond paste. Rachelle's figolli always steal the show with their ultra-mega size and fancy-pants decorating. Scads of people asked about them at our Easter lunch this year, so I asked Rachelle if I could share her recipe and story.


Rachelle's Fanciful Figolli 

(Adapted from the Gourmet Worrier recipe, which was adapted from The Food & Cookery of Malta recipe (1999))   

This quantity will give you enough dough to make approximately SIX average sized Figolli. 

For the pastry:  
  • 800g organic plain flour, sifted
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 400g butter
  • 4 organic egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • Grated rind of a lemon, lime and orange 
For the filling:
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • 600g ground almonds
  • 4 organic egg whites
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • A couple of capfuls of Orange Blossom water 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks, lemon zest and a little cold water. Knead it gently to form a smooth ball. Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile add the lemon zest, orange blossom water and sugar to the ground almonds. Add the egg whites and mix until well combined.
  4. On a floured surface roll out your pastry to a 2-3mm thickness. Cut out your desired shapes ensuring that you have two of each figure as they will be sandwiched together with the almond filling.
  5. Lay the figolla on a lined baking tray and spread the almond filling at least 1cm thick. Lay the second shape over the top and press the edges together sealing it with a little water. Bake for 20 minutes until a pale golden colour. Allow to cool before decorating with lemon glace icing. Use royal icing to hold the chocolate eggs in place. 
From the baker herself, (Rachelle):

"This is my fourth or fifth time baking these and I tend to use a different recipe each time, learning new tricks each year.  I really liked how the cookie and filling turned out this year, but I ran out of mojo by the time I got to the decorating and had a few frosting fails, so I didn't get as elaborate with the decorating."

Rachelle and Dan = couple crush

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

The Last Supper - at Travail

When news broke that the beloved Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale, MN would be closing, as we know it, we hightailed it to their dining room for one last prix fixe tasting.

We arrived at 5pm on a Thursday, waited 30 minutes, and were seated at the shag rug "hot tub" table, along with 4 young gals who were out for a "dinner club" meeting (Dinner club? I'm all about it.).

Because our meals at Travail have been memorable and exceeded our expectations, I wanted to document our last supper at the original Travail - you know, for posterity. I should have toted along our Panasonic Lumix, but instead I took pics with my iPhone (mea culpa).

A riff on grilled cheese and tomato soup, this saucy little number included an American cheese fritter in a sauce that tasted suspiciously like Campbell's tomato soup.

This nod to fish n' chips included a salmon and potato croquette with potato waffle chips, pickled goodies, and deconstructed tartar sauce.

The simple beef tartare was served on buttery toast with a zesty cornichon and tangy mustard.

Their angliotti never disappointed, and this night was no exception - with asparagus, a poached egg, and a buttery foam sauce reminiscent of hollandaise.

The perfectly seared scallop was served with lime mascarspone, candied pear, and cauliflower. 

A deconstructed version of fried chicken featured crispy fried chicken skin, fried thigh, fried breast, and a rich gravy, poured when served.  

 The beef course combined a succulent braised short rib, a piece of 32-day aged beef tenderloin, beer cheese "soup" with popcorn, caramelized brussels sprouts, and a rich potato gratin.

An over-the-top dessert course included a variety of tiny bars, including white chocolate fudge, an apple tart, a smores bar, chocolate cake, carrot cake, creme brûlée, and an "Orange Julius."

We're looking forward to their new ventures, Pig Ate My Pizza and The Rookery, and we're excited to snag a table when Travail reincarnates itself in September 2013.
[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]