Cheese of the Month: January
Each month, we introduce you to a delicious, unique cheese that you may not have discovered otherwise. We partnered with a local specialty cheese supplier to help curate farmers-market-quality cheese from independent producers from around the world. Whether you’re a cheese novice or connoisseur, this is a fun way to try a variety of cheese. No subscription needed! Simply add it to your delivery order like you would any other product.
Samish Bay, which is located near the base of Mount Blanchard in Bow, Washington has been making farmstead cheese in the Skagit Valley since 1999. Thanks to the region’s green-grass fields and temperate climate, the valley is well suited to organic farming. With more than 200 acres of farmland, the dairy uses fresh organic milk from their own herd to produce a variety of cheeses, yogurt, and kefir.
Made from the milk of Samish Bay’s herd, this organic Gouda is a traditional Dutch cheese. It’s mild and creamy when young, and over time develops a nice sharp flavor, becoming drier and crumbly. We should also mention that Gouda is extremely versatile – from snacking to cooking – it has you covered. But truly, Gouda was made to melt, and it's an amazing replacement for cheddar in macaroni and cheese. Speaking of mac & cheese, we created a recipe (see below!) where this cheese truly shines.
Bacon Gouda Mac & Cheese with Sourdough Breadcrumbs and Strawberry Habanero Drizzle
For the Breadcrumbs
What You Need
Tear bread into large chunks and place in the oven at the lowest temperature and bake for 20 minutes. Alternatively, break into large chunks and leave out overnight to dry out. Tear and crumble large chunks into smaller pea-sized chunks, then pulse in a food processor 20 to 25 times.
Heat skillet over medium heat, and drop butter in. Once the butter has melted, pour in the breadcrumbs. Stir to coat in butter. Toast the crumbs, stirring frequently for 5 to 10 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the Strawberry Habanero Drizzle
What You Need
- 1/4 cup Kelly's Strawberry Habanero preserves
- 2 tbsp. water
[Note: if you can't find the Kelly's, use 1/4 cup strawberry preserves mixed with 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.]
Mash the preserves with a fork until large pieces are broken up, then mix in the water. Microwave for 30 seconds on high and stir. Microwave additional 15 seconds and stir again. Using a large spoon, drizzle over the top of the macaroni and cheese before sprinkling the breadcrumbs over.
For the Macaroni & Cheese
What You Need
- 16 oz. dried pasta (we like cavatappi or trottole for this, but elbows work great too!)
- 6 slices Carlton Farms Applewood Bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
- 12 oz. Samish Bay Organic Gouda, grated
- 1/2 cup Alpenrose Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pint Alpenrose Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F. Cook pasta in well-salted water and drain slightly before done (take a couple of minutes off of the suggested cook time), set aside in a 2.5-quart baking dish while making the cheese sauce.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until white and frothy. Add flour and whisk constantly until mixture browns slightly and is bubbly. Reduce heat to medium and add whipping cream. Whisk well until flour and butter are well incorporated.
Whisk in cayenne, Dijon, Worcestershire, and pepper. Keep whisking until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low, and start adding the Gouda by the handful, stirring constantly. Make sure the handful has completely melted before adding the next.
When all of the cheese has been added, taste the sauce and add salt if needed. Stir in the bacon. Remove from heat and pour the sauce over the noodles in the baking dish. Stir gently to combine.
Make the strawberry habanero sauce (above), and drizzle over the macaroni and cheese. Next, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.