Our Cave to Co-op cheese for August 2019 is a Greek-style, fresh brined, goat milk feta cheese from Vermont Creamery in Websterville, Vermont.
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery was started by two young visionaries devoted to new and non-traditional agriculture, Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. As a college student, Allison spent a summer traveling in France. She worked on a small family farm in Brittany, earning room and board while learning how to make all of the essentials of what was to become her life passion: cheesemaking.
Bob always thought he would one day take over his grandparents’ dairy farm. Unfortunately by the time he finished his degree in Agriculture, they’d sold the farm. Appropriately enough the improbable run as long term business partners began in 1984 during a dinner celebrating Vermont agricultural products. Bob was in charge of the dinner and desperately needed a locally made goat cheese for the French chef’s signature lamb dish. He reached out to Allison who was then working at a dairy lab and milking goats in Brookfield. Allison made the chèvre on the farm, Bob delivered it to the chef — the dinner was a success and Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery was born.
Purchased by Land o’ Lakes in 2017, Vermont Creamerycontinues to produce its award-winning fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter and fresh dairy at the creamery in Websterville, Vermont. Vermont Creamery has won over 100 national and international awards. In their 32nd year of business, Vermont Creamery supports a network of more than 20 family farms, promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. Vermont Creamery is the founder of Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, the country’s first demonstration goat dairy.
Vermont Creamery goat feta is the perfect summer cheese and is a delicious addition to salads and vegetables.
Watermelon & Feta Salad
3 lbs watermelon, peeled & cubed
1 T lemon Juice
zest of 1 lemon
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips
4 oz arugula leaves
4 oz Vermont Creamery Feta
salt & pepper
Place watermelon chunks in a large bowl and add half the lemon zest, all the lemon juice, oil, mint and arugula. Toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, scatter cheese on top, sprinkle with remaining lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve!
Melissa Clark’s Shrimp w/ Corn & Feta
1½ lb extra-large shrimp, shelled and de-veined
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 finely minced garlic cloves
5 T unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
4 cups corn kernels – about 6-7 ears of corn
½ cup crumbled Vermont Creamery Feta
freshly ground black pepper
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 small diced red onions
1 diced Poblano pepper
2 diced red tomatoes
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of Tabasco or hot sauce
cilantro and basil leaves for serving
1. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with salt and garlic and let rest in the refrigerator until needed (up to 2 hours).
2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter with the cream over medium heat. Add corn, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the corn is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. If all the moisture evaporates before the corn is soft, add a few teaspoons water to the pan.
3. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend corn mixture until you get a chunky purée. Mix in feta, black pepper and salt to taste.
4. Cover and keep warm until needed. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and sauté until pale golden and soft, 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, a large pinch of salt, and a tablespoon or two of water if the pan looks dry, and sauté until the tomatoes break down and turn sauce-like, about 8 minutes.
5. Add shrimp, lemon juice and Worcestershire and hot sauces. Sauté until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir remaining butter into pan and add more salt, if needed.
6. Serve corn topped with shrimp and plenty of crumbled feta. Garnish with cilantro and basil.
NYTimes Lemony Whipped Feta w/Charred Scallions
1½ lemons or more to taste
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 T olive oil
10 oz Vermont Creamery Feta, broken into large pieces
4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne or more to taste
1 T hot water
1. Heat the broiler and line a sheet pan with foil. Juice 1 whole lemon to get 3 tablespoons juice and set aside. Cut the remaining ½ lemon into 3 to 4 thin slices.
2. In a medium bowl, toss together the lemon slices, scallions and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on sheet pan and broil until blackened, tossing occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes for the scallions and about another 5 minutes for the lemon slices. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly.
3. In a food processor, add the feta, cream cheese, remaining ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, reserved lemon juice, black pepper, cayenne and hot water. Purée until very smooth, then add almost all of the scallions (save 1 or 2 pieces and chop roughly for a garnish). Pulse to combine, leaving some chunky scallion pieces.
4. Taste for lemon, adjusting as needed. Transfer to a bowl, then garnish with charred lemon slices, the reserved scallion, black pepper and a pinch of cayenne.
Baked Feta w/ Honey, Thyme & Walnuts
8 oz Vermont Creamery Feta
3 T honey
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
bread or crackers for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drain the feta and blot it dry.
2. Coat the bottom of a small ovenproof dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
3. Place the feta in the dish and drizzle with the remaining olive oil and the honey.
4. Sprinkle the walnuts, rosemary, and a crack of black pepper on top.
5. Bake until the feta is soft but not melted, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with bread or crackers.