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Cheese News

As you sail your cart up to Cheese Island you can be guaranteed to find one thing – inspiration. Suddenly you’ll be dreaming of cheese plates, a killer grilled cheese sandwich, a complimentary fine wine or just something that goes great on a cracker. We offer a wide variety of locally sourced favorites like Pure Luck and Wateroak and an ever-growing selection of alternative cheeses plus lots of lunchbox favorites. Cow, goat, sheep, nut, soy, raw… the list goes on and on. Don’t feel sad leaving Cheese Island, you’ll soon be sailing back.

Beer, Wine & Cheese Top Five For the Holidays

Wine: La Riojana Pinot Noir Reserve

The key to pairing wine with the wide variety of foods on the holiday table is to find wines that are softer, fruity, bright and less tannic. This medium bodied Pinot Noir is packed with delicious strawberry, cherry and blueberry aromas, as well as spicy notes due to the aging in oak barrels. La Riojana has invested more than $11 million Argentinean pesos for various projects aimed at improve living conditions for its growers and workers in the Famatina Valley, a historically poor area of Argentina.
FAIR TRADE. CO-OP MADE

Sparkling Wine: Stellar Organics Extra Dry

Stellar Organics make some really fantastic Fair Trade wines that are certified organic and vegan friendly. This extra dry sparkling wine has grapefruit and lime on the nose. It is crisp and fresh tasting with a smooth nutty finish. Perfect for holiday gatherings as well as ringing in the New Year!
FAIR TRADE

Beer: Sierra Nevada Celebration

Brewed especially for the holidays, Sierra Nevada Celebration is perfect for a festive gathering or for a cozy evening at home. Celebration is a dry-hopped, slightly strong ale that pours a beautiful rosy amber color with a nice full head. It features a big blast of Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops and a not-too-heavy mouthfeel. Supply is limited since this is a seasonal release so be sure to stock up while you can.

Cheese: Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche Goat Cheese

This is a sublimely delicious aged goat cheese with a beautiful geotrichum rind that is lightly sprinkled with ash. Geotrichum is a mold/yeast that produces a distinctive wrinkled rind that looks like coral. This creamy goat cheese features layers of rich flavor and it would make an elegant addition to your Holiday Table.

Vegan Cheese: Miyoko’s Aged English Sharp Farmhouse

This vegan cheese is so good that a non vegan like me loves it! Miyoko’s is made with nuts instead of milk, but it is a real cheese that is cultured and aged just like dairy cheese. The result is a hard, aged, sharp round with complex flavors and a long finish that will continue to deepen in flavor and texture as it ages. Serve this at your holiday party for a real crowd pleaser that everyone can enjoy!

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Local Vendor Spotlight: Dos Lunas Cheese

Joaquin Avellan, CEO of Dos Lunas Cheese, graciously answered a few questions for us:

1. When and why did you decide to make cheese?

I just wanted to make something really good for my wife. And, I wanted it to be a gift from deep inside me, which meant from my homeland of Venezuela.

I am the chef in our home, and I put my heart on every plate. And, since my father had retired to a farm in the Andes and had started a dairy farm, I fell into cheesemaking during a long visit in 2011.

Back in Austin, I kept experimenting, putting more and more heart into more and more cheese. One day, my wife smiled and said she loved it (and me) but 80 gallons a week was too much for our kitchen and our refrigerator.

So, I pitched a tent at a farmer’s market and sold out the first day. Now, I put my heart onto every plate I can!

2. What kind of milk do you use?

The most pristine milk I could find in Central Texas, from Stryk Jersey Farm in Schulenburg, Texas. Their small herd of Jerseys are all grass-fed and free roaming, and I can literally taste the earth and the seasons in every bucket, all year round.

Bob and Darlene Stryk are the best, wonderful and ethical farmers and such good souls. You can taste all that goodness in their milk, too.

3 What is your favorite cheese that you make?

Dos Lunas Clasico. It is based on my father's recipe from Venezuela. Trying to capture that particular queso fresco taste in a freshly aged cheese was the original inspiration for establishing Dos Lunas Artisan Cheeses. And besides, it melts so well and makes a mean quick quesadilla.

4. Are there new products in the works?

Oh yes! Every year we design new cheeses, and for the past year we have been developing cave aged cheeses with a rind. The prototypes have been very successful, and I can't wait to share them with the world as well.


5. What are your favorite things about Wheatsville Co-op?

Wheatsville, being a co-op, is quite literally about sharing, about coming together with the best we have. It’s about community, and about sharing true health in our community. That’s exactly what Dos Lunas aspires to be about as well.

And, Wheatsville didn’t just buy from us. They have engaged with us and helped us so much, with everything from how to improve our packaging to encouraging us to create more flavors.
We admire the generous sharing spirit of Wheatsville.

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Cooking Wings for Your Football Party

Click for Game Day Party Planner and Snack Ideas!

Wings Know How

Few things in life say football and party like chicken wings. Hot wings are a staple menu item in sports bars all over the US and deep frying or roasting are the most popular methods of cooking wings. Some BBQ joints offer smoked wings.

I think wings have been relegated to sports bars and wing shops for far too long—wings are amenable to many flavor profiles and cooking methods. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t braise them and let them crisp up in the pan! I don’t follow a recipe but boldly mix flavors and techniques to achieve wings that are specialized beyond the humble sports bar wings. Here are some ideas to fix wings your own way.

Rubbing and Marinating

The great thing about chicken wings is they can take more intense flavors. You can easily use rubs and marinades that are designed more for red meat and pork rather than poultry.

Rubs

Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning  is what I use the most for a wing rub. It has great flavor, no MSG, and it is always in my kitchen. Also carried here at Wheatsville, The Paleo Powder is a no-gluten no-MSG product made here in Texas, and the Salt Lick makes a couple of rub options. Lemon Pepper is another great flavor.

Marinades

Like rubs, you can use just about anything for marinating wings. Try one of the Wheatsville Marinades like Teriyaki or Mojo. Howard Miller, S. Lamar Meat Dept. Supervisor, likes to mix ranch dressing or buttermilk with Yellowbird Sauce.

Sauce

I like to make a kitchen sink sort of sauce, but Sriracha is pretty much always an ingredient. Vinegar is always a good addition, along with some sort of fat. I usually use a mild oil like canola, but butter is the traditional way to go. I then add a little mustard and honey and start adding hot sauces like Yellowbird.

If you don’t want to make your own sauce, there are plenty of excellent premade sauces. I really like the Stubb’s Wing Sauce. The Texas Texas Dang Good Sauce is an all around good sauce for anything and goes well with wings.

Bringing It All Together

If you are deep frying wings, use a rub, fry them, and then toss them in sauce,
but I usually roast them. I rub them and put them in the oven without sauce until they start to dry out, about 10 minutes, then I start basting them. I remove them from the oven and toss them in sauce several times during cooking. 
You can also dredge them in a flour and rub mixture and just let them be in the oven. The flour gives them a nice crust that is like fried chicken. The rub added to the flour kicks up the flavor.

I cook them for no less than 45 minutes at 375°– 400° F, but I open the oven four times to baste and my family likes a little carbon on their wings. If you leave the oven closed, use the lower temperature for a few less minutes.

Sometimes having loose suggestions rather than a set recipe is intimidating but wings can be a great way to stretch out and share some adventure with your family and friends—especially with beer and sports!

Howard’s Yellowbird Buffalo Wings

1 lb chicken wings, separated at joints, discard the tips
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup ranch dressing
several squirts of Yellowbird Habanero Sauce
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder

Mix the butter, ranch dressing, and Yellowbird sauce. Coat the wings and let the wings marinade in the mixture for a couple hours in the fridge in a large storage bag.

Preheat Oven to 425°F.

Coat wings with with seasoned flour (flour, salt,  black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) and arrange a single layer of wings on a lightly greased baking sheet. Adorn each wing with a little melted butter.

Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 35-45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

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Parmigiano -Reggiano: The King of Cheese

We’ll be cracking a wheel of  Parmigiano-Reggiano early on the morning of Sunday, January 25th and the fresh cheese will be our Super Awesome One Day Deal for that day!  Save $9/lb!

Parmigiano -Reggiano is widely considered “The King of Cheeses.” Its name is a protected designation of origin in Europe. Parmigiano-Reggiano is made in the areas of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena (also known for its fabulous Balsamic vinegar) Bologna and Emilia Romagna. Only cheeses made in these areas and made with specific ingredients and aging times can carry the name Reggiano-Parmigiano. Parmesan is the French adjective for the Parmigiano and is used in the U.S.A. as the name for various hard cheeses. Parmigiano-Reggiano is the real deal, top of the line, A#1 grating cheese! It really doesn’t get any better that this.

Parmigiano is made from raw cow’s milk. The cows must graze on the grass of the area and are fed hay as part of their diet. Their local grass gives the cheese its distinctive nutty flavor. The whole milk from the morning milking and the skimmed milk from the previous evening’s milking are mixed and the leftover cream from the skimmed milk is used to make mascarpone.

After the cheese is aged for 12 months, an inspector from the Consorzio Parmigiano-Reggiano inspects each wheel, using a small hammer. They will hit the cheese in various spots and listen to hear if there are fissures inside the cheese. No fancy electronic equipment necessary, in Italy they do things old school! All cheeses that pass the inspection are branded with the Consorzio’s seal. All cheeses that fail are stripped of all markings, a sad fate for a cheese that aspires to greatness. The cheese that passes the test is then left to age for another year. These master cheese makers are not playing around!

Parmigiano-Reggiano is lower in fat and sodium and higher in vitamins and minerals than most cheese. It contains 19 of 21 amino acids the body needs, and a 1 ounce serving provides as much as 30% of a person’s RDA for calcium. Parmigiano contains more protein than most meats and contains other essential vitamins and minerals such as, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.

Parmigiano is traditionally used as a topping on pasta and soups,but in the areas of Modena and Parma, chunks are eaten with splashes of balsamic vinegar, nuts and wine. Parmigiano is also delicious eaten with honey, and don’t you dare throw away the rind! It is sublime when added to soups and broths. Just use it as you would a soup bone.

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Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil! Oh, my!

There's great news in the the Produce Department. Organic fresh bunched basil from Buena Tierra Farm has arrived and it is amazingly incredibly wonderfully awesome! To keep it as fresh and fragrant as possible we keep the basil in enclosed room temperature containers for better basil hydration. Look for it near the tomato displays in Produce.

Even if basil isn't on your current shopping list, the next time you're in the Co-op, lift the lid on the Buena Tierra basil container and unleash an avalanche of deep rich basil aroma. It is the best. And I haven't even gotten to the actual eating of it yet. That's even better.

Wheatsville Produce Coordinator, Ralf Hernandez, takes a tour of Buena Tierra's battery powered tractor.

I am a huge fan of basil in general, but the Buena Tierra Basil is really extraordinary. Fresh, local and organic, it is lovingly hand bunched and ready to make you and your favorite basil recipe extremely happy. The classic combo of basil, tomato and fresh mozzarella is a personal favorite of mine. I love to make cute little appetizer stacks of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella drizzled with a flavorful cold-pressed olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. If I'm wanting something more substantial, I'll go with a grilled caprese sandwich on a fabulous Wheatsville Bakehouse Baguette. I lightly chop the basil and add some fresh garlic, olive oil and sea salt then just layer in with tomato and mozzarella slices and into the grilling pan. Both of these quick recipes are super easy, super delicious and super snazzy.

Be sure to check out the Buena Tierra Basil next time you stop by for a visit. You and your stomach will be glad you did.

Buena Tierra Farms is owned and operated by Steve Kramer and Carey Burkett in Fredonia, TX.

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Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage

Italian Sausage has become a staple in the American kitchen. Many stores have their own flavor profile of this sausage but stick with a few basic spices and herbs to create that familiar taste. Fennel, oregano and garlic are some of the basic building blocks in most Italian Sausage. It gets called sweet, simply because there are no chili flakes in it to make it "hot". This sausage lends itself well to meatballs or meat sauces, whether they are slow simmered red sauces or something more light like a vinegarette, it always goes well with pasta and parmesan or mozzerella stuffed into manicotti.

Another excellent way to use this sausage is in the classic Southwestern dish, Stuffed Bell Peppers. Be sure to brown the sausage and put it in a halved pepper and cover with cheese. Roast them in the oven or put them on the grill until your cheese is nice and melted. You still want some structure to the red bells and a little sweet crunch adds some great texture so try not to over cook them. Blue Cheeses would would go nicely crumbled over the sausage. The Cheese department has the Maytag Blue, a spicier fancy blue cheese that would compliment the fennel and oregano notes of the sausage and the sweetness of the Red Bell Pepper. I'm just sayin' ...

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Farm Visit: Pure Luck!

On a recent visit to Pure Luck Farm we got to meet Amelia Sweethardt and the super awesome goats that are  behind the handmade, award-winning artisan goat cheese we all find impossible to resist! Shane, our Beer, Wine & Cheese Buyer, made this video so he could share his trip with you!

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