Creamy Cheddar Dressing

Creamy Cheddar Dressing on Summer Greens

The Harvest of the Month at Sustainable Connections for June is Salad Greens.  I decided to pair the salad greens with a chunky, creamy, cheddar salad dressing.  The creamy salad dressing is perfect with crisp salad greens fresh from local farms or the farmer’s market.

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Dressing ingredients

Creamy Cheddar Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or more if dressing is too thick)
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and mustard.

Stir in the yogurt, milk, cheese, garlic, and chives.  Season with salt and pepper.

Chill for 20 minutes before serving.

**This makes a chunky dressing, if you prefer a smoother dressing, mix the ingredients in a blender or food processor.

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Adapted from a Cabot Cheese recipe

How DNA determines your driving habits

Tractor at store drive-thru

I have a confession to make: I drive like a city person.  People who live in cities tend to drive closer to the center line.  It makes sense because you need to take care when passing the cars parked along the sidewalk.  A door might fly open or someone might step out from behind a bumper.  The city can be hazardous!

People who learn to drive in the country tend to gravitate toward the shoulder.  This also makes sense because you need to leave plenty of room for hay wagons and tractors, especially if the tractor is pulling a rake or a tedder.  Farm equipment can indiscriminately drift into the oncoming lane so it’s best to give plenty of room.  The country can be hazardous!

John and Marlies in the tractor
Marlies is in the tractor booster seat so she can ride along with her dad.

My brother-in-law Gerald tried to convince me to change my errant ways, but I really believe that its part of my city bred DNA to be magnetically attracted to the center line.  I was headed to the farm the other day when Gerald met me on the road.  He was driving a tractor and I was weaving back and forth trying to avoid him but still hugging my beloved center line.  He pretended that he didn’t know me.

Part of country life that I enthusiastically embrace is shopping for produce from local farms.  Now is the season when the produce farms are in high gear and the bounty overflows.   If you can get fresh produce from a local farm, by all means do it.  One of my favorite places to go is Bob and Vivian Small’s farm just up the road from us.  They don’t have a very big variety and they are only open on Saturdays, but what they have is ripened on the plant and fresh picked.  They opened last Saturday so I made sure to stop by and picked up cucumbers for the salad listed below.

Cucumber
The cucumbers at Small’s Garden look beautiful!

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Salad

  • 2 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and basil in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over and toss well.  Serve immediately.

Cucumber Plant

Why it pays to listen.

Part of the fun of marrying into the family business is the variety of jobs that I have had over the years.  In the last twenty or so years I have done pretty much every job imaginable.  I have packed boxes, baled Quark, made deliveries, done the bookkeeping and payroll, plus marketing and sales.  One of my jobs back in the late 90’s, was to manage our booth at the farmer’s market in Bellingham.

The farmer’s market in Bellingham opened in 1993 and I shared the task of manning our booth.  It was tiring work but I loved the camaraderie of the farmers. I loved the hot summer air rising from the blacktop parking lot.  I loved the sounds of laughter and smells of food around me.  The best thing that I got out of those days at the farmer’s market was from simply listening.  I listened to the customers, what they wanted, what they needed, and what we could do for them.  Those conversations and many more like it helped to shape our business and how we serve our customers today.

Jerry
Jerry is one of our wonderful customers who help to shape our business.

Feta was pretty exotic to most of the people I met at the Farmer’s Market back then.  That seems so surprising with how mainstream it is now.  Some shoppers had heard of it but most had never tried it.  At that time, “cheese” meant orange cheddar, even white cheddar was a tough sell.  Shoppers were hesitant to try new cheeses, and they weren’t sure how to react to feta’s rich, briny flavor and crumbly texture. Introducing people to a new cheese back then was pretty challenging but so much fun!

Feta
Feta

The latest trend in feta around here is matching it with fruit.  Feta and watermelon is fabulous!  Here is a favorite summer salad that pairs feta with strawberries.  Strawberry season here is coming to an end, but lots of places have ever-bearing varieties.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 12 ounces baby spinach
  • 16 ounces strawberries, washed, hulled and slices
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped and toasted (I used walnuts here. Pecans also work well, but my favorite is slivered almonds)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette

I would feel really silly telling you how to make a salad, so I will leave that part to your imagination.

Making salad at The Cheese Shop
This is what happens when put my daughter in charge of the photos.