November 09, 2012

Casalingo Salami

    So it seems I haven't made enough time for that other area of specialty foods dear to my heart.  Charcuterie (or Salami).  Now Charcuterie is really the Luigi to cheese's Mario.  As Bourdain is to Ripert.  You understand.  They are meant to occupy the same culinary space.  As most cured meat also developed in tandem with a cheese.  In a time when finding creative ways to preserve food was of utmost importance.

Continued after the jump...

November 06, 2012

A Letter from the Author: Milestones

    You guys.  I have big news.  The Board and Wire Blog is turning one year old.  Seriously.  I can hardly believe it myself!
    Here's to one whole year of fits and starts.  One year of learning what the heck all (or two of) those buttons do on my Fiance's camera.  One year of finding some semblance of style, then scrapping it and starting over.  Here's to being the crazy neighbor on her balcony in the evenings shooting frame after frame of inanimate food just to catch the "right light".  And becoming better at it.  Here's to one year of successful documentation of one of my life's greatest passions.
    To celebrate that milestone I have taken what I feel to be a next step in my journey with T.B.A.W.  I have purchased my first set of business cards.  Whoa.  This is starting to feel legit.
    Thank you, dear readers, for sticking it out through the shaky first posts, a long absence, and ultimately to where we are now.  It only gets better from here.


P.S. I could not have come so far in my photography endeavors without the help and guidance of my Dear Fiancee, Ian.  Thank you, love, for pushing me, helping me, and unflinchingly reading my T.B.A.W efforts through good and bad.  You are my favorite.

November 05, 2012

This Cheese Doesn't Suck: Pleasant Ridge Reserve

     Apparently the cheeses I'm most fascinated with this Autumn are all from Wisconsin.  Perhaps it's my minor snobbery about cheese that keeps me mystified when Wisconsin produces such amazing artisanal dairy.  Yet, there it is.  I have to say (and I know this is a big endorsement) that Pleasant Ridge Reserve is one of my favorite cheeses.

Continued after the jump...

October 29, 2012

This Cheese Doesn't Suck: Lou Bergier

I adore Lou Bergier this time of year.  Aged for 60 days it has still been made of good Summer/early Autumn milk.  The cows still have ample time to graze on lush Italian grass and late season flowers.  This cheese smacks of clarified butter, clean animal, and damp loam.

Continued after the jump --->

October 26, 2012


    Mascarpone. Pronounced  [mahsk_ar-po-nay]. Not [masker-pohn].  I swear I do a mental face-palm whenever I hear someone trying to be "cultured" and totally mangling the pronunciation.  I hold no punches for the ignorant.  This is a cheese to be respected.  Especially this particular mascarpone. 
    Yet it isn't made in Northern Italy, where the style originates, instead it is actually the product of that oft mocked dairy state, Wisconsin.  Not just a land of uncomfortably electric yellow commodity cheeses and the mysterious "string cheese" (whatever that is).  Wisconsin has in recent years begun to put out a fine offering of artisanal dairy products that are quite in line with the artisan food movement sweeping the continent.  Crave Brothers is no exception. 

Continued after the jump...

October 24, 2012

Sneak Peek #3

I have some lovely autumnal offerings in the works for you. 

Some unedited footage for your satisfaction.

July 25, 2012

Hello, July. I love you.

Bijou Goat Button.  Vermont Butter and Cheese Co.
July.  I love you.  But you keep me so busy.  That's okay, though.  You bring fresh Crottin style cheese into my life.  I know that May has a better grip on goat cheese.  With it's sweet spring grasses and lovely flowers for lady goats to munch on.  Resulting in chevre that is sweet and gentle.
  July, don't fret, I adore the sun-dried grass and lip-puckering citrus you lend to my little chunk of goat cheese.  I'll take a chance and pair fresh Washington cherries along side.  
Tart and heavenly sweet together can't possibly be wrong. 

July 04, 2012

Breakfast. Simply.

Bonne Bouche, Palisade Peaches, Bing Cherries, Black Pepper Water Crackers
  Meet my breakfast.  It is a far cry from the cult of bacon and eggs.  It is perfection.  
A handful of heady in-season stone fruit and an earthy piquant puck of well aged Bonne Bouche are what breaking the nightly fast should be.  I often forget to slow down and savor the morning.  To turn off my various screens and let in the cool dry air.  To putter amongst the handiwork of my tiny garden.  
To just be with my Fiancee, a cup of coffee, and a leisurely meal shared.  
Taking the time to eat, truly eat, what we've set before us. 

July 03, 2012

Vine Street Brews.

Lookit that lace.
 Playful citrus, clove, and candied banana notes.  Circus peanut even made a brief show.  All kickin' flavors when it comes to a well rounded Hef.  The only beer to end a 100 degree high desert day.  Pair with Humboldt FogLamborn Bloomer or a nice puck of Capricho de Cabra

June 15, 2012

Preview Friday #2

My apologies for the radio silence, friends.  
Summer begs to be celebrated out of doors and, well, I just couldn't help myself.  
Here are a few raw photos to satisfy you until Monday.
This week won't be quite so quiet around The Board and Wire. 

June 06, 2012

Sweet Ravioli with Handmade Ricotta & Strawberry

 Straining excess whey from my homemade whole (cow) milk Ricotta
Mixing it with in-season strawberries, a good heaping spoon full of moist brown sugar, & a squirt of lime juice.
Wanton wrappers are my easy ravioli cheat. Someday I'll be ambitious enough to make my own pasta dough...
I feel like shapes influence texture.  These "flying geese" shapes were my favorite.
They turned out rather well (to my surprise as i made this up on the fly.  it's what happens when i have an excess of any food & no desire to plan ahead.).  They were lightly sweet and the lime brought out the headiness of  the strawberries.  The ricotta gave it further richness & a hint of unsweetened cheesecakey-ness.  In short this was an unexpected success.  I can't wait to try it again with raspberries & perhaps a little olive oil.

June 04, 2012

Summer Food.

Ricotta Salata w/Watermelon & Mint
It is summer.  It has been summer here in Colorado since mid-April.  Actually, it seems that most places in America hold this to be at least mostly true (80 degree days in march anyone?).  Potential catastrophic weather patterns aside, this heat brings out my longing for cliche, classic Americana, backyard barbecue food.  The kind that dyes my fingers with artificial colors, is slathered in pickle relish and eaten off of floppy paper plates that at some point will drop a huge glob of baked beans onto my sandaled feet.  Naturally at my behest The Guy & I have been unabashedly consuming burgers and brats (okay, so turkey burgers & andouille sausage on buns. because i must be fancy) this week.  
In the spirit of our "fancy" cook-out nosh I decided to whip up a cool little salad to take the edge off of the heat.  I managed through some combination of luck and wizardry to pick a watermelon that was both sweet and crunchy (i.e. perfect).  The cheese to pair it with was more of a no-brainer.  
The Ricotta Salata I used in this dish is really not the milky soft cows milk cheese that you buy by the tub at the grocery store.  This one is sheep's milk, crumbles readily (though it can be sliced with a good kitchen knife) and is much, much drier in texture.  It's flavor is milky, lightly animal, and brine-y.  Bringing to mind more of a whiff of seaside spray than salt-lick.  
I tossed the sweet cubed melon and Ricotta Salata together with a few sprigs of freshly plucked mint.  The sugary melon made the perfect salty/sweet pairing with the cheese. While the mint lent a high singing chill cutting through any extreme cloying or briney-ness in the salad.  
The overall result was the culinary equivalent of standing under a cool waterfall on a scorching summer afternoon.  The refreshment (and the going back for more) was never ending. 

June 01, 2012

Preview Friday #1

A little look at what's coming up this week on The Board and Wire.  
I'm pretty stoked about what's in the works for this week.
Don't touch that dial.

May 27, 2012

The Good Stuff.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Avalanche cheeses.  
Most notably the pillowy fluff of their fresh Chevre.  Since I'm pining for the return of The Guy (he's doing business type things out of state) I decided to cope by buying myself some fancy-type cheese.  But what's a lady to do when a plain log of Chev isn't enough?  Naturally she scrounges in her refrigerator (in the back and slightly above the crisper) and produces magic. 
That's what.
To elaborate this Chevre is rolled in paprika and chopped fire roasted tomatoes w/olive oil, garlic, and herbs.  A tiny salad of spicy/bitter greens adds a zing of contrast.  Of course my security blanket of a cheese platform, cracked pepper water crackers, balances it all out.  
I do suspect 7 out of 10 times I take cheese anywhere, that cracker comes with me.  
This time it had the pleasure of delivering that fine, fine Chev concoction to my face.  
Which, naturally, soothed my pining.  
Still, a log of cheese is a poor substitute for a Fiance. 

May 14, 2012

Picnic Food.

Monday Afternoon Pizza
365 Whole Foods Market Garlic Naan Crust, San Danielle Prosciutto, Crave Bros. Fresh Mozzarella (ciligene size), Mitica Capricho de Cabra w/Black Pepper, Divina Fire Roasted Tomatoes in Oil w/Garlic & Herbs, 365 Whole Foods Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
(plus freshly cracked salt and pepper)

This is what I made after bemoaning how I wasn't motivated to make lunch for myself.  I agree with what a friend told me recently.  I always seem to be more motivated to cook if it involves cooking for other people.  Recently my lunch consists of anything that can be easily scooped onto saltines or is already in tupperware.

So, yeah, motivation.  Evidently I have it.

May 10, 2012

An Education in Cheese.

    "How did you learn so much about cheese?"  I get asked this question quite regularly by customers (and occasionally by friends who have somehow managed to escape my long winded hyperbole).  Inevitably I forget  myself and start getting dewy eyed over a piece of Quadrello di Bufala in front of a patient customer.  I'll start talking about the farm in Lombardy it came from and the delicate pudgy paste underneath the mottled crusty rind...and they'll look at me in wonder like I'm perhaps a bit cracked.  Yet that a fore mentioned question keeps popping up. Natch.

    Hence I think it's time that I address it a bit more fully.  It's a rather long saga spanning the last 5 1/2 years (i promise to be concise-ish).  Even including what I call my "Gap Year" where I worked for a thriving dance studio as the Office Girl.  During that time I was still involved with cheese.  Really it was that year where I truly came to understand my deep love/obsession for The Curd.  Separation makes the heart grow fonder...or something like that (it's not like i'm going to stand underneath a balcony pining for a chunk of farmhouse Cheddar...or anything). Hopefully you will be able to use some of what I did to learn about cheese to kick-start your own education. 

    My education in cheese truly began on the job with the first Cheesemonger I really trained under.  I was very fortunate to have such a great teacher for my blossoming interest in cheese.  She, too, was obsessed with the stuff and knew gobs of esoteric trivia about every piece of cheese in our cases.  Listening to her and others who knew quite a bit about cheese was my first step in learning.  For about the first 6 months I would just parrot back what I had picked up.  That is until I was able to eat, read about, and form my own opinions.

Murray's Cheese Handbook & 3 mo. raw milk Manchego
    Which leads me to my next points.  Reading.  Murray's Cheese Handbook and The Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins are two of the best resources on the subject.  I absolutely am that nerd who reads about cheese in her free time.  It has really helped expand what I know about my profession.  From the proper care and keeping of every conceivable style of cheese to what molds are in those smelly washed rinds.  Through reading I get to know the opinions of  other, more accomplished (i.e. published authors), Cheesemongers out there.  Reading their opinions helps me gain perspective.  It can educate me on aspects of individual cheeses that I hadn't even contemplated yet.

    However, my favorite part of learning about cheese has, hands down, been consuming huge quantities of the stuff.  So you want to learn about cheese?  Eat.  Eat lots.  Eat as many different kinds as you can get your hands on.  Then write about what you ate and everything you experienced in eating it.  What did you taste?  How did it feel on your tongue? Against the roof of your mouth? What did you smell?  What was the texture in hand?  What did it look like when you cut into it?  On and on.  You get the idea.  It doesn't have to be fancy writing or in "foodie speak."  This last lesson has been more important to me than either teachers or reading.  It allows for the free flowing of my own personal biases for or against any particular cheese.  And there's nothing* I love more than giving my unfiltered opinions about The Curd.

*okay okay so I love prairie dogs and my Hubs-to-be more...but just barely...

May 08, 2012

Mozzarella. Bar.

Handmade Fior di Latte.  c/o
That's right, you heard me. Mozzarella. Bar. Whoa.  Thanks to a sudden inability to spell the word mozzarella (as i was preparing for a totally different entry regarding the same cheese) I blithely typed the first few letters into my Google search bar, also known as my personal spell check.  The fourth option Google listed for mozzarella was "Mozzarella Bar Boulder".  I may have blacked out for a half a second out of sheer joy.  The world seems so complete now.  A world where the soft, milky, briny, creamy lactose packed fresh curd perfection known as mozzarella never stops coming.  Where I can belly up to a bar and stuff myself with Fior di Latte until tears of happiness blur my vision.  Currently I am devising a way to beat the Mothers Day crowds and go to this font of dairy wonder*.

*Don't fret Osteria Marco! I will only cheat on your house made burrata a teensy bit.  I'll always come back to you...

May 07, 2012

Neal's Yard Dairy

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a class about one  of our cheese providers, Neal's Yard Dairy(NYD).  Being able to hear first hand all about the cheese they offer made me a little giddy. That's right. Giddy.  I had flashbacks to the thrill of the Herve Mons class from several years ago.  I had the urge to jump up and find a way to work hands on with cheese everyday.  Oh wait. I already do that! Excellent...
Purveyors or Pushers...hmmm

Neal's Yard is not actually a cheese making company.  Well, not any more.  They essentially take British farmhouse cheese makers under their wing in order to encourage traditional cheese making.  From there NYD promotes and sells the cheeses across the world.  Thus helping to preserve some amazing regional curd from around the British Isles.
Leah Lewis, U.S. export sales, and James Rutter, export and wholesale sales, ran us through a tasting of three diverse and extraordinary NYD offerings.  All together we had Appleby's Cheshire, Quicke's Cheddar (made by the apparently delightful Mary Quicke and her brood), and the shining star of the whole deal the Borough Market Stilton Blue.
I am going to frame my map of British Cheeses

They were all stunning in  flavor though the Stilton Blue jumped out at me the strongest.  Light and creamy on the tongue but packing a wallop of black pepper, sweet cream and delightful bluey-ness.  I cannot wait to pick up yet another hunk of this fine fine cheese to eat as is.   Perhaps I may even dress it up with a little wildflower honey.  You know, just to be fancy.
This is James Rutter.  He led us on our magical cheese tour. c/o Neal's Yard Dairy

March 25, 2012

Rennet is Magic.

Rennet.  The magical substance that turns milk into cheese.  Alright so it's not actually magic.  That doesn't make the results any less fascinating. Rennet is an enzyme found in the 4th stomach of young ruminate animals.  It aids them in digesting their mothers milk by coagulating it into a semi solid to keep it in the digestive track longer.  Thousands of years ago humans stumbled on this coagulative property as a means of helping to preserve highly perishable milk.
Traditionally rennet was extracted by slaughtering the calf/kid/lamb, extracting said stomach, drying it, cutting it into strips, and adding little stomach bits to milk so the rennet could do it's work. It can also be produced (for you vegetarians among us) via microbes or the cardoon thistle.  So, for those who are squeamish, the slaughtering of adorable baby farm animals is not always required.  Most cheeses consumed within the United States in the present day are made with microbial rennet.
Now I am certainly not a chemist nor a professional cheese maker.  But in order to bring the basic concepts of how cheese is made to the masses I have created this informative Diorama of Learning!
With illustrations* by my own artistic hand.

*Also meaning extreme hyperbole and not-art.  In essence this is how rennet turns milk into curd.  Which is then made into cheese (fresh cheeses are another matter...).  Just without the rainbows, sparkles, and birthday cake...