With the farmers’ markets back in swing, if you’re lucky, there may be a fresh goat cheesemaker selling their wares near you. For those who may not have been properly introduced to this flavorful, distinct type of cheese, consider this a personal welcome from Dreamfarm.
Diana Kalscheur Murphy is a goat cheesemaker from the rolling green hills of southwest Wisconsin, basing her business on her farm, aptly named “Dreamfarm.” “The Dreamfarm name came before the whole cheesemaking business,” explains Murphy. “My family and I always wanted to live on a farm and when we found this place, we realized we were living our dream.”
Starting with a few goats for fun, Murphy ended up with extra milk and started experimenting with making goats cheese. “My friends gave me rave reviews and encouraged me to start producing cheese for sale,” adds Murphy.
Today she makes a range of fresh goat cheeses, selling both to members of a local CSA and at farmers’ markets. “I love having the opportunity at the market to directly meet the people who will ear my cheese,” sums up Murphy. “To connect with the people who support what you’re passionate about, to have folks return week after week and share how much they enjoy your cheese, makes all the hard word rewarding.
Part of Murphy’s role at the market is to help educate folks new to cooking with goat cheese. “Cooking with goat cheese can take you where ever your imagination leads,” she says with a smile. Still, here are some tips she offers that you may not have thought of:
* Add it to scrambled eggs.
* Stir it into cornmeal.
* Saute some onions and combine with goat cheese and dried tomatoes for a bread spread.
* Melted in combination with other cheeses, like her favorite recipe below, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tortas:
Black Bean & Goat Cheese Tortas
2 cans drained black beans
3 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
15 large tortillas
3 cups white cheddar cheese or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
12 ounces goat cheese
1 cup salsa
Place beans, cumin and pepper into food processor and process until smooth. Add goat cheese and salsa and blend just until mixed in. Arrange 5 tortillas on your work surface. Spread a layer of bean puree and shredded cheese on 4 tortillas. Stack the tortillas, pressing down on each layer gently, then top with the 5th tortilla. Repeat this process for each “torta”. Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with chili powder. Bake at 475 degrees for about 5 minutes until tops are browned and crisp. Cut into wedge and serve with additional salsa.