This past weekend Mark and I took a little road trip… we arranged for our lovely neighbors to water our growing veggies, dropped off Bella at Mom and Dad’s for a doggie vacation, and mapped it out.
When we started dating, Mark and I realized we both share a dream of taking a year or two to travel around the USA in an airstream and see every nook and cranny. I am the kind of person who loves to stop at every tourist attraction… and stop for food and meeting a local or two as often as possible.
We turned an 8 hour drive into a two day journey, stopping at a goat dairy, a brand new whiskey distillery, a spiritual hot springs, met a yak farmer, went to a Colorado(!) alligator and tilapia farm, left items at an official UFO watchtower, and met up with our friends at Sutcliffe Vineyards tasting room, ending our journey in the Sutcliffe Vineyard in Cortez, CO.
We sucked the marrow out of every moment of this trip.
First up, Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy.
This dairy has loads of lovely goats, which they use to make many kinds of cheeses, ranging from feta to cheddar to goat blue. Mark first got to know them when they shipped some pork backfat from a couple of berkshires that they had raised on their farm to make lardo, which he processed for them to sell on site.
I fell in love with a few of the cheeses. They make the most amazing squeaky goat cheese curd. I wanted to fry it up into the best cheese curds ever! (Too bad it didn’t last that long.) I also was enchanted by the soft chevre… fresh and unaged, it is available in tons of flavors, but the plain cheese on its own is fresh and tangy, and the garlic and herb made a perfect stuffing for squash blossoms from the garden. We finished up our selection with the blue, bought some crackers and got ready for a picnic in the car.
This goat kept smiling at us when we pet her! With a twinkle in her eye like this, how can her milk be anything but amazing?
Once we got to the winery, we had a feast. I whipped up some stuffed zucchini blossoms before we had our meal. We plucked the zucchini blossoms from the garden (you can find them from your favorite farmer at the weekly farmer’s market, ask ahead as they usually go to restaurants). I like them fried (who doesn’t?) and used what there was in the cupboard to make the tempura. There is, however, no shame is buying a tempura mix from your Asian market, this is always foolproof.
Chevre stuffed crispy squash blossoms:
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine corn masa (gives a great flavor, but more flour or rice flour would be great too)
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup of ice cold water, soda water or beer
- kosher salt to taste
- mix all ingredients together well, do not over mix
- keep as cold as possible
- don’t freak out if there are a few lumps
For squash blossoms:
- pull the stamen out of the center of the flower, being cautious to not rip the flower, give them a gentle wash to remove any dirt or bugs, then dry.
- stuff something delicious inside, I love goat cheese (we used the garlic herb chevre we got at Jumpin’ good goat)…
- give tot top of the flower a little twist to make sure the cheese doesn’t ooze out while it is cooking
- drag through tempura batter quickly to coat
- drop into 350* oil for about a minute or so on each side
eat immediately and enjoy!