November 7, 2013 | Short Order

75 farmers in red-and-black plaid hit NYC Friday to promote Cabot cheddar


Bob and Beth Kennett on Liberty Farm

          If a wholesome and aggressive grey-haired babe in red and black plaid sticks a chunk of cheddar under your nose Friday in front of Zabar’s, take it. That will be Liberty Farm’s Beth Kennett, a member of the Cabot cheddar dairy farm co-op from Vermont.

          A plaid-wrapped bus loaded with red and black plaid wearing dairy farmers from New York State and New England will be dropping off Beth and a chatty tribe of farmers in Manhattan and Brooklyn Friday at stores and cheese shops to promote Cabot cheddar.

           Beth will be taking up cheddar at Zabar’s where they will be free samples, recipe demos and a photo contest on Instagram.  The goal is letting the world know that small family farms nearby are virtuous in working for sustainability.

 

           I’m a big fan of aged cheddar. Recently I saw the name Cabot on a rectangle in my local grocery. I’ve been eating an ounce or so every day  -- I justify the fat and salt by calling it calcium and reminding myself it’s what you don’t eat that you regret.  A few days ago the Cabot press-wranglers sent me a big wooden round filled with cheese – aged classic, sharp and extra sharp, clothbound cheddar, and even roulades of everything bagel Cabot cheddar. They don’t miss a trick. I’m sharing with friends.

           By the way, Zabar’s is our advertiser. Cheddar is a passion. Cabot strikes me as very clever.

           Here’s a recipe from Sous Chef Josh Rollins from The Pitcher Inn, Warren.Vt.

Garganelli Mac‘N’Chese with roasted Jalapeños and Bacon

          Makes 6 appetizer servings

          2 fresh jalapeño peppers
          4 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, diced

          3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
          
2 tablespoons usalted butter
          2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

          2 cups whole milk, heated to just below simmer

          12 ounces Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Cabot 3 Year Cheddar or Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar, grated* (about 3 cups)

          Salt to taste

          8 ounces dry garganelli or penne pasta

          1. Roast jalapenos directly over stovetop gas burner or under preheated broiler, turning with tongs, until skins are blistered all over. 



          2. Transfer peppers to small plastic bag and let stand. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard stems, skin and seeds. Chop flesh into fine dice and set aside. 



          3. Cook bacon in skillet until lightly browned; transfer with slotted spoon to small bowl. Add breadcrumbs, along with small amount of bacon fat to moisten, combining well. 



          4. In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. 



          5. Gradually whisk in milk. Continue cooking, stirring often, until sauce is simmering and thickened. Let sauce bubble gently until quite thick, about 10 minutes longer, stirring often so it doesn't scorch on bottom. 



          6. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar; when cheese is melted, season sauce with salt as needed. 



          7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain and return to pot. Add cheese sauce and reserved jalapenos and stir together. 



          8. Transfer pasta to 2-quart baking dish or six individual ramekins. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned on top and bubbling throughout.


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