While in Bellingham last month, The Man and I visited Appel Farms and brought home three wedges of their farmstead cheeses; two were cheddars and the third a raw milk gouda. We enjoyed the cheeses one evening with 34° Natural Crispbread crackers.
The next day I used the leftovers to make a gooey mac n cheese.
Appel Farms recently opened a store “around the corner” from the farm that features their cheeses, a cafe and a drive-through window… more likely for coffee, but you can buy their cheeses at the drive-through window… how cool is that? You can even take your picture with a couple of their cows… which, of course, The Man and I did…
In addition to the cheeses, we bought a slice of their cheesecake for a late-evening snack in the hotel… it was divine…
The first cheese on our board was a “Sharp” Cheddar; nutty with just a hint of a bite. It crumbly and yet creamy on the palate. This was The Man’s favorite of the three.
The second was a Cheddar with Black Pepper; a lot of black pepper, more pepper than what The Man liked, but just right in my book. Nice and spicy to compliment the creaminess mildness of the cheese.
Last on the board was the raw milk gouda, my favorite of the three. Sweet, milky and a little grassy; a perfect gouda… definitely a 4 Paws Gouda.
We kept it simple and enjoyed these cheeses with the 34° Natural Crispbread crackers.
There were leftovers and the next day I used the remainder of all three cheeses to make a creamy, gooey mac n cheese:
8 ounces egg penne from Rustichella d’Abruzzo – I bought it in bulk at Murray’s Cheese in the West Village. It’s a little pricey, but well worth the extra cost to have premium pasta to go with premium cheeses.
4 ounces of each Appel Farms cheese – Sharp Cheddar, Black Pepper Cheddar and Raw Milk Gouda, shredded. 12 ounces total.
2 ounces butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chili Flakes (optional)
(1 – 2 cups Panko and 2 ounces melted butter mixed together to make crust if you choose to bake.)
Prepare pasta al dente. Drain. Do not rinse.
Melt butter in saucepan.
Add flour and whisk and cook to remove flour taste without burning.
Add milk gradually, whisking constantly and cook on low-medium heat until it starts to thicken.
Add salt, pepper and chili flakes to your roux.
Add cheese and mix until integrated to make a cheese sauce.
Mix in pasta and mix until coated with cheese sauce.
At this point you can serve or you can bake it preferred.
If you bake, preheat oven to 325°.
Add mac n cheese to buttered oven-proof pan.
Top with panko/butter mixture.
Bake 15-20 minutes to heat through.
Turn on broiler and toast panko to golden brown.