When I moved to Seattle, one of the things that struck me the most is how many amazing cheese and ice cream makers there are in the area and how much of their products are featured in restaurants across the city. Dairy is abundant in Washington and when you drive around you see why. There is a lot of available farming land just minutes outside of the city, pastures, and lots of farming tradition. In fact, Washington ranks ninth in total milk production in the United States and here, people like their milk with the most fat.
On my last entry, I told you about my visit to the Werkhoven dairy farm in Monroe organized by the Washington Dairy Commission. The Werkhovens are a good example of how families are returning back to dairy farms making a living and also bringing the industry to higher levels of sustainability, cow care awareness while minimizing environmental impact. There we witnessed with absolute transparency how calves are cared for since birth and fed colostrum, ready-to-birth mothers resting for two months in pasture, cleanest facilities I have ever seen, harvesting the cows’ feed in the near-by fields and the process of converting manure into compost and energy. I encourage you to read more about our local farms cow care and sustaining the land.
And then we get to enjoy all the things derived from rich milk.
I want to share my recipe for homemade crème fraîche. Cultured heavy cream. Simple and rich. These cups are a mixture of sweet and tangy. A perfect ending in lieu to a traditional cheese plate? Or a simple afternoon snack.
I love its slight acidity and how it elevates any sweet treat. Give it a try and of course, the more fat the cream has, the thicker and richer the results. Here are some recipes from my blog where I have featured crème fraîche that I think you will enjoy.
How to make crème fraîche at home
makes 2 cups
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons full-fat buttermilk
Combine the two ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 80°F (27°C). Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar and partially cover it with a lid. Let this stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, or until slightly thickened. Stir and refrigerate crème fraîche for at least 24 hours before using. It will thicken even more in the refrigerator. Keeps for 10 days.
Figs, blue cheese, crème fraîche, vanilla, hazelnuts and maple
makes four 4-ounce cups
1 cup (250 ml) crème fraîche
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
2 ounces (55 g) blue cheese
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons maple syrup (I like it a bit warmed up or room temperature)
Small pinch of flaky sea salt
In a bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche and vanilla seeds. Divide into the cups. Top with blue cheese, figs, hazelnuts and drizzle with maple syrup. Sprinkle a touch of sea salt on top. Serve immediately.
This post is sponsored by the Washington Dairy and as always, photos and words by me.