On our way home from Grants Pass, Oregon we decided to gas up our truck in Central Point. We spotted a sign advertising the "Rogue Creamery". We had a little free time and since we delight in off road excursions when we travel, we drove in the direction we thought the creamery must be. After two miles and no creamery, we stopped a bicyclist and ask directions. She mentioned that it was a small stone building, not fancy, but assured us "the company wins all kinds of awards for their cheeses". After turning around, driving back the way we came and making an important turn (we missed the first time).....
We spotted the sidewalk sign and pulled into the parking lot......
A cement trough filled with spring flowers graced the front entry.....
We were greeted warmly and introduced to the historic cheese shop. Not only does this store carry artisan cheeses, but also local wines and craft beers.
We tasted cheeses; blue cheeses, cheddar cheeses and curds. A representative from the Longsword Vineyard, pouring for the day, offered us a taste of Sparkling Chardonnay. This is a delicious light wine we sipped while perusing the gift shop.
We purchased several cheeses and a bottle of the Sparkling Chardonnay. This was my first time to taste cheese curds and I wondered what you might do with them. The helpful personnel made a number of suggestions. I noticed they sold a batter mix to make fried curds. I purchased a bag of curds vowing to find recipes for them.
After we were home, I researched cheese curds. Cheddar cheese curds are small chunks of cheese solids which form in the cheese making process. The remaining liquid is called the whey, a watery, thin liquid. I learned cheese curds have a two to three week shelf life, however, fresh curds can be frozen for up to four months. Cheddar cheese curds are similar to fresh Mozzarella in taste and texture. Fried Cheese Curds are a staple at the Minnesota Wisconsin and several Mid-Western State Fairs.....now who would have guessed? I found several recipes and decided to try a couple.
Cheese curds should be at room temperature before being battered and fried.....
Minnesota State Fair Recipe for Fried Cheese Curds....
1 pound of fresh cheddar cheese curds
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Enough oil to either deep fry or you can fry with a little olive oil and not deep fry.
Beat egg, add milk and stir. Add baking powder, salt and flour. Stir until thoroughly combined. Drop the cheese curds in and mix gently until all are completely covered with batter. Heat oil in skillet or deep fryer. ( I use my wonderful trusty cast iron skillet). Working in small batches, being careful the battered curds do not touch, drop the curds into heated oil. Flip only once. Fry until a golden color. (Approximately one minute). Drain on paper towel if desired. Eat while hot/warm. These are tasty...reminded me a bit of Mozzarella sticks.
This next recipe is a bit unusual, but tasty and a little different. I am especially fond of Hungarian Paprika, so that is what I used.
Beer Batter For Fried Cheese Curds
1 cup flour
2 tbls garlic powder
2 tbls paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 12 ounce can/bottle beer
Enough oil to deep fry or you can fry with a little olive oil and not deep fry.
Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt,and pepper. Stir egg into dry ingredients. Gradually mix in beer until a batter is formed.
Drop in cheese curds and thoroughly coat with batter. Heat oil in skillet. ( I use my trusty cast iron skillet). Fry the coated curds approximately one minute, until golden brown. Be sure to keep them separated so they are not touching. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot/warm. These are really good with beer!
If you drive on Highway 5 into Oregon, be sure to make a stop in Central Point. Visit the wonderful Rogue Creamery. On the same side of the street there is also the famous Lillie Belle Farms Chocolate Shop ( I'll talk about this in another blog) and a great little Wine Tasting shop !
Happy Excursions.....Happy Curds on the Way..... and Happy Infusions,