Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Christmas I Gave You My Tart

So we've been yammering on about food, and drinks, and combinations, and compliments, and taste buds all month. Has it been educational? We hope so. This time around though, we wanted to hone in on some specifics and rather than pair foods based on texture and taste, we thought, "tis the season!" So here are some goaty, cheesey dishes infused with the flavors of the season. 

Just click the picture and enjoy!

Goat Cheese and Honey Stuffed Fig Muffins

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Chorizo and Goat Cheese

Nutmeg, Vanilla & Cinnamon
French Toast with Goat Cheese Drizzle

Cranberry, Orange & Almond
Cranberry Almond Goat Cheese
Pear & Pomegranate
Arugula, Pear, Pomegranate & Goat Cheese Salad

Lavender and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato, Sage & Goat Cheese Pasta

Honey Ginger Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Goat Cheese Brownies

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One Man's Funk is Another Man's Pleasure

"Ugh, yuck! How could someone eat that?" 

Ever find yourself wondering this? Or maybe someone asked you how you could stomach sardines, that ridiculously hot wing, or anything with mayo. Would you eat fried tarantulas, sip on snake wine, or crack open a Balut (look it up, we dare you)? What makes us like what we like and hate what we hate?

The answer is twofold. Firstly, there is the external cultural influence. Our family, and more importantly our culture, has a significant influence on the food and drink that we consume. This is the factor that steers one culture to the brains over the bacon, or to the feet over the fat. If you're raised thinking a certain food is the norm, then naturally it is difficult to understand how others might find it troubling. Would it surprise you to know that the savory and sweet mix of maple bacon is a turn-off outside of the US? Or that our soft bread is a wonder to some and cheese is strange to the Chinese?

The second part of the answer has to do with our tongues and noses. The amount of papillae (those little bumps on our tongues of which the vast majority house taste buds) an individual has determines the intensity of flavor sensation. The more papillae, the more one is apt to order things mild or take their coffee with extra cream. These people are called "supertasters", presumably because their tolerance for extremes is super low. On the other end of the spectrum are the "nontasters" or "subtasters", individuals that can order those ghost chili pepper wings and cry tears of joy, not pain, for the complexity of the heat and flavor. A nontaster's papillae density is lower than a supertaster's, meaning that there are fewer buds to overwhelm. 

Think of a papilla as a bouncer working for Club Flavor Experience. Supertasters have hired the worst possible candidate. He's weak, easily overwhelmed, and can't stop letting everyone in - even the guys in t-shirts and sneakers. Nontasters went a different route and got that huge guy that does two-a-day lifting sessions at your gym. He only lets in the people you want to see, isn't afraid of slamming a door in someone's face, and is all about letting the party rage inside.

What's happening here is that when a supertaster chomps into a jalapeño (for this analogy, a t-shirted clubber), the door stays wide open, and with each subsequent bite, more and more casual joe-schmos flood the club. The flavor becomes overwhelming and the signal to the brain that shouts, "Spicy!" never abates. Nontasters, on the other hand, savor the flavor as 
the door shuts on the schlubs, and the party continues inside. They are able to continue to eat, taste, and enjoy, as the heat never overpowers.

But it's not all about the papillae. Our brain can only detect 5 tastes; sour, sweet, bitter, salty, and savory (10 point synonym for savory? umami), but the chemicals that trigger those flavors are different from one person to the next. Additionally, food odor molecules that travel through your nasal passage or nostrils have a strong influence on flavor. When the passage is blocked due to sickness, or when your nose is held, flavor all but disappears from food. 

So the next time you find yourself wondering how on earth someone can enjoy a particular dish, remember that there's much more at work than just a simple, "I dare you!" 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pairing is Caring

For the uninitiated foodie, the thought of creating the perfect pairing is understandably intimidating. Endless choices of beer, wine, fruit, cheese, bread, meat...the whole pyramid really! So many places to go wrong. Right? WRONG! Rather than being overwhelmed by possibility, why not revel in the fact that there ARE so many possibilities? Plus, we are so much more adept at pairing food than we give ourselves credit for. If you can cook, even just a little, then you've already got a head start.

So where do you begin? With what you like. Start with a drink - wine, beer, or otherwise, and from there you may go one of two directions: complimenting or contrasting. A complimentary drink will have flavor characteristics similar to your food (think a crisp, grassy white wine with our fresh goat cheese) while a contrasting drink has a bold dynamic that sets it apart from your food (think a full-bodied red with an aged cheese). It is also important to note that the body and alcohol content of the drink should match the impact of the dish. A robust dark beer will overpower a salad or fish dish while a light white will be lost in the texture and heartiness of a New York Strip.

Even though every palate is a little different, here are a few universally helpful tips for your next pairing foray:

- Fatty foods tend to coat your tongue. Acidity from fruity, citrusy, hoppy, or sour drinks cuts through the fat and refreshes you for another bite.

- Slighty sweeter drinks are a good compliment to both spicy foods (by counteracting heat) and not too sweet dishes (by maintaining consistency).
- Carbonated drinks are good palate cleansers.
- Confused as to where beer falls on the spectrum? Think of ales as red wine and lagers as white.
- The higher the alcohol percentage, the spicier a food will taste.
- Oak is a strong flavor that tends to overpower 

Are there any other guidelines you follow while pairing foods?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Fast Track to Cheese Expertise

A wine expert is a sommelier, beer, a cicerone, heck there's even one for charcuterie (it's charcutier, for those curious readers). But is there a term for cheese experts? Not quite. There's the affineur, the person resposible for monitoring the aging process of cheese, the fromager or cheese merchant, and the cheesemonger who sells the cheese. You can add Maître in front of affineur or fromager to express a higher level of knowledge, but there's still no universal term that implies the highest level of cheese mastery.

Not to worry, there are still plenty of affifromamongers (we're still working on the best portmanteau for this situation) that we can turn to in order to teach us about the wonderful world of cheese. They've even written books about it!

First up is Mr. Steven Jenkins and his book Cheese Primer. Cheese Primer looks at the world of cheese though an encyclopaedic lens, starting with the inception of cheese, how it's made, classified, and changes throughout the seasons, and moving to cooking, serving, and eating cheese. From there the book is broken down by country, then region, discussing cheeses hailing from all over the world and their specific characteristics, best examples, wine pairings and bottom line. Coach Farm is even mentioned in Steve's book (and we think he's got a pretty awesome hat on the cover). Overall, it's an epic 576 page pocket tome full of hard (and soft) cheese knowledge and its sure to impress guests when casually strewn across your coffee table.

Our wonderful friends from Culture Magazine came together to publish our next recommendation. Cheese for Dummies is another in the long line of the "Dummies" series, that, ironically, you are quite smart for choosing to read. Similar in structure to Mr. Jenkin's book, Cheese for Dummies spices things up with more thorough drink pairings, a metric conversion guide, and a whole part of the book discussing famous cheesemakers, festivals and the world's most bizarre cheeses. Lighthearted, yet detailed, this is another strong choice to make when choosing to educate yourself. Just stow it away somewhere; that bright yellow cover is a dead giveaway.

Finally, we come to Laura Werlin's Mac & Cheese, Please! which is something yours truly has been politely saying since childhood. The cover alone induces drooling, but wipe it off your lower lip, tie your apron on, and dive into the sweet, melty goodness that is this book. Recipes range from your garden variety mac, to mac with garden veggies, meaty macs, decadent macs and everything in between. She also has tips on preparation, sauces and preservation. In a pinch, this would make a perfect holiday gift, but take note that it doesn't hits the shelves until December 4th.

Any other literary recommendations for cheese fans looking to become froaffingers? Ooh...that one has a nice ring to it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving and the Importance of Commensality

With our lives moving at a break-neck pace day in and day out, the time we spend genuinely unplugging from our demands and replugging into personal interactions is limited. Fortunately, every once in a while, a holiday meal comes along and provides the perfect opportunity for kicking back, cooking, sipping, tasting, talking, and connecting.

Commensality is the word for it; the act of eating together. It's the founding of a fellowship, an opportunity to learn more about those around you through their likes, dislikes, tastes and toasts. It's a continuation of tradition, a transmission of culture, with recipes taught and retaught through generations. It's a resurgance of memories, a time to reminisce, and a time revel in the present. It is a demonstration of altruism as a sharing of table and bounty.

It's a chance to shift the focus from ourselves to others, and a chance to silence the incessant chatter of our inner monologue. It's a nourishment of the body, spirit and mind, for all involved.

There are many things to be thankful for in any given year, but if this Thanksgiving you find yourself drawing up a chair to a table full of family and friends, know that you are participating in a tradition that is older than the pilgrims and is more than just a meal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Excess Stress and Food Success

We've all been there before. The feeling of having too much to do and less than enough time to do it in. Or maybe  it's a thought we're hung up on and it seeps into our daily processes. Regardless of the source, stress can manifest in ugly ways, one of the ugliest being the effect it has on our eating habits.

Chronic stress occurs when the stressing element or elements do not abate for an extended period, typically days or weeks. Cortisol (the hormone response to stress that jumpstarts life-saving responses to dangerous situations) is released and in the case of cronic stress, continuously. This constant flow causes further anxienty, hyperalertness and in most cases, depression. The sustained state of anxiety and depression drains our energy reserves and causes us to seek fatty and sugary foods to keep up with daily life. Ironically, the sensation of eating these foods can sometimes alleviate anxiety and depression as the body gets what it wants.

While this move might be beneficial in the short term, the imbalance of healthy versus unhealthy foods is obviously dangerous in the long term. The real key lies in breaking the cycle and not allowing stress to have such a massive influence on one's diet.

So what is one to do in these holiday times of financial, temporal, familial, and gastronomical stress? Here are a few quick tips to keep the levels (and therefore the calories) down.

1. Expenses spike this time of year due to gifts and entertaining. If you're highly efficient, budget earlier in the year for gift shopping, squirreling away extra cash when it's available. Or shop earlier in the year, taking advantage of sales through other holidays. (This technique also saves you plenty of time with a big headstart). If planning ahead isn't your MO, try going for quality and not quantity. One gift well executed is worth many generic and middling. Big family? Consider choosing one or two members to exchange gifts with or chip in for a group gift.

2. Think back on a time when you were rushed during the holidays. What was the result? Half hearted gifts? Shoddy wrapping? Scant decorations? Burnt casseroles? Knowing that there is a lot to do is half the battle. Attack each project a little at a time. Piecemeal, the work will be a lot less intimidating and much more managable.

3. If family is your biggest stress, make sure you carve out space and time for yourself during the visits. A lot of extra cooks literally in the kitchen can swiftly become nightmarish. Ready your house a few days in advance if there are overnight guests. Prepare for the little things by stocking up on extra coffee, breakfast foods, clean towels and fresh sheets. That way, when your guests arrive, you are able to sit back and grin (or grin and bear it, depending on the family).

4. And finally, the food. Besides being prepared for whatever cooking has to be done, make sure to have plenty of healthy options on hand. Sure it's easier to reach for leftover cookies or chocolate but in the long run, fruits, veggies, and nuts (and not the amazingly delicious sugar and spice coated ones) are better.

Have any stress management tips for the holidays? Share them below or on our Facebook page!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Health Benefits of Goat Cheese

We all know a good cheese when we taste it. Unfortunately, some of our favorites are often not the healthiest of choices. However, the good news is you can't go wrong with goat cheese!

Lower in cholesterol, sodium, fat, and calories than cow's milk (per 1 oz, goat milk cheeses have 80 calories and 6g of fat versus cow milk cheeses' 100 calories and 10g fat) goat cheese is a great source of calcium and protein. Calcium grams in both the fresh and aged goat cheese is higher than their cow milk cheese counterparts. Calcium has also been shown to aid in the burning of fat, making goat cheese a good metabolism booster. There are 5 grams of protein in one ounce of cheese alone, providing 10% of the recommended daily value. Goat cheese is rich in other nutrients as well, such as phosphorus, vitamin A (nearly 50% more than cow's milk cheese!), Vitamins B-2, B-6, D, and K, niacin, thiamin and potassium among others.

For those that count themselves among the lactose intolerate, goat cheese might be the answer. Despite having similar lactose levels (though still less than cow's milk), the fat molecules in goat cheese are smaller, and therefore easier to digest. Goat cheese also contains some probiotics which are known for aiding in digestion and gastrointestional health.

No matter where you live, both fresh and aged local goat cheeses are always preferable, as they have fewer to no preservatives (Coach's goat cheese is in the "no preservatives" category!)

We know you didn't need any further excuses to enjoy goat cheese, but now you can enjoy it from a most educated standpoint!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Food Network's NYC Wine and Food Festival Recap

This weekend was action packed for us as we were able to step out off the office and off of the farm and immerse ourselves in the Big Apple! October 11th-14th marked the 5th Annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival and we participated in two events; "On the Chopping Block: A Roast of Anthony Bourdain" and the "Farm to Table Brunch" hosted by Chef Richard Blais.

"On the Chopping Block: A Roast of Anthony Bourdain" was a who's who of the celebrity chef world, bringing together, among others, Mario Batali, Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, Eric Ripert, and Ted Allen (along with a handful of comedians assembled by Carolines on Broadway) to celebrate and roast Anthony Bourdain. We were honored to be part of the welcome reception, where guests mingled, chatted and sipped champagne while the sun set over the Hudson River on Pier 60. Below is a photo of our spread, offering two of our fresh goat cheeses (one rolled in pepper and the other in herbs) and our always yummy Triple Cream, which was a big hit with all the guests!

The "Farm to Table Brunch" was also a blast! Hosted by Chef Richard Blais and Whole Foods, we joined other New York businesses and farms to serve up a locavore brunch in the freshest way imaginable. We paired our new reduced fat yogurt with Ola! Granola, fresh berries and our Triple Cream at the yogurt bar, and the results were fantastic!

We can't wait to see what's in store for us next year at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Breed Read: Our French Alpines

At any given time, we have roughly 750 goats living on the farm. They are all French Alpines (sometimes interchangeably referred to as Alpine Dairy Goats) and descend from a line of 22 goats brought into the United States in 1922.

The vast majority of our herd are does. We have 19 bucks for breeding purposes and we kid throughout the year, with an average of 20-50 kids a month depending on the time of year (summer is the slow season). It is not uncommon for twins or triplets to be born, so we frequently have our hands full! At birth, kids are able to walk and weigh on average 6-8lbs. We keep bucks now and then, but most are sold to other breeders and farms as they have sought-after genetics. Unlike other breeds, French Alpines are not bound by color specifications, and subsequently we have many different colored goats on the farm.

Our goats are fed a diet of alfalfa, soybeans, and grains, all of which is grown locally. We fortify their food with vitamins and minerals and have worked diligently to design a blend that is unique to us and is healthiest for our goats.

We milk our goats twice a day, once at 4AM and again at 3PM. Roughly half of our does are actively milked; the others are too young or not lactating. Each goat produces approximately a gallon of milk a day in a total of 10 minutes of active milking. Our system is set up to milk 28 does at a time for a total of 125 does an hour. It takes just over a gallon of milk (1.16 gallons to be precise) to produce one pound of cheese.

Despite such high numbers of goats on the farm, we do take the time to name each one. For the sake of computer records, each goat is also given a number which is displayed on a badged necklace. Our goats however are sometimes cheeky, and have been known to nibble the badges off of other goats.

There is one last thing to know about French Alpine goats. We might be biased, but we think they have the cutest kids! How about you?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Putting the Extra in Extraordinary

Recently, we teamed up with two New York based food businesses and proved that our cheeses are just as delicious as an ingredient as they are on the cheese board.

Chop't is a salad chain with 19 locations in New York City and Washington DC. The concept is make-your-own, but it's no salad bar. Employees mix together ingredients of your choosing and upon completion, pass the salad along to be finely chopped and dressed.

For those of us that are indecisive with our leafy lunch, there is a preset menu as well as rotating seasonal offerings. This is where Coach Farm came in. The Local Farmstand Cobb salad offered in August and September of this year featured our fresh curd along with heirloom tomatoes, artisanal lettuce, and a sherry shallot vinaigrette.
With locations in 5 states (NY, CT, FL, PA & DC), Shake Shack calls itself the modern day "roadside" burger stand, but truthfully, it's a lot more than that. Swanky but simple, it offers bugers, dogs, fries, beer, wine, and naturally, shakes. An added bonus, Shake Shack also offers rotating frozen custard with menus that change monthly. Every Thursday in September, customers could try the Fig and Coach Farm Goat Cheese flavor. We had the priveledge of trying it ourselves, and it did not disappoint!
Be sure to check out Chop't ( and Shake Shack ( to see their latest tasty offerings!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome to the new Coach Farm Blog!

Hi there!

Thanks for stopping by our brand new Coach Farm blog! You can look forward to intermitten posts with photos from our farm, news, recipes, events and anything else worth sharing with you.

Here's a few things to look forward to for the remainder of the year:

- October 2012 is the second annual American Cheese Month. To celebrate, we will be updating Facebook frequently with pictures and posts about Coach Farm, our goats, and our cheeses.

- November and December is a busy time of year for everyone, including us at the farm. We will be sharing recipes and holiday tips with you to keep stress levels down and appetites up!
Check in with us weekly to see what we're up to!

Until next time,