By October 2, 2014 Read More →

ChefView – Melt With Me


Chef View
By Dana Johnson

Melt With Me!
One of my favorite songs of all time is “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest, so it’s not a stretch that one of my most favorite cheeses is called Purple Moon by Fiscalini Cheese made right here in Modesto. Purple Moon is cheddar aged over 10 months and soaked in a Nor Cal Coast Cabernet Sauvignon that is so Dana`licious!

While I’m not convinced that a cow has really ever jumped over the moon, I do believe that without superior cows, you cannot produce superior milk that creates superior cheese. When I found out the “Best Traditional Cheddar in the World” at the World Cheese Awards in London, UK went to Fiscalini’s bandage wrapped cheddar for the 2nd time in 6 yrs. as recent as 2012 I had to scope it out for myself! Way out on Kiernan I found the farm and was miffed at where the retail store was hiding. The store is more like an office outside the door where many rich and creamy cheeses are being made for sale. Yes, you can purchase from there directly, but luckily we are surrounded by numerous local vendors that carry Fiscalini Farmstead Cheeses like Save Mart, Costco, Raley’s, Safeway, O’Briens, and several other local specialty stores including Chopping Block.  I love that wineries are also inclined to have Fiscalini cheese for sale to purchase with my wine, like OakRidge Winery and Ficklin.

When I walked in I was greeted by Lana Davidson-Valencia who had a bright smile and an excitement about cheese just like me. She introduced me to Mariano Gonzales, a highly skilled cheese maker who has been with Fiscalini for 13 years. His passion for his craft runs deep, his education is impressive, and his commitment to making the best cheeses continues as does his education in his field. Amazing that even with all the prestigious awards to his credit, he still isn’t above learning more! 4 generations later, Fiscalini Farms is still family owned and operated and I met up with Brian Fiscalini. At the breezy age of 29, he is most happy to be married with 2 young children carrying on the family legacy that he also shares with his sister Laura Genasci. Their father John Fiscalini still resides on the property but he is retired now and enjoying the game of tennis. Brian has a good work ethic and a happy demeanor when it comes to running this massive farm that has not applied commercial fertilizers to crops in over 20 yrs. and produces renewable energy by converting traditional waste products into electricity and hot water.

Modesto View owner/publisher, Chris Murphy, said only one word I could remember when discussing Oct. chef view article, “Fondue!” So I got out my fondue pot; All Fiscalini~ San Joaquin Gold, Hopscotch, Lionza, and Horsefeather’s Spread melted together, then I added crumbled cooked bacon, and a hint of garlic. I had grilled NY strip steak cubes alternated with sourdough French bread on skewers covered them in the gooey greatness paired with a bold cab, OMG! Next dish, hot angel hair pasta, spinach, & Fiscalini’s Scamorza!

My Scarlett, 16, said she could eat like this every night for the rest of her life. Next she asked me for some wine to go with it, like I was so caught up in the moment that I would allow that, not! MoView signature question to Mariano: Beatles or Stones? “Stones! Anyone can get inspired listening to the Stones!” So now I imagine in the moonlight on Fiscalini Farms the dairy cows are dancing to the Rolling Stones in order to produce the best cheese in the world! Fiscalini’s Perfect Potato Recipe 1 large baked potato 1 tsp. butter 1Ž4 c. Fiscalini’s Horsefeathers Spread Cut top off baked potato and scoop out inside. Mix butter and Horsefeathers in a small bowl. Refill potato skin and bake 12 minutes at 325, until top begins to brown.

www.figamarole.com Come join the Dana~licious cooking experience 1st hand! October 14, 2014 (Tuesday) at Figamarole in Ceres 5:30-8:30pm $45 per person Featuring at least 10 all original Dana~licious Comfort Food Recipes via demo instruction & big tastings! Sign up in advance only via Dana’s Family Kitchen on Facebook or Figamarole.com

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