Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer 2014- Part 2: America's Dairyland

My dad asked me after reading Part 1- "You didn't say anything about food, except for that bad chinese food you had in Rapid City!?" Fair enough question, because this blog is after all a food blog. Well, during the drive to Madison, our food was fast food from places like Wendy's, McDonald's, and Subway! So, I figured there wasn't much to say.

Diving straight to the point, here's the most exciting food we tried- CHEESE! How could we visit America's Dairyland, and not try cheese? That would be such a shame! On our day out to Madison, we stopped by Fromagination. The variety of cheese in that not-so-big store, looked amazing. The entire store smelled like, one guess- delicious cheese!


More Cheese! 

The lady who helped us seemed a bit stiff, yet funny. At least she wasn't fake! ;) We were interested in the different cheddar cheeses they had, and we tried samples of Hook's five-year, eight-year, ten-year, twelve-year, and fifteen-year cheddar, and we were stumped! The more aged the cheddar, the sharper and crumblier it was. And there was also this delightful crunch factor, as well as an underlying caramel tone to it. Oh, you have gotta try it to really know what I'm saying! We also tried a soft gouda, infused with basil pesto. One bite of it, and we were in pesto-heaven!

That's pesto-heaven!

Speckled with basil and pepper

My bro had highly recommended that we try some squeaky cheese. The name was intriguing- imagine cheese that squeaks, and it indeed does. Squeaky cheese is basically fresh cheese curd, that "squeaks" with every bite. It has a very smooth outer coating, and the bite is nice and firm. As you bite into it, you can feel a little "squeak" in your mouth, and it is quite delightful, really! To me it tasted like good old paneer (Indian cottage cheese) mixed with cheddar. In fact, one could possibly substitute it for paneer and make matar-squeaky cheese curry. I bet that would taste good!

Yes, it squeaks! 

We also tried some par excellent parmesan. Even thinking about that nutty parmesan makes me wanna dance- it was SO good! We could have spent the entire afternoon in that store trying out every cheese sample, but of course, we had to leave. We bought a few little slabs of cheese, including eight-year and twelve year cheddar, parmesan, pesto gouda, and a bag of that beautiful addictive squeaky cheese. We'd have bought more, but we decided to just order online from Fromagination, since they do have that option available. Guess what I'm getting for Christmas this year?! ;)

The next Wisconsin specialty that my bro said was an absolute must-try- Butter Burgers! There is a Culver's in Waunakee, and he took me there and bought breakfast for all of us! Breakfast that consisted of Butter Burgers, deep fried shrimp, crinkle-cut fries, and deep fried cheese curds! OK, here's the thing- even though I shuddered at the thought of an already junked up burger, for breakfast that too, and from a fast food place to boot, that butter burger is to-die-for, and I kid you not! My hubby and daughter went crazy over the butter burgers, and for the rest of our stay, my daughter kept craving for those butter burgers! Here's the unintended souvenir I got back from Culver's:


Other than the cheese, and the butter burger breakfast, my bro and sis-in-law made awesome food for us. The night we arrived at Waunakee, my bro had made yummy egg curry and jeera rice, and a nice refreshing cucumber salad. According to my son, that egg curry beats my egg curry any day! The next day, if I remember correctly, he made this really amazing jerk shrimp curry, mixed with green beans, and some other kinda greens- it was crazy hot, and our tongues were on fire, but it was delicious! The lovely aromatic and mellow tomato bhath (bhath= rice) that my sis in law made to go with the curry was fantastic. In fact, I am now such a big fan of that tomato bhath, that I can eat it every day- yeah!

Delicious tomato bhath and jerk shrimp and greens

My bro also made this 9-grain pilaf, that was outstanding. On the last night of our stay there, my bro made his special black pepper lamb. It was as ever "pepperylicious!" My loving and thoughtful sis in law made a gazillion chapatis, and potatoes with Indian spices, and packed it all up for our trip back.

And finally, the morning we were leaving, my bro made his extra-special panini. Mine had chorizo, salami, eggplant, zucchini, and it took me back to good old Spokane days........

Old Favorite- panini

Stay tuned in for Part 3.......

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