VPR Cafe: In The Kitchen With The 'Cabot Creamery Cookbook'

Mar 27, 2015

The Cabot coop is made up of about 1,200 farmers throughout the northeast and an extensive database of recipes from bloggers, chefs and farm families. Recently, they compiled the best recipes into a new cookbook titled Cabot Creamery Cookbook.

Melissa Pasanen, food writer for the Burlington Free Press, wrote the cookbook, a job that entailed meeting with 16 Cabot farm families and trying out a variety of recipes.

She says meeting with the Cabot farm families was one of her favorite things to do. “To actually get on the farm and talk to the people who are making the food I love to eat. And I will say, before I even got involved in this project, I was a huge fan of Cabot,” she says.

Pasanen says every farmer has a mac and cheese recipe and that the cookbook could have been entirely about the favorite comfort food dish, but that they wanted to feature a nice variety of Cabot products. “I love cheddar, I could cook with it all the time, but at some point, when you’re testing cheddar recipes every day for weeks on end, even as great as cheddar is, you’re kind of like, ‘Lets have a non-cheddar recipe,’” she says. The writer was most excited about the Greek yogurt smoothie recipes, which included everything from a kale smoothie to a peanut butter, banana and honey drink.

"To actually get on the farm and talk to the people who are making the food I love to eat. And I will say, before I even got involved in this project, I was a huge fan of Cabot." - Melissa Pasanen, food writer

Grilled cheese is a staple of the cheddar world and Pasanen says she picked up a few pointers while writing the cookbook. She says in the book they include a chart of great flavor combinations for grilled cheese. “But in terms of method, I got some great tips from a young woman, Rachel Freund, who is the youngest in a Cabot farm family down in Western Connecticut [and also] a UVM alum,” Pasanen says. She explains that while at UVM, Freund worked at the Feel Good Grilled Cheese Truck, a student-run pop-up restaurant that donates all of their profits to the Hunger Project.

Pasanen visited with 16 Cabot coop families and tried a variety of recipes herself for the cookbook.
Credit Sally Pollack / Burlington Free Press

Rachel Freund’s Three Tips On How To Make a Great Grilled Cheese

  1. Keep it thin! Keep the bread and cheese thin; try even using shredded or crumbled cheese, which helps the sandwich to melt nicely before burning the outside. Remember to spread a thin layer of butter on the outside before placing the sandwich in the pan, to help crisp it up.
  2. Use pressure. Whether you have a Panini press or a nice, heavy-bottomed pan at home, make sure to apply pressure to the grilled cheese while cooking. Pasanen says she uses a foil-covered brick to press her sandwiches while cooking, but a can of tomatoes or soup could work as well.
  3. Use low to medium heat. Cooking the grilled cheese on high heat could burn the outside of the sandwich before the inside gets the chance to melt.

Pasanen says that although she feels like recipes shouldn’t surprise her anymore, there were a few that surprised her while writing the Cabot Creamery Cookbook. “There was a recipe that was on the lighter, healthier side that used one of Cabot’s light cheddars that are reduced fat, so this was a low fat, spinach frittata … with no flour or anything in it, [with] chopped, frozen spinach and some cottage cheese,” she says. “I thought this was going to be like a rubber ball … and it was actually really good.” The food writer says she was also surprised at one of the desserts, which was a fresh lime and roasted banana pie with yogurt. “It’s like taking your mouth to a tropical island,” she describes.  

One of her favorite, quick recipes that she brought in to share with VPR Café was the Cheddar Black Bean Spirals.

Cheddar Black Bean Spirals & Yogurt Salsa Dip

Ingredients:

  • Tortillas or flat bread
  • Black beans, mashed
  • Cumin
  • Lime juice
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salsa                                                   
  • Plain Greek yogurt

Method:

Spread the mashed black beans on the tortilla, sprinkle cumin on top with a little limejuice and add the cheddar, role the tortilla up into a spiral and slice. Microwave for a few seconds. For the dip, simply combine salsa with plain Greek yogurt.

Learn more about the Cabot Creamery Cookbook here.