Queens of the Dairy

Once upon a time, there was a cow named Greely.

She was a beautiful Jersey the color of a new teddy bear.  She had eyes the size of fresh peaches, with eyelashes as long as a bright blue crayon.

Greely lived on a small farm.  But she hadn’t always lived there.

She was born and grew up at a small dairy farmstead called the Chapel Hill Creamery.  The farm is surrounded by green pastures where the cows graze.  Greely and twenty-nine other Jerseys lived quiet lives set to the rhythm of nature; where each cow has a name and a special human friend that makes sure all their needs are met.  The milk from those cows is turned into many different kinds of delicious cheese.

For a cow, it’s a very happy world.

Greely was treated well at her new home, but sometimes she missed the other cows.

One day, a trailer arrived at the cow’s new home.  They unloaded a cow and brought her to Greely’s pasture.  The two bovines saw each other and charged over the field toward each other.

The new cow was Amy, Greely’s best friend from the dairy!  The Jersey girls nuzzled one another, ecstatic to be together again. 

 The cows lived happily ever after, and Greely was never lonely again.

(This is a true story.)

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.

Turnip Gratin with Chapel Hill Creamery Hickory Grove Cheese

Recipe from Chapel Hill Creamery


2 cloves garlic

2.5 lbs. turnips, about 9 medium

1 tsp. dried dill

½ pound Chapel Hill Creamery Hickory Grove cheese

1 cup cream

1 cup coarse bread crumbs

1 Tbs. melted butter

Salt and pepper


Melt butter in a skillet and add bread crumbs, stirring to coat. Set aside.

Rub shallow 8×12 pyrex pan with cut garlic. Butter the pan.

Slice turnips as thinly as possible by hand or on a mandolin. Trim rind on the Hickory Grove and cut into thin slices.

Make three layers of turnips, adding salt, pepper, and some dill to each layer.

Cover with cheese, pour cream over and sprinkle on the bread crumbs.  Cook at 400 degrees uncovered for 40–45 minutes until turnips are cooked through.

Hickory Grove Cheese Straws


1 stick plus 6 tablespoons butter (14 tablespoons), room temperature

3 cups Chapel Hill Creamery Hickory Grove cheese, shredded

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, more or less to taste

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


Put butter and cheese into food processor. Add the flour, salt, cayenne, and Worcestershire. Cover and blend until dough just starts to come together in clumps. Place dough on a floured surface and knead it just until it holds together—Don’t overwork it.  It will develop the gluten and make the final product tough and rubbery.  Divide dough into four equal portions and roll into logs about 8-10 inches long.

Chill logs for at least one hour or freeze up to 2 months and then cut into bite-size slices (about ¼-inch wide). If you don’t want to make all the dough at once, it will last in the fridge for about two weeks or freezer for three months.

Sprinkle the top of each with some flaky sea salt.  For extra special treats, place a lightly toasted pecan half on each, after salting.

Bake in preheated 300° oven for 15 minutes and then spin cooking sheet 180° and bake 15 minutes more.  At this point, without opening oven, turn off heat and let cheese straws sit inside hot oven for 45 minutes.

Remove and let cool.

Makes about 6 to 8 dozen.

…And See What’s On The Slab

So if you’ve been following along, you have in your fridge or freezer right now, The Kid’s cornmeal piecrust.

Now what?

Well, this week we talk fillings.

Because we want to do this crust justice, we’re making a slab pie.

It’s pie made on a sheet pan, rather than that pie tin.  It’s easier, attractive, and feeds a crowd.  It’s actually pretty perfect for a Thanksgiving feast—savory as part of the meal, or sweet, for dessert.

Both pies have no-bake fillings; which means the crust needs to be prebaked.  The pan we’ll use is a half-sheet pan.  The exact specs differ from company to company, but the approximate dimensions are 18’ X 13’, with a 1-inch lip around it.

As for pie crust, you’ll need the entire cornmeal crust, or if you’re using your own, a double crust, or for a storebought roll-out like a Pillsbury, both crusts (stack them and roll them to size).  You want to roll the crust the size of the pan, with enough to go up the sides, and an extra bit for a pretty crimp on the top.

Once rolled out and formed into the pan, refrigerate it for about an hour to reharden the pastry.  Then bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes or until it’s completely cooked through.  Let it cool completely before filling.  This will be the serving vessel, so if your pan’s a little scruffy, like mine (and frankly, me, this time of year), you can cover it with foil, and hey presto, shiny and ready to party.

Slab or conventional, homemade or store-bought, eating in or dining out, may you and yours eat some wonderful food, enjoy friends and family, and put your feet up—that holiday marathon starts tomorrow!

From the Matthews Family Band to yours, Gentle Reader, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at d@bullcity.mom.   

Mushroom Onion Filling

2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

4 yellow onions, sliced into half-moons

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup butter

½ cup cognac

Salt & pepper

½ pound Chapel Hill Creamery Farmer’s cheese (place in freezer for 20 minutes prior to using for easier cutting)

Place mushrooms, onions, butter, thyme, and big pinches of salt and pepper into large, heavy pot with cover.  Cook on medium and stir gently until butter is melted.  Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes until moisture has released from veg.  Uncover and cook, stirring often until veg are browned and moisture is completely cooked out.

Pour in cognac and stir, getting up bits on bottom.  Cook until totally dry.  Store mushrooms in fridge.  Cover crust and leave on counter up to 24 hours.

To serve: Turn on broiler.  Warm veg in microwave.  Spread over crust and dot all over with cheese.  Place under broiler and watching constantly, cook until cheese is melty and beginning to brown.  Scatter the fresh parsley across the top before serving.

Serves 18-24.

Now, for the sweet:

Carolina Pecan Cream Pie

2 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup powdered sugar

4-8 oz. bars cream cheese softened

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup dark corn syrup

3 cups finely chopped, toasted pecans

big pinch of salt

Combine heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form.

In separate bowl, combine softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Beat until combined and creamy.

Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until combined. Stir in 2 cups chopped pecans and salt.

Spread mixture into baked and completely cooled crust. Sprinkle remaining pecans on top. Cover and let refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Serves 24.