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Eco-friendly recipes featuring eco-friendly cheese

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Eco-friendly Cheese Recipes

Regardless if you believe that global warming is as dire a threat as the media and the eco-conscious threaten, you most likely do understand the importance of taking care of the earth and its precious resources. One easy way to be eco-friendly is being a consumer of companies that prioritize reducing their carbon footprint in providing their products. For the past seven years, Fiscalini Farms has been producing a line of delectable raw milk, farmstead cheeses while taking extra care of their dairy cows and carefully tending to their land. Here are some eco-friendly recipes featuring Fiscalini cheese.

Organic Cheese
Eco-friendly practices at home
and going green at the officelessen the negative impact of your daily activities on the Earth. Earth Day, celebrated this year on April 22, is a day to recognize the responsible eco-practices that you have incorporated into your life as well as the positive contributions of companies that utilize eco-friendly practices in providing their products.

Fiscalini Farms, located in Modesto, California is the first dairy in the U.S. to complete Validus certificationprogram, which awards them the right to use the USDA/Validus "Certified Responsible Producer" label. Being a certified responsible producer means Fiscalini is recognized for excellence in prioritizing animal welfare, environmentally-friendly practices in milk processing to make their artisan cheese, and for food safety.

In addition, Fiscalini milk is free of r-BST. Even though there is an on-going controversy whether or not the hormone r-BST has ill-effects when consumed by humans, there is no doubt about the negative impact on the health of the cows who are injected with it. While r-BST increases milk productivity, this hormone also increases udder irritation, which then requires antibiotic treatment. That is not good for cows or consumers. Fiscalini Farms makes humane treatment and the comfort of their cows a primary concern.

John Fiscalini, owner of Fiscalini Farms says, "Our family dairying tradition goes back many generations. Acting as responsible stewards of the earth — tending both animal and land — is who we are." He adds, "Going green is the right, ethical thing to do. From a business perspective, it's the smart choice, too."

Fiscalini Cheese is distributed throughout the U.S. and comes in a variety of scrumptious and versatile flavors. Making a gourmet grilled cheese is always an easy choice, but the following eco-friendly recipes featuring Fiscalini's eco-friendly cheese are even better.

Eco-friendly Cheese Recipes

CHICKEN PAPRIKASH CHEDDAR

Serves 8

Chicken Paprikash CheddarIngredients:
3 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1 seeded tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 cup cooking sherry or seasoned chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper or cayenne
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated skimmed milk
1 cup grated Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Rinse and pat chicken dry. Sauté in large, heavy non-stick skillet over high heat, 5 minutes or until brown, cooking in batches, if necessary. Pour off any fat. Add vegetables and sauté over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.

2. Remove pan from heat. Add paprika to 3/4 cup milk with sherry, tomato paste and red pepper. Stir into chicken mixture, scraping up brown bits. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining milk with cheese. Serve over noodles with green salad on the side.

SAN JOAQUIN GOLD STUFFED PORK CHOPS ON ROASTED FENNEL

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Olive oil spray
4 (1-inch each) slices from large fennel bulbs
4 (1-inch) thick pork chops (about 3 pounds)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and lightly spray baking pan with oil. Place fennel slices on pan and set aside.

2. Cut into the side of each pork chop, making a deep pocket. Mix together rosemary, thyme and pepper. Rub pork inside and out with mixture. Stuff chops with cheese, reserving 1/3 cup. Secure pockets with wooden picks.

3. Place each chop atop a fennel slice. Bake 40 minutes or until juices run clear. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top of each chop and bake 3 minutes longer, until cheese has melted. Remove picks, scrape up all pan drippings and spoon on top of chops. Serve hot with garlic mashed (red) potatoes and green beans.

SAN JOAQUIN GOLD FISH FAJITAS

Serves 4

San Joaquin Gold Fish FajitasIngredients:
1 pound flounder fillet or other mild firm fish, cut lengthwise in 1/2-inch wide strips
1/4 cup fine, unseasoned bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup red bell pepper, cut in strips
8 quartered tomatillos or 1 cup chopped green tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large 10-inch flour tortillas
4 ounces sliced Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold cheese, cut in strips (or 1 cup shredded)
Chopped cilantro to taste
Lime wedges

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a plastic bag, shake fish to coat with bread crumbs, salt and pepper and place in a nonstick baking pan. Spray fish lightly with oil and roast 15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily.

2. In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onion, pepper, tomatillos and cumin in oil until vegetables are just tender. Transfer vegetables to a warming plate.

3. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide cheese evenly between tortillas and top with vegetables, fish and cilantro. Squeeze on some lime juice, roll up and enjoy.

BRAISED LAMB SHANKS WITH CHEDDAR

Serves 4

Ingredients for lamb shanks:
4 (1-pound each) lamb shanks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups beer
1 1/2 cups beef broth

Ingredients for coating:
1 cup shredded Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup cooking liquid from lamb shanks

Directions:
1. In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown lamb shanks in olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Add beer and beef broth, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Transfer shanks to a platter. Reduce cooking liquid over high heat for 5 minutes. Strain, defat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. For coating, combine cheese with breadcrumbs, rosemary, pepper and reduced cooking liquid. Divide mixture into 4 parts. Pat firmly on meaty tops and sides of lamb shanks to coat. Place shanks on a rack in a baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until coating is firm and nearly crisp. Serve with white beans, salad and crusty bread. Serve remaining pan juices in gravy boat.

SAN JOAQUIN CHEDDAR CHEESE AND MACARONI

Serves 4

Ingredients:
5 cups cooked elbow pasta
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cooked applewood smoked bacon
1 cup shredded Fiscalini San Joaquin Aged Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
In large sauté pan bring heavy cream to a boil. Whisk in sour cream and mustard. Add pasta and bacon and stir until combined and creamy. Add cheeses and remove from heat and mix with rubber spatula. Add salt and stir. Pour into warm crocks and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, chives and, if desired, toasted breadcrumbs.

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