Tag Archives: cheese

Milk delivery returns to its roots

What’s old is new again as companies like Milk Run and Alpenrose bring back milk deliveries of the past with a new twist.  Vans splashed with colorful logos and full of local milk and produce are bringing the farm directly to your doorstep so that you can experience the fresh taste of locally harvested food.

Alpenrose, a dairy that began in 1916 in Portland, recently returned to it’s milk delivery roots this August by delivering daily milk and produce within the Portland metro area. You won’t get milk in glass bottles, but it’s easy to order through their website or mobile app.

“It’s been nearly 40 years since our trucks delivered fresh milk to the area,” said Josh Reynolds, general manager for Alpenrose. “We are ready to bring back a new, modern twist on home delivery.”

Customers can order dairy products, along with an array of produce that includes coffee from Stumptown, blackberries from Hurst’s Farm and Spielman’s bagels.

Milk Run, the brainchild of farmer Julia Niiro, started with a question: How could farmers bring fresh food from their farms directly to their neighbors?  Niiro, a partner with Revel Meat Co. in Canby, OR, reached out to a handful of neighboring farms to join her in answering it.  A few short years later, Milk Run operates in Portland and Seattle and works with over 200 farmers across Oregon to supply it’s rapidly growing customer base.  

With more people stuck at home due to quarantining, Milk Run saw an opportunity to shrink the gap between farmers and consumers and educate prospective locavores. “I think that the tactile experience of getting the food in our Milk Run box is the teaching tool for understanding what can be experienced locally.” said Lilly Harris, Operations Manager for Milk Run.  

Alongside favorite staples like Sourdough Boules from Grano Bakery, fresh eggs from Trent Family Farms and Gravenstein Apples from Kiyokawa Orchards, dairy lovers will be happy to see locally produced milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and more.  Participating farms and processors include TMK Creamery, Garry’s Meadow Fresh, Nancy’s, Organic Valley, Larsen’s Creamery, Lulubelle’s Creamery, Briar Rose Creamery, Cascadia Creamery and Willamette Valley Cheese.” 

“We can think about local food abstractly,” said Harris, “But having it delivered to your doorstep and opening a box of local produce is a totally different experience. You’re able to see what’s in season and learn why it’s important to cherish the produce when it’s fresh and ripe.”

Farmers seem to be responding in kind to the local demand for their products. Lulubelle’s, one of Milk Run’s dairy purveyors, will soon be producing new products like Half & Half and Heavy Cream for it’s online customers.

In working directly with farmers, Harris commented, “I think farmers are the most grounded, intelligent people that we could possibly work with.  They’re knowledgable about their craft and excited to share what they produce with consumers.  I love being able to provide that conduit for their excitement and knowledge.” 

The Melt Down: Grilled Cheese Event Goes Bigger Than Ever

It’s a dream come true for fans of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and it’s bigger and better than ever in 2020.

There’s a popular month-long event called “The Melt Down,” where sales of signature grilled cheese sandwiches throughout February support YCAP regional food bank efforts to fight hunger. This year’s “Deluxe Edition” includes 68 participating restaurants and businesses in Yamhill County and 13 sponsors. The restaurants are in a friendly competition for the title of the “Biggest Cheese.”

Each restaurant has their own unique take on the classic grilled cheese sandwich, many with clever names to match. Some examples include: Diet Starts Tomorrow, The Triple Texan, Play with your Food, Ooey Gooey Tomato Grilled Cheesy and Check Yo Self Before You Raclette Yo Self. While there are options for the strict grilled cheese purists, some other ingredients include peanut butter, jalapeños, pineapple, pesto, potatoes, marinara, brisket, avocado and quince chutney.

But how to decide with so many options to choose from? Easy. There’s a passport with details on the sandwiches available at each stop, including their address and business hours. Those who show their passports get stamps or signatures to make them eligible to win prizes donated by 40 area businesses.

Local restaurants in the community are also winners since the event generates increased business thanks to The Melt Down. “It is hard to believe that a small idea just a few years ago has grown into such a successful fundraiser and has provided a much needed economic boost to so many businesses here in Yamhill County,” said YCAP Development Specialist Diane Longaker.

In 2019, more than 6,280 sandwiches were sold, raising approximately $20,000. That equals more than 65,000 meals for the people served by YCAP and its food bank. Oregon dairy farmers and processors including Tillamook and Organic Valley are supporting The Melt Down: Deluxe Edition with hopes for record-setting results. You can help by ordering a grilled cheese from participating restaurants through February 29.

RELATED LINKS:

The 2020 Melt Down: Deluxe Edition

YCAP Regional Food Bank

Counting Down Our Top 10 Stories in 2019

What do Girl Scouts, a former NFL player, ice cream, scholarships and pizza have in common? They all made this year’s top 10 list of our most popular stories on odncouncil.org. Join as we count down the top stories of 2019, and see if you can guess which one took the number one spot. You might be surprised.

The order of this list was determined by people like you who visited our website and viewed our blog posts throughout the year. Thank you!

Without further ado, get the drum roll ready, and here we go:

10

Virtual Tours Bring Dairy Farms to the Classroom

Dairy tours can be enlightening for students who have never set foot on a farm or seen a cow in person. Since there’s no way to get all students to a dairy, this program uses technology to bring the dairy to the classroom.

9

Going Rogue: Oregon Cheese Makes a Big Statement

It’s official: Oregon is home to the “best cheese in the world.” Rogue Creamery’s big win at the 2019 World Cheese Awards was a statement win, considering it was the first time an American cheese took top honors.

8

Girl Scouts Earn Dairy Patch at TMK Creamery

Girl Scouts from Oregon and SW Washington gathered at TMK Creamery in Canby in September to earn their Oregon Dairy Patch. And for many of the Girl Scouts, it was the first time they had seen a cow up close.

7

Food for Thought: Would You Eat What Cows Eat?

“Why do we give food to cows that could be used to feed people?” Tillamook dairy farmer Derrick Josi doesn’t just explain why that’s a bad idea, he shows you in an accompanying video.

6  

Free Money? Scholarships in Dairy and Agriculture

This just in: college is expensive. Ok, so that’s not exactly breaking news. Maybe that’s why this list of scholarships was so popular among parents of students who are pursuing degrees in dairy and agriculture.

5

Nine Easy Ways to Hack Your Pizza

You know those cheap little frozen pizzas you get from the store that would work better as a Frisbee than a pizza? Or a disappointing delivery that looks nothing like the picture in the ads? Upgrade it using these tips!

4

Milk to the Rescue: Addressing an Ongoing Need

Milk is one of the most requested but least available items in food banks across the country. This story was about an influx of milk from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program.

3

Splish Splash If You Don’t Do the Math: The 2019 Milk Carton Boat Race

A popular Rose Festival tradition dating back to 1973, the Milk Carton Boat Race attracts fans of all ages. Kids, adults and teams race handmade boats whose buoyancy depends upon recycled milk jugs and cartons.

2

Anthony Newman Invites Kids to Enjoy Free Summer Meals

Sports broadcaster and former professional football player Anthony Newman helped get the word out about this important program. It helped kids get tasty, healthy lunches when school was out for the summer.

1

Crowdsourced Oregon Ice Cream Trail Showcases Top Shops

Who doesn’t like ice cream? The crowdsourced Oregon Ice Cream Trail churned up a lot of attention for people eager to get the scoop on what shops made the list. People are still nominating locations to add to the trail, so stay tuned!


There were a couple of candidates for honorable mention. Our story about volunteer firefighter Steve Aamodt from 2018 could have made the list for still going strong in 2019. And knowing that our most frequently searched term is “DASH Diet,” it came as no surprise that this story from way back in 2017 asking “Is DASH the Best Diet … Ever?” is still getting attention.

So there you have it. That concludes last year’s list, but now you can help us with the next one for 2020. What unanswered questions do you have? What would you like to see us cover? Just let us know!


RELATED LINK

Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council Story Archive

Wow Your Holiday Guests with These Cheese and Chocolate Pairings

This holiday season, we recommend you introduce your friends and family to a new power couple: cheese and chocolate. That’s right, two individual favorites combine to give you an unexpectedly compatible taste that is sure to impress at your next holiday party. If you’re in a hurry, skip to the bottom for suggestions on pairings.

But, why pair cheese and chocolate together?

You have heard the saying that opposites attract, but in this case it’s the similarities in cheese and chocolate that make them pair well together.

1. Both are indulgent.

Typically cheese or chocolate are among the top snacks Americans will reach for when they want some decadence. Pair them together and you get a luxury hors d’oeuvre perfect for special occasions.

2. Both flavor profiles can be sweet.

Typically, cheese is considered to be a savory treat, and chocolate a sweet snack. However, depending on your cheese type, it can have a sweeter aftertaste and the darker the chocolate the more savory the taste.

3. Both chocolate and cheese are fermented.

Most people understand the cheese making process of fermenting milk, but did you realize the cacao bean must first be fermented in order to make chocolate? The fermentation process makes cheese and chocolate a winning combination much like our traditional preference to pair cheese and wine.

4. Both cheese and chocolate can contribute to your health.

Cheese has the nutritious benefits of protein, calcium, and phosphorus, along with vitamins A and B12. And although chocolate isn’t always known for its nutritional benefits, the main ingredient in chocolate, cacao, is abundant in the antioxidant flavonoids and theobromine.  Now, we aren’t suggesting that cheese and chocolate can replace your greens at dinner, but we are saying the combination can be part of an overall healthy diet.

cape mears_dk cherry almond_h

Make the most of your tasting experience.

Turns out there is an art and science to pairing foods, however, there are no rules when it comes to pairing cheese with chocolate; it’s a matter of personal preference, so feel free to experiment! And, if you are wanting to pair like the professionals, here are a few tips:

1. Smell both the chocolate and cheese before tasting.

Did you ever wonder why sommeliers smell the wine before tasting? It’s because aroma and taste combine to create a flavor profile through the nose and mouth that is interpreted to the brain for a more thorough tasting experience. When you smell your chocolate and cheese combination, it will give you a more complete flavor.

2. Resist the urge to chew the chocolate.

We recommend tasting the chocolate first, and make sure to release the flavors slowly by pressing a small piece to the roof of your mouth and running your tongue along the bottom of it, allowing it to melt. This will help you appreciate the texture of the chocolate, along with the specifics of flavor. With many chocolates, the flavor will change as it melts in your mouth. Once you have enjoyed the taste of chocolate on its own, add a small bite of cheese and notice the flavor change again.

Setting up your tasting

You can try any number of combinations to determine your favorite flavors and textures, but here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Choose high quality cheeses and chocolates.

Although it may be tempting to reach for your leftover Halloween candy and your regular cheddar for a pairing, we recommend thinking outside of the box. Consider buying your cheese from a cheese counter, or a local creamery. For the chocolate, look for chocolates made with high quality cacao and fewer ingredients. You may be surprised to find quality, local chocolates with a simple search.

2. Bring the chocolate and cheese to room temperature.

Once you have selected your cheeses and chocolates, cut them into bite sized pieces and let them sit at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes. This will help you appreciate their aromas and taste.

3. Offer a palate cleanser.

Be sure to offer crackers or fruit in between pairings to give your guests’ taste buds a rest.

4. Organize your pairings.

Order the pairings from mild in flavor to bold in intensity.  This will help you guide the tasting and prevent taste buds from being overwhelmed.

Now you’re the expert.

That’s it! You are well on your way to becoming a cheese and chocolate connoisseur at your next holiday party. However, if you are need of some inspired combinations, here are some our favorites to get you started.

monterey jack_chili chocolate

Monterey Jack with Milk Chocolate

Both the milk chocolate and the Monterey Jack will bring out the other’s soft and creamy texture to create a classic and delicious pairing.

vintage xsharp white_dark chocolate raspberry

Vintage Extra Sharp with Dark Chocolate Raspberry

This specialty aged cheeses are known for robust flavor, creamy and buttery with a bite, so it pairs with the tartness of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry. The brightness of the raspberry balances the slight bitterness of a vintage white.

smoked black pepper_sea salt chocolate

Smoked Black Pepper with Sea Salt

This paring is a tribute to the classic salt and pepper pairing. Did you know salt is the only rock that we eat? And, the enduring popularity of black pepper may owe itself to one picky eater, French King Louis XIV who preferred only salt and pepper, to the extent that he banned all other seasonings.

cape mears _salted almond

English cheddar with Salted Almond Dark Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond

English cheddars tend to be a slightly sweet and creamy cheddar. See what chocolate pairing your friends prefer! Whether they go with more sweet or savory, the almonds will add texture and bring out a nutty flavor to the cheese.

hot habanero jack with milk chocolate

Hot Habanero Jack with Milk Chocolate

And end your tasting with a paring where opposites attract. Milk chocolate is chosen to pair with a habanero in this Monterey Jack cheese to cool the spice on your tongue, while still bringing out the creamy texture in both the chocolate and the cheese creating a classily delicious pairing.

When it comes to pairing chocolate and cheese, it is all about personal preferences. Doing some “research” with family and friends can bring some fun and tasty pairings to your next holiday get together.

RELATED LINKS:

Cheese and Chocolate Pairings | Cabot Creamery

Tasting Chocolate | Ghirardelli

How to Pair Flavors, According to Science |Tasting Table

Cheese Pairing with Chocolate: a Winning Combination | The Wisconsin Cheeseman

How to Pair Chocolate with Cheese | wikiHow

Going Rogue: Oregon Cheese Makes a Big Statement

Type the words “American cheese” into an online search engine, and the images that pop up typically appear more utilitarian than artisanal or gourmet. Perhaps that’s one reason why it came as a shock to some around the globe that an American cheese defied convention and brought home the title of “best in the world” at the 2019 World Cheese Awards for the first time in history. It was a statement win.

Based in Southern Oregon, Rogue Creamery proved what many Oregonians and cheese aficionados already knew – Oregon creameries make some truly extraordinary cheese. At the awards held in Bergamo, Italy, Rogue River Blue beat out more than 3,800 cheeses from 42 countries. After a photo finish with an Italian Parmigiano Reggiano, Oregon officially became home to the World Champion.

According to Rogue, the winning cheese embodies their signature terroir with flavors of sweet pine, wild ripened berries, hazelnuts, morels and pears:

“Rogue River Blue is an organic, cave-aged blue cheese that is wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that are soaked in pear spirits. It is made exclusively with milk from Rogue Creamery’s certified organic dairy farm in Grants Pass, where the cows graze on pastures bordering the Rogue River. A seasonal product, Rogue River Blue is only made for a few months each year beginning on the autumnal equinox, when cooler temperatures bring renewed growth to the pastures and our cow’s milk becomes richer and higher in butterfat.”

Since the big announcement on October 18, people have been taking note. From Martha Stewart to renowned authors, international journalists, chefs, foodies and even fellow cheesemakers – all have been singing Rogue’s praises, as stores are quickly selling out. Many Oregonians are expressing pride in the recognition, including U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who had some fun with this Tweet:

In addition to Rogue’s top honors, TMK Creamery of Canby brought home a Silver Medal for their Garlic Dill Cheddar Curds, and Tillamook earned a Bronze Medal for their one-year aged White Cheddar. These award-winners and many more creameries are listed on the Oregon Cheese Guild’s Oregon Cheese and Food Trail. While nobody knows where the best cheese in the world will come from in 2020, there are plenty of worthy candidates that make a case for a repeat performance from Oregon.

Of course, great tasting cheese starts with high-quality milk, and Oregon is consistently ranked toward the top in the nation. Oregon’s 124,000 cows and 200 dairy farm families produce roughly 2.6 billion pounds of milk annually (more than 302 million gallons). Oregonians love their milk so much, it is literally the official beverage of the State of Oregon.

Oregon’s dairy industry is a vital economic engine for communities statewide, with an estimated impact of $2.7 billion. Dairy is Oregon’s fourth largest commodity by farm revenue after only cattle, greenhouse and nursery products, and hay. Further, dairy farms create a ripple effect in both the agricultural economy and the economic well-being of rural communities, supporting 12,222 jobs.


RELATED LINKS:

Rogue River Blue Wins World’s BEST cheese!
Oregon Cheese Guild, October 18

USA cheese named ‘Best in the World’
USDEC, October 21

For the first time ever, a US cheese is named best in the world
CNN Travel, November 1

The World’s Best Cheese? It’s Blue and Comes From Oregon
The New York Times, November 1

American cheese named world’s best for first time, here’s how much it costs
Fox Business, November 2

France in shock over Oregon cheese winning ‘Best in the World’ honor
Statesman Journal, November 4

Want to taste the Oregon-made, recently named ‘Best Cheese in the World’? Better hurry.
Statesman Journal, November 6 

This may be the moment American cheese, true American cheese, has been waiting for
Washington Post, November 6

What Will the School Lunch of the Future Look Like?

Quinoa, kale, Brussels sprouts, tamales, green smoothies. These are all foods you might find in a trendy restaurant … or on a lunch tray in your local school cafeteria.

School lunches are fast overcoming their stereotypical reputation as bland and uninspired through some creativity and innovation by school nutrition professionals. On this National School Lunch Week, let’s take a look toward the future.

If you’ve ever tried to concentrate on something when you’re really hungry, you’ll understand that students don’t perform at their best without a nutritious lunch, which they won’t eat unless it tastes good. Schools are committed to providing great food in their cafeterias, and it can be challenging to be innovative when there are so many considerations, including:

• Making it tasty for a wide range of food preferences
• Making it easy to eat in a short period of time
• Cost and budgetary concerns
• Regulations and nutrition standards
• Allergies and dietary restrictions
• Sourcing and availability
• Food safety, storage and logistics
• Limiting food waste

Schools and school districts may operate differently, yet they share the common goal of providing meals their students actually want and will eat. These meals fuel students with the needed nutrients to grow and think. Improving menus can take some creativity, and that’s why culinary training events have proven so popular over the past nine years in Oregon.

Jessica Visinsky, a Registered Dietitian and trained chef, travels the state to teach child nutrition professionals about new recipes, knife skills, menu requirements and strategies to promote healthy eating. The trainings are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs, and are offered at no cost to the schools.

As a result, school nutrition professionals are preparing more scratch recipes, often from the Oregon State University Food Hero program. Check out Food Hero for recipes that can be made at home and with kids. Students have responded positively. Many also explore farm to school opportunities to include seasonal fruits, vegetables and other local foods year-round.

The school lunch of the future will likely include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some are taking a serious look at plant-based diets and some are looking at local, sustainably sourced center-of-the-plate proteins such as seafood and beef. These are all complemented well by the nutrition provided in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Restrictions will continue for sodium, sugar and unhealthy fat, driven by science and recommendations from USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

You don’t have to gaze into a crystal ball to see the future of school lunches is looking bright. On this National School Lunch Week, we salute all of those who work so hard to put nutritious and delicious foods on our students’ trays. Thank you!

Home recipes of photos shown above … and more.

RELATED LINKS

Girl Scouts Earn Dairy Patch at TMK Creamery

Photos by Joy Foster

For the second year in a row, Girl Scouts from Oregon and SW Washington gathered for a day of fun and education as they earned their dairy patch. And for many of the Girl Scouts, this was the first time they had ever visited a farm or seen a cow up close.

The Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum was designed by the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington, Tillamook County Creamery Association, and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. With a focus on hands-on learning, it encourages Girl Scouts to visit a dairy farm, discover how milk is transformed into dairy products, explore dairy nutrition, and learn about careers in the dairy industry.

On September 29, TMK Dairy and Creamery invited the Girl Scouts to earn the dairy patch at a special “Dairy Day” event. Through four different station experiences on their farm, 100 eager Girl Scouts and their families had the opportunity to learn about dairy products from start to finish.

TMK Creamery is a small family farm that began 30 years ago when the owner Todd Koch purchased his first Holstein cow. “It all started with a 4-H project that went too far,” he says. In 1997, the milking herd had grown, so the Koch family built TMK Dairy, and in 2018 they opened a creamery where Koch’s sister Shauna and brother-in-law Bert Garza began making farmstead cheeses.

The Koch family is passionate about agriculture education and have designed their farm and creamery accordingly. Interested parties can schedule tours of the farm, or visit on Saturdays when the farm and creamery is open to the public.

For the Dairy Day event, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with Oregon Aglink, Oregon State University Extension, Oregon Dairy Women and TMK designed the stations to follow the Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Curriculum.

At the first station, TMK’s herdsman Marc Koch taught the Girl Scouts about the milking process. They watched a cow be milked, and even had the opportunity to milk a cow by hand. At this station they also had the opportunity to see calves and learn that they are fed with bottles, their bedding is clean and dry, and their pens are spacious and warm.

Station two, led by OSU Extension representative Jenifer Cruickshank, was all about how farmers care for their cows though nutrition, bedding, barns and pasture. They discussed the difference in dairy breeds and even had the opportunity to pet TMK’s “cowlebrities.”

At station three, Shauna Garza from TMK explained how milk from their cows gets made into delicious cheese. The Girl Scouts were able to look into the creamery through the windows of TMK’s boutique tasting room, where they learned about the importance of keeping the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities clean. Then, Mallory Phelan from Aglink and Tillamook County’s Dairy Princess Ambassador, Araya Wilks, led the group in a fun game designed to demonstrate the many career opportunities in agriculture.

The Girl Scouts were able to finish their patch requirements at the last station, led by the Klamath County Dairy Princess Ambassador, Jaime Evers, as she talked about the importance of dairy in a well-balanced diet, and then the Girl Scouts were able to “taste test” delicious cheese that was made right there on the farm.

“The Oregon Dairy Patch program is a great opportunity for girls to discover the local food chain. It encourages them to be curious about where their food comes from, and what it takes to get it from the farm to the factory to their table,” said Lisa Gilham-Luginbill, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope they’ll learn something new along the way, and perhaps discover an interest or future career in the process.”

RELATED LINKS:

Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum

Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington

New Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Unveiled at Oregon Dairy Day Event

Who’s Who: Careers in Food

Nine Easy Ways to Hack Your Pizza

On National Pizza Day, and all of the other 364 days of the year, people across this country settle for sad slices of pizza that were once frozen solid like a manhole cover, lacking toppings or damaged in delivery. They often look nothing like the picture above and sometimes taste like cardboard. Let’s face it, not all pizzas are created equal.

We’re here to help with nine easy ways you can upgrade an uninspired, pathetic pie by hacking your pizza:

accessory-1238759_960_720.jpg1. Cheese It Up

Sure, you can always add more cheese to take it to the next level, but you might be surprised how trying different types of cheese can improve an otherwise boring pizza. While some scientists claim that mozzarella and cheddar are the best mix, there’s also provolone, Gouda, Colby, Edam, Asiago, Gruyère, Emmental, bleu, ricotta, burrata – and you’ll probably want to top it off with some Parmesan.

pizza-346985_960_720-e1549687918746.jpg2. Veg Out

So you ordered a basic cheese or one topping pizza? Add pre-cooked vegetables for extra flavor and extra nutrition. Beyond popular favorites like garlic, peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms, have you tried zucchini, corn, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, squash, broccoli or spinach? And don’t forget about fruits! Besides pineapple, some use peaches, pears, apples, bananas and fig.

pesto-1776673_960_720-e1549688039525.jpg3. Take a Dip

Dips aren’t just for chips. Sometimes the easiest way to jazz up a bland slice isn’t in the slice itself. Some swear by ranch dressing, but depending on the flavor of the slice you can also go with marinara, garlic and herb, pesto, BBQ, buffalo or hummus. Some even dip their pizza in milk. We’re not making this up … it’s a thing.

pepper-662550_960_720-e1549688142535.jpg4. Spice It Up

This one isn’t for everyone, but for those who like their pizza hot and spicy, you don’t have to settle for that packet of dried red peppers. There’s Tabasco, Sriracha, Cholula (everybody has their favorites), and if that’s not enough, you can add peppers ranging from hot to ‘you might need to sign a waiver’ before you eat it.

food-3309419_960_7205. Cook Like A Pro

Promote your small time pizza to the big leagues by cooking it on a pizza stone. You can make your own with a few bucks at a home improvement store. Look for untreated, unglazed terra cotta or quarry tiles. They’ll distribute the heat more evenly in your oven or barbeque. Yes you read that right, you can cook a pizza on a barbeque.

olive-oil-salad-dressing-cooking-olive-e1549688593916.jpg6. Rub the Crust

Coat the crust with olive oil before you stick the pizza in the oven. You can also use melted butter, garlic powder, crushed garlic, oregano, and some grated parmesan cheese. This simple step can add a seasoned and flavorful boost to any premade pizza.

american-1238676_960_720-e1549688710591.jpg7. Walk on the Wild Side

We’re not just talking about sprinkling some bacon bits on top, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Try adding some new combos like peaches and prosciutto, blackberries and basil, even shrimp and lobster. There’s plenty of inspiration online … alongside pizzas with hardboiled eggs, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, spaghetti and ramen noodles.

watercress-600072_960_720-e1549688802350.jpg8. Change It Up

There are a lot of ways to cook pizza that don’t even look like pizza. For example, put a pizza upside down on another pizza with cheese in the middle and you have a grilled cheese pizza/calzone impersonator. Go a stack higher for pizza lasagna. Roll a mozzarella stick inside slices or cut strips of ‘pizza fries.’ Kids like slices cooked on a stick like a Popsicle or heated in a waffle iron.

pan-544679_960_7209. Win Round Two

There’s an art to reheating slices. Using an oven, preheat to 375 and put it on a hot baking tray, cookie sheet or foil for 10 minutes. Or put it in a skillet, covered on medium heat with a few drops of water in the pan, and cook for at least five minutes. Then there’s the microwave – just place a cup of water next to the pizza when you cook it.

Hopefully one or more of these pizza hacks will help you elevate your next pizza from disappointing to delectable. If you’re still not impressed, try getting the ingredients to make your own pizza the next time you’re at the grocery store. It’s pretty easy with enough time and the right ingredients. Bon appétit!

 

RELATED LINK:

Fighting Hunger, One Grilled Cheese Sandwich at a Time

There are plenty of reasons to love February. Sure, there’s Valentine’s Day and Oregon’s birthday for becoming a state, but have you heard of the month-long effort to fight hunger known as “The Melt Down?” If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, you’ll love what you’re about to read.

During the entire month of February, 20 restaurants in Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, McMinnville and Newberg are selling their own special grilled cheese sandwiches in a friendly competition for the title of the “Biggest Cheese.” Everyone ends up a winner though, since all grilled cheese sandwiches sold during the month of February raise funds for the Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP) regional food bank. This year’s goal is $20,000.

As part of the Oregon Food Bank network, YCAP provides food to 17 emergency food pantries strategically located throughout Yamhill County. These pantries provide a variety of fresh and shelf-stable groceries to low-income families and individuals. YCAP also provides food to six meal sites in the county.

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From a prior year, this is just one of many tasty examples from The Melt Down.

In the spirit of friendly competition, The Melt Down chefs are using some serious creativity with their culinary creations, including special cheeses, sauces, breads and other tasty surprises. As the Yamhill Valley News-Register reported, “These are not your father’s grilled cheese sandwiches.” Many local cheeses and dairy ingredients are featured on the menus.

Through the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, Oregon dairy farmers and processors are supporting The Melt Down in 2019 alongside ongoing nutrition and food security initiatives. There are also plans to involve Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassadors, local dairy farmers and Undeniably Dairy materials in related events and communications.

There’s a passport available for those adventurous souls who seek to experience all 20 offerings throughout the course of the month. But just remember, there are only 28 days in February, and if you want to try them all, the clock is ticking … good luck!

RELATED LINKS:

The Melt Down 2019 Restaurants and Sandwiches

YCAP Regional Food Bank

The Melt Down on Facebook

meltdownlist

New Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Unveiled at Oregon Dairy Day Event

What do you get when you combine a fun and informative creamery tour with dairy farmers and princesses, and top it off with delicious cheese samples and ice cream? At the special Oregon Dairy Day event at Tillamook Creamery on October 20, you got 200 very excited Girl Scouts and family members. They were there to be among the first-ever to earn the new “Oregon Dairy” patch.

Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, in partnership with the Tillamook County Creamery Association and Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, designed this new patch program to educate girls about STEM concepts, farms and food production, and the Oregon dairy industry.

The patch program encourages Girl Scouts to learn through five hands-on steps: visit a dairy farm, discover how milk is transformed into dairy products, explore dairy nutrition, and learn about careers in the industry, from dairy farmer to food scientist to food marketer. The program concludes with a taste test.

Volunteers from the Tillamook staff, along with the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassadors, hosted interactive stations at the Tillamook Creamery Farm Experience Center to help the Girl Scouts earn their patch.

The first station featured a visit with local dairy farmers, Taryn Martin and Logan Lancaster. They were available to answer any questions the Girl Scouts had regarding milking, cow care and farm practices. “I really enjoyed the event,” said Taryn Martin. “When I was finished for the day, I had met parents and Girl Scouts from all over Oregon and Washington and was impressed at how far some of them had traveled for the experience and education. It was so much fun to answer questions from both the parents and the scouts!”

Girl Scouts also visited a station focused on nutrition and balanced diets. Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador First Alternate Megan Sprute explained how and why milk is a good source of calcium, nutrients, and vitamins.

To learn about different careers in the industry, the Girl Scouts conducted food science experiments, creating their very own yogurt flavor, complete with a variety of toppings (including edible glitter sprinkles)! They were also able to visit with a veterinarian to learn about cow care and a scientist to learn how to use a microscope to look for bacteria. The dairy scientist explained that all bad bacteria is kept out of milk.

The Girl Scouts finished their patch requirements by taking a tour of the Tillamook Creamery, where they watched the milk turn into cheese and the employees prepare packages for shipment. And of course, they were able to taste test samples of delicious Tillamook cheese and ice cream.

“The Oregon Dairy Patch program is a great opportunity for girls to discover the local food chain. It encourages them to be curious about where their food comes from, and what it takes to get it from the farm to the factory to their table,” said Lisa Gilham-Luginbill, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope they’ll learn something new along the way, and perhaps discover an interest or future career in the process.”

RELATED LINKS:
Girl Scouts Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum
Tillamook Creamery
Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Kids Corner
Careers Page

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