August 2011 Issue
My Ohio Recipes: Tending the Herd
The milk from Bill Grammer’s Mahoning County farm produces some of our favorite dairy products.
The Jersey girls on Bill Grammer’s 148-acre Mahoning County dairy farm are a bunch — make that a herd — of busy cows.
Each of the 640 sable-coated, brown-eyed Jersey cows produces about 58 pounds of butterfat- and protein-rich milk every day. In the dairy case, that’s equivalent to 7 gallons of milk or 11 half gallons of ice cream or 9 pounds of cottage cheese. Grammer’s dedication to the fine details of dairy farming and herd management might not be on the label, but it certainly shows up in the taste.
Ohio Farm Bureau members (and that includes consumers like you) have unique access to information about Ohio food and farms like Bill Grammer’s through the organization’s Our Ohio consumer brand. Farm Bureau members can learn about many Ohio food and farm stories through the Our Ohio brand, which includes a magazine, TV series, Grow and Know educational events, website and social media.
Bill Grammer bought the dairy farm from his father in 1992 and since then has grown the herd from 35 to 640 registered Jerseys, a breed of dairy cattle originally bred on the British Channel Island of Jersey. For more than 200 years, the breed has been prized for the same reasons Grammer values his herd today.
Jersey cattle have genial dispositions, a reputation that earned one of them a spot as Elsie, the unofficial sweet-faced mascot on Borden products since the 1930s. The breed is small in size and uses feed efficiently, while producing large amounts of milk per pound of body weight. Jersey cattle also breed well, experiencing relatively few calving difficulties, and have a long productive life.
“Each cow in our herd averages 19,000 pounds of milk a year,” Grammer says. “Five percent of the content is butterfat and 4 percent is protein, making the milk full of flavor and texture.” Milk from Grammer’s farm goes to Smith Dairy in Orrville, where it is used in a variety of products but is especially desirable for ice cream and cottage cheeses.
Ohio has more than 3,300 dairy farms and the majority, like Grammer’s, are family-owned and -operated. Bill’s wife, Debbie, handles the administrative side of farming and his two teenage sons, Billy and Ben, are involved when school and sport activities allow. They know that a typical day on a dairy farm has no beginning or end. The herd is milked three times a day. The efficiency of the breed and that of the farm has earned Grammer the distinction of being one of the state’s top-producing Jersey dairy farms, and that keeps him committed to making sure the next glass of milk or scoop of ice cream made from his herd’s milk is better than the last.
Marilou Suszko is a food writer from Vermilion. She hosts “From My Ohio Kitchen to Yours” on the Our Ohio TV series.
Ohio Farm Bureau members receive a subscription to
Our Ohio magazine. For a free sample, visit OurOhio.org and click on “magazine.”
The following recipes are provided by Ohio food writer Marilou Suszko.
For more of her recipes, visit OurOhio.org.
Real Deal Chocolate Pudding
If you’ve never attempted to make pudding from scratch, here’s a recipe that will tempt you to take the leap.
It has all the trappings of a decadent dessert including rich whole milk, eggs and a double dose of chocolate.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4½ cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of milk until a smooth paste forms. Set aside. Heat the remaining 4 cups of milk in a saucepan over low heat until it comes to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the cocoa paste until blended. Add the cocoa mixture to the saucepan and whisk until combined with the milk. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until fairly thick, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together until well blended. Very slowly and whisking constantly, add one cup of the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs until combined and smooth. Add this mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and butter, whisking until smooth. Pour the pudding into eight custard cups or large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, about 2 to 3 hours. Makes 8 servings.
Pork Braised in Milk
1 boneless pork shoulder
(about 2½ pounds), rolled and tied (do not trim fat)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the pork and brown evenly on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the Dutch oven and sauté over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Return the pork to the Dutch oven. Add the milk, bay leaf and rosemary. (Milk should come halfway up the roast.) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours. Remove lid and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. The pork should be very tender when pierced with a fork.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the pork from the braising liquid and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes until the surface appears dry. Remove from oven and cover with foil to keep warm. Meanwhile, return the braising liquid to a boil over high heat and let it reduce to about 1 cup, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs. Puree the liquid in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return to the pan to keep warm. When ready to serve, cut the pork into thin slices and serve with the milk gravy. Makes 6–8 servings.
Note: Braising tougher cuts of pork in milk infuses it with rich flavors and creates a tender finish. Don’t be put off
if the braising liquid appears curdled. When pureed, it creates a smooth, silky, flavorful gravy that gives new meaning to “comfort food.”
BRAISING IN MILK
Braising is a cooking technique that works magic on tougher, economical cuts of meat. It calls for searing the meat first and then gently cooking it for a long time. This combination slowly breaks down the tough connective tissues, delivering
a tender, buttery finish to meats.
How does that work? Dr. Valente Alvarez, a professor of dairy foods research at Ohio State University, says that braising in any liquid will make meat tender, but milk adds a little something extra. “As the water evaporates from the milk,” he explains, “the fats and lactose, or sugar, remains, greatly enhancing the flavors of braised meats.”
Robert L. Wolke, consulting science editor for Cooks Ill-ustrated and author of What Einstein Told His Cook agrees, but credits some added benefits to the curdling of cooked milk. “When the milk is reduced all the way down to a thick sauce as many recipes recommend,” he says, “the curds (as in yogurt and soft cheese) will coat the meat with a ‘silky’ texture.”