Monday, June 9, 2008

Heat Waves, Horse Trials, Strawberry Sandwiches, and Ice Cream (Oh my!)

My family keeps their horses in a rural northwest corner of NJ. My mother's pony Baby and my husband's horse Jenna reside at Oxbow Stables in Hamburg, and Mom and I keep our other pony, Riddle at TLC Stables in Wantage. This is a NJ you never imagined. It forces you to throw away all preconceptions of what you think you know about NJ. It's rural and beautiful and filled with farmlands and mountains.

Mom and I were traveling between Oxbow and TLC on Saturday afternoon and decided to stop at one of the many farm stands that dot the long road between. Strawberries are in season now, so it was impossible not to pick up some.

I was planning to have them for breakfast yesterday morning. I just wasn't sure how. Did I want to just slice them on my cold cereal? Should I make a smoothie? Nothing was calling to me.

Then I had a crazy idea. My uncle lives in Cochester, CT, near Cato Corner Farm, where they make excellent cheese. Whenever my uncle comes over for dinner, he always brings me some cheese. I still had a decent amount of cheese left over from the birthday party. I had a small chunk of Dutch Farmstead cheese and a big hunk of Bloomsday cheese (which rhymes a little too much with Doomsday for my comfort).

My crazy idea took shape. How would a nice warm cheese sandwich taste with strawberries on top? Strawberries are great with warm brie, right? Strawberries are good with cream cheese? Why not a grilled cheese with strawberries?

The experiment began.

I used the Bloomsday cheese and a nice wholewheat bread. After I took this picture, I sliced the cheese thinner and put the strawberries between the cheese slices to help the sandwich hold together and help the cheese to melt faster. In keeping with some kind of health advantage, I simply sprayed a pan with cooking spray instead of soaking the sandwich in butter.

The sandwich wasn't bad. I think a different cheese needed to go with the strawberries, but I'm not sure what kind I would use. The idea was strong, but the sandwich itself was lackluster. I probably won't make it again until I find the perfect cheese. Of course how can I find the perfect cheese if I don't make it again?

Too bad I couldn't call it a day and go back to bed. I had a long day ahead of me. Oxbow Stables was having one of their monthly horse trials in the middle of the biggest heat wave of the year. Every time we have horse trials, I end up being roped into being a cross country fence judge.

What does a cross country fence judge do? Well, you have to just sit there next to a jump in the middle of a field and mark down whether or not the horse goes over it and if there are penalties. If the horse has a penalty, you call it to the scoring booth over a walkie-talkie. Fun huh? I find myself nodding off. I raise my head when I hear the sound of hoofbeats approaching.

All clear. I can go back to sleep now.

No amount of sunscreen could keep me from getting burnt and my clothes were sticking to me all day.

There was some relief on the horizon though. Storm clouds were brewing.

Unfortunately, the heavens decided to open up just as Kevin was starting his dressage test.

Jenna does not like thunderstorms - at all!

(But she's very pretty, you have to admit.)

Sadly, he didn't get a very good score as Jenna was spooking all over the place.

Kevin sought consolation and I sought relief from the heat at the Bellvale Creamery on our way home. Have I made too many posts about how much I love the Bellvale Creamery? Probably. However, I'm probably not going to stop making posts about it because they have the best ice cream ever! (Just as I'm never going to stop posting about how much I love the Iron Forge Inn because it's the world's greatest restaurant.)

We both had the same ice cream.

This one is called Meadow Muffins. It's chocolate ice cream with brownies and peanut butter swirl. It's heavenly.

Before finally heading home, I took a picture of Bellvale's fantastic view. There is no better way to enjoy your ice cream than to look out on the valley. Too bad it was hazy this day.

A crazy, hot, and disappointing day was just made a little sweeter.


Emiline said...

I want to go to the creamery! Did the ice cream have muffin in it?

The berries look really good. I wouldn't have thought to put them on a sandwich. I don't see anything wrong with it. I like grilled cheese.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Em - it wasn't a bad idea, but the combination of the particularly cheese with the strawberries wasn't what I had hoped. I needed either a sweeter, cremier cheese to complement the berries or else something saltier and sharper to contrast with the sweetness of the berries. I'm not sure what the right cheese would have been.

The ice cream had brownies rather than muffins, but I think I like brownies better!

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

Oh crap! I love this idea! I love strawberries with good cheese. And grilled cheese, too? Oh. My. Good. Lord. I'd never heard of Bloomsday cheese until just now. Maybe something soft and earthy like tellegio would have tasted better. And you can never go wrong with regular ol' cream cheese. OK, OK, Neufchatel, if you want to feel better about slathering on the stuff.