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Newsletter - December 2015

Cheese of the Month
Christmas Cheese
It's a once-a-year treat that we make only from Thanksgiving through New Year's. It's a crumbly, spreadable round of cheese festively flavored with a combination of chiles. It's a pretty cheese...a warm red round topped with a swirl of green jalapenos strips. Some might call it a Mexican cheese, but you'll just call it "good" when you taste it! It pairs nicely with beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Just one bite won't be sufficient. It all began many years ago as a mistake. Something happened to one batch of our cheese. It just didn't turn out exactly as it should have ... it wasn't a bad cheese, it just wasn't the kind of cheese it was supposed to be! So, we decided to convert our mistake into something new ... something good for the holidays. We added a variety of red chiles to make it spicy. We molded it into small discs that would be perfect for serving when guests stop by. We decorated the top with a star made of green chiles. And voila...Christmas Cheese! Now our mistake has become a Mozzarella Company annual tradition. Many of our loyal customers have made Christmas Cheese part of their family holiday traditions. They flock to our cheese factory for our special, little, handmade cheese. Many buy 10 or more because they make perfect gifts and great to have on hand for quick, last-minute hors d'oeuvres and hostess gifts.

Recipe of the Month
Butternut Squash Soup with Christmas Cheese
1 2-pound butternut squash
5 cups chicken broth (maybe plus 1 cup)
1 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 strips pepper bacon, for garnish
1 disc (8 ounces) Christmas Cheese

Peel the squash and scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut into 2-inch cubes and place in large sauce pan. Pour the chicken broth and apple juice over the squash and simmer over medium low until soft when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.

In a medium skillet, melt butter and then saute the onion, shallots, and rosemary over medium low heat until soft and just beginning to brown. Add them to the squash and continue simmering for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the squash in the saucepan until smooth. Alternatively, pour the squash into a blender and puree until completely smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes. The soup should be thick, but if it is too think, add another cup of chicken broth.

In the meantime, cook the bacon in a small skillet over low heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon and set aside.

To serve, ladle the squash soup into soup bowls. Crumble the Christmas Cheese on top. Garnish with bacon.

Serves 8