Blessed Are the Cheesemakers

...for they allowed me to invite myself to someone else's house for dinner last night. Really. There I was, sitting by our neighborhood pool at 5:15 p.m., chatting with a friend. Talk turned to our respective dinner menus, and she was planning chicken-pesto pizza made on the grill(!!!). "How about you?"

Uh...I thought of what was thawing on the counter at home, which was exactly nothing. I thought of how good that pizza sounded. I thought of how much more fun it would be to go to someone else's house and eat their planned meal than to come home and rummage through the freezer. "We'll probably grill some sausages," I said. Which was true, since that's probably what I would have whipped out of said freezer.

"Hmm...that sounds good."

"We could come grill them at your house!" I suggested, sensing weakness. "Have a potluck!"


"They're from the farmers market! Skagit River Ranch Beef Summer Sausage and some Italian."

"Well, the house is a mess..."

"So's ours! I don't care about that. And I have some sugar snap peas--and pluots--" There was further softening, but I saw I would have to use the ace up my sleeve. "--And I have cheese."

Now this friend has a weakness for cheese. Her ears perked up. "What kind of cheese?"

"I picked up two kinds at the Market. This cheddar with salsa from Golden Glen Creamery and this fresh kind with chives from Samish Bay. They're so luscious! Four out of five Dudleys love them." (The fifth Dudley being my son, who only tolerates shredded cheddar that falls in a certain range of yellows on the color spectrum.) That clinched it. Have cheese, will travel.

And I think they weren't sorry to have us. They complimented the sausage, although it took a little extra grill time since I pulled them hard as rocks from my freezer, and the cheese was pronounced delicious with a "great texture." Even their nine-year-old boy had several thick slices of the Ladysmith with Chives, and my oldest daughter attempted to toast some of the Queso with Salsa over the fire, while others roasted marshmallows.

It's one thing to use our Bellevue Farmers Market as a source of hostess gifts. Another thing altogether to use it to get yourself hosted in the first place. If you haven't picked up farm-fresh cheese and you're still buying those generic blocks from the grocery store, let this be the week you branch out. Our cheesemakers carry everything from fresh curds to aged, grating cheeses. And Samish Bay's Ladysmith was named by Seattle Weekly as "the best, and by best we mean Most Addictively Snackable, New Cheese."

I know I'll be picking up some more varieties this week because we are cleaned out!