For thousands of years, humans have gathered in the summer months to watch stars fall by the hundreds in a beautiful cosmic display known as the Perseid Meteor Shower. This weekend, Cabot Creamery, the Vermont dairy cooperative best known as makers of the "World's Best Cheddar," wants to make your Perseid Meteor Shower viewing party an out-of-this-world experience with a host of delicious and fun outdoor picnic recipes.
"The nights of August 12th and 13th mark the peak viewing of the Perseid Meteor Shower," says Jack St. Louis, President of the Vermont Astronomical Society. "This is the best shower of the year due to the high number of meteors visible and its occurrence in summer. All you need to see the Perseids is a blanket or lawn chair, warm clothing for the cool night air and falling dew, and bug spray - you don't even need a telescope for this event."
So what is the Perseid Meteor Shower? What you are seeing are actually, "small specks of dust from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the Sun and leaves a dust trail as it gets closer to the Sun," continues St. Louis. "The dust trail also orbits the Sun, and the Earth passes through this trail each year. As the Earth passes through the dust trail, the meteors enter our atmosphere at over 130,000 miles per hour. At that speed, the tiny specks create much friction with the molecules in the air and they vaporize along with the dust particles. As many as 60 meteors per hour can be seen in urban areas, possibly up to 100 per hour in dark country skies."
"The meteors come fast, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy a 'flashlight picnic' with your family, friends or special someone," says Roberta MacDonald, Senior VP of Marketing for Cabot Creamery Cooperative. "In between shooting star sightings, try a bite of our Big Dipper Black Bean Bruschetta with Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar. Or, for a simple and highly portable snack, bring our Cabot Comet Cheddar Antipasto, along with a loaf of crusty Italian bread. Whichever your preference, you are in for a spectacular evening, because for some reason, we at Cabot find that food just tastes better in the open air, under the stars."
In order to best enjoy the meteor show, Jack St. Louis recommends forming a circle with family and friends, each person watching a different portion of the sky. "When you see one, yell 'North!' or 'East!' or which ever direction you see the meteor. Hopefully, all can enjoy the meteor before it burns up, never to be seen again!" Which, coincidentally, also applies to the last bite of Cabot Cheddar.
For more easy-picnic ideas, like our Big Dipper Black Bean Bruschetta with Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar or Cabot Comet Cheddar Antipasto, visit http://www.cabotcheese.coop/recipes
Big Dipper Black Bean Bruschetta with Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar
Makes 8 servings
1 (1-pound) long loaf Italian bread
6 ounces Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons water, or as needed
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced
12 fresh parsley sprigs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange on baking sheet and place in oven for 10 minutes, or until golden.
3. Divide cheese among slices, pressing firmly in place. Bake for 10 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted and toasts are crisp. Set aside at room temperature.
4. Meanwhile, combine beans, parsley, vinegar, oil and garlic in blender or food processor; process into puree. If puree is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate.
5. Just before serving, generously spread bean mixture on toasts. Top each with tomato slice and portion of parsley sprig.
Cabot Creamery Cooperative has been in continuous operation in Vermont since 1919, and we make a full line of cheeses, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and butter. Best known as makers of "The World's Best Cheddar," Cabot is owned by 1200 dairy farm families located throughout New England and upstate New York. For additional information on Cabot Creamery, visit http://www.cabotcheese.coop/