HJ/EDJune 19, 2006

Two businesses, but same love of dairy foods

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Carol Hobert of Cokato calls herself a “mother image” for the employees at Hobert Sales Inc., a dairy supply company north of Cokato.

She likes to feed them with pizza laden with mozzarella, and hamburgers piled high with cheese. Hobert gets her cheese from Dan & Becky’s Market of Cokato as much as possible. “I get as much ‘natural” as I can,” Hobert said.

Hobert uses only butter, never margarine, she added. Hobert firmly believes consumers have been misled about the healthfulness of margarine. Not only does butter taste better, but has less artery clogging chemicals in it than margarine, she said.

She and her husband, Jon, and their employees, Heather and Aaron Hobert, Chris Nelson and Chad Anderson, are big believers in enjoying dairy foods.

Hobert remembers fondly how her mom’s family made homemade ice cream on their farm near Chaska, she said. Hobert also was born and raised on a farm near Mayer, she said.

Hobert met her husband at the Carver County Fair, where he was selling farm equipment. They moved into their home north of Cokato on 10th Street in 1985.

Hobert Sales supplies milking and feed equipment, manure systems and sanitation supplies and service. Hobert enjoys the variety of the work she has had at Hobert Sales for the past 11 years. She started doing accounts receivables and later added accounts payable and parts.

Hobert has two favorite dairy recipes. The first, Cheese Potato Puff, is very easy to make and versatile. If there’s no cheddar cheese available, milk or cream can be substituted, for example, Hobert said.

The second recipe, Vanilla Cream Fruit Tart, is more difficult but fun to make.

“I love the way people compliment me how good it tastes,” Hobert said.

Cheese Potato Puff

12 medium potatoes, peeled (about 5 pounds.)

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

Fresh or dried chives, optional

Place the potatoes in a large kettle. Cover with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until tender. Drain. Mash potatoes until smooth.

In a saucepan, cook and stir the butter, cheese, milk and remaining salt until smooth. Stir into potatoes and fold in eggs.

Pour into a greased 3-quart baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Sprinkle with chives if desired. Yield: 8-10 serving.

“It is fun to entertain and have people say it tastes so good, when it is so simple,” Hobert said.

Vanilla Cream Fruit Tart

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 10-ounce package vanilla chips, melted and cooled

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 pint fresh strawberries

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners sugar. Beat in flour. Mixture will be crumbly. Pat into the bottom of a greased 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

In another mixing bowl, beat melted chips and cream. Add cream cheese. Beat until smooth. Spread over crust. Chill for 30 minutes.

Arrange berries over filling.

In a sauce pan, combine pineapple juice, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool. Brush over fruit.

Chill 1 hour before serving. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Even though Bette Nyman of Dassel is a city girl from St. Louis Park, she adapted quickly to living on a dairy farm, she said.

“It’s a lot of work, but we enjoy it. You’re working on your own,” Bette said.

Wednesday morning, for example, she went to work right away. Bette had just returned from a distant pasture where she had been feeding heifers. Her husband, John, was unloading hay.

The Nymans have a 40-cow dairy farm, with about 35 young stock, about a half mile north of Meeker County Road 24.

John grew up on a farm south of Dassel, she said.

Bette’s parents had a lake home on Collinwood Lake. A mutual friend introduced her to John. They got married and moved to St. Louis Park, she said.

John worked for 26 years in the catalog department at Sears, but his real dream was to work a dairy farm, Bette said.

As a result, 14 years ago when the Richard and Leonard Olson farm became available, the Nymans bought it. Their daughter, Shirley, was 15 then. She graduated from Dassel Cokato High School in 1995, is married, lives in Menomonie now, and has a daughter of her own, Bette said.

Dairy farming is a challenge. It is almost a 24-hour job. Dairy foods are important, though. That’s why when telephone callers reach the Nymans’ answering machine, they hear John’s recommendation to “Drink milk,” she said.

One of the common misconceptions about dairy foods is that they are fattening. Uninformed people who want to lose weight will drop dairy products from their diet. “That’s not a good idea,” Bette said.

Drinking milk and eating cheese and yogurt, the three-a-day plan, helps people lose weight, she said.

The Nymans keep a plastic bag of cut up cheese available in their refrigerator for a quick snack.

“I have this wonderful cutter,” Bette said, pulling out a device that can cut-up a pound of cheese into bite-sized pieces in two swift moves.

One of the Nymans’ favorite snack cheese is salami loaf. They get it from First District Association’s store in Litchfield and it contains tiny pieces of salami, she pointed out.

Bette’s favorite dairy recipe is a deluxe dessert based on a Girl Scout recipe. When the Nymans lived in St. Louis Park, their daughter participated in a Girl Scout International Fair. She brought this “Eclair Cake” as a French dish.

Eclair Cake

1 stick of butter

1 cup water

1 cup flour

4 eggs

2 packages of vanilla pudding

8-ounce package softened cream cheese

Whipped cream

Chocolate syrup

Boil butter and water on a stove top (not microwave oven.) Add flour and stir well. Add eggs one at a time and stir in well after each. Spread dough in greased jelly roll pan. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Press flat to remove air and cool.

Prepare the 2 packages of pudding according to the directions on the boxes. Add cream cheese and mix well. Spread on crust. Cover with whipped cream and refrigerate.

Before serving, drizzle chocolate syrup over the top.

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