Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cheese Recipe 41: Cheesy Rice Balls

This will make about 4-6 servings.


4 ounces ham, diced finely

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

¼ chives

2 tablespoons butter

4 ounces cream cheese warmed to room temperature

½ cup shredded mozzarella

½ cup shredded provolone

2 cups long grain rice cooked to package directions

½ cup flour

3 eggs beaten

2 cups breadcrumbs

Salt, pepper and parsley to taste

Oil for frying


Preheat fryer to 375 degrees. Sauté garlic and chives in butter over medium heat. Add the ham, cooking until lightly crisp, and then stir in the rice. Mix the ham mixture, cream cheese, and cheeses, add some parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then begin rolling them into balls that are a little smaller than golf balls. Place on baking sheet. In three separate bowls, place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Season breadcrumbs to taste. Roll the balls through the flour, then eggs, and finally breadcrumbs. Gently add to deep fryer and fry until golden brown and crisp, about three minutes. Serve warm.

Alternative Cheeses:

Provolone, Cheddar

Cheese Recipe 41: Cheesy Rice Balls

This will make about 4-6 servings.


4 ounces ham, diced finely

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

¼ chives

2 tablespoons butter

4 ounces cream cheese warmed to room temperature

½ cup shredded mozzarella

½ cup shredded provolone

2 cups long grain rice cooked to package directions

½ cup flour

3 eggs beaten

2 cups breadcrumbs

Salt, pepper and parsley to taste

Oil for frying


Preheat fryer to 375 degrees. Sauté garlic and chives in butter over medium heat. Add the ham, cooking until lightly crisp, and then stir in the rice. Mix the ham mixture, cream cheese, and cheeses, add some parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then begin rolling them into balls that are a little smaller than golf balls. Place on baking sheet. In three separate bowls, place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Season breadcrumbs to taste. Roll the balls through the flour, then eggs, and finally breadcrumbs. Gently add to deep fryer and fry until golden brown and crisp, about three minutes. Serve warm.

Alternative Cheeses:

Provolone, Cheddar

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheese Recipe 40: Twice Baked Potatoes

This recipe makes enough for about 8 servings.


8 slices of bacon, cooked till crisp and well drained

8 large baking potatoes

½ cup milk

1 cup sour cream

8 green onions or chives

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded

4 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste


Get the oven going to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes for about an hour, or until fully cooked. This is a great time to cook and drain bacon so that it's prepared. Crumble and set aside. After the potatoes are cooked let them cool. It will take about 10 minutes. Slice them in half, lengthwise and scoop out the centers. Place this into a large bowl and save the skins. To the bowl and milk, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper, and ½ the cheese, and ½ the green onions. Spoon this mixture into the skins, cover with rest of cheese and bacon crumbles. Place back in the oven for about another 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Alternative Cheeses:

Colby Jack, Smokey Swiss, Gouda

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cheese Recipe 39: Hearty Mac and Cheese

This recipe will make enough for four servings.


3 cups milk

½ grated provolone

2 cups shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

¼ cup butter

2 tablespoons butter

2 ½ tablespoons flour

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 pinch paprika


Cook macaroni according to directions drain well. In a saucepan, melt the butter, over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add mil to the roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in the cheeses, and cook over low heat until they are melted smooth, and the sauce thickens. Place the macaroni in a large casserole dish and cover with the cheese sauce. Stir well. Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs and toss till they are brown. Spread to cover the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Alternative Cheese:

Gouda, Cheddar, Colby Jack

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cheese Recipe 38: Cheese Surprise Burgers

This recipe yields four burgers.


1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

1 small onion grated

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons parsley chopped thinly

1 slice bread crumbled

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, and milk. Roll these to form four uniform balls. Set these aside. In the same bowl, combine beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Divide into four portions. Shape each portion around one of the cheese balls that has already been formed. Flatten these lightly with the palm of your hand to make hamburger patties. In a large frying pan, brown each patty on both sides. Then cover these and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until done. Serve on buns and with condiments of choice.

Alternative Cheeses:

Gouda, Swiss, Smokey Swiss, Jalapeño Cheddar, Muenster, Provolone, Extra Sharp Cheddar, or Colby Jack

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cheese Recipe 37: Cheeseburger Pie

This recipe will serve about 6 people.


1 Cup shredded extra sharp cheddar

1 pound very lean ground beef

1 large onion minced

1 cup biscuit mix

2 medium to large eggs

1 cup milk

½ teaspoon salt


Get the oven ready by preheating to 400 degrees. Spray a glass pie dish with non-stick or vegetable spray. In a medium skillet brown the beef and onion over medium heat. It should take about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally, and then drain well. Stir in salt. Spread into glass pie dish. Sprinkle with the 3/4 cup shredded cheese. In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients with whisk or fork. Do this until they form a smooth dough. Pour over the burger into pie plate. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until knife placed in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Alternative Cheeses:

Gouda, Cheddar, Jalapeño Cheddar, Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cheese Recipe 36: Cheese Steak Sandwiches

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches.


1/3 pound thinly sliced Provolone cheese.

½ pound Ribeye steak, very thin sliced or shaved.

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ large green peppers thinly sliced

1 white onion thinly sliced

2 fresh rolls, either Italian or Kaiser split lengthwise

2 tablespoons cooking oil


Get the oven ready by preheating to 200 degrees, and warm the rolls up. Heat cast iron skillet, or griddle over medium heat. When hot add oil, onions, peppers, and cook till caramelized, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper cook for another 30 seconds. Push off to one side. Add meat to skillet, stirring and breaking apart using two skillets. Cook till almost no longer pink, around 2 minutes. Sauté with veggies, top with cheese slices then melt. Spoon into rolls then serve with condiments of choice, mustard and pickles.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Smokey Swiss, Italian Cheddar Cheese Curds

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheese Recipe 35: Cheese Enchiladas

This recipe makes about 16 servings.


16 flour tortillas (warmed)

1/2 cup water

2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 minced garlic cloves

16 ounces (4 cups) grated Muenster cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

10 ounces Sharp Cheddar (2 ½ cups) grated

¼ fresh minced parsley

2 medium onions chopped

½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1 cup sour cream

*shredded lettuce, onions, olives and sour cream for toppings


In large skillet combine: water, chili powder, garlic, tomato sauce, oregano and cumin. Bring to a boil. Simmer at a reduced heat for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens, stir occasionally. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoon sauce over each tortilla. In a bowl, mix the sour cream, shredded cheeses (reserve ½ cup mixed cheese), parsley, and salt and pepper. Place about 1/3 of a cup down center of each tortilla and roll up. Place these seam side down in two greased casserole dishes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the rest of sauce over the tortillas. Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle remaining cheese and bake for a few more minutes.

Alternative Cheeses:

Gouda, Provolone, and extra sharp cheddar

Happy 11/11/11

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheese Recipe 34: Cheddar Beef and Noodle Casserole

This recipe yields about 6-8 servings.


½ cup onion peeled and chopped

1 can or jar mushrooms 94oz) drained

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 cans (10 ounces) cheese soup

1 15 ounce jar of favorite spaghetti sauce

1 ½ pounds ground beef extra lean

1 8 ounce pack of noodles cooked and drained

Pepper to taste


In a large skillet brown the beef with the chopped onion and then drain well. Stir in cheese soup, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat, 3-4 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine sauce and beef mixture to the noodles in a 13x9 baking dish. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly. Then uncover and sprinkle with the shredded cheese and bake for an additional minute, or until cheese is melted.

Alternative Cheeses:

Gouda, Muenster, and Italian Cheddar Cheese Curds

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheese Recipe 33: Baked Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

This recipe makes about 2 servings.


¼ cup Muenster Cheese shredded

¼ cup Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese shredded

4 large tortillas

1 cup finely cubed or sliced ham

2 tablespoons chives or green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable or olive oil for brushing tops


Get the oven preheated to 425 degrees after ingredients have been gathered. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with vegetable or non-stick spray. Arrange two of the tortillas on the sheet. Evenly coat each tortilla with half of each of the cheeses. On top of the cheeses add the ham, the chives, and then follow with the rest of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle each with some salt and pepper. Cover with the other tortillas. Brush the tops with the oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Alternative Cheeses:

Cheddar, Swiss, Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheese Recipe 32: Cheesy Lasagna

This recipe makes about 5-6 servings.


½ Package Lasagna noodles

16 oz. Tomato Sauce

12 oz. Tomato Paste

1 lb. hamburger or Italian Sausage

1 ½ cup hot water

½ cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1½ teaspoons marjoram

1 garlic clove

24 oz. Parmesan cheese

24 oz. Mozzarella cheese

12 oz. Muenster cheese


In a medium saucepan, brown hamburger, garlic, and onion, then drain. Stir in all but 2/3 cup of the tomato sauce, all of the tomato paste, water, oregano, marjoram, and basil. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna to package directions. In a 9x13 casserole dish, spread the 2/3 cups tomato sauce. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then layer noodles, meat mixture, and cheese mixture till working to the top layer. Place in oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Alternative Cheeses:

Provolone, Italian Cheddar Cheese Curds

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cheese Recipe 31: Chicken and Cheese Soft Tacos

This recipe will make about ten servings.


4 chicken breast fillets

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 eight ounce tomato sauce

10 medium flour tortillas

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 large tomato diced and seeds removed

½ cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese


In a large skillet over medium to high heat, place the butter. Cut the chicken into ½ inch fine strips, removing any extra fat. When it is half melted, add the chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Now add the tomato sauce, garlic salt, salt and pepper, and cumin. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes. Warm tortillas up in an oven on low heat, or a microwave with a damp paper towel. Roll up burrito style and serve with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Alternative Cheeses:

Colby Jack, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese, or Muenster

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cheese Recipe 30: Southwestern Cheesy Chicken

This recipe will yield about 6 servings.


1 pound chicken breast cut into small bites

½ cup Colby Jack Cheese

½ cup Muenster Cheese

2 large tomatoes

1 small onion finely minced

¼ cup fresh diced garlic

¼ cup minced cilantro

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Place a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add 1 tablespoon Olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of the garlic. Toss till garlic becomes golden and flavors open up. Add the chicken and cook till no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. While this is cooking, mix tomato, the rest of garlic, onion, cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil for a fresh salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese to the chicken and cook for another minute or two, until the cheese is melted. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeno Cheddar, Extra Sharp Cheddar, and Muenster

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cheese Recipe 29: Cheesy and Vegetable Bake

This recipe will yield two servings.


1/3 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1/3 cup Muenster Cheese shredded

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

½ tablespoon garlic


In a saucepan, place 1 inch of water and then add the vegetables. Bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and then simmer the vegetables for about five minutes, or until crisp tender. Drain well. In the saucepan, sauté garlic in butter until tender and golden. Stir in flour and salt and pepper until blended. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil and cook and stir until thickened; for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese. Stir until melted and then add the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the veggie cheese mixture to a greased casserole dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 3-5 minutes.

Alternative Cheeses:

Fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds, Gouda, Colby Jack

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cheese Recipe 28: Cheesy Pizza

This recipe will make about 4-6 servings.


1 Large package of prepared Pizza dough (about 12 ounces)

1 small jar of prepared pizza sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 Roma tomatoes cut into fine slices

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ cup Gouda cheese shredded

¼ cup Muenster shredded

¼ cup provolone

¼ cup Italian Cheese curds

1 can of sliced mushrooms

1 green onion well diced

1 can green olives sliced

1 can black olives sliced


On a well-floured surface roll out the pizza sough to fit over a pizza stone or a baking sheet. Lightly spread the garlic over the dough. Spoon the spaghetti sauce on and spread over it next. From this step start layering the mushrooms, then olives, peppers, and tomatoes. Follow by spreading the mozzarella, then Gouda, Muenster, Provolone and Italian Cheese Curds.

Alternative Cheeses:

Garlic Cheddar Cheese curds, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Jalapeño Cheddar, Or Colby Jack Cheese

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cheese Recipe 27: Cheese Nachos

This recipe will serve 4-6 people.


1 bag of premium nacho chips

1 ten ounce can of refried beans

1 ten ounce can of black beans, well drained

½ cup sour cream

2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese

½ cup tomatoes seeds and guts removed, and diced small

2 green onions, finely chopped

2 cups of lettuce shredded

1 can of olives finely sliced

1 cup freshly made salsa

Jalapeño peppers optional and diced small


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or set to broiler setting. While this is heating up, use a large plate or platter to spread the chips out on. Then layer with refried beans, and then black beans. Pile on the cheese and then place into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and tips of chips start to turn brown. Sprinkle olives, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeño Cheddar, Cheddar or Muenster

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheese Recipe 26: Beef and Bean, Cheese Casserole

This recipe will make enough to serve about 6 people.


1 large cans pork and beans (28 – 32 ounces)

½ cup red and green pepper, gutted and finely chopped

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

½ cup onion finely chopped

1 pound lean ground beef


Preheat oven to 350 degrees before starting the cooking. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef. Drain excess fat off, very well. Toss the peppers and onion in, sauté until peppers are caramelized. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving half of the cheese. Get a large casserole dish out and grease it. Place the mixture into the dish and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Put into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until well mixed. Serve immediately.

Alternative Cheeses:

Gouda, Smokey Swiss, Colby Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Muenster, Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds, or Italian Cheese Curds

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cheese Recipe 25: Chicken Bacon Cheddar Melt

This recipe will yield about 4 servings.


4 slices of toasted bread

1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

8 slices cooked bacon, well drained

4 teaspoons steak sauce

1 small onion sliced

2 teaspoons butter or margarine

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Turn broiler on oven to get warmed up. Place chicken breast halves between waxed paper. And pound to about ¼ inch thickness. In a large skillet cook sliced onion in butter and olive oil till golden. Remove onion from skillet and set aside. Add chicken to the skillet, cook for about 7 to 9 minutes, on each side or until browned and no longer pink. Place toasted bread slices on a large baking sheet and spread each slice with steak sauce. Top each slice of with a chicken breast, two slices of bacon, onion and shredded cheese. Broil 4-6 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Muenster, Provolone

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cheese Recipe 24: Cheese and Mushroom Burger

This recipe will yield six burgers.


¼ cup finely chopped onion

2 eggs slightly beaten

8 ounces sliced mushrooms, well drained

6 split buns lightly toasted

6 slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese

¾ cups bread crumbs

1 ½ pounds lean hamburger

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Burger condiments: Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Ketchup and Mustard


In a medium bowl combine ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, a squirt of ketchup salt and pepper. Shape into twelve small patties. In a skillet melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms until they are tender. Place mushrooms on six of the patties. Top with the remaining patties and seal the edges. Broil or grill till they are done to desire. Top with a slice of cheese until melted. Serve on the buns. Offer with condiments of choice, chips or fries and pickles. Enjoy!

Alternative Cheeses:

Gouda, Muenster, Swiss, Smokey Swiss, Colby Jack, or Cheddar

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheese Recipe 23: Ham and Cheese Sub

This recipe serves about 4.


1 medium ripe tomato

8 slices of bread of choice, or four small French or sourdough loafs

10 slices of ham, sliced deli style

1 cup lettuce sliced or shredded

4 Tablespoons mayonnaise

8 tablespoons Italian Dressing

8 slices of Colby Jack Cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each loaf down the center to create an open faced bun. On the top slice spread a thin layer of mayonnaise, and two thin lines of Italian dressing. Place a layer of Colby Jack Cheese. On the bottom loaf place a ¼ of the ham, folded in half and layered. Place in the oven until toasted on the edges. Remove from oven and add slices of tomato, and lettuce. Place the top of loaf with cheese firmly on and let rest for a minute or so. Serve with pickle slices and chips.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Muenster, Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cheese Recipe 22: Turkey Melt Sandwich

This recipe will serve two people.


4 slices Rye or whole wheat bread

8 thin slices of turkey, smoked or otherwise

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon mustard (honey or Dijon)

6 slices of Muenster Cheese

1 tablespoon butter


In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard together until well blended. Get a medium skillet and place it over a burner. Coat with cooking oil, or spray with non-stick spray. Toss turkey in and turn burner to medium to low heat. Warm turkey and pan till sizzling, remove. Butter each slice of bread on one side. Spread mayonnaise mixture on the other side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of turkey on two of the slices of bread, cover with 3 slices of cheese and cover with other slice of bread. Place each sandwich in skillet and cook for about three minutes on one side (until toasty) then flip over and cook for another three minutes or until toasty.

Alternative Cheese:

Gouda, Swiss, Smokey Swiss

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cheese Recipe 21: Veggie and Cheese Sub

This recipe will make about six people.


1 8 ounce can pizza sauce

1 package of mushrooms, or two small cans of sliced mushrooms

1 large tomato or two medium sliced

1 pound shredded or sliced mozzarella

30-35 finely sliced banana peppers

1 large green pepper finely

1 or 2 cans black or green olives thinly sliced.

6 bread buns split in half


Get the oven preheated to 400 degrees. Slice the buns in half, choose any amount really, just adjust ingredients accordingly. On bottom half of buns spread pizza sauce thinly, layer mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, olives and cheese. Then season with salt and pepper to taste. Replace the tops. Spray heavy duty foil with non-stick spray and wrap the sandwiches up tightly. Place on a baking sheet, and into the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and melted.

Alternative Cheeses:

Extra Sharp Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Muenster, Provolone, Smokey Swiss, or Swiss

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cheese Recipe 20: Cheese Pizza Sub

This recipe will make about six servings.


2 packages sliced pepperoni (about 3 ½ ounces each)

36 mild banana peppers sliced into thin rings

1 medium onion halved and thinly sliced or diced up

1 can of black or green olives thinly sliced

18 slices mozzarella cheese or it can be shredded

10 slices Muenster cheese or it can be shredded

1 cans (8 ounces) Pizza sauce

6 submarine sandwich buns, about 9 inches split


Get the oven preheated to 425 degrees. On bottom half of sandwich buns, spread pizza sauce in a thin layer. Then layer pepperoni, onions, olives, peppers, cover with both mozzarella and Muenster cheese. Place tops on last. Wrap each sandwich in tin foil and then place on a baking sheet. Place in oven for about 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss cheese, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Italian Cheddar Cheese Curds

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cheese Recipe 19: Meatball and Mozzarella Sandwich

This recipe will make one sandwich.


2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thin deli-sliced

1 six inch long hoagie roll

¼ cup basic tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce

3 Italian Meatballs


Heat the oven, setting on broiler to low and place a rack in the middle. Warm the meatballs and the sauce up in a covered microwavable dish or on the stove top. Cut a notch the shape of a V, about 1 inch wide into the top of the hoagie roll, it can be discarded. Some of the roll's interior will need to be removed to form a pocket for the meatballs. Arrange the meatballs into the roll, cover with the sauce and then the mozzarella cheese. Place these on a foil lined baking sheet. Place this under the broiler until the cheese is melted, frothy and brown. Bread should be toasty, it will take about 3-4 minutes.

Alternative Cheeses:

Provolone, Muenster, Cheddar, Swiss

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Should Certain Cheeses Be Served At Certain Temperatures?

Congratulations! A party is coming up and you've planned the perfect evening of fun. You have chosen the best drinks and paired them with some fantastic appetizers. You've even hunted and foraged for all sorts of unique and flavorful cheeses from across the globe to entice your guests to try. Now all you have to do is figure out some of the best ways to serve them. Here are a few pointers to get you on your way.

First of all it's best for the flavor of all varieties to serve them at room temperatures. I'm not talking swimsuit climate, but a solid 60-70 degrees is perfect. And you don't want to serve them straight from the icebox, either. It's best to get your cheese out of the cellar or refrigerator at least thirty minutes before the guests arrive, preferably sixty. You don't have to open and slice each type till close to serving. Letting the cheese warm to room temp gives it time for the natural flavors to ripen and build, thus providing you and your friends a more complex and rich tasting.

This is especially important with unique artisan styles. Camemberts and Limburger have all sorts of subtle flavors that only really show themselves when they're served in warmer atmospheres. Soft Bries are bland and muted when served cold, but turn into delicious combinations of fantastic flavors when allowed to sit at room temperatures. They also become much easier to spread and enjoy.

If you notice that the cheese has started to get soft, oily or moist it is probably too warm. If this happens the taste will start to grow musty and less favorable. I like to toss mine back in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes or so just to regain the texture but keep the flavor. Also if they're left in the air you'll notice hardening. It's best to provide covers to your trays to prevent this. Most your specialty types last longer in room temperatures then general brick cheeses.

It's important to understand good cheese, like wine, is alive. These enzymes are suspended from motion in cold temps and therefore you are left out of tasting them. Most wines aren't meant to be served straight from the ice box either. If you've taken the time and trouble to get unique varieties, go the extra mile and let them warm to the task of teasing your taste buds and you're sure to be happier for it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What Are Some Of the Different Types Of Specialty Cheeses?

There are so many varieties of cheese it's very difficult to not find a kind you like. Often parents can only get their children to eat certain foods if cheese is involved. But maybe you've developed past this taste and want to try some of the artisan or specialty types. Well here's a few you may like to start with.

Most of us have had American, Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Swiss, Feta and Bleu. But have we all had Brie? If you haven't it's a great place to start. If you have it's a great place to go even more specialty. If you haven't tried Camembert it's a good way to step it up a notch. It's not exactly Brie, but a richer flavored, similar texture. It comes from Normandy and some people say there's a hint of apple to its flavor. It is creamy if you serve at room temp and quite firm if chilled.

Maybe you'd like to try a specialty that doesn't come from France. The Dutch are quite known for making excellent cheeses also. Edam is mild, a little salty and very yummy. It's not far out there in flavor and often quite easy to get a hold of. You can serve with fruit, crackers or bread. Or add it to a sauce to richen the flavor. Another great style that comes from the Dutch is Gouda. This cheese is stronger in flavor and if it's young can be quite creamy. As it ages it tends to become firmer and almost bitter in taste. If you really want to search for unique Gouda, try it made from goat milk. It's white instead of yellow and milder in flavor.

Maybe you've already tried both Dutch and French varieties but haven't had a good German cheese; Limburger could be just your ticket. It's come to be known as one of the stinky kind, but don't let that keep you from tasting this delicious import. It has a flavor that is both creamy and tangy, similar to Brie. The rind is the strong, smelly part of the cheese. If you're not up to it, trim this off. Enjoy with veggies, crackers or a cold stein of German beer!

Whichever specialty is for you make sure to stretch your taste buds and go for something unique and new. You only get to live once, and you might as well try all the cheese the world has to offer!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cheese Recipe 18: Cheese and Cold Cut Sandwich

This recipe makes enough for about four.


8 lettuce leaves

8 deli slices of Colby Jack cheese

12 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

½ pound thinly sliced deli ham

8 slices bacon

½ pound thinly sliced smoked deli turkey

8 slices of tomato


In a small bowl, combine mustard and mayonnaise, mix very well. Spread 1 teaspoon on one side of each slice of bread. To create each sandwich: layer one slice of toast, mayonnaise-mustard mixture side up, 1 leaf of lettuce, 1 slice of cheese, 2 ounces of turkey, 2 ounces of ham, 2 slices of tomato, second slice of toast with the mayonnaise mixture side down. Spread 1 teaspoon on top of this toast and continue layering; cheese, turkey, bacon, lettuce, toast-mayo down. Stick tooth picks in and cut into fours. This is an all-American club!

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Smokey Swiss, Muenster, Provolone, Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Gouda

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Type Of Cheese Will Mold the Fastest: Cheddar or Swiss?

You're a cheese-aholic. You've had to face the fact every time you open your refrigerator and see there are so many types of cheese and so much of them that you're running out of room to store leftovers or your veggies. You shuffle items around, toss out stuff that may still be good just to make room for your newest blocks or triangles. Don't worry, you're not alone.

There are heaps of us that can't stand going a single meal without cheese. We buy it in quantities and make sure to hit the store anytime we see a sale. We hide our veggies under it, cover some meats with it and even dunk some fruits in it. Two of my favorite types are Cheddar and Swiss. I love them both because they are easy to find and often quite reasonable in price. I also really enjoy how versatile both cheeses can be and that most people like either or both of them.

One of the things I've noticed in buying in bulk when you hit a big sale is what you're going to do with it. You want to eat some of it before it goes bad (if cheese can go bad) and you don't want to have to waste tons of it by cutting off slabs of mold. So I've wondered which molds faster, Swiss or Cheddar.

Cheddar is a firm cheese with a rich flavor that isn't too strong. Like a lot of your fruits and veggies, the firmer it is the less prone to mold it can be. It's also generally aged longer which can help it keep from molding quickly. Because of this Cheddar wins in the race against the Swiss cheese.

Swiss is a soft cheese full of different sized holes that become veritable live-traps for fungi. Because of all the holes and softer texture you will find that Swiss is going to grow the funk quicker.

Either way, this food is made through a process using mold and because of this some miner amounts can be cut off and then it still be enjoyed. A good way of preventing mold if you've purchased more than your share because of a good deal at the local market is to toss a few blocks in the freezer. This way the next time you go to make a dish and open the fridge, you won't be sent into a panic when you realize you're out of your favorite food!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Are the Top Five Cheeses Produced in the United States?

There are over 2000 types of cheeses produced in the world and the United States is the largest producer in the world. This is directly tied to milk production and the US is one of the largest milk producers in the world also. In the year 2008 the US produced over 30 percent of the world’s cheeses. They are followed by Germany, France and Italy.

Within the United States there are five states who are the largest producers of cheeses. The top producer is the state of Wisconsin closely followed by California. Then depending on which statistics you are looking at there follows the state of Idaho, New York State, and Minnesota followed by smaller production in a few others. These states produce 72 percent of all cheese produced in the US. That is a lot of the stuff.

The largest product produced is Cheddar and Mozzarella and this is about 60 percent of the US production. This is followed by cream cheese which accounts for approximately eight percent and then Italian style which is approximately nine percent of the product.

There are several types of the product produced. Some places produce regional varieties that don’t travel well. Then there is the artisan or artisanal producers who make small batches by hand generally in a more traditional method. There is a specialty category which generally is a product that has something added to it such as herbs, spices or nuts. For it to be defined as specialty it can only be made in a limited production. The last category is called farmstead which are products that are actually produced on the farm using the farms own milk and other products. The milk whether it be goat, sheep or cow cannot come in from another source.

Much of the product produced in the US are the wax covered blocks that may be Cheddar, Jack, American or Swiss. Different areas of the US produce different types of them including a Blue from Iowa which is made with milk from local area dairy farms instead of the traditional European type made from sheep’s milk. It too is aged in caves after being injected with Penicillum.

There are many different quite small artisan producers from the Pacific to the Atlantic. They will produce traditional product by hand in often very small batches. Some of the artisan products are so popular they sell out year after year.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are There Any Special Tips For Storing, Using and Enjoying Cheese?

You must remember that cheese is a living and breathing product. It is a product that should be vibrant and alive. Its taste, texture and aroma should be interesting or exciting to the palate. It should be an enjoyable experience to simply eat a piece of cheese with a piece of apple or pear.

When you are serving several different cheeses don’t overwhelm the plate with so many different types that they become confusing and one begins to overwhelm another. You should serve a few different types from several of the different types available. If you have a local store that specializes in this product then you can let them know when you are going to serve the product and they will choose one that will be exactly ready to eat at the time you plan to serve it. That is why there are specialty shops that sell it.

Since some of them have added flavors to them such as herbs or spices you certainly don’t want to serve this type only. Mix a semi-soft like cubed pepper jack which has hot peppers added to it, with a washed rind type that may be made in salt brine that has been flavored with wine or brandy. Then select a mild and sweet bloomy rind like luscious brie that just is melting to be tasted. This way you have flavored with a milder choice. If you are served them in a restaurant you will be served the milder ones before the sharper or more pungent ones. There is a good reason for this. If you eat sharper foods first your taste buds become jaded fast. Then you have little taste for a milder choice and even though it may be in superb condition to eat right now you will not enjoy it.

One thing to remember about the goat milk cheeses is that a very fresh goat milk cheese will actually be quite mild and very good. If you are a person who believes you don’t care for the goat milk flavor try to find one that is very fresh and you may be surprised that you really enjoy it and it won’t have that typical goat milk bite to it.

It is interesting to note that a full wheel of certain cheeses like parmesan will literally last for years. These wheels may weight 70 pounds and the taste changes the longer it’s been cut.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cheese Recipe 17: Tomato and Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This recipe will make 4 sandwiches.


8 slices of your favorite kind of bread

8 slices of bacon

8 slices of Colby Jack cheese

8 slices of tomato

¼ cup of butter


Place the bacon in a good sized skillet with deep sides. Cook over medium heat until brown and crisp. Place on paper towel to drain very well and set aside. Heat another large skillet over medium to low heat. Spread some butter on one side of each slice of bread. Lay four slices of bread, with the butter side down in the large skillet. Top with one slice of cheese, then two slices of tomato. Add two slices of bacon then cover with another slice of cheese and cover with another slice of bread, keeping the butter side out. Cook until toasted on one side, the flip and toast well on the other.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Smokey Swiss, Provolone, Muenster, Cheddar, Extra Sharp Cheddar

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Cheeses Have Been Found to Fight Cavities?

When you are talking about cheese you are talking about a fairly easy to digest food for most people unless the person is lactose intolerant. It is a food rich in protein, fat, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. With all of these nutrients in cheese it does perform some beneficial things for the body and it is a creamy dairy product too. It has been suggested that some cheeses can actually help reduce tooth decay. For example, actually chewing the product may increase the calcium in the tooth plaque. The increased calcium in tooth plaque is what protects against cavities. So this calcium actually helps keep teeth healthy.

There are other thoughts in this regard too. As you eat cheese or chew it the saliva in the mouth increases. The increased saliva helps cleanse the mouth of excess foods that may catch or stay on the teeth which until brushed out can cause tooth decay. The cheeses that generally fall in the tooth decay prevention category are those that have a slightly harder texture and generally fall into the semi hard or semi firm cheese type. This includes cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and American.

In general any acidic food will increase saliva in the mouth such as celery, carrots and apples. Also eating the product after you eat sweets helps combat the sugars in the mouth as the increased saliva washes them down the throat. It also has a very high content of Vitamin C which will help against gun disease and it may kill any bacterium that makes the breath smell bad. It is believed that lactic acid may decrease gun disease so this means by chewing or eating a piece of cheddar you are also eating a form of lactic acid.

Within a piece of cheddar or Swiss you will find there is a very high Vitamin A content. It is also rich in calcium which helps keep the teeth healthy thus leading to reduced tooth cavities. It also contains fat, salt, protein, phosphorus and lots of potassium. So if you missed your daily banana you can substitute a piece of cheddar for you daily potassium. It will also contain a small amount of iron, zinc and a few others. Along with the high amount of Vitamin A it has small amounts of E, K B6, B12, riboflavin, Betaine and Folate. It is really amazing what that piece of cheddar has in it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheese Recipe 16: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

This recipe makes one sandwich.


2 slices of bread of your choice

3 thick slices of ham or six or more thin slices

1 tablespoon of butter

Several thin slices of Swiss cheese


Take a medium skillet and place on medium to medium-low heat. Spray with non-stick spray or place a little oil in it. Place the ham in the frying pan for a few minutes, it just needs to be warmed, not blackened. If placed in the cold pan then by the time it starts to sizzle, it should be warm enough. While the ham is warming butter one side of each slice of bread. Place the cheese and ham on the bread and assemble it. Place the sandwich into the pan. When the bottom is toasted enough flip over. It should take approximately three minutes for each side.

Alternative Cheeses:

Colby Jack, Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds, Sharp Cheddar, Muenster, Provolone.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Are Some Great Quotes About Cheese?

When you are talking about cheese it seems that through the ages there have been many people who use the name or refer to it when they write or talk about it. One of the most common phrases in the US probably is that ‘the moon is made of green cheese’ and this is often told to children when they are looking at a full moon with all of the dark and light patches on it. Of course when we get older we learn that the moon is not made of green cheese and of course it’s not green either.

There are quotes that refer to various countries and the amount of different types of this product that they produce or of course those that relate to mice and mouse traps. An unattributed one is ‘worry is today’s mice nibbling on tomorrow’s cheese’ which of course refers to worrying in advance of something actually happening. Another unattributed one that refers to mice again would be ‘a mousetrap always provides free cheese’ although why someone would steal food that is waiting to be used to kill mice is unknown unless it implies one would not go hungry if they lived in a place that needed lots of mousetraps.

Helen Hayes is quoted as saying “Age is not important unless you’re cheese” which is a great quote because as certain types of the product ages it just gets better and if you are a woman, age is not at all important because you are already as good as it gets.

One of the better quotes is attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson and it refers to food made with the product and this is one of the better applications or uses of this product. He is quoted as saying “Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.” Of course toasted with all that melted gooey stuff holding the bread together with long glops of strings and strands of it melting together in your mouth, what can be better than that? This is even better if you make a croquet monsieur that has ham added to the wonderful melted insides of the bread.

There are many instances of this type of food related quotes as there are with many different types of foods. Foods make easy things to use in famous sayings or quotes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Cheese Really Mold?

Some cheeses have a mold injected into them to create their flavor and taste such as a blue, Roquefort or a camembert to name a few. This type may also be aged in caves that have those mold spores actually in the caves such as some of them in France and the cheeses are allowed to get that mold and it grows throughout the product resulting in either blue or green veins of mold actually in it. In fact most molds are harmless, especially these molds.

If there is no cave with the mold in the air or walls then the producers inject mold into the product to encourage the mold growth. And they may inject mold into the product even if the cave has the mold spores in it so that when injected the mold encourages more consistent mold growth. You would not want to cut open a piece of roquefort and find it is entirely made of a blue or green mold and nothing else. Mold is supposed to enhance the taste and texture not overwhelm it.

As to other cheeses some of them may have mold growing on the rind. This is intended and this type of cheese would be those called blooming rind cheeses like brie where the interior is creamy and runny and the outside of the product has mold on it. You can also safely eat this rind even with the mold. Be aware the rind will be sharper or more pungent flavored than the inside and many people don’t care for it.

The other cheeses such as American or Swiss are created when the milk protein curdles due to an agent called rennet which is made up of enzymes. These enzymes may be natural such as animal rennet or may be laboratory created. They can also be from a fermentation of a fungus. So in theory one could say that cheese is created with mold but cheese is not really mold itself.

A cheese is a living breathing product which will mold if not properly stored. It will also grow mold if it is stored too long. If it is a harder variety such as one of the grating kind such as asiago or parmesan it will be less prone to mold quickly. The softer type such as brie or Provolone will mold faster especially if it has any pockets where moisture can house bacteria which creates mold.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 8: Bacon and Cheese Dip

This recipe will make about 16 servings.


2 green onions washed and finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

4 buttery round crackers crushed into coarse crumbs

4 slices of bacon cooked and drained

1 eight pack of cream cheese

8 ounces of Swiss cheese well shredded or grated.

Cook the bacon up crispy in a medium skillet pan. Drain onto paper towels and crumble finely. In a small bowl mix the cream cheese, with mayonnaise until very smooth. Next, stir in the swiss cheese, onions and bacon. Place bowl in microwave on high for about two minutes or until creamy. Remove and stir well. Place back in microwave on high for about another two to four minutes. Sprinkle crushed crackers on top before serving. Serve warm with crackers, chips, bread or veggies for dipping.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Smokey Swiss, Gouda, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Garlic Cheddar Curds, Muenster, or a combination

Friday, September 9, 2011

What is the Connection Between Cheese and Sleep?

You love it fried, stuck between two slices of bread or simply sliced up and gobbled down. We cover our fries with it, our popcorn and even our artichokes. If you want to dress up some left overs simply add cheese and potatoes. There are no better times to enjoy it than as a late night snack alone or with fruit or crackers. But did you know that there are certain wives' tales that eating this food before bed can cause nightmares?

Recently the British Cheese Board (no it's not a game and they really do exist) conducted a study with 200 people and found no evidence of a connection, at least when pertaining to nightmares. Perhaps had it been conducted by a group not involved with the promotion of cheese the findings may have been different. Interestingly enough, there was evidence to support that different cheeses can affect dreams. Stilton for instance is said to create bizarre images, while Cheshire may give you a dreamless night, and Red Leicester is said to create rosy nostalgic dreams.

One of the biggest reasons sleep may be so commonly associated with cheese is that it contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is linked to inducing sleep and relieving stress. Perhaps the original tales got started because, like warm milk and turkey, this food helps create a sleepy mood in those who have eaten it. Perhaps people who have suffered from insomnia (possibly because they already had fretful dreams) ate cheese and slept more readily only to repeat the dreams they often had, thus developing an association.

Try a small study on yourself and enjoy a good serving of one variety each night of the week as a bedtime snack. Keep a dream journal nearby and see if and how which types affect the images you see while catching some shut eye. I would suggest staying away from some of the more common or ordinary cheeses and instead go for the Camemberts, Bries, or Limburgers. This can provide an ample opportunity for some fun days hunting unique cheeses out at the market and even better nights of easy slumber with interesting dreams. Up the ante a little and enlist a friend or two and conduct your own study. What better excuse to spend a week or more trying some new and interesting flavors of your favorite food? Go out and enjoy selecting some kinds you've never tried and finding out for yourself if you have bizarre or rose-tinted dreams.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 7: Chili Con Queso Dip

golThis recipe makes about 6-8 servings.


1 eight ounce block of softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves minced

1 ten ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies

1 teaspoon chili powder

Cilantro sprigs (optional)

1 can diced tomatoes undrained (about 10 ounces)

12 ounces Colby Jack cheese


Drain the can of tomatoes and the can of tomatoes and chilies in a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup of the liquid. Set both the tomatoes and reserved liquid aside. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Then sauté for about four minutes. Add the cream cheese and cook until it melts, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and reserved liquid, plus chili powder. Bring to a boil. Add the cheese and reduce heat, simmer for about another 3 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with chips.

Alternative Cheeses:

Extra Sharp Cheddar, Gouda, Muenster

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 6: Broccoli Cheese Dip

This recipe makes about 32 servings of 2 tablespoons each.


8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese divided

1 cup of sour cream

1 envelope of Italian dressing mix

1 package of sour cream about 8 ounces

1 package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained


Get the oven preheated to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, dressing mix and sour cream with mixer until very well blended. Next add the broccoli and half of the shredded cheese, mix very well. Grease up a 9 inch pie plate. Spread the mixture into the plate. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Pull it out and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese and cook for the next five minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with crackers of choice. Best if served warm.

Alternative Cheeses:

Extra sharp cheddar, Muenster, Provolone, Smokey Swiss, Swiss

What is The History Of Cheese Making?

You know it's a great source of calcium. You know it can be bountiful with protein. You've even learned to pick ones that are lower in fat or lower in sodium. You have planned meals around this delicious food because you defiantly know you love to enjoy it as often as possible. But do you know some of the history behind cheese?

This food has been around longer than written history, so some of its earliest stages aren't recorded. We seem unsure if it originally came from Europe, Middle East, or Asia. But one thing we know is that by Roman times it had risen to higher standards than a lot of foods. Most believe that the process for making cheese was discovered accidentally because inflated internal organs were often used for storage vessels and the rennet that aids in the dividing milk into curds and whey is naturally found in the stomachs of animals.

Some of the earliest evidence from archaeological digs was found in Egyptian tombs dating about 2000 BCE. These cheeses would have most likely been slightly bitter and salty, much like the Feta we still eat today. In some of the cooler climates in Europe they didn't need to use as much salt and this became an easy environment for molds or microbes to grow which helped to age the cheese diversifying our types and flavors.

By Roman times we have recorded history from Pliny regarding the daily enjoyment and the wide variety of cheese available. With the decline of Rome there was a rise in small regions developing their own techniques. Many of the varieties we know and love today didn't get recorded until the Middle Ages or later. Camembert wasn't till 1791, Parmesan 1597 and Cheddar around 1500.

The process of making cheese wasn't industrialized until 1815 in Switzerland. In the US, credit was yet again given to Rome, New York that is, where Jesse Williams started making blocks in an assembly line fashion. It wasn't long before hundreds of these took off. Most of what we get in America is considered highly processed, although there is a recent trend toward more artisan, non-factory made kinds.

The next time you find yourself deciding between Colby, Gouda, or Limburger, you'll be able to think a little about how ancient this food is and feel good knowing various cultures and civilizations enjoyed a similar delicious food with their meals.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cheese of the Month Club Winner

Congratulations to F. Nehring of Sarasota Florida for being our first ever Cheese of the Month Club Winner. We hope all of you had a such a "grate" time entering the contest, that you'll do it again for our next drawing on January 7, 2012, which is for our 4 month subscription valued at $161.99. For more details click HERE.

Pasteurized VS. Unpasteurized Cheese: Which is Better?

You know there is White Cheddar, Romano, Parmesan, Smoked Gouda and Gouda. There were kinds with veggies rolled into them, herbs encased, or already to sprinkle over your salad. You can buy curds and all sorts of Amish or European import varieties. But did you know that there are becoming increasingly more opportunities to by 'raw' or unpasteurized cheeses in America? Do you know which is better?

When it comes to choosing a raw or pasteurized cheese there are a lot of factors going into the decision making process. The first is to understand in the USA, raw cheeses must be aged for 60 days which is thought to protect consumers from the bacteria they may contain that can cause Listeria, Salmonella, or E. Coli. The risk of contracting this type of bacteria with modern food preparation, even in the raw world is minimal. If you can get past the worry of this there is a whole new world (or perhaps it's more precise to say old world) of delicate flavors and textures awaiting your taste.

Most connoisseurs will tell you cheese made the 'old world way' is more flavorful and has more naturally occurring enzymes that is good for the digestion and at the same time your taste buds. Not being required to stick with pasteurized opens up a lot of new and delicious choices for a person to try. The ingredients used and the aging process add a lot to the taste. Often people will argue when you go to the extremes it takes to pasteurize a food it can eliminate much of what was originally thought to be desired. It is after all, a process.

There aren't cases broadcast daily about people contracting this or that from a raw cheese. So the real debate comes down to taste. If you are someone who already enjoys a rich cheese, you should by all means run out and get some of the more interesting raw varieties available to you. You're sure to be in for a treat and able to see the difference in taste between the kinds.

One word of caution though, if you are pregnant or nursing wait till after to enjoy the many offerings of raw cheese. The chance of getting a food borne illness during this delicate time increases and is far more dangerous as it not only affects you but your unborn or infant child. There is plenty of time to try all the varieties the world of cheese has to offer, so wait a little longer and then try something very extravagant.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 5: Spicy Cheese Dip

This recipe makes enough for about 6-8 people.


2 ten ounce containers of freshly made salsa

1 can cream of mushroom soup

¼ cup of whole milk

2 pounds of Colby jack cheese

1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic

1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 large chopped onion

1 or 2 jalapeño peppers finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Bag of tortilla chips


In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, jalapeños, garlic and salt and pepper, until brown and done. Drain very well, placing excess fat into a small bowl. Add this mixture of beef into a Crockpot and place on medium heat. While this is being kept warm add the Colby cheese in the small cubes or shredded, plus add the soup and milk. Stir well. Next add one can of the salsa into the mixture and stir well. After this has been mixed for a moment adds the next can of salsa and stir.

Alternative Cheeses:

Cheddar, Sharp cheddar, Muenster or a mix

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Movies Feature Cheese?

“'More cheese please!” I once asked my mother as a young girl, delighting in the pleasure of the simple rhyme and the promise of my favorite food item that was sure to not be denied. Every time I see a child want some it reminds me and I'm constantly aware of this fabulous food and its impact on our daily lives. What may not be a common known fact about it is its predominance in movie quotes, but often non-existence in movie features.

Sure there are many movies that show famous people eating cheeses, showcase cheese in refrigerators, (strangely they're often left on an open plate without any wrappings) and heaps of quotes using the context of cheese or just simply the word. Doesn't everyone remember, “A Royale with cheese?”

What you may not know is there are quite a few videos from various sources about the making of cheese and this detailed process. They can be both interesting and informative, especially if you have any desire to try this for yourself.

There are a couple of full length, feature films out there that incorporate this yummy food. The first is In Queso Fever which is a fun documentary that happens to explore the birth and blooming popularity of dips made from cheese in Arkansas. It showcases the wide variety of types and how well they melt, plus which ways you can make dips from them. It gives you history on how this became so popular and the unusual combinations of both what you use to eat the dip with and what you use to make the dip.

A fun romantic movie with the food in the title is, I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With. This is a film made in 2006 about a man who is having problems dealing with both women and work and keeps using food in order to deal with this issue. It stars Jeff Garlin and Sarah Silverman. It's full of rye humor, romance, sparks and you guessed it, grand glimpses of Gouda, Cheddar and all sorts of other kinds.

A fun little game to try the next time you have a dinner party is have everybody bring a different variety and cut, slice or cube them up. Remember they will be best tasted at room temperature. Taste away and see who can deliver the most quotes, or movie titles revolving around cheese. Have a special, harder to find artisan variety for the winner of this game.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 4: Mexican Cheese Dip

This dip makes about eight servings.


1 tablespoon butter

½ cup milk or as needed

1 pound Colby jack cheese shredded finely

2 cans green chilies chopped finely (about 4 ounces each)

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

Cayenne pepper to taste

Tortilla chips


Place a medium saucepan over low heat and add cheese, milk, and butter. Stir frequently and cook until cheese is thoroughly melted. Stir in cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and green chilies. If a slightly spicier taste is desired then substitute jalapeños for the chilies and add another can. Sprinkle cayenne to taste. Add milk if the dip has gotten too thick. Heat through while stirring and serve immediately. This can be held in a Crockpot and keep warm for easy serving convenience.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese, Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds, Cheddar Cheese, Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, or a combination

Friday, August 26, 2011

What is the Difference Between Animal Rennet and Vegetable Rennet?

Don't you just love cheese? It is impressive amazing that it melts across a delicious burger or adds flavor to that least favorable food group, the vegetable. Maybe you love the way it can change boring rice, broccoli or Tuna into a scrumptious dinner casserole in just one a single dish for dinner. But have you ever put your mind to how we get this fantastic food? There is a unique aging and fermentation process used to a variety of milk and during this creation an enzyme called rennet is used.

Rennet is put into already acidified milk to force the proteins to form curds. During this process liquid runs off and is given the name whey. The amount of rennet used varies with the type of cheese the maker is trying to create. Traditionally, animal rennet comes from baby goats, cows, or sheep, before they've eaten anything but their mother's milk. It is an enzyme that comes from their stomachs. Some people have a moral issue with animal rennet because it is taken from young animals that are often slaughtered for mutton or veal. It did seem to come about in a time when milk was often stored in bags made from these animals' stomachs. Most European varieties are still made from animal rennet.

Vegetable rennet is a whole other matter. Early Greeks were known to use extractions of fig juice to coagulate milk. Other possible sources would be mallow, thistle, Ground Ivy, nettles, and soybean. Cheeses made with this form of rennet are often Kosher and fine for vegetarians.

Most people tend to think of microbial rennets as the same as vegetable. Their origin comes from a certain kind of mold, called Mucur Miehei. Something very interesting about microbial rennet is that even though its origin is with mold the end result doesn't contain any mold.

All of the above rennets can work very well in the making of cheese. Which rennet you decide to use is all variable upon the type of cheese you wish to create and the aging process involved. Generally speaking you want to use animal rennet for any of the cheeses that need longer to age. Most producers choose calf rennet for this. The microbial and vegetable rennets tend to create bitter flavors in the end product if aged longer than six months or so.

Hopefully the process we use to make this yummy food will only move you to try new kinds and enjoy in even more ways.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 3: Hot Jalapeño Cheese Dip

This recipe makes about 8 servings or 2 cups.


½ cup ( or about 4 ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup (or about 8 ounces) Muenster cheese finely shredded

1 cans (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1 cup mayonnaise

1 loaf of sourdough bread, round

1 can (about 4 ounces) diced jalapeño peppers finely diced.


Get the oven preheated to 375 degrees. Combine the jalapeño peppers, Muenster cheese, extra sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and green chilies into a bowl. Cut the top off of the sourdough bread, and hollow out the center to make a bread bowl. Reserve the bread trimmings and set aside to dip into. Place in the oven and bake for about thirty minutes or until melted and warmed thoroughly. Serve with bread for dipping while still warm. If extra bread is needed for dipping try getting some small sourdough bread rolls and using them also.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeño Cheddar, sharp cheddar, Colby Jack, Gouda

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What is Syneresis As It Pertains To Cheese?

There are some great items in the dairy group on the food pyramid. Yogurt is delicious, so is sour cream, but many people favor cheese. There is something is to be said for a food that millions of children refuse to have a meal with out. As a person who likes to make everything from scratch I've often wondered what goes into the process of curds and whey. What I've found is a lengthy, complicated process that consistently begs this food to be compared to wine. Both items seemed to dawn with earliest mankind and offer both the cheap, mundane types and those for connoisseurs.

Cheese was made as a way to make the nutrients in milk last longer and travel easier. It came about in a process of fermenting the milk in animal stomachs. The stomach contains an enzyme called rennet which helps with this process by making the proteins form together as curds and the liquid to siphon off as whey. What most people don't know about curds is that they aren't really a solid, but considered a solid gel. Though storing milk in bags made of animal stomachs is an outdated means, rennet is still needed in the multiple steps of cheese making.

Syneresis occurs during the main three steps used in making this food. These are: The growth of bacteria from the rennet causes the initial process of curds and whey. The separation of the liquid from the curds is called syneresis. The next step is using mechanical tools to stir the curd grains. The third step is simultaneous with the second, and it's a heat treatment to the curds.

Once these three major steps have been applied to milk, we have our cheese curds. The curds are then put into molds that can be made from wood, plastic or metal, and come in any number of shapes. Weight is used to press them into shape. The characteristics of the cheese are formed during the treatment and pressing stages, but the taste comes from its time ripening.

However delicate the flavor or variety is you can be sure there is a lengthy process involved with creating the product you enjoy with your crackers or veggies. The next time you're in the store considering which type may be best to bring home for your next dinner party, consider the years of tradition and the time involved in making even the most simple of cheeses.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 2: Beefy Cheese Dip

This dip makes about 9 cups.


1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped

1 pound sausage mild or spicy

1 pound lean ground beef

1 16 ounce jar of salsa

2 pounds shredded cheddar cheese

bag of tortilla chips


In a large skillet brown the sausage and burger over a medium heat until done. Drain well. In another large skillet mix the salsa, and green onions, and the cheese and cook over slow heat until well melted. If cheese isn't melting well, a tablespoon of melted butter in a quarter cup of milk can be added to the mixture to smooth it out. Add heat to the cheese mixture and simmer uncovered until ready to serve. Place in a Crockpot to keep warm while being served or waiting to be served. Serve with tortilla chips.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeño Cheddar, Colby Jack, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Italian Cheddar Cheese Curds

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Enzymes Are Used As Catalysts in Making Cheese?

Enzymes are what make milk curdle or coagulate. So milk requires enzymes if it is to become some form of cheese whether it is made from the milk of sheep, goats, cows or buffalo. If it is natural enzymes then the rennet comes from one of a calf stomachs, they have four. Calves have this enzyme because they require it in order to be able to digest their mother’s milk.
When using the natural or animal rennet it is best from calves who have not yet been weaned. If they are older calves there will be no Chymosin but they will have more pepsin. This can’t be used in all types of cheeses. Of course just as there is calf rennet there is also kid goat and lamb rennet.

There are alternatives to natural rennet. One technical name for rennet is Chymosin. But rennet actually contains two enzymes one is Chymosin the other is Pepsin. The alternatives to the animal rennet are enzymes created from microbes or vegetable enzymes for the vegetarian cheese consumer. Microbial rennet is laboratory grown for vegetarians from mold, fungus or yeast.

Then there is the genetically modified rennet or GMO. A GMO is made in a laboratory from a derivative of animal rennet which means a chemical substance from a parent substance which may be animal. There are some European countries that ban GMO rennet for sale in their country but allow its use for cheeses shipped to countries that allow it in cheeses.

Many European countries continue to use natural enzymes in making their traditional cheeses. These are more expensive than man or laboratory created enzymes. Microbial rennet is from Mucor Miehei or also known as a microbial coagulant which is accepted and is actually an extract of a type of mold that is nontoxic and nonpathogenic to humans. So it is safe to consume products using this form of enzyme.

Besides animal rennet there are other sources of rennet. It can be from certain plants and called vegetable rennet but it is rare to find it in North America. Vegetable rennet comes from very specific plants which have certain enzymes that can curdle milk.

Then there is FPC or Fermentation Produced Chymosin rennet introduced in 1990. It is very inexpensive to produce and is used almost extensively in mass cheese production in the US. This particular rennet comes under a cloud as it may be considered a generically altered product.

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Are the Best cheeses for the Lactose Intolerant?

If you are lactose intolerant you are that person who gets bloating, the runs and or cramps when they consume lactose and then your body can’t break it down. Lactose is the natural sugar present in milk and lactose when consumed is broken down by the lactose enzyme. If you are one of the millions of people who can’t tolerate and digest lactose it goes right to your large intestine and then turns into something that bacteria just loves. This is not an allergy to milk which is something different.

Different types of cheeses have different levels of lactose. There are some that have only trace levels of lactose and there are others that have quite a lot of lactose in them. The cheeses that have a small or trace amount of lactose are the ones that someone who is lactose intolerant may be able to eat. These are the ones such as parmesan, cheddar or Swiss which are naturally aged generally have less than 0.5 grams of lactose. Then during the processing most of the lactose is drained off with the remaining changing to lactic acid during the aging process. So this is the type of cheeses someone who is lactose intolerant may be able to consume without some bad reactions.

Generally if a cheese label says the sugar content is zero then there will be approximately one half gram per ounce of lactose in it. There are some brands of processed cheese that are actually lactose free too. The ones which have less than five grams of lactose are generally the ones that are not aged such as the fresh and not ripened ones like mozzarella or ricotta which contain more lactose than the aged cheeses.

The alternate is choosing ones that are created from soy beans or almonds. Soy cheeses will taste slightly nutty and also may be slightly sweet like a soy mozzarella. So someone who is lactose intolerant may in fact be able to consume specific ones. If in doubt as to how much lactose is in the product you must read the entire label. If there are any questions then you can always contact the maker of the product either by telephone or they may have an email address on the packaging. Because so many millions of people have a lactose intolerance it is a condition that is widely talked about and acknowledged so there are choices available.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cheese Dip Recipe 1: Pizza Dip

This recipe makes enough to serve about 8-10.


1 package or about 2 ounces of sliced pepperoni

1 eight ounce package of cream cheese softened to room temperature.

1 14 ounce jar of your favorite pizza sauce

1 ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 can of olives, sliced

1/3 cup diced onion

Chips, crackers or something for dipping


Use a 9 inch glass pie plate and press the cream cheese into it evenly. Spoon and spread the pizza sauce over the cream cheese, in a thin layer. Then layer on the onions, then cheese, then olives and finally the olives. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then bake for 20-25 minutes. Let stand for about five minutes. This is best served warm with chips or crackers of your choice. It can even be served with baby carrot sticks for dipping.

Alternative Cheese:

Provolone, Cheddar, Muenster, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Colby Jack

Monday, August 8, 2011

When and How Should I Slice My Cheese?

When you are going to slice cheeses you need to consider whether they are of the soft fresh variety or are they hard. The fresh soft ones should be colder when they are sliced to make the slicing easier. The harder varieties should be at room temperature when you slice them. Always use a clean knife to slice them or you can even use a piece of dental floss to slice the softer ones. Generally don’t use the same knife to slice the blues, the brie and the cheddars because you will get mixed up flavors. An unclean knife may cause them to mold faster too.

There are a few guidelines to remember when you are slicing or cutting cheeses. If you are cutting them up into bite sized pieces don’t do it until thirty minutes before they will be served and eaten. The smaller the size the faster it will dry out. So if possible let people bite their own bite sized pieces. When you are cutting it make sure the cutting edge is sharp because you don’t want to saw away at the piece you are cutting. You should generally cut off the rind because many people don’t like it and some cheese rinds can have a very strong taste to them. Never precut the slices or cubes days in advance because you will have to store them somewhere and the wrapped larger pieces are easier to keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

When you serve cheeses generally let them come to room temperature which usually takes about one hour. Remember cold equals dull. They need to bloom to let their taste and smells out. After all they are living and breathing products that will mold in time. Generally figure about one ounce of cheese per person when you are cutting them up. For a nice appearance you can cut off a wedge then slice it sideways to give the pieces a triangular shape. If you are slicing them in advance then cover them up so they don’t dry out prematurely.

If you have some leftover and they look like they are sweating or are oily looking they have not gone bad so just scrape off the layer of oils or liquid then rewrap them and store them in the refrigerator. They should be kept in the warmer part of the refrigerator but remember that warm means mold.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cheese Recipe 15: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Burrito Breakfast

This recipe can make enough to feed 6-8 people.


1 ½ pound mild or hot sausage

1 green pepper, gutted and finely diced

1 red pepper, gutted and finely diced

1 onion, minced well

36 flour tortillas

1 dozen small to medium eggs well beaten

¼ cup milk

32 ounces shredded cheese

1 ½ pound hash browns


In a large skillet, brown the sausage and drain very well. Mix the eggs and milk, whisking very well then salt and pepper to taste. Cook the potatoes, until soft, and then add the peppers and onions, sauté till soft. Then warm tortillas in oven on very low setting, or microwave with a moist paper towel. Combine potatoes and sausage scoop a large spoonful into each tortilla. Add cheese, roll tortilla up. Place with rolled sides down in a casserole dish, into low oven. Heat and serve these with ketchup, hot sauce and or salsa.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeño Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What are the Best Practices for Storing and Freezing Cheese?

There are many places where you read that you should never freeze cheese. This is a good rule to follow if you are buying those small batch very expensive artesian cheeses which you probably would never buy except for a special occasion or for a very special treat. On the other hand those highly processed big loaves of generic cheeses from the supermarket shelves can be frozen for a while without much damage to the product.

One thing to remember is that cheese is a living breathing product. If you wrap it tightly in a plastic wrap you will encourage moisture growth and that means molding. So when you bring it home you do need to remove the original plastic wrapping on it unless of course it is the big loaf with the waxy covering. The waxy coverings can maintain it for quite a while. They can either store or age in the back of the refrigerator for some months or you can freeze it just like that. But if it is a smaller piece in plastic wrap whether you are going to store or freeze it remove the plastic as soon as you get home.

Freezing it will generally cause it to dry out and become more crumbly so the texture changes. It is good in a melting recipe when you have defrosted it. If you are going to freeze it make sure you put it in a moisture proof and air tight container. It will take about 24 hours to thaw. You may also find that the taste has changed.

Fresh cheeses have high moisture content and are really quite fragile. If they have natural cracks or holes in them they can attract frost crystals and can get freezer damage so you really should not freeze them. They will often weep when they are defrosted.

If you are storing cheeses in the refrigerator you should keep them covered because they will pick up the refrigerator odors. A good thing to wrap them in is cheese paper which is a two ply paper with the outer layer waxed paper that prevents moisture from coming in and the inner layer is a porous plastic that allows the oxygen in so it can circulate. Otherwise wrap them loosely in parchment paper or waxed paper and put them in a plastic baggie. Cheeses should be vibrant and alive with fine texture, aroma and taste.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cheese Recipe 14: 3 Cheese Omelets Breakfast

This recipe serves one person.

3 medium to large eggs well beaten

1 ounce Swiss cheese diced, or shredded

1 ounce Sharp Cheddar Cheese, diced, or shredded

1 ounce Provolone Cheese, shredded or diced.

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste


Use a medium non-stick skillet to melt the butter over medium heat. Then add the eggs that have already been beaten. When the eggs have started to thicken add the cheeses evenly over them. Fold the eggs over half to give shape, letting it cook for a moment more. Flip the entire omelet over. Continue cooking until all the cheese is melted. Eggs should start to turn a golden brown. Flip one more time. Cook till eggs are thoroughly cooked, a golden brown, and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Alternative Cheeses:

Jalapeño Cheddar curds, Provolone, Muenster, Smokey Swiss, Italian Cheddar Cheese Curds, or Garlic Cheddar Cheese Curds, or any combination.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What are the Best Combinations for Cheese and Fruit?

Whenever you talk about combinations of foods or pairing one type of food with another you always have to take into consideration the personal taste of the person who is assembling those foods. You also have to consider just what purpose the food is being prepared for. If you are going to have a cheese and wine tasting you would use different types of cheeses and fruits than if you were serving beer and popcorn and block cheeses for a group of males who will swill down the beer and use the cheese and fruit to keep their stomachs full until they consume the nachos and sandwiches later.

When you are assembling foods for a TV game marathon you would most likely choose simple block cheeses such as jack, pepper jack, cheddar or maybe Swiss, all of which would go with beer. Then you would serve this with fruits that are fairly hardy like apple slices, seedless grapes and maybe almost ripe pears. These fruits won’t discolor or go bad very quickly especially if you dribble some lemon juice over the fruit so it won’t discolor if it is not consumed immediately. You can also serve some dried fruits with this like raisons or cranberries or even apricots. The flavors will all work well together because the cheeses are not hand crafted or considered artesian.

If you are having a wine tasting with cheese and fruits you may be serving those that are considered hand crafted or artesian or perhaps with more flavor such as one made out of goat or sheep’s milk. They may also be flavored with herbs or pepper or other spices too. All of this has to be considered when pairing with fruits. In general, apples pair well with almost all of them. Especially if you choose a nice crisp juicy on the tart side apple. It is bland and juicy enough to work with most of them. Pears also seem to work well with most choices. Naturally you have to consider what wines are being tasted too.

If you are going to serve dried fruits such as figs or apricots which are sweeter and in the case of figs, have a distinct taste you could use a creamier textured one such as a brie which generally has it’s own flavor so that the two kind of meld together when chewed. And that makes a yummy cheese combination for sure.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cheese Recipe 13: Ham and Cheese Crepes Breakfast

This recipe will serve approximately 2.



1/3 cup cold water

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup flour (all-purpose)

1 egg

1/3 cup milk and 2 or 3 tablespoons divided


1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 thin slices deli ham

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Use a blender or mix to blend together flour, egg, 1/3 cup milk, water, butter and salt until smooth. Refrigerate for about thirty minutes. Stir the mixture, add remaining milk if it appears too thick. Grease up a small to medium skillet and heat it(about 8 inches). Place 3 tablespoons of batter in. Tilt pan to evenly coat the bottom with batter. Cook until top is dry, turn and repeat (about 15-25 seconds longer). Use this process for remaining batter, grease skillet again if needed. Put aside. Crepes can be frozen up to 3 months.

Spread mustard over crepes and add ham and cheese. Roll up tightly, place in greased cooking pan and bake at 375 for 10- 14 minutes or until heated through.

Alternative Cheeses:

Swiss, Provolone, Muenster, or Cheddar

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