Thursday, March 26, 2015

What Is The Best Cheese For A Frittata?

Frittatas are one of the most delicious dishes to serve no matter the time of the day. They use ingredients that you tend to already have on hand, such as cheese, onion, eggs, herbs, and spices. Best of all, the dish is incredibly easy to make as you simply spend a few minutes prepping, then pop it into the oven and are ready to eat. The question then becomes which cheese goes best in a frittata. To some extent, the answer will be personal opinion, but there are some things to consider.

Basic Frittata Recipe

For a basic frittata, you will preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. While it is heating, slice up an onion, some green scallions, a clove of garlic, and whatever herbs you want to include. Crack a dozen eggs in a bowl, adding in a few handfuls of your favorite grated cheese, salt, pepper, and your chopped herbs and scallions. Stir everything together and saute the onion and garlic in a frying pan. Add your egg mixture to the pan and cook it for between ten and fifteen minutes, then sprinkle on some more cheese. Then place your frittata in the oven for five or ten minutes and voila.

Popular Choices

Cheese forms a large portion of the frittata recipe, as it is not only part of the main mixture, but also used as a topping. As mentioned earlier, the best cheese to use will mostly come down to personal preference. Cheddar is a popular choice since it melts well and everyone has it on hand. People also enjoy using ricotta, feta, and goat’s cheese. In reality, as long as the cheese melts well and matches the dish in terms of flavor, it will go well in a frittata.

Considering Melt

When figuring out which cheese to try in your next frittata, be sure to consider its melting properties, especially if you are trying out a new recipe or creating your own. Swiss cheese and Gruyere both melt incredibly well and Camembert is also known for its melting properties. When shredded, cheddar and will melt reasonably well, making it a good choice for frittatas. Mozzarella, on the other hand, is delicious, but tends to melt in strings, something most people won’t necessarily want in their frittata. Instead, try to select a cheese with higher moisture content as these will have the best melting properties to give you a uniform melt without stringy cheese.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Top Cheeses To Add To Your Gift Basket

Finding the right holiday gift can sometimes be a challenge, but cheese makes the perfect present for almost anyone. No matter their age, gender, or occupation, the majority of people love cheese and will enjoy it in a variety of ways, including plain, with crackers, or cooked into a delicious meal. When you decide to create a gift basket for someone, there are multiple cheeses you can add; you simply have to decide what sort of theme you would like to go with.


Perhaps one of the most popular cheeses to include in a gift basket is cheddar. It is hard enough to stay outside of the refrigerator for the time it takes to give your gift basket and the present receiver to take it home. Best of all, while most people are familiar with cheddar in general, they haven’t tried all there is to offer. If you include a sampling of cheddar of different ages (or sharpness levels), including a really sharp, old cheddar, you will be giving a gift basket that includes something the person knows they love as well as something new to try.

Cheese Curds

Cheese curds are another top cheese to add to a gift basket and this is for two reasons: the variety available and trying new things. Unless you live in a certain area of the country, you probably haven’t tried cheese curds before so by including them in a gift basket, you let your friend or family member enjoy a completely new type of cheese. The other great thing is that there are many different types of cheese curds and while they are almost always cheddar, they have a range of flavors, such as ranch and chives, buffalo wing, bacon and horseradish, dill, jalapeno, and more. This means you can select cheese curds of the particular flavor your friend will most enjoy or create a combination.

A Themed Assortment

While cheddar and/or cheese curds can work well as part of any gift basket, you may also want to create a themed basket. In this case, you will need to pick your theme and then pick the cheese accordingly. If, for example, you want an Italian themed basket, consider getting grated parmesan, fresh mozzarella, and provolone. For an exclusive-themed box that aims to include cheeses they probably have not tried before, select rare options such as super aged cheddar or super aged swiss. Or you can simply stick to traditional favorites when it comes to cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, and Colby Jack, all of normal ages and sharpness.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tricks To Properly Serving Cheese

Whether you are hosting an event or party or simply want to spice up your dinner, serving cheese can make a great deal of sense. You can serve as much or as little cheese as you want and it does just as well as an appetizer as a snack or dessert. Follow these tricks and you will be a pro at serving cheese.

What To Serve

When you serve cheese, you don’t want to serve it all by itself. You will need a variety of cheeses in addition to small slices of bread or crackers and some small accompanying snacks as well. You should generally select a soft cheese, a firm one (like Swiss, Cheddar, or Gruyere), and a blue cheese. Your goal is to have a range of textures and flavors on display. Snack ideas include nuts, fruits, vegetables, cured meats, and jams.

Quantities To Serve

The biggest question some people have about serving cheese is how much to provide. If the cheese is going to be the main appetizer at your party, then aim to get three pounds of cheese for every eight people that will be present. If, however, you will have multiple appetizers, having just three or four ounces per person on hand should be enough.

Knives For Serving

To truly serve cheese like a professional, you need to know which types of knives to use as well. Easily cut off a cheese wedge from the wheel with a sharp cook’s knife after dipping the knife in hot water and wiping it. Put either a cheese knife or any small, sharp knife on the tray for cutting harder cheese and a pate or butter knife for soft ones. Remember that you need to give each cheese its own knife so flavors don’t mix.

Spreading Out The Cheese

If you buy a cheese platter from your local supermarket, chances are the cheese is all thinly sliced and stacked on top of each other or layered. While this works for budget cheese, to create a nice presentation, you need to follow some different advice. Don’t layer the different cheeses on top of each other as this will cause their flavors to mix. If you have a larger quantity of cheese, considering spreading it out among several different trays. This prevents the feeling of crowding, both on the tray and from guests trying to get to their favorite slices. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tips For Freezing Your Cheese

If you recently found a great deal on your favorite cheese, then you will be glad to know that it is completely safe to freeze cheese. You can thaw and then eat almost any frozen cheese, although you should expect the texture to be slightly different. These tips can help you get the best out of your frozen cheese.

Freeze For Later Cooking

Because freezing cheese tends to change the texture of it, it is ideal to only freeze it if you plan to use it for cooking. You can still eat the cheese by itself after you thaw it out, but it will probably be crumbly. The flavor will luckily still be the same, even if the texture is different. Instead, consider freezing the cheese you will use in casseroles, soups, and sauces.

Ideal Cheese To Freeze

The best types of cheese to freeze tend to be firmer, with Swiss, Gouda, and cheddar being the ideal examples. You can also freeze Romano, Provolone, Port du Salut, Parmesan, Muenster, Mozzarella, Edam, and Camembert. Soft cheese, on the other hand, doesn’t freeze as well, so although you may get away with freezing a block of cream cheese that you plan to cook with, you should otherwise avoid freezing cream cheese, ricotta, or cottage cheese.

Packaging And Freezing

The goal of freezing cheese is to slow down the process of bacterial growth and in order to do so, you need to ensure that the cold from the freezer reaches every area of the cheese. Most experts suggest that you don’t freeze cheese in blocks that are bigger than a half pound each.

When you freeze a hard cheese (like Swiss or cheddar), you can reasonably keep it in the freezer for up to six months and the same is true even of soft cheeses like Brie. Before putting the cheese in the freezer, wrap it up using resealable freezer bags, plastic wrap, or some other material that is moisture-proof.

Thawing And Using The Cheese

When it comes time to thaw out your cheese, you will simply leave the wrapper on and move the cheese to your refrigerator until it thaws. You need to use this newly thawed cheese within two to three days to take full advantage of it. Keep in mind that it will be hard to slice frozen cheese, but you can easily grate it. As such, if you plan on using the cheese as slices, slice it before freezing, but feel free to store it in chunks if you plan on grating it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Smart Tips For Buying Your Cheese Online

It used to be that if you didn’t have a quality cheese retailer close to your home, you were stuck buying your cheese from your local grocery store. While at least there are some choices in the supermarket, the selection is nothing like what you would find from a specialty shop and neither is the quality. Now, the internet has helped fill in the gap and no matter where you live, you can find an online cheese store that will ship to you, giving you the chance to try new and creative cheeses.

Pay Attention To Shipping Times

When you plan on buying your cheese online, always pay close attention to shipping times. The majority of online retailers will offer delivery for within one or two days. In some cases this will be the only delivery option and sometimes there will be other options for hard or less-perishable cheeses. If a cheese retailer doesn’t at least offer two-day (or less) shipping, then skip them and move on as there is no guarantee you will receive your cheese before it goes bad.

Pay Attention To Packaging

Just like shipping times, the packaging method of an online cheese store can indicate how good (or bad) it is. The majority will use some type of insulated packaging and include an ice pack or similar object inside to keep the cheese cold. This is the ideal method as it ensures the cheese stays in a refrigerator-like environment until it arrives. As long as the company doesn’t simply put cheese in a regular box without any special labels, it should be fine.

Find A Knowledgeable Retailer

It is common to be a bit overwhelmed by the wide selection of cheese available online. The good news is that just like physical cheese shops keep experts on hand to help customers, so do some of the best online retailers. The best ones will have a contact form or customer service line where you can talk to an expert and get expert feedback as well as help selecting your ideal cheese.

Take Advantage Of Selection

Even if you choose to order cheese online to get standard items (such as cheddar or mozzarella) because you don’t have a nearby grocery store, try to take advantage of the incredible selection online. You will see unique flavors and cheeses that you have never tried before, from super aged cheddar to flavored cheddar cheese curds to classic Italian cheese or even fresh mozzarella. Do your best to try at least one new cheese every time you order, even if it is just a small quantity, or get a sampler platter. As long as you are already ordering cheese online, you might as well try something new and take advantage of the selection.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How To Use Cheese In Appetizers This Holiday Season

Cheese is a delicious addition to almost any meal, no matter the time of day or the time of the year. That means that when it comes to holiday dishes, cheese can play a central role, whether you are talking about the main dish or the appetizers. Here are just some delicious ways to use cheese in your holiday appetizers.

Classic Cheese Tray

Perhaps the easiest way to use cheese in appetizers during the holiday season is to create a classic cheese tray. Try to select three or four cheeses with a variety of textures, flavors, and sharpness. Remember to include crackers, chips, or something similar to eat with the cheese and add some fruit and/or nuts for additional flavor combinations.

Almond Crusted Brie

If you want to actually make something for the appetizer instead of simply making a festive cheese tray, try almond crusted brie. It may sound intimidating, but is actually fairly simple. Preheat your oven while completely covering a Brie cheese round with puff pastry. Brush on some egg, sprinkle on some almonds, and bake your Brie. At the end, drizzle on some pureed raspberries and serve your appetizer.

Cheese Balls

A simple option for a handheld cheese appetizer is a cheese ball. Mix together your favorite cheeses (such as cream cheese, feta, and shredded sharp Cheddar) with some Worcestershire sauce and onion using a mixer. Once this is fluffy, let it sit in the fridge for eight hours before shaping it into a ball and rolling in some parsley. Serve it with crackers like you would a standard piece of cheese.

Cheese Dips

Those looking for a simple way to ensure cheese is the focal point of the appetizer without involving too many other ingredients can try to make a cheese dip. You can either get creative or find a recipe you enjoy. To keep it simple, simply melt three or four of your favorite cheeses together (try cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded semi-soft cheeses such as Havarti or Gouda) plus some seasoning. Or to let your creativity shine and truly impress your guests, mix some blue cheese with caramelized apples, pecans, and other ingredients for flavoring. Another delicious choice is to make a nutty cheese spread incorporating fruit chutney on top.

Cheese Bread

A final option is to make some cheese bread as an appetizer. To make this appetizer even easier so you can focus on creating the main dishes, buy some biscuit making mix and throw in butter, milk, egg, minced onion, chopped parsley, and the secret ingredient: shredded Cheddar cheese, as sharp as you want.

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