Cheese Guide and Recipes

Cheese is one of the most varied foods and exciting foods that exist. In taste cheese can have a multitude of flavours ranging from bland to pungent and sharp. In texture it can be hard enough to chip off in flakes, so soft and runny that it needs to be eaten with a spoon or at any one of a dozen points of softness and firmness between these two extremes.

History - Bel Paese - Blue - Brie - Brick Cheese - Camembert - Club - Cheddar - Cheshire - Cottage Cheese - Cream Cheese -

Edam Gouda Cheese - Fontina - Gjetost - Gorgonzola - Gourmandise - Gruyere - Liederkranz - Monterey (Jack) - Mozzarella - Muenster

Port du Salut - Provolone - Ricotta Cheese - Roquefort - Samsoe

History

The earliest indication of cheesemaking is about 7500 years old. At that time curds were drained in containers made of unbaked pottery or wickerwork.

The oldest remains in France were found on the banks of the lake at Neufchâtel, near Rouen. In the 5th century AD Roman soldiers and athletes were fed a diet of cheese, wheat bread and figs.

14th century : the inhabitants of the village of Chaillot, near Paris, grazed their cows on "les îles aux vaches", not far from where the Eiffel tower now stands! Cheesemaking was common in the capital.

In 1666, a decree by the Parliament of Toulouse became the first legal document to refer to cheese - in this case, Roquefort.

The Book of Cheese by Charles Thom and Walter Warner Fisk
- published in 1918 but has great information on history of cheese.

Bel Paese

The cheese was invented in 1906 by Egidio Galbani who wanted to produce a mild and delicate cheese to sell mainly in Italy. The name Bel Paese comes from the title of a book written by Antonio Stoppani. It is Italian for "Beautiful Country."

Originally produced in Melzo, a small town near Milan in the Lombardy region, it is now made in both Italy and the United States. Bel Paese is a cow's milk cheese. It matures for six to eight weeks, and has a creamy and light milky aroma. The color is a pale, creamy yellow. It is made in small discs, and is very similar to the French Saint-Paulin cheese.

Italian origin. Mild. As an appetizer or a dessert cheese.

Asparagus with Ham and Bel Paese Cheese

24 pcs fresh asparagus (peel the bottom half)

120g dry ham

180g bel paese cheese

Place asparagus in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Then drain Take 3 pieces of asparagus and wrap in a slice of ham and top with cheese. Repeat with the remaining asparagus. Place wrapped asparagus in a hot oven at 220 degrees and cook until the cheese melts for about 3 to 4 minutes

Blue

Blue cheese is a general classification of cow's milk, sheep's milk, or goat's milk cheeses that has had Penicillium cultures added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue or blue-green mold. Some blue cheeses are injected with spores before the curds form and others have spores mixed in with the curds after they form. Blue cheeses are typically aged in a temperature-controlled environment such as a cave.

IProbably French onigin. Tangy, sharp. Appetizer, salad, or dessert cheese.

Blue Cheese Steak Sauce

1/4 lb. butter

1/4 lb. blue cheese

2 tbsp. chives or chopped shallots

Blend all ingredients together over low heat; do not boil. Cover the steak with a lot of freshly ground pepper and spoon lots of the hot sauce over the steak.

Brie

The Brie de Meaux, manufactured outside of Paris since the 8th century, was originally known as the "King's Cheese" (later, following the French Revolution, the "King of Cheeses") and was enjoyed by the peasantry and nobility alike. It was granted the protection of AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) status in 1980, and is produced primarily in the eastern part of the Parisian basin.

IEdible curst. Mild to pungent. Use as an appetizer or for dessert.

Rum Butter Brie with Fruit

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds

4 tablespoons rum

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon paprika

6-inch wheel Brie cheese (about 1 pound)

Whole toasted almonds

Fresh fruits

Assorted crackers

In small bowl, beat butter with chopped almonds, rum, lemon juice, garlic salt, and paprika. Cut white crust from top of Brie; spread Brie with butter mixture. Garnish edge with whole almonds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with cut fruit and assorted crackers.

Camembert

Camembert is called "mold-matured" and all that is genuine is labeled Syndicat du Vrai Camembert. The name in full is Syndicat des Fabricants du Veritable Camembert de Normandie and we agree that this is "a most useful association for the defense of one of the best cheeses of France." Its extremely delicate piquance cannot be matched, except perhaps by Brie.

Napoleon is said to have named it and to have kissed the waitress who first served it to him in the tiny town of Camembert. And there a statue stands today in the market place to honor Marie Harel who made the first Camembert.

French origin. Edible crust. Pungent: Use as appetizer or dessert cheese.

Camembert Tart

6 slices ham

4 tbsp. butter

6 sm. scallions, chopped

3 eggs, beaten

1 c. soft Camembert cheese

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Dash of nutmeg

2 c. whipping cream

Dash white pepper

1 baked 9 inch pastry shell

Cut ham into thin strips and saute in butter. Remove ham and saute the scallions. Drain onions and combine with ham. Spread this mixture evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell. Spread Camembert cheese over ham mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Beat eggs and cream, add nutmeg and pepper, and pour over the cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes until set.

Cheddar

Named for a village near Bristol where farmer Joseph Harding first manufactured it, the best is still called Farmhouse Cheddar, but in America we have practically none of this. Farmhouse Cheddar must be ripened at least nine months to a mellowness, and little of our American cheese gets as much as that. Back in 1695 John Houghton wrote that it "contended in goodness (if kept from two to five years, according to magnitude) with any cheese in England."

Today it is called "England's second-best cheese," second after Stilton, of course.

In early days a large cheese sufficed for a year or two of family feeding, according to this old note: "A big Cheddar can be kept for two years in excellent condition if kept in a cool room and turned over every other day."

But in old England some were harder to preserve: "In Bath... I asked one lady of the larder how she kept Cheddar cheese. Her eyes twinkled: 'We don't keep cheese; we eats it.'"

English origin. Mild to very sharp. As a snack, for cooking or dessert.

Latin-American Corn Rabbit

2 tablespoons butter

1 green pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

½ cup condensed tomato soup

3 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup canned corn

1 egg, lightly beaten

Fry pepper and onion 5 minutes in butter; add soup, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Put over boiling water; add cheese with seasonings and stir steadily, slowly adding the corn, and when thoroughly blended and creamy, moisten the egg with a little of the liquid, stir in until thickened and then pour over hot toast or crackers.

Cheshire

Cheshire is not only the most literary cheese in England, but the oldest. It was already manufactured when Caesar conquered Britain, and tradition is that the Romans built the walled city of Chester to control the district where the precious cheese was made. Chester on the River Dee was a stronghold against the Roman invasion.

It came to fame with The Old Cheshire Cheese in Elizabethan times and waxed great with Samuel Johnson presiding at the Fleet Street Inn where White Cheshire was served "with radishes or watercress or celery when in season," and Red Cheshire was served toasted or stewed in a sort of Welsh Rabbit.

English origin. Crumbly texture. As a snack, for coooking.

Welsh Rabbit Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

Pinch of pepper

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon mustard

6 slices buttered toast

1/4 to 1 lbs. cheese shaved or cut fine

Prepare white sauce, in top part of a double boiler, from first six ingredients, mixing dry ingredients with the mustard. Set top of the boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Add cheese, cook and stir until melted. Serve on saltines or hot toasted bread. Optionally add a half cup chopped olives. Vary this dish by adding one or two slightly beaten eggs immediately after the cheese has melted and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened.

Club Cheese

Club cheese is also known as cold-pack cheese. It is Canadian In Origin. It is similar to cold pack cheese food, which contains additional ingredients. Club cheese is prepared by comminuting cheese of like or different varieties without heat. Club Cheddar cheese is frequently used in frozen macaroni and cheese dinners.

IOften flavored. Used as an appetizer, in sandwiches or as a dessert cheese.

Deluxe Grilled Cheese Sandwich

4 slices whole-wheat bread

2 teaspoons margarine

3 ounces club cheese

1 medium vine-ripened tomato, thinly sliced

Freshly ground pepper

About 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Begin heating a nonstick griddle pan (or similar) over medium heat. Coat one side of all 4 slices with the less-fat margarine.

Place two bread slices, buttered side down, on griddle. Top with cheese, then sliced tomato, pepper and fresh basil leaves. Top with the remaining two bread slices (buttered side up).

When bottom side is golden (2-3 minutes), flip sandwiches over and grill until other side until golden (2-3 minutes). Cut each sandwich diagonally and serve.

Cottage Cheese

Fermented milk foods were the standard fare of the early Egyptians and Greeks, and cottage cheese, long a popular food in Central Europe, used to be made at home in the cottages of colonial America.

ILarge or small curds, dry or creame. Use in salads, as a snack or in cooking recipes like lasagne.

Make Your Own Cottage Cheese

Delicious and nutritious cottage cheese can quickly be made at home. Heat one quart of milk in a heavy utensil. Use skim milk for fewer calories. When the milk is warm (about 110deg) add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir, keeping the heat low, until the milk curdles. Pour curdled milk into a muslin or cheesecloth bag and strain. Add salt to taste and any other flavoring you like, such as chives, parsley, or fresh basil. .

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese originated in the United States in 1872 when a dairyman in Chester, New York, developed a 'richer cheese than ever before, made from cream as well as whole milk. Then in 1880, a New York cheese distributor, A. L. Reynolds, first began distributing cream cheese wrapped in tin-foil wrappers, calling it Philadelphia Brand....The name "Philadelphia Brand cream cheese" was adopted by Reynolds for the product because at that time, top-quality food products often originated in or were associated with the city, and were often referred to as being "Philadelphia quality.

IU.S. in origin. Very mild. Chill slightly. In salads, as a snack or ingredients in desserts such as cheese cakes.

No Bake Cheese Cake Recipe

I8 oz. cream cheese

1 tub of whipped cream

1/3 cup of sugar

1 graham cracker pie crust

Mix the cream cheese, the sugar and the whipped cream together.

Pour mixture into pie crust and chill for 3 hours.

Garnish any way you choose.

Edam Gouda Cheese

The crimson cannon balls of Holland have been heard around the world. Known as "red balls" in England and katzenkopf, "cat's head," in Germany, they differ from Gouda chiefly in the shape, Gouda being round but flattish and now chiefly imported as one-pound Baby Goudas.

Edam when it is good is very, very good, but when it is bad it is horrid. Sophisticated ones are sent over already scalloped for the ultimate consumer to add port, and there are crocks of Holland cheese potted with sauterne. Both Edam and Gouda should be well aged to develop full-bodied quality, two years being the accepted standard for Edam.

The best Edams result from a perfect combination of Breed (black-and-white Dutch Friesian) and Feed (the rich pasturage of Friesland and Noord Holland).

The Goudas, shaped like English Derby and Belgian Delft and Leyden, come from South Holland. Some are specially made for the Jewish trade and called Kosher Gouda. Both Edam and Gouda are eaten at mealtimes thrice daily in Holland. A Dutch breakfast without one or the other on black bread with butter and black coffee would be unthinkable. They're also boon companions to plum bread and Dutch cocoa.

"Eclair Edams" are those with soft insides.

Dutch origin. Inedible casing. Mild. As an appetizer, for dessert.

Chicken, Apple, and Smoked-Gouda Salad

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3/4 lb skinned and boned chicken breast halves

Cooking spray

8 cup torn prepackaged spinach

3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup sliced red onion separated into rings

1 1/2 cup thinly sliced Red Delicious apple (about 1/2 pound)

3/4 cup fat-free honey mustard salad dressing

1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda or Jarlsberg cheese ( 2 -1 ounces)

1/4 cup sliced almonds toasted

Preheat broiler. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Cut chicken into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Combine chicken, spinach, bell pepper, celery, onion, and apple in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad, and toss well. Sprinkle with cheese and almonds.

Serving Size: 2 1/2 cups

Fontina

Val d'Acosta, Italy

Soft; goat; creamy; with a nutty flavor and delightful aroma.

Italian origin. Mellow; scattered eyes. Appetizer, dessert cheese.

Rigatoni Alla Fontina

1 lb Rigatoni

3 T Salt

6 T Sweet butter

1/2 lb Sliced fontina cheese

1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 c Parmigiano cheese

1/4 teaspoon Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the rigatoni in 5 to 6 quarts salted boiling water until extra al dante (they will finish cooking in the oven).

Drain well and place in a large bowl.

Add 2/3 of the butter, 1/2 of the parmigiano, and nutmeg and mix well until all the pasta is coated.

In a buttered baking dish, make a layer of the pasta, a layer of the fontina cheese, sprinkle with the parmigiano, and repeat the process until the pasta is used up, ending with a layer of the fontina on top.

Sprinkle with parmigiano and black pepper and dot with the remaining butter.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

May be served on flat plates.

Gjetost

This is a sweet cheese, firm, smooth and caramel colored. Works well for appetizers. Goes with crackers. Made in Norway.

Norwegian origin. Carmeled flavor. Sandwich, snacks.

Norwegian Meatballs With Gjetost Sauce

2 lbs ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 eggs

1 cup milk or broth

1/2 cup flour or fine dry breadcrumbs

Gjetost sauce

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup light cream

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup shredded gjetost cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped parsley or fresh dill

Mix vigorously to blend (by hand or electric mixer) all the ingredients above.

Shape into 3/4 inch meatballs with moistened hands.

Pour 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan. Place over medium heat and add meatballs. Cook, shaking gently to turn meatballs, about 10 minutes for the meatballs. Remove as they brown.

For Gjetost sauce: Remove as much oil from the pan as possible and blend in butter and flour. Remove from heat and blend in light cream. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring and cooking until thickened. Mix in Gjetost cheese. Turn heat low.

Blend some of the sauce into sour cream, then return sour cream to sauce. Add chopped parsley or fresh dill.

Re-add meatballs and simmer until heated through.

Serve with cooked rice or potatoes.

Gorgonzola

Truly one of the world's finest and most versatile blue cheeses, name-controlled Gorgonzola is named for a town in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy near Milan where it was first made, aged, and sold. In terms of how it is made, Gorgonzola is closely related to a cheese known as Stracchino or Crescenza and in fact, is sometimes still called stracchino di gorgonzola on its home turf.

Italian origin. Piquant flavor; crubly. In salads or as a dessert cheese.

Creamy Gorgonzola Fettuccine Recipe

8 ounces uncooked fettuccine

3 cups (1-inch) diagonally sliced asparagus

2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Cook the pasta in boiling water six minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for two minutes or until the pasta and asparagus are tender. Drain pasta and asparagus; place in large bowl. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic, and cook three minutes. Add flour, cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in the cream cheese and salt; cook for three minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add sauce to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Serve with Gorgonzola and walnuts, and sprinkle with pepper, if desired.

Gourmandise

A spreadable processed cheese that is produced in France. Similar to other processed cheeses made by combining natural cheese with emulsifiers, stabilizers and vegetable-based gums, Gourmandise Cheese is a smooth and creamy cheese that may be seasoned with flavorings and/or nuts such as Kirsch liqueur, cherry juice or bits of walnuts. Gourmandise is formed into wheels that may weigh 3 to 5 pounds or small round cakes of cheese. The larger wheels are most often cut into wedges and repackaged for sale in the cheese department of food stores. This cheese is typically served as an appetizer with crackers or as a dessert cheese that may be topped with sauteed nuts or served with slices of fruit.

French origin. Cherry brandy flavor. Use as an appetizer or for a dessert cheese.

Gourmandise Cheese With Pine Nuts

1/4 c Butter

2 c Shelled pine nut

8 Wedges gourmandise cheese

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts and saute until golden. Remove from heat.

Arrange cheese on individual plates and top with sauteed pine nuts.

Gruyere

Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese made from cow's milk, named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland, and made in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Berne. Before 2001, when Gruyère gained Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée status as a Swiss cheese, some controversy existed whether French cheeses of a similar nature could also be labeled Gruyère. (French Gruyère-style cheeses include Comté and Beaufort.) Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy, and complex. When fully aged (five months to a year) it tends to have small holes and cracks which impart a slightly grainy mouthfeel.

Swiss origin. Nutty, sharper than Swiss. Cooking and Desserts.

Bacon-Tomato-Gruyere Omelet

2 tsp clarified butter

1 oz (1 1/2 slices) of cooked bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 x eggs

1 oz (1/4 cup) grated Gruyere cheese (don't pack it down!)

1 oz (1/2 of a small) plum tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

After the butter is good and hot in the pan, scatter in the bacon. Shake the pan once to make sure the bacon is not sticking. Now pour in the beaten eggs. Tilt and pull a couple of times and sprinkle in the cheese, keeping it well in the eggs. Pull a couple more times to cook to desired doneness. Scatter in the tomato pieces, avoiding the edge of the pan. Immediately (almost!) depan the omelet, flipping it into a half circle on your warmed plate. The tomatoes will be sufficiently warmed being folded into the omelet at the end of the process and shouldn't be cooked so much as to release their water. Water in the pan will cause sticking.

Liederkranz

Although the name may sound German, this is an American cheese. It was created in 1882 (1892?) by Emil Frey, an apprentice cheesemaker in Monroe, New York. He named the cheese after the Liederkranz Club, a singing society, where the owner of the cheese factory had taken the first samples of the new cheese. Liederkranz is a cow's milk cheese, with an edible pale yellow crust, and a semisoft, pale interior with a mildly pungent flavor and distinct aroma.

U.S. origin. Edible crust. Pungent. Use as an appetizer or for desserts.

Liederkranz Cheese and Herb Dip

8 ounces Liederkranz cheese

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

toasted baguette slices

Assorted raw vegetables

Blend cheese, oil and yogurt in processor until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Mix in all herbs. . Mix carefully so blended but not totally broken apart. Season dip to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until dip is cold and flavors blend, about 3 hours. Serve dip with toasted baguette slices and raw vegetables.

Provolone

All are types, shapes and sizes of Italy's most widely known and appreciated cheese. It is almost as widely but badly imitated in the U.S.A., where the final "e" and "i" are interchangeable.

Cured in string nets that stay on permanently to hang decoratively in the home kitchen or dining room. Like straw Chianti bottles, Provolones weigh from bocconi (mouthful), about one pound, to two to four pounds. There are three-to five-pound Provoletti, and upward with huge Salamis and Giants. Small ones come ball, pear, apple, and all sorts of decorative shapes, big ones become monumental sculptures that are works of art to compare with butter and soap modeling.

Smoked, mild to sharp.nacks.

Fried Provolone

2 pounds provolone

Flour, for dredging

8 slices Italian peasant bread, or any other crusty bread cut 1 1/2-inch thick

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano flowers

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1 garlic clove

Cut the cheese into 6 slices, each about 3/4-inch thick. Using your palms, press flour onto each side of each cheese slice, shaking off any extra and set the cheese slices aside.

Brush the bread slices with a little olive oil and grill on both sides.

In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Place the cheese in the pan in a single layer. Cook cheese until a brown crust develops. Turn the cheese over with a spatula and sprinkle with a pinch of oregano flowers. Cook for 2 minutes more. Drain some fat from he pan, add 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and let it flame. When the flames subside, add another 1/4 cup vinegar and remove cheese to warm plates.

Rub the grilled bread slices with the clove of garlic, add them to the platter, drizzle the platter with olive oil and sprinkle with more oregano.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta is not a cheese but a creamy curd. The curd is literally cooked twice hence the name "ricotta," re-cooked. The leftover hot whey of milk used for cheese making has milk solids and a protein called albumin, which solidifies under high heat. When the whey is reheated (re-cooked) the solid milk parts are skimmed off to drain, and this is called ricotta cheese. Ricotta is known as an albumin or serum cheese, a cheese made as a by-product of provolone cheese from the recooked whey, hence its name. The foam of the whey when it is being recooked is called zabbina in Sicilian, which comes from the Arabic word zarb, thought also to be the root of the custard dessert zabaione. The best ricotta is made with sheep's milk.

Italian in origin. Mild. Curd or dry for cooking or for desserts.

Basil Pesto Ricotta Spread

2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 large cloves roasted garlic

1/2 cup Hautly Grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds (optional)

1/2 cup olive oil

15 oz Hautly Ricotta

Salt & Fresh ground pepper

Combine basil, garlic, nuts and Parmesan in a food processor and mix. With the processor running, slowly add olive oil. Process to desired consistency. Blend in ricotta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Brick Cheese

Brick cheese was first made in 1885 by John Jossi invented it. You can recognize brick cheese with some particular qualities. The most often-met form of this cheese is brick-shaped, though the name was given to the product because John Jossi used bricks to press the moisture from the cheese in the process of making. The next peculiarity is color - from pale-yellow to white. The flavor is also interesting, as it changes depending on age: the young brick cheese has a sweet and mild flavor, and the aged one is pungent and tangy in taste. This sort of cheese is easier to crumble than to cut, because it sticks to a knife. Cheese is good with sandwiches and it melts very well, so if you want a hot sandwich there is nothing easier than put a slice of brick over a piece of bread and get it prepared in a microwave. It is also wonderful with beer, fruit and wine.

U.S. origin. Mild to sharp flavor; firm to soft . Use as a snack, and in sandwiches.

CREAMY BRICK SPREAD

8 oz. Brick cheese, shredded

8 oz. Cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread or

Crisp crackers or bagel chips

Combine Brick, Cream cheese and hot pepper sauce; blend until smooth. Spread on bread or crisp cracker. Warm in microwave oven if desired. Makes 1-1/2 cups spread.

Monterey (Jack)

According to the legend, the Spanish missionaries who arrived in California in the 18th century made an early form of Jack cheese they called "queso del pais," or "country cheese." After the missionaries left, farmers continued this style of cheesemaking, which evolved sometime in the 1800s into the cheese we now know as Monterey Jack.

ICalifornia origin. Mild, good for appetizers, cooking and sandwiches.

Green Chile Monterey Jack Bake

10 eggs

4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 cups cottage cheese

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in Monterey Jack, cottage cheese, butter, flour, baking powder, salt and chiles. Pour into baking dish, and bake for 35 minutes or until the eggs are set. Cool.

Mozzarella

Italian origin. Semisoft; smooth; white; bland; un-salted. Put up in pear shapes of about one pound, with tan rind, from smoking.Eaten chiefly sliced, but prized, both fresh and smoked, in true Italian one-dish meals such as Lasagne and Pizza.

IItalian origin. Mild . Used for cooking or as a snack.

Mozzarella Sticks

1 1/4 cups Italian-style dried breadcrumbs

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 (16-ounce) blocks pasteurized mozzarella cut into 4 by 1/2-inch sticks

3 large eggs, beaten to blend

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

Stir the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and of salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks on a baking sheet. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates.

Muenster

German originally, now made from Colmar, Strassburg and Copenhagen to Milwaukee in all sorts of imitations, both good and bad. Semihard; whole milk; yellow inside, brick-red outside; flavor from mild to strong, depending on age and amount of caraway or anise seed added. Best in winter season, from November to April.

Münster is a world-wide classic that doubles for both German and French. Géromé is a standard French type of it, with a little longer season, beginning in April, and a somewhat different flavor from anise seed. Often, instead of putting the seeds inside, a dish of caraway is served with the cheese for those who like to flavor to taste.

In Alsace, Münster is made plain and also under the name of Münster au Cumin because of the caraway.

American imitations are much milder and marketed much younger.

IGerman origin. Mild to sharp. Used as appetizer or sandwich.

Christmas Crock Cheese

10 ounces Muenster cheese

1/2 pound aged Cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons brandy

1/8 teaspoon basil, crushed

Pinch of dried dill

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons soft butter

Grate cheese. Put all ingredients into mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Put into small sealable crocks for Christmas giving or for your own use. Keep refrigerated.

Remove from refrigerator one hour before serving.

Port du Salut

Port Salut's history is more interesting than its taste. Originally named Port du Salut after the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut at Entrammes, it was first made in the mid 1800's by Trappist monks, only for consumption at the monastery. But in 1873 a visit to Paris by the head of the abbey resulted in an advantageous distribution agreement with a Parisian cheese seller..In the 1950's, the cheese began its descent into mediocrity when the monks struk several deals with outside parties, a circumstance that eventually led to the sale of the trade name. The monks no longer make Port Salut. Today it is produced by SAFR, a big dairy company in eastern Lorraine.

IFrench origin. Mild to robust. Appetizer, desert cheese.

Risotto

1 1/2 cups rice

4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 cup red wine

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup sliced shallots

1 cup salami

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts

1/2 cup port du salut cheese (cubed)

Saute sliced garlic cloves, shallots and arborio rice in olive oil on medium heat until the rice begins to become translucent and the garlic and shallots soft -- about seven minutes. Add the red wine and stir, allowing the rice to absorb most of the wine. Begin adding stock 1 cup at a time, stirring and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more stock. Add sliced salami .Add artichoke hearts and white pepper. Just before serving, stir in port salut.

Roquefort

Long hailed as le roi Roquefort, it has filled books and booklets beyond count. By the miracle of Penicillium Roqueforti a new cheese was made. It is placed historically back around the eighth century when Charlemagne was found picking out the green spots of Persillé with the point of his knife, thinking them decay. But the monks of Saint-Gall, who were his hosts, recorded in their annals that when they regaled him with Roquefort (because it was Friday and they had no fish) they also made bold to tell him he was wasting the best part of the cheese. So he tasted again, found the advice excellent and liked it so well he ordered two caisses of it sent every year to his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle. He also suggested that it be cut in half first, to make sure it was well veined with blue, and then bound up with a wooden fastening.

IFrench origin. Sharp, salty. Appetizer, salad, dessert.

Pasta With Roquefort and Garlic

Spaghetti for 4 people

150 g roquefort

5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1 handful of pinenuts

Basil

Salt & pepper

Cook pasta in boiling water. Mash roquefort with a fork, into small pieces. Crush garlic, mix with olive oil and add to cheese. Mix topether, then add chopped basil, pinenuts, salt and pepper. Toss into pasta as soon as it is cooked.3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

Samsoe

Named for the island where it originated, Samsoe originally was a Danish copy of Swiss Emmental. Over time, it has developed a unique character of its own. It has a golden yellow color and is usually shrouded in wax. Its texture ranges from springy to firm and has a few scattered the size of cherries. Samsoe's flavor is quite mild with hints of hazelnut, becoming more pungent quality as the cheese matures.

IDanish origin. Mild, softer than Swiss, small eyes. Sandwich, snacking cheese.

Danish Fondue Recipe

6 ounces lean middle bacon, rind removed and finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tsp butter

3 tsp plain flour

8 fluid ounces lager

8 ounces grated Havarti cheese

8 ounces grated Samsoe cheese

Sweet and sour gherkins and chunks of light rye bread for dippers

Put bacon, onion and butter into a saucepan and cook until bacon is golden and onion is soft. Stir in flour, then gradually add lager and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Add cheeses, stirring all the time, and continue cooking until cheeses have melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into a fondue pot and serve with gherkins and chunks of light rye bread.

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