Tag Archives: cheese

Say CHEEEEESE, Please!

I had the pleasure of attending a tasting last week at My Artisano Cheese and boy was I delighted.  Two cheesemakers were there, Ed-Mar Dairy as well as My Artisano, and Britt Hedges of Martin & Company Wines was there to pour lovely pairing wines.

I’m so incredibly excited that our region is getting cheesy!  You can get a private tour or visit on Saturdays at Ed-Mar located in Walton KY, where you can watch the milking robot work and enjoy the healthy free range cows.  I was especially impressed with their Banklick Cream and Maddie’s Gold varieties, and Lula’s for Lunch, and More! Catering will  be picking up some of their special Queso very soon for a Mexican themed event.   You can pick up Ed Mar Cheeses at these retail outlets.

Eduardo Rodriguez, the cheesemaker at My Artisano, is so obviously passionate about his varieties as he lovingly explains his process.  He likes to name his cheese after place – a Blue Ash Airport Runway for his MOST important tasting Grisardo – a washed rind cheese – and Sharon Creek – his brie style cheese that will knock your socks off.  Click here to see where these cheeses can be bought or enjoyed at local restaurants.

I tasted all 3 wine varieties offered with the suggested cheeses, but I kept coming back to a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero (a region in Spain) called Tamaral Crianza 2011.  I discovered that this gem can be picked up at Country Fresh Farmer’s Market in Anderson!  Yay!  So “Let’s Get Cheezy Wid It”!!

A Cheese Primer: From Blue to Bleu – You Stanky Thang

Adult mac and cheese

Regardless of how you spell it, bleu (guess which I prefer?) cheese gets its blue veins from the mold Penicillum.  There are a few famous bleu cheeses: Roquefort (the King of Bleu) is a sheep’s milk cheese from France and can only be aged in  certain caves.

Gorgonzola is its Italian cousin, made from cows’ milk.  As with all cheese, the younger, the milder, but I have to say one of my favorites is a young gorgonzola called Gorgonzola Dolce.  It is an excellent melting and blending cheese that we use in some of our rich sauces at http://www.lulasforlunch.com .

Stilton, the English version of these royal bleus, is made from pasteurized cow’s milk, and has a rare sibling, Stilton White.  North America’s most famous bleu, Maytag, was brought into production by none other than the washing machine magnate himself when he heard of its invention at Iowa State  University.  Though it is made from modern homogenized milk, it is also aged in caves.

I discovered bleu as a young child – my mother loved it – and was fortunate enough to be able to order it from Clemson University where they created it in labs!  No other bleu will ever taste like my Clemson Bleu.  I also have a new, mild favorite, called Cambazola – sort of a blend of Camembert and Bleu.  We use Amish Bleu in our Adult Mac ‘n Cheese in the picture above.   What’s your favorite bleu?  Let me know at http://www.lulasforlunch.com/blog !

A Cheese Primer – the American Dream

Let’s face it.  American Cheese isn’t really cheese.  It’s a “processed cheese product” as defined by the USDA.  It has some cheese in it, but it also contains emulsifiers and stabilizers.  It was developed in World War II, along with margarine,  to help the war effort.

I refuse to be ashamed…for me, my first memory of a grilled cheese sandwich was Velveeta (a special American Cheese 🙂 ) on white bread.  As a teenager,  American Cheese on Seeded Rye with Grilled Onions and Tomatoes was introduced to me by a boyfriend whose family owned a restaurant.  As an adult, I began to have a preference for Grilled American Cheese on Whole Wheat loaded with Dill Pickle Rounds (with what I to this day call Crinkly Fries, well done).

Nowadays, it’s the vehicle in which Oscar the pug is given his medications – but we always get the “good” kind – so just in case, if we get a hankering, it’ll be there for us.

A Cheese Primer – Jack be Nimble

Some KIND a  Cheese Platter

Monterey Jack cheese is incredibly versatile and a great melting cheese.  It is a native of California.  It’s creamy, mild, deliciously salty, and can be used in everything from Mexican cooking to fondues to scalloped potatoes.  Its cousin, Pepper Jack, has (duh)  peppers flecked through it and is spicy.

When you’re stuffing sweet peppers, use Pepper Jack to zing things up!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses HERBED Monterey Jack when it’s available.  It’s so yummy, it’s a client favorite on cheese boards.  You can see it in the photo bottom left.  What’s your favorite way to use Monterey Jack?  Tell us at www.lulasforlunch.com/blog !!

A Cheese Primer – Fabulous Feta

Some KIND a Cheese Platter

Sharp and Salty, good feta should be bought and stored in a block in its brine.  Stay away from the crumbly stuff if you can – it’s ok, but won’t provide as much pleasure as the block – it’s more dried out and less flavorful.  Feta from Greece (GREEK feta!) must be made with at least 70% sheep‘s milk.  Goat‘s milk is frequently used as well and is very good.  But in America and Europe, feta is mostly made with cow‘s milk and it’s just not the same.

One of my favorite foods of all time is Tyropita, a feta pastry rolled up in phyllo dough.  Feta is also one of the key ingredients in Spanikopita, a more well known spinach pastry.  Get either of these pastries from a reputable source such as It’s Just Greek in Cincinnati – it’s the real deal.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering makes their own variety – an amalgamation of both of these pastries, called Spanyropita.  Ask for it when planning your next party!  Have you ever tasted any of these pastries?  Let us know what you think here:  www.lulasforlunch.com/blog

Cheese Primer – You Cheddar Head You!

Adult mac and cheese

Lula’s Adult Mac ‘n Cheese

Cheddar comes from all over – mostly Britain, The United States, and Canada.  It can be white or yellow (absolutely NO taste difference, remember?); the yellow comes from the dye of annatto seeds.

The process that makes cheddar is called, of all things…cheddaring.  This simply means curds are cut into slabs, then stacked, then pressed.  What makes cheddars taste different from each other are the cows (yes it’s a cow’s milk cheese), the land, and the feed.

If you want to make things that require melted cheddar, ranging from a grilled cheese to fondue etc., then using younger cheddar will get better results, as it contains more moisture.  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses everything from Medium Sharp (hard to find vs mild!) Cheddar to Extra Sharp Cheddar in a variety of goodies.

My PERSONAL favorite is Vermont Extra Sharp White Cheddar.  What’s yours?  Weigh in at www.lulasforlunch.com/blog !

A Cheese Primer – Holy Swiss

Cheese and Fruit Abound!

Most Swiss cheeese you get at the supermarket isn’t swiss at all…it’s made domestically right here in the good ole’ US of A.    It’s mostly not so good either.  Kind of rubbery, with very little taste.  If you want an eye (and mouth) opening experience, go to your cheesemonger and ask for Emmentaler.  This is real swiss cheese.  It’s nutty and complex and is a beautiful melting cheese – hence its use in “swiss” fondue.

The holes that make swiss cheese (even those made in America) distinctive come from bacteria (a living thing like yeast) that release gas bubbles during aging.  So…you can tell if a swiss cheese will taste milder or stronger depending on how big the holes are…you’ll even see supermarket (and deli) labels saying “baby swiss” with very small holes in the cheese.  I prefer aged swiss with the really big holes.  It’s much stronger and nuttier (like me!).  Which do you like – the delicate young swiss or the assertive older swiss?  Let me know at http://www.lulasforlunch.com or www.lulasforlunch.com/blog !