Opinions on food, drink and articles/TV shows involving them

Posts tagged ‘Cheese’

Fried Cheese Snack

Oh Costco, how I love thee. On two separate trips to Costco, I had the same food sample of fried cheese. The first time, I thought it was really tasty, but was buying a lot of other things and didn’t think I would use all the cheese and the other perishables I was buying.

The second visit, when they had the same sample, I knew it was a sign that I needed it. Making this snack is really simple. The person making the samples at Costco had a griddle and the cheese. I noticed some oily residue on the griddle and asked if she was using butter or oil. She said it was just the cheese…so easy!

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Here’s the cheese packaging, in case you feel obliged to get some after I tell you again how easy this is!

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I heated up the skillet to medium heat for a few minutes before putting in the cheese slices. When the cheese is in the pan, don’t touch it for the first few minutes. You’ll notice the edges start to brown when they are also brown underneath. Cook them for a few minutes on each side.

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I served mine on some multi-grain sourdough bread from Trader Joe’s, mainly because it was all I had. The cheese seemed to take away from the flavor of the sourdough a bit, but it was still tasty. The lady making the samples at Costco was saying that this makes an excellent grilled cheese sandwich, so maybe next time, I’ll have to try that! I give the fried cheese an ecstatic 5 stars!

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Mac & Cheese and Pressure Cooker Cooking

Growing up, my mom did not own a pressure cooker, so I had very few ideas about what you could cook with such a gadget. I have a feeling that many of my friends have very little knowledge about how to use one as well. For example, during a cooking challenge at a friend’s house, we drew knives to select our cooking method (can you tell we watched a lot of Top Chef?). One of the methods was the pressure cooker and everyone stayed away from that one. A few years later, I would be ready to delve into using such a device, albeit an electronic one.

My husband and I had an Instant Pot on our wedding registry and received it as a gift. Up until recently, I had only used it for cooking rice, which it cooks perfectly. While my mother-in-law was visiting last October, she and my husband made pressure cooked ribs in it and they were AMAZING. They were so tender and fell off the bone. Here’s the link to that recipe: http://instantpot.com/instant-pot-bbq-ribs/

Below is a picture of the Instant Pot in all it’s glory! Seriously though, this gadget could replace many in your kitchen. You can see all the functions it has: from sauté to slow-cooking to specific proteins. It’s got a function for everything. If you don’t like the amount of time programmed for a particular function, you can change it, so it’s fully customizable and wonderful!

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Fast forward 5 months after the rib adventure and I decided to make pressure cooker Macaroni and Cheese after a friend and neighbor made it for my birthday. He gave me the recipe, but his recipe called for cream cheese, which I did not have. As it was a cold and rainy night the evening I made this recipe, I did not feel like going out to get cream cheese, so I found another recipe. I searched for recipes specific to the Instant Pot that I owned and found one that looked good.

In addition to the ingredients required, I also added dried chopped onion and a few sprinkles of garlic powder. I find that dried chopped onion really adds a nice flavor and texture to macaroni and cheese. I even add dried chopped onion along with other dried herbs to the boxed macaroni and cheese when it’s cooking to soften them and give the macaroni more flavor.

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For this recipe, you cook the macaroni for 4 minutes, YES 4 MINUTES! Of course, the pressure has to build up first which takes 5-10 minutes, but I was amazed at how little cooking time was required!

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When serving, I added some freshly ground pepper and more hot sauce. I used Frank’s Red Hot, because you know, “I put that #^&* on everything!” I give the finished product 3.5 stars. I’m not sure whether it was the pasta I used (it contained artichoke), or the extra dried onion and garlic that I added, but it wasn’t as good as I imagined it to be. Next time, I’ll follow the recipe my friend gave me and go with something I know is going to be good! After playing with the Instant Pot more, I’m definitely a pressure cooker convert and hope to make many more recipes using the it!

Here’s the recipe: http://www.copykat.com/2016/01/10/instant-pot-macaroni-and-cheese/ Enjoy!

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

When in the mood for a cheesy comforting soup, I decided to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It has cheese AND vegetables! What could be better?!

I was inspired to make this soup after a trip to Panera with my brother. He always gets broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl. I had a bite of his soup and it was quite tasty. Instead of trying to find a Panera copycat recipe, I did a quick google search. The first recipe that came up was a food network recipe, so I was sold. It was titled “Almost Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup” and after reading the title, my mouth began to water.

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At this point, the soup was still cooking. After this picture was taken, I used an immersion blender to blend everything to a silky smooth texture. You can also blend it in a blender in small batches if you don’t have an immersion blender.

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Almost ready to put the finishing touches on the soup.

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Time to pour in the cheese. Don’t worry, I didn’t skimp on the cheese. This picture was taken after already pouring in some cheese and whisking it in!

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I ended up adding some cayenne pepper and extra black pepper to the finished product to give it a bit more zip! Unfortunately, I didn’t have sourdough bread bowls, but I did have sourdough bread. My husband has been buying multi-grain sourdough bread from Trader Joe’s recently and let me tell you, it’s one of the best breads I’ve ever tasted! It also has very few ingredients (read: fresh and containing no preservatives or additives). Pick up a similar bread at the grocery store and it’ll contain weird ingredients you never knew they put in bread! But, I digress…

We served the finished product with the multi-grain sourdough bread and it was delicious. The recipe makes a fairly large amount of soup, but it was so good that we finished in the next day.

I give the finished product 5 stars! Here’s the link to the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-broccoli-cheddar-soup-recipe.html

Cheese is the best food ever!

I love cheese of all kinds. This probably stems from the fact that I have a lot of family in Wisconsin. I grew up going there a lot to visit family and, as a result, frequented cheese factories during each visit. There, I had the opportunity to watch cheese being made and to eat fresh cheese curds. The curds are warm when fresh and squeak between one’s teeth. I’m sure that sounds unappetizing to people who have not experienced this sensation, but if you ever have a chance to try it, I’d highly recommend it. They are yummy!

I’m not only tied to the mild cheese. In fact, the best cheese I’ve ever tasted was a Camembert in Paris that smelled like Brussels sprouts (which I hate), but was absolutely wonderful. It’s really a shame that the US requires pasteurization of the milk used to make cheeses. As a result, a Camembert in the US tastes very similar to brie. I know that brie is a good cheese, but the depth of flavor is not as intense and it’s no match for Camembert made with unpasteurized milk….my mouth is watering just thinking about it! I know I jumped around a bit there, but trying to summarize my passion for cheese is quite a difficult task.

Speaking of cheese, I purchased some Chili Smoked Gouda at a local store the other day. As an avid fan of smoked Gouda, as well as smoked foods in general, I had a good feeling about this cheese from the start and it didn’t let me down. It’s flecked with red pepper flakes and is slightly red in color from them.  I enjoy spicy food; I’m not quite up to the level of Thai hot, but I do enjoy a good amount of spiciness so that you know it’s there. This cheese has a level of heat that stays with you for a little while, but is not too spicy for my taste. I ate it both alone and with Wheat Thin crackers and appreciated it both ways. I’ll give this cheese 4 stars. Here’s a photo of this great cheese paired with some Wheat Thins:

I’m involved with a gourmet food group where we get together every month or so and take turns cooking a 3-course meal. When it was my turn (about 8 months ago), I solicited my friends for appetizer ideas, and one friend from high school gave me a recipe for gougères, or French cheese puffs. They were fairly easy to make and made for a very classy appetizer. Recently, I bought some Gruyère cheese and remembered about these cheesy pieces of heaven. I found the following recipe and made them again: http://www.aminglingoftastes.com/2007/03/gruyre-gougres-nothing-says-celebration.html. They were ethereal as I remember them. I give them 3.74 stars! They are pictured below in all their cheesy glory:


Random non-food thought: I think that the Doritos commercial where the guy says: “You forgot the best part” was in my opinion the best one of the Superbowl! Ok, so I lied…I suppose this commercial is food-related, so this thought is not entirely “non-food related.” I can’t help it, though! Here’s a link for those who missed it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBNnD5kuHUE