Cheeses and recipes
Hello! I'm new to Chowhound so I thought I'd try throwing a thread out here.
So, due to being a picky eater as a child and being growing up on a 'poor people diet', I've just recently discovered that there are other types of cheese beyond American slices. So far I've tried feta, gruyere, brie, smoked gouda (my favorite so far), and some type of bleu cheese (which I wasn't a fan of).
I'm looking for suggestions of cheeses to try and some ways to use them- fruit and cheese combinations, sandwiches, simple recipes, etc. Unfortunately, the only store nearby with a fairly good selection is Giant Eagle, so nothing too fancy. Any ideas would be appreciated- Thanks!
In addition to the ones you listed, groceries I've seen often carry Havarti, Edam, Camenbert, Monterey Jack, Vermont cheddar, Manchego and a selection of undistinguished cheeses with all sorts of adulterants like chives, pepper flakes and various herbs. Most are pretty bland, but the Havarti and sharp Vermont cheddars are probably the best of the bunch. Their native Manchegos may not be not as good as the better Spanish ones, but are usually edible. Be sure to visit the cheese stand near the deli counter and not the shelves in the dairy section. Their parmesan is not so hot for snacking, but may be better grated on spaghetti than the dreaded green can.
Do you have any farm stands that sell local cheesemakers products? Some of their simple farmers cheeses may be pretty good.
How about melted cheese sandwiches with Monterey Jack and Cheddar, or even Brie. Any fruit goes well with a cheese plate. Search the web for "Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese" or one of the baked versions. Grate some sharp cheddar and put it in an omelet or scrambled eggs. The grocery cream cheese (but please not the "lite" version) is usually perfectly adequate for making cheesecake.
You can throw a few cheeses together in a grilled cheese sandwich. Try cheddar, swiss and monterey jack, or some of the smoked gouda that you like.
Cheese and omelets are a natural. Any cheese. Except maybe blue. I love blue, but it does have its place. I adore blue cheese with fresh pears.
Any pasta goes with cheese. Shred some parmesan, add bacon and eggs, and make a carbonara, or shred sharp cheddar and add to pasta with olive oil, steamed broccoli, smoked sausage and pecans. Delicious.
I do like Brie on water crackers. Maybe a little fig jam on top.
As iluvcookies suggested, slice fresh mozzarella, layer with good tomato slices and fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and cracked pepper.
Slice a croissant in half. Butter one half and spread Dijon mustard on the other. Place thinly sliced ham, romaine lettuce, minced chive and dill havarti on ham. Close the croissant back together, wrap in foil and bake until cheese melts.
Another fave is a toasted English muffin, spread with deviled ham, and topped with shaved Swiss and HP Sauce.
Didn't know what a Giant Eagle was. (I live in Manhattan/NYC and buy cheeses from several cheese stores.) Visited its site and found it has nice little Cheese Corner with glossary, cheeses around the world, eating ideas. Check it out for more information specific to that chain. (PS. May is Manchego Month!)