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Cooking with soft cheeses?

fldhkybnva Sep 27, 2013 10:01 PM

I just picked up a few new soft cheeses and am quite excited to explore. I am new to soft cheese, but cheese is a part of many of my meals so I thought it'd be nice to try to incorporate as I do other harder cheeses. While they are delicious eaten out of hand at room temperature, I'd love to use them in baked dishes or as a spread for cooked meats or vegetables. It might sound silly, but any tips on cooking with these cheeses? Is it OK to do, should I add it near the end or can it withstand some time in the oven?

  1. s
    sueatmo Sep 27, 2013 10:29 PM

    I use ricotta as a base for spinach casserole. It bakes up like a firm quiche. You can also use soft cheese in an actual quiche.

    I like goat cheese best in a Caprese salad. Fresh basil and good olive oil and ripe tomatoes make it wonderful You have just enough time to get one in before fresh tomatoes are totally gone.

    1. h
      HillJ Sep 27, 2013 11:00 PM

      Float a goat cheese log in a bath of your very best tomato sauce and bake it until gooey and bubbly-serve with warm bread.

      Better yet, do this with a few cracked eggs around the dish and the goat cheese in the middle, floating in tomato sauce and baked until the eggs are perfect and the cheese is melty-serve with bread or over farro.

      Brie wrapped in pastry is pretty standard but tuck some fresh sliced fruit, dried apricots or a good quality chutney under the pastry before you seal and bake is even better.

      Any soft cheese spread on pizza or flatbread once out of the oven and then topped with ribbons of asparagus and nova lox is really tasty.

      Broccoli & cauliflower pair well with melted soft cheese. I usually steam the veg and then let the soft cheese melt on the hot vegetables, toss and few times and serve.

      4 Replies
      1. re: HillJ
        v
        valerie Sep 28, 2013 05:19 AM

        I have never made it but I always thought this goat cheese in marinara looked good.

        http://www.closetcooking.com/2010/03/...

        1. re: valerie
          h
          HillJ Sep 28, 2013 05:22 AM

          That's as good a set of instructions as any I've seen and yes, it's good. I make it fairly often for my husband as a light dinner with salad but I think he prefer the egg vers. more for Sunday brunch.

          I hope you give it a try. I love recipes with 5 or less ingredients!

        2. re: HillJ
          o
          ohmyyum Sep 28, 2013 12:51 PM

          Oh my goodness HillJ thanks for the dinner inspiration.

          1. re: ohmyyum
            h
            HillJ Sep 28, 2013 03:28 PM

            My pleasure, ohmyyum!

        3. Ttrockwood Sep 27, 2013 11:09 PM

          Something like a brie or triple cream is great to toss with hot pasta just before serving.

          Some of the soft fresh cheeses have a very delicate flavor that may be lost if used in a long baked dish like a gratin. However, a stronger flavor like a blue cheese can be a great addition to simple biscuits or even savory corn pancakes.

          1. c oliver Sep 28, 2013 05:10 AM

            I had a small piece of brie that was long past its prime. I broke into some pieces and tossed in with some scrambled eggs. Tasty and I didn't have to throw it out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: c oliver
              fldhkybnva Sep 28, 2013 11:01 AM

              Oh, that's a great idea. I'm making a frittata for brunch tomorrow, I'm sure it would work there as well.

            2. Elster Sep 28, 2013 09:42 AM

              If you do have something with a very strong flavour, it's delicious to blend it with some cream cheese and a splash of milk or cream to loosen up the texture and then toss it with hot pasta and green vegetables (i.e. asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, fresh peas) plus toasted walnuts.

              If you have one of those herby garlicky cheeses like a French Roulé, you can make incredible baked salmon by dolloping a scoop on top of each fillet and spreading it over the fish, then baking uncovered for 25mins - sounds weird but it's incredible!

              One final thing you might try is mixing a soft cheese with sliced leeks, salt, pepper and garlic, and stuffing the mixture into the middle of small hollowed-out squashes such as baby acorn squashes. Roast for 45 minutes and they make a beautiful starter!

              1. tim irvine Sep 28, 2013 09:53 AM

                Planning to smoke some St. Louis ribs and was daydreaming more about green chili goat cheese grits as a side.

                3 Replies
                1. re: tim irvine
                  e
                  ellabee Sep 28, 2013 12:28 PM

                  Rrrrrrggghhhhh! <--{Homer Simpson jelly donut sound}

                  1. re: tim irvine
                    c oliver Sep 28, 2013 02:35 PM

                    Whoa. Care to elaborate on that PLEASE???

                    1. re: tim irvine
                      tim irvine Sep 28, 2013 06:38 PM

                      Just finished the aforementioned ribs, rubbed with Squeal and smoked three hours. Served with cole slaw with a little julienned green apple and the goat cheese and Hatch grits. I only regret there were no leftover grits for my midnight snack.

                    2. greygarious Sep 28, 2013 03:04 PM

                      When I try a new cheese and don't like it, it goes into the next gratin or mac&cheese.

                      Pound skin-on chicken breasts skin side down. Spread/dollop with soft cheese and any soft or shredded vegetable that strikes your fancy, roll up, drape a half slice of bacon over the skin, and bake at 400 for 45 minutes or so, until the bacon and skin are crisp and the meat is 160F. The cheese that runs out will get golden-brown at the edges and mix with the drippings to form a yummy sauce. Serve over rice.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: greygarious
                        c oliver Sep 28, 2013 04:03 PM

                        Here's something similar, done with thighs.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889125

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