Sunday, March 29, 2009

April Fools' Cheese, Week 13

No entry today, but be on the look out for a post with faux cheese later this week.

I did update the world map and spreadsheet of cheese this weekend.  There's even some new stats on the spreadsheet- you can view by rank and by price per pound.  I've now spent over a hundred dollars on cheese (major yikes), and have bought 6.79 pounds of cheese.  That works out to an average of $14.37/lb of cheese.

Go quantitative or go home!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Brie, Week 12

This was another fun week for the cheese blog.  On Friday, Madeline of the Rachael Ray (fan) Blog, listed my post about her Cheddar Beer Soup recipe in a weekly round-up of all things Rachael Ray in the blogosphere.  If that wasn't exciting enough (I know, I know), I had a fun mystery cheese event that evening, too.  Fun because I went to my good friend Kate's place with friends; mystery because I had zero knowledge about the primary purpose of the event-- watching the series finale of Battlestar Galactica.  Not only had I never seen an episode of 'BSG', I never watch the SciFi channel.  In fact, I can only be counted on to watch two shows a week- The Office and Chuck.

Nevertheless, I was thrilled to be invited to the BSG showdown and offered to bring the cheese.  It was then I learned that not a whole lot of the BSG world was that cheesy. Casey remembered something about a toaster, and the closest thing I found was BSG toast with jokes I didn't get:
Clearly, this inspiring toast gave way to Brie toasties. 


Smell: Pleasant and mild
Cost: $5.49/lb and $7.99/lb

Step One: Heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and prep Brie wedge. For the baked Brie, we put some golden raisins and chopped pecans.  Just when the cheese looked especially soft around the edges, we took it out and added some green onions as flare. This picture was taken just before the great Brie bake.

Step Two: While one Brie bit is baking, make lots of toast!  I thought using the whole French loaf would be too much, but we ended up running out of toast before cheese.

Step Three: Let other Brie wedge come to room temperature and top with store-bought mango chutney and green onions.  I was a little hesitant to put the two together on the cheese, but the flavors complimented each other so wonderfully, I will certainly use this combination in the future.  Serve SciFi-style with doilie and dried apricots.  Enjoy!

Verdict: The Brie was nice on its own- both the Trader Joe brand and the (tad bit nicer) French Belletoile.  The price of Brie is just great compared to the other cheeses mentioned on the blog and normal deli cheeses.  The toppings on the baked and softened Brie were really what made it so tasty, though. It reminded me of Bucheron, except less adventurous.

End tally: Midnight Moon > Lamb Chopper > Manchego > Paneer > Comte > Irish Cheddar > Vermont Cheddar > Emmentaler > Bucheron > Delice d'Argental > Brie > Red Square > Stilton > Pecorino Romano > Monterey Jack

P.S.- I'm a little behind updating the Google Map and Spreadsheet of Cheese.  Hopefully, I'll get to them next week.  Thanks for reading and commenting, Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Irish Cheddar, Week 11

In preemptive celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Irish Cheddar and Irish beer were combined for a deliciously easy Cheddar Beer Soup.  I don't think Rachel Ray or her recipe are Irish, but it was still fun to make and save for lunch later this week.

I present the divine black wrapper, imported from Ireland, reserve...

Irish Cheddar

Smell: Robust, a bit salty, Cheddar Gone Wild
Price: $17.12/lb

Step One: Butter, leeks, and carrots.  You know how I feel about leeks...this smelled wonderfully.

Step Two: Add the milk and beer (I used Guinness), and shred the cheese.  This took almost one and a half packages of cheese, but rationalizing things, this is going to make a lot of meals, right? 

Step Three: Enjoy!  Not very many interesting pictures are in this post.  Someone else made Rachel Ray's recipe with an orange cheddar, and although I'm guessing this chedda' might have been betta', she definitely took more interesting photos

Verdict: The Irish cheddar was fantastic-- so flavorful.  Edges out Vermont cheddar by a slice.

End tally: Midnight Moon > Lamb Chopper > Manchego > Paneer > Comte > Irish Cheddar > Vermont Cheddar > Emmentaler > Bucheron > Delice d'Argental > Red Square > Stilton > Pecorino Romano > Monterey Jack

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Emmentaler, Week 10

Mmm...ten whole weeks of cheese!  So far, I've enjoyed reading, writing, cooking, and thinking about cheese all year.  The 'cheese diet' has most definitely been treating me well.

This week's cheese was picked out by my cheese guy, Casey, after a delicious lunch at Great Sage with him and my veggie friend, Cassie.  While Cassie and I frolicked in the aisles of Roots finding new and fun foods to try, Casey had the tough task of choosing the cheese.  He made a great choice in Emmentaler, a kind of Swiss, and dreamed up Emmentaler and Herb Crisps.  I thought of pairing them with BLTs, and we were all set.

Smell: Buttery Swiss, Holier-than-thou mmmmm
Price: $8.99/lb

Step One: Ready the ingredients for quick cooking! (Okay, the ice cream went back in the freezer...the everything else, brownies included needed to be ready to go!)

Step Two:  Shred all of the cheese, add a heaping tablespoon of thyme and a tablespoon and a half of chives.  Season with ground black pepper to taste.

Step Three: Griddler time!  We divided the griddler to half grill, half griddle.  Take a nice-sized tablespoon of the cheese/herb mix and dump on the griddle, leaving plenty of room for the crisps to spread out.  We seasoned the applewood smoked bacon with some crushed red pepper, and it turned out wonderfully.

Step Four:  Don't touch the cheese!  Wait until it looks like a snowflake before you even think about taking it off the griddle.  We tried flipping them, which was fine, but not necessary.

Step Five: Eat.  They may look like doily potato chips, but trust me, they are way better than potato chips.  Way.
Verdict:  Emmentaler was a great cheese by itself and as crisps.  It's a buttery smooth Swiss that I will certainly come back to in the future.  Also, unlike some of my other top cheeses, Emmentaler is generally easy to find at local grocery stores.  I ranked it just a teeny bit below Vermont Cheddar (a smidge betta').  

End tally: Midnight Moon > Lamb Chopper > Manchego > Paneer > Comte > Vermont Cheddar > Emmentaler > Bucheron > Delice d'Argental > Red Square > Stilton > Pecorino Romano > Monterey Jack

P.S.- Don't forget dessert :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bucheron, Lamb Chopper, and Red Square, Week 9

This was an exciting weekend for the blog!  The blog now has visitors from 18 countries! From Chile to New Zealand to India to Sweden.  It's so fun to see where you're all from, especially since the average time spent on the site is 2 minutes and 38 seconds. (A whole 2 minutes and 22 seconds more than 15 seconds of fame!)

I'm going to keep the intro quick because I tried three new cheeses this week!  For a birthday party on Saturday, the blog took another trip to the wonderful Cheesetique for a tri-animal, tri-country cheese plate.  That's right, cheese from a cow, goat, and sheep!

Platter Prep

Ready, Set, Cheese!
Clockwise: Bucheron (French Goat), Lamb Chopper (California Sheep), and Red Square (Tasmanian Cow)
I kind of feel badly for having no recipe, again, but who knows?  With the snow tonight, maybe tomorrow will bring a nice snow day cheese soup.  

1) Bucheron: This cheese was a big hit- spreadable, mild, and deliciously creamy.  I would absolutely recommend this cheese with any kind of crusty cracker.
Price:  $15.99/lb
Smell: Soft.

2) Lamb Chopper: What a cool cheese name!  I just learned today that the Lamb Chopper is a cousin (Cyprus Grove Chevre) of ranking premier cheese- Midnight Moon.  It was buttery and so rich.  It was wonderful on its own, and I bet it would melt nicely, too. Fantastic. 
Price: $26.95/lb
Smell: Nutty, lamby, happy.

3) Red Square:  Now this is the smelly cheese the blog has been waiting for!  It had four of four smelly noses on the ID card at Cheesetique, and rightfully so.  I don't know quite how to describe the smell- a cross between dirty socks and dirt. Surprisingly, the smell was way stronger than the taste, which was creamy (think gooey Brie) and hearty. Added bonus: saying you ate Tasmanian Cow Cheese!
Price: $20.95/lb
Smell: Dirty Socks or Dirt, give or take a sock.

For Christmas, I received an Alpaca Pop Mold.  The host with the most, Errol, received the first 'paca pops:
CheeseKate <3 Alpacas
Verdict: Lamb Choppa' was amazing, but it didn't take me to the stars like Midnight Moon did.  The Bucheron was a delight, and I had a difficult time placing it in the tally.  I preferred it over the Delice, but wasn't positive it was betta' than the chedda'.  Lastly, the Tasmanian cow cheese was fun and adventurous, but I liked Delice a bit more.

End tally: Midnight Moon > Lamb Chopper > Manchego > Paneer > Comte > Vermont Cheddar > Bucheron > Delice d'Argental > Red Square > Stilton > Pecorino Romano > Monterey Jack