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Archive for Cheese-Yogurt-Dairy

RECIPE: Cheese Christmas Tree

When the crowd arrives for holiday revelry, wow them with this wonderful Christmas tree cheese board.

The recipe, developed by Cabot Creamery, builds the tree with different flavored Cabot Cheddar cheese cubes—Pepper Jack, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Chipotle Cheddar, Tomato Basil Cheddar and Horseradish Cheddar.

The company also makes “Light” reduced fat Cheddars in Sharp and Jalapeño.

But you can use any semi-hard cheeses: young Asiago, Colby, Edam, Fontinella, aged Gouda, Jack, Manchego, Provolone and Queso Blanco, for starters (learn more about these cheeses in our Cheese Glossary).

If there are any leftovers, use them in cheese omelets or a fondue.
 
RECIPE: CHEESE CHRISTMAS TREE

Ingredients

 

Cheddar Cheese Christmas Tree

Gouda wishes for a happy holiday! Photo courtesy of Cabot Creamery.

  • 5 eight-ounce bars of different cheddars, plain and flavored (or substitute other semi-hard cheeses for color and flavor variety)
  • 1 bundle fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs
  • Red grape or “teardrop” tomatoes (substitute cherry tomatoes or olives)
  • 1 large white button mushroom or a small mozzarella ball (bocconcini, or carve a star from a slice of mozzarella)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT each bar of cheese into 1-inch cubes.

    2. ARRANGE the cubes in rows on a large platter or cutting board, to form tree shape. If you can, use a different shade of cheese for each row. Separate the rows of cheese with thyme or rosemary sprigs (rosemary looks like an evergreen twig) and rows of grape tomatoes and/or pimento-stuffed green olives.

    3. CREATE the star on top by carving a star pattern into shape with the point of a sharp knife, or similarly carve mozzarella.

    Enjoy the compliments!

      

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    PRODUCT WATCH: Chipilo Crema ~ Authentic Mexican Cultured Sour Cream

    A few months ago, we went to a press reception where we were introduced to the wonders of Chipilo Authentic Mexican Crema. Crema, or cream, which is what Mexicans call cultured sour cream. If you are a sour cream lover, it will take you higher—in a slightly different way than Ike and Tina Turner, but just as exciting. It’s richer, sweeter, more complex in flavor. It’s la crema de la crema. Newly available in the U.S., it’s made in Wisconsin according to Chipilo’s specifications, since fresh dairy products can’t be imported into the U.S. until next year. (However, most Mexican cremas are made from milkfat imported from New Zealand!) This is a crema worth going out of your way for, and worth spending your calories on.   Chipilo Authentic Mexican Crema
    Much more exciting than sour cream.
    Use crema as you would sour cream; but it can do much more. The innate sweetness makes it a natural dip for fruit, a topping for pancakes, a spread for muffins and toast. Just resist the temptation to eat it from the carton. The first sales initiative focuses on Latin markets—their customers already understand what crema is and are familiar with the brand (Chipilo is the number one crema in Mexico). From our point of view, it’s taking too long to get into the mainstream. So, get over to the nearest Latin market and buy a few pounds. In one-pound containers, give them as holiday gifts. Not only will they be the most inexpensive gifts you can give, they’ll probably be the most appreciated by anybody who likes good food. To find a market near you, email chipilo@intermarketsourcing.com.

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    VIEWS: “American Cheese”

    If you’re serving a cheese course on Thanksgiving, we hope it’s American cheese. Some of the greatest cheese artisans in the world work right here in the U.S.A.—and they’ve been earning top awards at world cheese competitions (see details in the Cheese Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine). It would be un-American to bring a Roquefort or a British Cheddar to the table on our day of national thanksgiving. Instead, bring one of the incredible blues from Rogue River Creamery or Point Reyes Farmstead, a great goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chèvre, a Fiscalini Cheddar from California—or any one of a thousand fine American cheeses (there were more than 1,200 at this year’s American Cheese Society competition). If you’d like to send someone a gift basket of American cheeses, MurraysCheese.com has several selections—but call or click over today in time for overnight delivery tomorrow.   Murray’s Cheese
    The “Pioneer Picks” gift basket from MurraysCheese.com. All-American cheeses and goodies to go with them (honey, nuts and
    crackers).
    As far as that product known as “American Cheese,” we’d like to have the name changed because it defames everything thing that is great about American cheeses; but it has a patent as well as a standard under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Want to know what “American cheese” is? “Pasteurized processed American cheese” (it can be called processed or process cheese) is made of scraps of Cheddar or Colby that otherwise would be unsalable (it can also be made of cheese curd and granular cheese). Processing forms them into new presentable shapes, adding emulsifiers so they will melt smoothly. That’s why American cheese is so popular on hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese omelets—it does not separate or not run off (nor does it provide much flavor). There are other types of processed cheese, including prominent brands like Laughing Cow, which originated in Europe. Processed cheese often contains as little as 51% cheese; Velveeta, which cannot be called cheese but “cheese food,” contains even less. Processed cheese was invented in 1911 by Walter Gerber in Switzerland, but James L. Kraft of Chicago first applied for an American patent for his improved method in 1916. Kraft Foods introduced the first sliced process cheese to stores in 1950. The rest is history. Hmm.

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    NEWS: Chipotle Mexican Grill Goes rBGH-Free

    Fajita Salad
    Enjoy a fajita without the tortilla.
      By the end of the year, Chipotle Mexican Grill will be the first national restaurant chain to eliminate rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone—click the link to read more about it) entirely from its menu. Last year, Chipotle began serving rBGH-free sour cream and has been shifting to rBGH-free cheese over the past few months. Though eating a Chipotle burrito isn’t exactly a low-calorie meal (see the Chipotle Nutrition Calculator here), the restaurant chain is committed to its “Food With Integrity” mission.
    Chipotle serves more meat raised without antibiotics and added growth hormones, and a fed a pure vegetarian diet, than any restaurant in the world. Additionally, 25% of the black and pinto beans Chipotle serves are organically grown. And, you can get your burrito or fajita in a bowl—no tortilla. Just watch out for that chipotle-honey vinaigrette!

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    ARTICLE: The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

    Hard-Boiled Egg
    Struggle no longer: Make the perfect hard-
    boiled egg.
    Photo by Pontus Edenberg | IST.
      With holiday season approaching, those favorite deviled egg recipes will be coming out of the drawer. Have you ever wondered why some people make perfect hard-boiled eggs, and for others it’s such a chore? There’s actually a technique to making perfect boiled eggs, to avoiding that green ring around the yolk, to getting the yolk exactly centered and to cooking eggs that are a cinch to peel. Here is the egg-cellent solution, as well as egg nutrition and egg facts. Here’s one mystery solved: The difference between brown eggs and white eggs is simply the color of the hen! The reason brown eggs tend to cost more is because brown hen varieties are larger, and consume more feed. It’s that simple! If you want to learn the secrets of organic eggs, read our separate article.
     

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