Muenster is an American creation related to France's Munster cheese. It has a smooth texture, yellow interior, and orange rind. Muenster is incredibly mild in flavor with a taste somewhere between American cheese and Jack cheese. The cow's milk cheese is semisoft and great for melting. It's ideal on a grilled cheese sandwich, or in my case, a pork chipotle cheeseburger. To check out the recipe, which is perfect for this weekend's kickoff to Summer, read more
The other day I decided to treat myself to my favorite table cheese, grana padano. This Italian cheese is similar to Parmesan reggiano and is excellent eaten right out of your hands. However, my local grocery store was all out. As I stood staring aimlessly at the cheese selection, wondering what could replace my beloved padano, the cheesemonger saved me. "Have you tried Cypress Grove's Midnight Moon?" he asked. While I've had my fair share of artisanal cheesemaker's Cypress Grove's most famous cheese, Humboldt Fog, I've never tasted the Midnight Moon. An aged goat's milk cheese, Midnight Moon is perfect for any cheese plate. To find out why this is my new favorite and check out my suggestions for serving, read more
One of the world's most beloved cheeses, brie dates back to the 8th century. It's characterized by a creamy soft center and white edible rind. Although Brie originates in France, it's so popular that countries across the world now produce it. Brie is made from whole or skimmed cow's milk. When perfectly ripe, the interior should ooze. Brie has a short shelf life and mild flavor. The versatile cheese can be eaten alone or spread on crackers and bread. Since it's ideal for melting, baked brie is another desirable method of preparation. To find out how I baked mine with mushrooms, read more
I couldn't let National Grilled Cheese Month end without creating a wildly delicious grilled cheese sandwich. At first, I wanted to recreate Hog Island Oyster Company's famous three-cheese panini at home. However, I didn't have time to go to Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building and pick up the exact cheeses the oyster place uses to make the 'wich. Thus, I decided to invent my own version using three types of cheese from my local supermarket.
For authenticity, I selected Cowgirl Creamery's most famous cheese, the triple cream Mt. Tam. This acts as a binding cheese that's hold the sandwich together. Next, I wanted a cheese ideal for melting, so I opted for an Italian fontina. Finally, for a layer of extra flavor, I choose a cave-aged nutty gruyere. The resulting sandwich is to die for, a truly gourmet creation that is both comforting and elegant. To look at my recipe, read more
Named for the coastal California city, Monterey Jack cheese was first created by Franciscan friars in Monterey, CA, in the 1800s. Like cheddar, the cow's milk cheese is incredibly versatile. The most common kind is unaged, although aged or dry jacks are becoming more popular. The semisoft cheese has a mild flavor and good melting properties. Aged jack cheese is firmer and good for grating with a sharper flavor.
Jack cheese is often used in Tex-Mex cuisine, to see how I made these easy but tasty quesadillas that are perfect for Cinco de Mayo, read more
Mozzarella is a widely known, mild Italian cheese that's made from a pulling, stretching, and cutting technique. At one time, all mozzarella was made from water buffalo milk, but now it's commonly made with cow's milk. Fresh mozzarella is packaged in water or whey and has a soft texture and delicate flavor. It's delicious alone, in a salad (like caprese) or melted. To find out how I used my fresh mozzarella boconccini, read more
Gruyere cheese is a popular hard cheese made from cow's milk. With origins in Switzerland, it is perhaps the best known type of Swiss cheese. Gruyere is also produced in France, but according to French agricultural law, it must have holes, while the Swiss version is solid. This slightly yellow cheese has a nutty flavor that's mildly salty and varies with age. Gruyere is great for both melting (it's a common ingredient in fondue) and eating out of hand. To see how I used this wonderfully creamy cheese, read more
There was one thing I learned at the Artisan Cheese Festival that changed my life. No joke! Normally when I think of pairing wine and cheese I choose a red wine.
However, after tasting over 30 types of cheese paired with both red and white wine, I have to agree with cheese expert Laura Werlin: in general, cheese pairs better with white wine than it does red wine.
Why? Simply put, cheese affects the taste of the wine more than the wine affects the taste of the cheese. A bold, highly tannic red wine cancels out the flavor of most cheese and leaves a soapy taste in the mouth. On the other hand, the buttery richness of cheese is complemented by a creamy Chardonnay or acidic Sauvignon Blanc.
Especially if there is a dominant characteristic in the wine — too much oak, extremely high alcohol content, etc. — it won't pair well with cheese. To truly understand the difference, I highly suggest you perform your own cheese and wine tasting. To learn how read more
Last weekend while Yum was eating her way through the Chocolate Salon, I was busy sampling cheese at the Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma, CA. I attended a seminar, Cheese Essentials, hosted by Laura Werlin, one of America's most prominent cheese authorities. According to Werlin, if you can understand the basic characteristics of the eight types of cheese, you'll be able to easily navigate any cheese shop. Generally speaking, soft cheese is mild and hard cheese is more complex and flavorful. To learn Laura's eight styles of cheese, start clicking.
Feta cheese is perhaps Greece's most spectacular contribution to the culinary world. Traditionally feta is made from sheep or goat's milk. However, many producers today make it with cow's milk. It's a brined curd cheese that's commonly aged in blocks. Feta is white with a salty, tangy flavor that ranges from mild to sharp.
Depending on how long it ages, feta is soft to semihard in texture. Usually it comes in the form of a square cake that's packed in brine. Feta dries out quickly once removed from the brine. The crumbly cheese is scrumptious in salads, nachos, and flaky pastries like spanakopita. To check out my favorite way to enjoy feta, read more