Quick! Friends you haven’t seen in years just called. They’re in the neighborhood and want to drop by and you’ve got nothing to serve them, or so you think. You check the fridge and find bits and bobs of different cheeses leftover from a holiday gathering last week, but they’d look pretty sorry if you set them out on a plate.
Take a tip from the French, who know a thing or two about cheese, and make what they call fromage fort. That translates as strong cheese, but it’s as pungent or mild as your assortment of leftovers.
Remove and chuck any rinds from the cheeses, then cut up the soft ones and grate the hard ones directly into a food processor. For approximately every half-pound total of cheese, puree the mixture with 2 to 3 tablespoons of softened butter and a couple of tablespoons of white wine or sherry (I prefer sherry).
Pack it in a crock and set it out on the coffee table with toasts or crackers. Open a bottle of wine, and you’re all set. Just don’t let on it’s leftovers. Stick to the French name! Fromage fort keeps, covered, for several days in the refrigerator, and like a stew, it gets even better with age.