Photo: Kemp Minifie
Gourmet Live’s latest issue, “The Big Cheese,” reminds me of how sublime cheese is to eat, and how wondrous it can be when cooked with other foods, but also what a pain in the neck cheese poses when you try to measure it for a recipe. That’s because cheeses vary so much. Some have edible rinds, some don’t, some are firm and suitable for grating, while others are soft.
The best way to measure cheese is by weight, which is the way it’s usually sold, but that isn’t a big help to you if the chunk you’ve bought is heavier than what you need for the recipe, and you don’t have a scale at home. Well written recipes take into account each type of cheese and give you another measure, usually a volume one, such as cups of grated or crumbled cheese, for instance, but that isn’t nearly as exact as the weight. (By the way, you’ll make your time in the kitchen so much easier—and your recipes will turn out better—if you invest in a scale that can switch from ounces to grams; it’s an invaluable tool.)
Parmesan is a real conundrum. If you buy it already grated, it’s powdery, and a cup measure will hold more, by weight, than a cup of parmesan grated into shreds. But it gets more complicated. If you grate it yourself, the tool you use can make a big difference. A box grater with small tear-shaped holes produces thicker, heavier shreds, while a microplane creates incredibly light wisps of Parmesan, which when packed into a cup—for a more accurate volume measure—lose their delicacy. Continue reading
Photo: Romulo Yanes
We can’t resist our cravings for melty, chewy, creamy, stretchy, gooey cheese. With delicious options like Cheddar, Brie, gouda, American, Parmesan, goat, bleu, Asiago, feta, Swiss, Fontina, gorgonzola, and camembert, the choices are almost endless. But, we want you to tell us:
What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
This humble vegetable often takes a back seat to its famous cousin broccoli in my kitchen, but with a little creativity, cauliflower can prove itself as fridge staple. Although its hearty texture and chameleon-like flavor profile makes it a versatile ingredient in soups and stews, when cooked properly, cauliflower can stand deliciously on its own in a salad or side dish.
For non-traditional lunchtime fare, Parmesan Cauliflower and Parsley Salad pairs lemony greens with lightly pan-fried florets. To keep things crunchy, Cauliflower Pickles, flavored with serrano chile and mustard seeds, begs to be served alongside an oozy grilled cheese sandwich. Garlic-scented Cauliflower Purée‘s invariable white color makes for an impressive blank canvas when fish or spice-rubbed pork loin is served atop it. Mashed potatoes will welcome the friendly competition.
How do you like to spice up cauliflower?
Photo: CN Digital Studio
I know better. I really do. Grating Parmigiano-Reggiano—the king of Italian cheese—just before using it, such as directly onto bowls of steaming pasta, is the ideal way to maximize the deliciously nutty, sweet-salty essence of this marvelous cheese. But it’s one of those last minute tasks that can put me over the edge when I’m trying to get dinner on the table before we’re all too tired to eat.
When I’m shopping in a store that carries real imported Parmigiano-Reggiano—you can identify it instantly by the letters of its name imbedded in the rind, so if the rind isn’t part of a wedge, don’t buy it—and I spy containers of the cheese pre-grated, I succumb to convenience. But I feel as if I’m committing a sacrilege. Continue reading