Grating Cheese

You love freshly grated cheese, what you don’t love is cleaning the grater after.

The next time you grate cheese, try rubbing a bit of vegetable oil on the grater before you start.  This will help lubricate the surface for easier grating and easier clean up when you are done.

Types of Cheese:Hard Cheese

Provolone: This cheese is typically smoked and the flavor varies from Mild to Sharp. This cheese is used for Cooking, Snacking and Appetizers.

Swiss: Swiss cheese has a mild to nutty flavor. It is used in a variety of cooking methods including but not limited to Appetizers, Sandwiches, Salads, Snacks, and Desserts.

Parmesan: This cheese has an inedible coating if bought in pieces instead of pre grated. It is sharp in flavor and used for Cooking and Grating on top of Italian dishes.

Romano: Romano is more granular in texture, but also served grated or thinly shaved as a snack.

Types of Cheese:Firm/Hard

Blue: Blue Cheese is a very tangy and sharp cheese. It is commonly found in Salads, but can also be used in Appetizers and Desserts.

Cheddar: Cheddar ranges from Mild to Very Sharp. The sharper the cheese the harder this cheese. You can use cheddar is most anything from Appetizers, Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Desserts.

Gouda: The casing on Gouda is not edible, remove it before cooking with it or serving it. It can be used in Appetizers and Desserts.

Fontina: Fontina cheese is Mellow in flavor and can be used in Appetizers and Desserts.

Gorgonzola: Gorgonzola is crumbly in texture and can be used in Salads and Desserts.

Gruyere: This is a cheese with a nutty flavor and sharper in taste than Swiss. It is commonly used in Cooking and Desserts.

Types of Cheese:Semisoft

Monterey Jack: Monterey Jack is a white cheese that is mild in flavor. It can be used in Appetizers, Cooking and Sandwich Making.

Mozzarella: This is also a white cheese, sometimes found packed in water. It is great for cooking and snacks, and of course pizza toppings.

Muenster: Mild to sharp in flavor ad used in Appetizers and Sandwiches.

Roquefort: This is a very crumbly, salty cheese. It is commonly found in Salads and can also be used for Appetizers and Desserts.

Cheap Cheese

When you are shopping, skip buying the bags of pre-shredded cheese. Check the prices and typically is is cheaper to buy a block of cheese and shred it at home in your food processor. Blocks of cheese also have less ingredients as the shredded cheese needs added ingredients to keep it from caking and sticking together.

It will also stay fresh longer and melts much better in recipes that need to be heated.

Dicing Cheese

When you need to dice cheese for a recipe you will find that the colder the cheese the easier it is to dice.  Grab your loaf of cheese and drop it in the freezer.  After about a half an hour,  pull it out and dice away!  (don’t let it freeze solid though!)

Exchanging Cheese

Sometimes when you are cooking you have to decide whether you can exchange processed cheese for “natural” cheese in a recipe.

Usually when cooking and baking you do not want to use processed cheese unless you are making a sauce. Processed cheese will melt faster and smoother than a “natural” cheese.

Natural Cheddar for example will make good Macaroni and Cheese, but can sometimes be grainy.

If you use processed cheese instead of cheddar you will have a creamier sauce.

Successful Cheese Balls

You want to make a really cool cheese ball recipe, but how in the heck do you get it to look good? It is quite simple of you make the recipe in the correct order.

First, mix your cheese with the spices and other ingredients.

Place the cheese mixture, still in it’s mixing bowl, in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 4 hours. This will allow the ingredients to permiate the cheese, and the cheese will harden up a bit.

Take the cheese mixture out of the refrigerator and gently scoop it all out of the bowl. Working quickly mold the cheese into a ball using your hands and roll in nuts/herbs/sauce as requested by the recipe.

Place back in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Moldy Cheese

You pull out the block of cheese to use and you notice that it is growing a bit. Is it still safe to eat?

For starters, if you have an allergy or sensativity to penicillin, you should avoid coming into contact with cheese that has mold. Penicillian is closely related to cheese molds and can cause a reaction.

My mom used to cut off all of the moldy parts then use the cheese that was not affected. The same rules still apply if you are very careful.

Using a sharp knife, cut off the moldy sections taking about an extra inch with it. Be careful to wash the knife thoroughly between each cut so that you do not contaminate any of the “clean” cheese with the mold that you are cutting off.

Some cheeses that are created using mold, like blue cheese, can grow mold that is not good for you. Use the same method on these.

Soft or high moisture cheeses such as cottage cheese or cream cheese do not follow the same rules. If you notice mold on these, they should be discaded immediately.

Amazing Antipasto

To make a quick and impressive appetizer, purchase a jar of Italian Antipasto (My personal favorite is Napa Valley Bistro) and a pound of lump mozzarella cheese.

About 10 minutes before guests arrive, cube the cheese into about ¾ to 1 inch cubes and place in a decorative dish. Pour the contents of the Antipasto over the cubes of cheese and gently toss to combine.

Serve with long toothpicks or relish forks.

This does not store well once combined, so only try to make up as much as you will need. If you are unsure about how much you will need, cube the cheese and store in a zip lock bag. Combine about ¼ of the cheese and antipasto at a time as needed