And we have My Top 10 +1 Favorite Cheeses. The taste, flavor and texture of cheese for all of us can often be up for debate. And if you don’t like cheese then move along to my home page and find another fun read! This is not for the lactose intolerant.
So, my new baby of Top 10 +1 is born last week with this post. Wow, I knocked that one out of the park, huh? Will all of these be that successful going forward? Of course! But, how did I go from that post to this? Nutso, I”m tellin’ ya. No, it’s just foot in the mouth disease. Oh, wrong post. It’s more of just in the brain and out the mouth when it comes to my writing.
The temperatures outside have been rising and Spring Fever is upon us all. I went and bought three new pairs of pants three weeks ago. None of them fit. Argh! So, instead of returning them I told myself it was time to lose that weight. I don’t believe in fad diets. I do believe in eating lots of veggies and fruits and throwing in half portions of treat meals. Hey, I’ve lost 7 pounds so far. Woo hoo!
My kryptonite and food addiction is cheese. With losing weight and eating good I was craving a piece of cheese. And, as always, I had kept one on hand.
So, here are my favorite cheeses with lots of links to personal recipes, favorite recipes that I’ve made and a few pictures. The links are the highlighted blue text. Click on them and it takes you to more cool stuff. Just don’t over-click and get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
+1 Pecorino Romano Cheese
This is a hard Italian cheese that has a sharp, tangy, salty, smokey flavor to me. Some fun trivia is that this cheese dates back to the Roman times hence the name. I’ve used it primarily in pasta and pizzas and of course it’s a classic with spaghetti. I used it for this super easy Pecornino Romano Chicken Breast recipe.
It comes from both Italy and the U.S. and has a very thick texture with a taste that will linger softly. I find it to have a slightly tangy taste just a bit less than cottage cheese. It’s wonderful for it’s smoothness that can be blended easily into baking ingredients to provide very tasty cookies and cheesecakes and even pancakes! Yep!
If you ever want to get excited about Ricotta cheese watch any of the Giada De Laurentiis shows on the Food Network where she uses it for an ingredient. Because when you hear her pronounce it with her Italian accent it is absolutely intoxicating.
Here is a Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe I made that has ricotta in it. You will also see in that recipe that it has Parmigiano Reggiano which shows the versatility of Ricotta with other cheeses. But, the second I hear the mention of Ricotta I immediately think of lasagna. And the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten is a recipe handed down to me by my good friend, Theresa. It’s actually her mom’s recipe. Thanks Theresa! Here is Theresa’s Lasagna Recipe
This is a very mellow Italian cheese that, while slight, it will let you know it’s there with its aroma. But, it will more than make up for it when the deep, buttery, meaty flavor melts in your mouth. Teleggio has a very creamy texture that works wonderfully on sandwiches and pizzas. For those of you out there who aren’t big fans of ham sandwiches this Grilled Ham and Taleggio sandwich recipe could change your mind. It was amazing!
This cheese comes from Greece and has a tangy, salty, sour taste and is very smooth and crumbles easily. It is very popularly known for being the cheese in greek salads. I made this Feta Salad Salsa recipe and made a tortilla wrap out of it. I have become a huge fan of Feta cheese over the past year because of lamb burgers and came up with my own recipe. Here is Mike’s Lamb Burgers. OMG, they are yummy!
So, here’s a trivia question for you. Where does Swiss cheese come from? Ahem. My first memory of Swiss cheese actually comes from my Mom’s gourmet cooking when she would make fondue. One of the melting pots would have melted Swiss. Picture grabbing a fondue fork, stabbing a piece of sourdough bread and dipping in that. Your mouth is watering admit it. Here is an easy Reuben Sandwich recipe I’ve made several times from Emeril Lagasse that you will love.
Gruyere cheese has a valley in Switzerland as it’s namesake. Here’s a picture of it . What a gorgeous place to eat cheese, right? Ironically the first thing I think of with this cheese is soup. But not just any soup. Check out this recipe of one of my favorite blogger’s, Michael Ruhlman, and his French Onion Soup I know, it should illegal to post a food pic like that! A recipe that I love and have made a few times is Tyler Florence’s Chicken Cordon Bleu. As you see, it’s listed as an Intermediate recipe but trust me it’s super easy to make.
This one originates from Italy and provides a mild, smokey flavor. Many cheese heads (no, not the folks from Green Bay, Wisconsin who root religiously for their football team) compare it to Mozzerella Cheese. There is one very popular sub sandwich restaurant here in Reno that offers only one choice of cheese on all of their sandwiches. Any guesses? Yep, you win! And you know what, it works. If I want the best sub sandwich in Reno I will order The Gargantuan. I know, did you see all of those ingredients? It weighs like a brick, but tastes like a brick of gold. Here is a Jimmy John’s Gargantuan Sub Eating Contest. I wasn’t invited but I would have easily won.
The first thing I think of with this cheese originally from Italy are the Mozzerella sticks. I keep them on hand because it’s the one human food that my Golden Retriever, Phoenix, can have. He can be out in the yard far way and if he hears the tear of the plastic covering he comes rumbling in like a freight train. He gets one stick in bites and I will snack on another. But, I’m talking about the real Mozzerella. You know, the kind you find in the deli or cheese section at the supermarket rolled up and packaged in a ball. They look great for a water balloon fight only these will leave a mark. I don’t have any recipes per se on this other than I will use it on homemade Boboli pizzas. Oh, remember me mentioning having Giada De Laurentiis and her pronunciation of “Ricotta”? Listen to her say “Mozzerella” and you will take up smoking. I’m so not kidding.
Again, those Italians. Gawd, do they know how to make cheese! This is the upgraded brother of Parmesan. The real cheese not the stuff in the plastic container. It grates easily over pasta and finished pizzas. Did you know that for the true brick oven pizza oven makers that they can’t use this cheese because it burns due to the intense heat? Well, those Italians better figure that one out. I’ve boiled or baked veggies and grated some Parmigiano Reggiano over them and you’ve arrived at a completely new plate of taste and eating. Rice? Amazing. Any pasta? You won’t be able to get enough. You get the idea. And it doesn’t take alot. In of itself it can be a bit pungent but here is a recipe I’ve made several times.
I always, always have a package of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese in my refrigerator. From the U.S. it often gets intertwined with Colby. So, where does this cheese originate from? Hint, one of the most beautiful, popular places on the West Coast of the State of California. That’s Monterey, California for those of you going 0-fer nothing on triva. I can use it to top a turkey burger, toss it onto a naked tortilla to melt, or the best ever chicken enchiladas. I use it all the time because it is an amazing melting cheese. It’s sweet and savory and enhances everything that promotes having melted cheese added to it. Here is a pass down recipe from my mom, Foyann, that is so simple and flexible for ingredients and mouth watering. Mom’s Pasta, Ground Turkey, Vegetable Casserole
USA! USA! USA! Apologies to Italy, Switzerland and Greece for all of your great cheese I enjoy so much. But, Tillamook’s Medium Cheddar Cheese is, and has been, easily my favorite for 20 years. Retiring to the Tillamook Valley in Oregon is tempting for me because not only is it beautiful, but it’s home to my food kryptonite. Superman was the Man Of Steel. When it comes to this specific cheese I’m The Man Of Gimme Gimme Gimme More! My refrigerator is never without slices of it present there. Many years ago my close friends, Kim and Duane, bought me two cheese loafs (yes, I said loafs) and four packages of tortellini for Christmas. I actually gnawed and chomped on the actual loaf as I peeled off the orange packaging. Don’t be judgmental! I will use it with and for anything that can possibly match up with cheddar cheese. This cheese is the lottery winner for me. Sweet, smokey and savory and it is like no cheese you could ever possibly want for. Any sandwich (roast beef, turkey or tuna melt)> Delicous. Shredded over pasta? Amazing. Melted over pizza? Make me two. It is the major feature to my favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe from my friend, Lyn, that I will share with you now. I modified it with the cheese only. Mac and Cheese Please
So, what’s your favorite cheese?