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The trouble with cheddar

So in the Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time category, about a week ago I went through the cheese aisle at Costco and bought a lovely aged white cheddar approximately the size of my cat.

Been having cheese on crackers with every meal, and it is quite delicious, but the block is starting to get dry at the edges and there are only so many cheese-and-cracker breaks a person can take in a day... so I'm looking for options. What would you do with so much cheddar? Dip? Macaroni? The cheese is almost Parmesan hard, so I was worried it would get grainy when melted.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2012 01:23 am (UTC)
I wouldn't think that it would start getting dry so fast - are you making sure to package it air-tight before putting it back in the fridge?

Aside from that, what about freezing?
I don't have any suggestions for what to do with it in cooking, as I've never had cheddar that's as hard as parmesan
Oct. 24th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
Technically I package it tightly, but husband... notsomuch. I'm generally glad if things he takes out of the fridge get back into it in any condition... :D
Oct. 24th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
You can mix it with a smoother melting cheese like fontina if you want to make mac and cheese.

Meanwhile here's a cheese dip recipe from Alton Brown that I love -

1 pound left-over cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 small clove garlic


Remove any rinds from hard cheeses. Grate hard cheeses and cut others into 1/2-inch cubes. Place cheese, wine, butter, herbs, and garlic in a food processor and blend until smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate for at least 1 hour for a firmer consistency. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Oct. 24th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
Freeze at least some of it in useful sized chunks. The texture is a bit different when thawed, but still fine for any dish where the cheese would be grated/crumbled/melted anyway.
Oct. 24th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
You can make mac and cheese.

If you have a lot of cheddar, you can make fromage fort.

You can implement cheese into a lot of stuff, top it on apple pies, make turnovers, make cheese centric dishes, put it in macaroni and cheese. White cheddar is really versatile.

I'm honestly not a fan of freezing cheese. Yeah if you're going to melt it, it's not AS bad, but it's still better to use fresh cheese for melting.
Oct. 24th, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
I have nothing useful to add, but I love your icon. May I use it?

Oh, and I guess I do have something (possibly) useful: what about a cheesy soup?
Oct. 24th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
Seconding (or thirding, given dragoon811's comment below) the soup suggestion; as well as the broccoli Dragoon mentions, cheddar goes particularly well in bean, potato, and tomato soups.

(And seconding the icon love as well--with the observation that if Leonidas and his troops are planning to dine in Hell, Michigan, one possibility might be the Dam Site Inn.)
Oct. 24th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Certainly! It's my favorite icon, it should be shared.
Oct. 24th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC)
Don't freeze it. Cheese will keep for a long time if wrapped tightly.

Also, mac and cheese. Topped with kettle chip crumbs instead of breadcrumbs. I don't think it'll be grainy. I've never found parmesan to be grainy. And grilled cheese sandwiches.
Oct. 24th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
When I get cheese at Costco, I portion it reasonably and put the portions into different zippies. This way, I'm only opening and closing some of the cheese every day, and the rest doesn't go bad as quickly. :)
Oct. 24th, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
Cleverrrr, I will do that next time I succumb to the cheese aisle. Thanks!
Oct. 24th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
I agree with the others here who are asking if you have it properly wrapped.

I find with cheese you can't keep it in a box or bag without getting hard edges, what you need to do is wrap it tightly in cling film, uh.. I think you call it saran wrap? No air should get at the cheese at all.

If you want to use it up make portions of cheese sauce and freeze. It's what I do with spare cheese! There are only a couple of points.. you have to defrost it by setting it out, or overnight in the fridge. You can't defrost it in the mirco. I've also heard a few people complain that it can be a little watery after freezing, I personally have never had that issue and it may be because I reheat it slowly on a low heat and make sure I stir it frequently.
Oct. 24th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)
Ooh, make cheese short crust pastry. That would be delicious. Or savoury muffins. Or just eat with crunchy green apples.
Oct. 24th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
I tend to use my excess cheese to make muffins or broccoli cheddar soup (which is not grainy...but does not reheat un-grainy. :( )
Oct. 24th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
I guess if I make a big batch of soup, I'll just have to eat it all in one go. Sacrificing myself to the gods of cheese soup... such hardship... >_>
Oct. 24th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, oh, darn, HOWEVER shall you survive such a delicious tasty bowl of SOUP.

Mmmmmmm no problem to me.

Also, BAGELS. Yes. Cheesy bagels.
Oct. 24th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
You can also wrap it in greasproof paper, baking parchment or anything else that excludes most of the air. If it has gone hard, just treat it like parmesan and grate it into cheese sauces, over pasta, into cauli cheese, etc. I've never frozen cheese but I can't imagine it would taste quite as good.

My wife recomends cheese toasties or Welsh rarebit (try mixing in a drop of milk for a creamier texture and chopping some spring onons (?salad onions) or some red onion in for flavour and add some English, French (the sweet brown one) or Dijon mustard).

Basically, anything that involves melting the cheese works fine with dry cheddar. Nil desperandum!
Oct. 24th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
Another dry-cheese solution is a golden oldie from Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Book: grate the cheese with sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Bermuda, to create a spread.
Oct. 24th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Tacos, cheese enchiladas, cheese bread, cream of potato soup topping, chili topping, macaroni and cheese. King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Tex-Mex Lasanga

Cheese Bread

1-1/2 c. scalded milk
1/3 c. sugar
¼ c. butter
1 tbsp salt
2 pkgs yeast
½ c. warm ( 85deg). Water
1 egg
3-6 c. bread flour
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Scald milk add butter and let melt. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve. Let cool to 85 deg. Sprinkle yeast on water and let dissolve. Mix milk mix and yeast mix. Add egg, stir well. Add cheese, stir well. Add flour a little at a time until dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Put dough in an greased bowl and turn to coat. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and shape into loaves,. put into a greased loaf pan. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 375 for 30 min.

I got this recipe from the Homesick Texan

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones
4 teaspoons of lime juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 10oz. can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained (or you can use a can of regular diced tomatoes and a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, or if tomatoes are in season, can use two cups of diced fresh tomatoes with 1/4 cup of diced green chiles, such as a jalapeno)
4 teaspoons ancho chile powder (or chili powder)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
3 cups of grated pepper jack and cheddar
10 corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Season the chicken with the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder and a dash of salt. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes.
2. When chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks and set aside. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. Should yield about 3 cups.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder, and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
8. Heat up the tortillas (you can do this by adding a bit of oil on an iron skillet and then cooking the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side).
9. Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
10. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps.
11. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.
12. Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top.
13. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Serves 6-12, depending on how big a portion you distribute. Goes great with sour cream and cilantro on top.

Oct. 24th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Cheese Enchiladas

1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups chili gravy or Wolf Brand Chili mixed with a little bit of water to thin it out

Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a large baking dish.

Pour the oil in a small skillet, and heat the tortillas one at a time. Keep them wrapped in a cloth until all 8 are heated.

Pour the oil in a small skillet, and heat the tortillas one at a time. Keep them wrapped in a cloth until all 8 are heated. Pour 1/2 cup of chili gravy in a baking pan.

Take a tortilla, put 1/4 cup of cheese and 1 tablespoon of onion in the center and roll it. Place rolled tortilla in baking dish, seam side down.
Continue with remaining tortillas.

Take remaining chili gravy, and pour it over the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese and onions on top. Bake for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Chili Gravy (from Robb Walsh)
1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili power
2 cups beef broth, chicken broth or water

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

Add the black pepper, salt, powdered garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano and chili powder and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients. Add broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add water to adjust the thickness.

Yield: 2 cups

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Oct. 24th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
Maybe have a lovely cheese fondue?
Oct. 25th, 2012 05:22 pm (UTC)

I humbly suggest you try making the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from Epcot. It's AMAZING, and REALLY easy to make.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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