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Cheese Tips:

cheesegraphicStoring Cheese:

  1. Always re-wrap cheese in fresh wrapping, preferably in waxed or parchment paper, after the cheese has been opened to avoid having the cheese dry out or pick up other flavors.  Thus, re-wrapping the cheese in paper and then in plastic wrap to create a micro-environment for the cheese is the preferred storage treatment.

  1. The recommended temperature range for storing cheese is between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, at a high humidity level, preferably in the bottom vegetable/fruit bin.

  1. If cheeses other than fresh cheeses and blues have surpassed their expiration dates (imprinted on the packaging) or if the cheese develops a blue-green mold on the exterior, make a cut about a ½ inch below the mold to ensure that it has been entirely removed; the remaining cheese will be fine.

  1. In general, never freeze natural cheeses, as they may lose their texture, and in some cases their flavor profiles will be seriously altered.  If you must freeze cheese, allow the cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator and use it for cooking, as the texture will become crumbly and dry after it is defrosted.

  1. If stored and wrapped cheeses are overly dry, develop a slimy texture, exhibit ammoniated or any off odors, it’s best to discard them.

Cooking With Cheese:

  1. When preparing dishes using cheese, add the cheese at the end of the preparation, especially in sauces, classic risotto, and soups.  In casseroles and baked dishes, sprinkle the grated/shredded cheese over the dish the last ten minutes of baking.

  1. Grating cheese is easier when the cheese is cold.  Four ounces of ungrated cheese yields one cup when grated.  Adjustments may be made up or down according to the recipe and the amount of cheese needed.

  1. When cooking with cheese on the stovetop, cook cheese over low to medium heat, as cooking over high heat, or for long periods of time, will cause the cheese to separate.

  1. Remember that aged cheeses have more concentrated flavor than younger cheeses and often require less additional seasoning.

  1. Dishes prepared with cheese and cooked in a microwave oven should be cooked at lower power settings, to prevent the cheese from separating.

  1. Simple greens can be transformed into elegant salad courses by the addition of crumbled feta, blue, soft-ripened goat cheeses, or grated hard cheeses, along with toasted nuts and sun-dried fruits, such as cranberries or cherries. A simple vinaigrette, with a trace of Dijon mustard is the classic dressing.

  1. Soups topped with cheese croutons are delicious, simple, and elegant.  You can use French bread slices, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil and crumbled chevre, cheddar, or semi-soft cheese.  Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted before adding to the soup.

Serving Cheese:

  1. When putting together a cheese board, to be served before or after dinner, remember to limit your selection to no more than five different cheeses.  Serve cheeses of different sizes, shapes, and flavor or texture profiles to create diversity and add interest to your cheese board.  Strong, pungent cheeses shouldn’t be placed next to delicately flavored cheeses, and try to have individual knives for each cheese.

  1. Even modest cheese trays can be elegant when attention is given to the presentation.  Try serving cheeses on a wooden board, marble slab, straw mat, or flat wicker basket.  Do not to overcrowd the serving tray, as your guests will need room to slice the cheeses.  Serve bread and/or plain crackers on a separate plate, or in a wicker basket.

  1. Apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, fresh figs and melon add variety to a cheese board, especially if cheese is being served with cocktails.  Additional accompaniments can include nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, figs, and any manner of condiments, such as floral honeys.

  1. When designing a menu, consider when you want to serve cheese. Serving cheese after the main course, prior to or in place of dessert, adds an elegant touch to casual dinners.  If served with cocktails, before dinner, remember that cheeses can be filling.  Serve in limited quantities and variety.

Adapted from CheeseSociety.org:


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