Cheese Quote of the Week . . .

"Well, many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese -- toasted, mostly . . . "
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eating Her Curds and Whey . . .

Well, we've done an entry on cheese curds -- maybe it's time to do one on that strange, mysterious product . . . Velveeta. Prompted by Jack's grandfather, who for some reason harbors fond memories of this odd product, we decided to dig in.

According to Wikipedia, this stuff (described as a "pasteurized prepared cheese product") was first invented in 1918 by a Swiss immigrant (does that make it another kind of Swiss cheese?) working for the Monroe Cheese Company. By 1927, Kraft owned it. But let's face it, you don't want to know this stuff -- you want to know what's in it.

Well, milk and whey (that would be the other food item in Little Miss Muffet's bowl) both play a part in various forms. So it's sort of cheese-like, if you consider the "milk plasma that remains after milk has been curdled and strained" cheese.

Jack had his first taste of Velveeta last weekend - check out his expression! But actually his assessment was, "yummy, salty plasticity," which is somewhat positive -- although he does add that it's, "unnervingly soft." The scent is something akin to Cheese Whiz.

If Velveeta has a virtue, it's probably that it melts easily and evenly. Kraft has a pretty cool Velveeta section -- it even has videos!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Toasted, Mostly

Now that both members of the Cheese Stands Alone team are back on board, we wanted to alert readers to a fabulous idea: baked cheese. Recently, the Jack half of the team had the opportunity to tour a nearby farmer's market with one of his favorite surrogate parents, and he brought this home for us to try. It's called Brun-Uusto Bruncow's Baked Cheese, and it seems a bit sturdier than most cheese. We don't think this would really work with Brie.
First, you oil a ridged skillet -- and possibly sprinkle it with herbs and minced garlic, if you'd like. Then, turn the heat up to medium-high and cut the cheese into cubes. Flip the cubes a few times -- it cooks pretty quickly-- until you can see the ridge lines on the cheese (Jack says they are easy to overcook).

You know, we thought that cheese couldn't get much better than it already is, but we couldn't get enough of this stuff.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Brief Intermission . . .

This week, the Jack half of this blogging team is off at camp and so Janet will be confining herself to tweaking the colors and trying to figure out why the other blogs we're following aren't showing up. In the meantime, will anticipate a post card from the 12 year old reporting on cheese types at camp. Our geuss is shredded.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Honorary Cheeseheads

Earlier this week, we flew into the Milwaukee airport on our way back from Denver. As all experienced Midwestern cheese lovers will note, our route back to Chicago takes us past the awesome Mars' Cheese Castle. And, as many Midwestern cheese lovers know, you can only get good cheese curds in Wisconsin (Jack adds that Wisconsin produces 1,852,405,000 pounds of cheese annually). How could we miss this opportunity?

Wondering what a cheese curd is? For you poor, benighted souls who have never tried this delicacy, here's the definition Mars' Cheese Castle provides: "bite-sized chunks of cheese which have not been fully salted nor pressed into bricks of cheese."

But that dry definition hardly does these squeaky little morsels justice. We have no idea why they're squeaky, but they are (especially when they're fresh). And in spite of the fact that they aren't "fully" salted, they are, in fact, very salty compared with some other cheeses.

You can get a variety of cheese curd flavors -- yellow and orange cheddar, garlic herb, spicy, you name it. We're simple souls, however, and prefer the plainer flavors. In fact, they're addictive: so small you tend to keep popping them like jelly beans, sort of rubbery, salty and (did we mention this?) squeaky.

Our Wisconsin curds are almost gone now -- they survived a remarkable four days (perhaps a record in our household). Guess we'll have to plan another trip up north soon . . . good thing we're heading up to the Milwaukee Airport again in August!

Oh -- and for you deprived folks in other states, Mars' does ship - overnight!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Welcome To Our Summer Cheese Blog!

It's summer. The homework is over, the days are long and we have some time to devote to our true passion: cheese. From cheese curds to Camembert, we would joyfully eat our way through mounds of the stuff, waddling happily home to collapse with a sigh into the hammock on the back deck.

Of course, at that rate the hammock itself would collapse. And so we do try to keep our cheese obsession under (moderate) control. But there's really nothing to be done about it; it runs in the family (Janet's family, at least). So we'll take the connoisseur's approach: instead of snarfing down as much Gouda as we can get our hands on, we'll stop for a minute, during these sunny summer days, to appreciate the myriad types of cheese that cross our path.

We can't promise it won't get ugly. We've often come close to blows when it comes to deciding who gets the last slice of Brie. But we'll try to keep it clean.