Saturday, January 20th is ‘National Cheese Lover’s Day. How many different kinds of cheese can you think of? There is at least one cheese for every letter of the Alphabet, but most letters have multiple cheeses, many more than I could ever thnk of. I could only come up with about 45 different cheeses without having to look them up. I was flabbergasted when I did look them and came up with 613. There are probably even more than the ones I found. Granted, many of these cheese are variations on a theme. That is, there are several different types of Cheddars – it seems that each of the English speaking countries have their own. Then there are the variations on Bleu Cheeses, Brie, Swiss and on and on.
Cheese is usually made from Cow’s Milk but there are cheeses made from Goat’s Milk and from Sheep’s Milk. If you want to count them as Cheese, then there those made from Tofu – a product that is supposed to resemble cheese, but certainly does not possess all of the qualities of ‘real’ cheese.
I was going to write this blog on all the different types of cheese and the uses that we have for them, but upon second thought, I am going to limit it to America’s favorite Cheese and i am guessing that would be Cheddar. Unfortunately, some of our Cheese Producer’s have taken a really good Cheddar Cheese and then turned it into something that may or may not be considered Cheese by an afficionado.
Cheddar Cheese is usually a firm Cheese, dark Yellow in color. The color certainly has to be added and hopefully it is from natural sources. There is also White Cheddar and if I am not mistaken Irish Cheddar is usually white. Cheddar Cheese also comes in many taste variations. There is Mild, Medium, Sharp and Extra Sharp. The Sharper the Cheese the firmer it usually is and the reason for this is that to be sharp a cheese is aged longer and when it is aged longer, it becomes drier and therefore, harder.
American Cheese, which is made from Cheddar Cheese is a version of Cheddar that is ground up and has gum arabic added to it to give it the consistency that some of us are familiar with. Cheese Spreads are also variations on Cheddar.
Cheddar Cheese makes great sandwiches and toppings for Hamburgers. It is also the basis for one of our most popular dishes and that Is Macaroni and Cheese. Cheddar Cheese is also a popular cheese for omelets, biscuits, breads and one of our most popular and succesful snack products – Cheese Puffs.
I was going to write this blog on cheese which I did. But after finding out how many different cheeses there are, I have decided that I will do a weekly Cheese Blog on either one type of cheese and its variations and/or once having finished the variants, will concentrate on the alphabet starting with A or Z? Please let me know. Would be much easier to start with Z as there are only 3 different types of cheese that I could find starting with the letter Z.
Happy ‘National Cheese Day’ everyone!
The week of August 8th, 2011 was US Regional Foods Camp for the Teen/Preteens who attend the Culinary Classes at Let’s Get Cookin’ in Westlake Village, CA. The camp lasted five days which included Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The time was from 11 – 2 making each camp day 3 hours long. Just long enough for the participants to learn and practice new skills without becoming too tired.
The Regions that we visited were New England, the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, the South and the Pacific Rim States.
Monday was New England and different breakfast dishes were prepared; blueberry pancakes, Johnny Cakes (or Journey Cakes), Skillet Apples, Molasses Doughnuts, Cranberry Muffins, Deviled Eggs Florentine and a Broccoli Cheese Fritatata. Since it was breakfast, the beverage that was served was milk. The Blueberry Pancakes were served with Butter and Blueberry Syrup. The Johnny Cakes were served with the Skillet Apples. The Deviled Eggs Florentine were an Appetizer and the Fritata was served with the Cramberru Muffins. The Molasses Doughnuts were dessert.
Day Two was the Midwest and luncheon items were prepared. Since the midwest is known for Beef and Corn, these items were the main focus, but not the only ones. Early in the morning before class I went out to Underwood Farms in Moorpark and purchased a box of corn. Needless to say, corn has been a mainstay of the United States, not just in the midwest but almost in every region. The box contained about 46 ears of corn and by the end of the week, most of it had been used. One of the unique things about Corn from Underwoods is that it retains its sweetness far longer than corn purchased in the supermarket.
The Appetizer was Asiago Cheese Puffs and these were passed around during prepartion time so the students wouldn’t get too hungry. The taste buds can be quickly activated when the aroma of good cooking is around. We made a Corn Chowder and Cheese Stuffed Burgers along with a Midwestern Potato Salad. The Midwestern Potato Salad is very similar to a German Potato Salad and for good reason. Back in the early days of immigration to the US from Europe many German immigrants and Scandinavians settled in the Midwest.
We also made Taffy Apple Salad, Apple Pie and Peanut Popcorn Bars. The beverage that was prepared and served was Blueberry Lemonade, which of course was very popular.