Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day!
Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day! How will you pay homage to the fromage?
Think of all the things you like to do with cheese: Macaroni and cheese. Grilled cheese. Cheesy potatoes. Cheesecake. With over 900 varieties and seemingly endless possibilities, there’s no wonder it rates its own special day.
A day of celebration for those who “Hanker fer a Hunk o’ Cheese. This brought back memories so I just had to post it.
The Origin of Cheese
Cheese is believed to be one of the oldest processed foods. There is evidence that it has been around nearly as long as humans have been domesticating milk-producing animals like cows and goats. Some of the earliest records of cheese originated with the Sumerians, who recorded cheese making and consuming around the time they invented written language, around 3,500 B.C. The secret is to separate the protein called casein from the milk, transform it into the solid form called curd, and separate it from the liquids, called whey. In fact, Little Miss Muffet’s favorite dish is a basic form of cottage cheese that still has some whey in it.
The Romans believed that cheese making could also be an art form and experimented with the process by adding herbs, spices and vegetable extracts. Later on, monasteries took on most of the cheese-making duties and many of today’s popular cheeses were developed by monks. The cheese-making process migrated to the United States, where the first recorded dedicated cheese making factory was opened in the mid-19th century.
Since we can’t have the day off, we’ll have to find other means to celebrate.
A small handful of suggestions…
1 1/2 pounds Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette
Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.
Serve the baked Fontina family-style-right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.
Healthy Grilled Cheese
2 pieces of a hearty whole wheat bread
1/2 small avocado, sliced
7 small peppadews (tomatos can be substituted)
3 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese
2 to 3 oz. of low sodium oven roasted turkey breast (thinly sliced)
Cooking oil spray
Sprinkle half the goat cheese onto each slice of bread.
On one piece of bread pack on your avocado and on the other put the turkey. You’ll want to press the avocado and turkey into the goat cheese so it sticks together.
You don’t put the pieces of bread together! Instead you spray your skillet with some cooking oil and turn the heat up to medium high.
After it’s heated, put both halves into the pan and rub them around in the cooking spray so it coats the bread evenly.
After about 3 minutes the bread should look toasty and golden. At this point you’ll want to take the halves off the stove and break apart the peppadews and lay them on top of the avocado. If you’ve never had a peppadew, you’re in for a treat.
Now you’ll have all your ingredients on the bread, pick up the side with the turkey and turn over on the avocado/peppadew side. The turkey will stick to the goat cheese so it won’t fall off!
And last but not least, have some friends over to celebrate “National Cheese Lovers Day”