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gariotin

Cheese (2008– )

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I prefer crusty French bread with most soft cheeses. The St Felicien mentioned in my last post for example or a good ripe brie.

I eat most firm or hard cheeses on their own. The Cantal & raclette de brebis are examples as are cheddars

Blue & other sharp cheeses are best with bread or dry crackers (plain, no flavoring & no salt). St Aguer, Roquefort & so on.

With goat's cheeses it sort of depends upon age & time of day. A really soft fresh chevre on French bread with a good jam is great for breakfast. Later in the day (lunch or dinner) the same or a slightly firmer chevre with cumin or fennel seeds or a herb mixture is very nice. On the other hand I love the little cabecue's that have been aged until they are very hard, tangy & sharp. These need to be slowly sucked on.

In general (exception above) I'm not a fan of chutneys, fruit jams or other sweet things with cheese. This is just my personal thing.

A favorite combination is a round of French bread with a skim of Dijon mustard topped with slices of French garlic sausage and Cantal and a sprinkle of herbs de Provence. Toast this under a broiler until the cheese melts. Heaven!

Finally, a marriage made in heaven is a glass of good vintage port with a chunk of ripe Stilton.

Thanks, Dave! I understand these are just your personal preferences, but it's exactly what I was looking for and will be printed out and henceforth serve as my cheese-tasting Bible!
One of my favorite comfort snacks is peanut butter spread on Stoned Wheat Thins and topped with a slice of extra sharp Cheddar.
Thanks also for this suggestion, MarketStEl - it's something I have long wanted to try but was afraid it was just too crazy. But I'll definitely give it a try now - maye even tonight if I can root out some cheddar lurking in the back of the refrigerator!

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I thought maybe you guys would be able to answer my question - I posted awhile back asking for suggestions for a blue cheese for someone who doesn't like it (but wants to give it a shot). I ended up with a Maytag. I added a very, very small amount to mashed potatoes figuring it would just give a hint of the flavor and maybe I'd end up pleasantly surprised. No such luck - I couldn't stand it (it was the same funk that I always dislike). So then, a week later, I thought I'd be nice to DH and make a steak with some blue cheese butter on top (I mashed up a little blue cheese in the butter - probably 75% butter to 25% cheese). I put a little on mine and eureka! It worked! I loved it. It was tangy and salty - everything I thought it was supposed to be. 

So my question is - what made the difference? Cause the ratio of blue cheese to mashed potato was way, way less than the ratio of blue cheese to butter, yet the butter version was wonderful and the mashed potato version made me gag. Could it be the fat in the butter? Shoot, I don't know. I'm reaching here. I guess I'm just excited that I found an application where I really liked blue cheese. For once.

I'm going to guess that it wasn't just the fat and salt in the butter, but the interplay between those ingredients and the beef.

Potatoes are pretty bland, so adding something fairly strong like blue cheese will cause the cheese to dominate what you're eating. Beef, OTOH, is rich all by itself, and the chese will complement rather than overwhelm it.

And, of course, cheeses aren't interchangeable here. Blue cheese on top of pasta and tomato sauce is just wrong, but unami-rich Parmesan and its close cousin Pecorino Romano work. Beef works with a fairly wide range of cheeses, especially in its ground patty form, but on steak, blue cheese is the traditional choice.

The bite of blue, like the tang of Cheddar, also works well against salad greens, which usually vary from mild to bitter in flavor.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Blue cheese on top of pasta and tomato sauce is just wrong

I couldn't help but chuckle there.. :biggrin:

About the blue cheese hating thing. I have a personal experience with this because my husband has a long standing aversion to it. He began as a cheese hater in general, having had it forced on him as a child. (I'm writing from France here for those who aren't familiar, so the cheeses I mention here will be French) A Munster tasted while hiking at the source seduced him into becoming a cheese fanatic well into adulthood, and the last bastion remains blue cheese. I know there is hope.

I have come to some understanding of his aversion. It can have two sides, and one side may hide the other. For a complete conquest of bleu, you must approach it with a two pronged strategy.

Conquer the visual. It is intertwined with your flavor aversion. Your first step is to go and get a cheese that has an ash element to it. Stay with me here. Like a Selles sur Cher which is a goat cheese covered in ash, or a Morbier, which is two raw cows milkings seperated by a stripe of ash, for example. Of course neither of these two cheeses are blue cheeses at all, but just in case you have any aversion to the colors and idea, you can get used to the idea of having dark colored areas in the cheese. In enjoying these cheeses, you will train yourself to let go of any reflex to reject cheeses with added color elements. You'll warm up to the idea that these colored aspects are not only good for you, but can be interesting in flavor.

Second, when you are ready to tackle the blue cheese itself, I suggest that you talk to a professional cheese monger, explain that you are looking for a mild, and young blue. I say this because many of the blues that develop that majestic and beautiful flavor begin as quite different animals. My husband, who could not even stand blue cheese on the same plate with the others, finally was convinced to try a young one. The tanginess and strong flavor hasn't quite developed in the younger cheeses, but a certain clean promise and freshness is there. As you transition to getting more mature cheeses, that promise develops into an appreciation of the wonderful world of bleus.

A thought - a cheese that is readily available in the states that begins as mild and never goes too far, is the bleu de Bresse. It is standard pasturized fare, but at the same time for transitioning yourself, it can be helpful.

If you're trying to conquer this aversion, don't try mixing it with food - my suggestion is to learn to appreciate it on its own and then once you're ready, pair it with walnuts, for example, then in salads, and then use it as an ingredient in foods.

Hope you keep us updated on your conquest, moreace01.

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I thought maybe you guys would be able to answer my question - I posted awhile back asking for suggestions for a blue cheese for someone who doesn't like it (but wants to give it a shot). I ended up with a Maytag. I added a very, very small amount to mashed potatoes figuring it would just give a hint of the flavor and maybe I'd end up pleasantly surprised. No such luck - I couldn't stand it (it was the same funk that I always dislike). So then, a week later, I thought I'd be nice to DH and make a steak with some blue cheese butter on top (I mashed up a little blue cheese in the butter - probably 75% butter to 25% cheese). I put a little on mine and eureka! It worked! I loved it. It was tangy and salty - everything I thought it was supposed to be. 

So my question is - what made the difference? Cause the ratio of blue cheese to mashed potato was way, way less than the ratio of blue cheese to butter, yet the butter version was wonderful and the mashed potato version made me gag. Could it be the fat in the butter? Shoot, I don't know. I'm reaching here. I guess I'm just excited that I found an application where I really liked blue cheese. For once.

Here's a suggestion. Try a blue cheese pasta sauce. These tend to be fairly mild even though the blue cheese starts off being very sharp.

A favorite recipe is:

4-6 oz of Gorgonzola

3-4 oz of Parmesan, finely grated

4-5 cloves of garlic. Peeled, crushed & finely chopped

1 oz butter

4-6 oz heavy cream

Oregano to taste

12-16 oz pasta. Choose your own shape, my personal favorite for this dish is fussili.)

1) melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. (be cooking the pasta while you do this. In fact have your water boiling before you start the sauce. The sauce only takes about 5-7 minutes.))

2) fry the garlic in the butter until just beginning to brown.

3) Add the cream & bring to a slow boil.

4) Add the Gorgonzola in small chunks. Stir until it melts. Add the oregano & pepper (if you like)

5) Slowly add half of the Parmesan. Reduce sauce if necessary to thicken or add more cream to thin out.

5) Drain the pasta & combine with the sauce. Add extra Parmesan to taste.

(All measures are rough as usual with my recipes.Go heavier or lighter according to your own preferences.)

Try this & see if it works for you. You can use any blue cheese. I chose Gorgonzola because I like it & its easily obtainable in the states. Blue de Bresse will make a milder sauce, Roquefort a sharper one.

Good luck!

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See, I knew you'd be able to help!

I think I'm alright with the visual aspect of blue cheese (and in the potatoes, I didn't even see it, but I knew it was there - ever so faintly). It's always been the taste - I am also the one who cannot have it on the same plate, touching other foods (this is going way too far, but to me it tastes like what I envision licking a barn floor would be like - I'm sorry, I know that was too far. But that's the comparison I can come up with). I keep trying cause there aren't many foods I don't like. And husband loves blue cheese and he's definately a picky eater, so I don't get my aversion to it. I also love all cheeses (except goat) and usually have at least 5 varieties in my fridge at all times.

I really liked the butter - even without the steak to accompany it (I was eating the blue cheese butter alone on a spoon). Perhaps it was the temperature. I don't know. I know that to conquer this aversion I need to appreciate it on it's own. I will try that next. I will also try the pasta sauce (can I do that with the leftover Maytag?). I think the suggestion to try a mild, young cheese is a great one.

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BTW, moreace, Buttermilk Blue, which I mentioned upthread, is also on the mild side. I'd recommend it as a gateway blue cheese.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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See, I knew you'd be able to help!

. I will try that next. I will also try the pasta sauce (can I do that with the leftover Maytag?).

Yes; of course you can. Have a go.

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One of my favorite blue cheese pasta combos is to toss cooked pasta w/roasted beets, sauteed beet greens and chunks of blue cheese - gorg, or any medium intensity blue. Top with some roasted pine nuts - takes no time and is REALLY good!

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Speaking of blue cheeses (which I happen to love), I bought some St. Agur to serve on a cheese platter for New Year's Eve. Everyone who tried it loved it...even those who do not particularly like blue cheese. I think it is now my favorite!!!!! Just had some spread on a cracker for a light dinner....wonderful!!!! A little too creamy to crumble, might be incredibly delicious as part of a pasta sauce, BUT just "plain" is so incredible that I can't imagine diluting it with another ingredient.


Donna

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Agreed, I'll take my blue cheese between two crackers that have no real flavor to interfere with the cheese taste.

Olives and pickled things on the side.

I'm a total cheesehead, I was raised by my vegetarian mom who grew up eating the great cheeses of England.

To this day, we finish Christmas with Huntsman's blue and cheddar. :wub:


---------------------------------------

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Speaking of blue cheeses (which I happen to love), I bought some St. Agur to serve on a cheese platter for New Year's Eve.  Everyone who tried it loved it...even those who do not particularly like blue cheese.  I think it is now my favorite!!!!!  Just had some spread on a cracker for a light dinner....wonderful!!!!  A little too creamy to crumble, might be incredibly delicious as part of a pasta sauce, BUT just "plain" is so incredible that I can't imagine diluting it with another ingredient.

St Agur is incredibly delicious in a pasta sauce but, I agree with you its so good that eating it plain is the way to go. I normally have it spread on a Swedish crisp bread.

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If you're trying to conquer this aversion, don't try mixing it with food - my suggestion is to learn to appreciate it on its own and then once you're ready, pair it with walnuts, for example, then in salads, and then use it as an ingredient in foods. 

I am in the midst of overcoming a longtime blue cheese aversion (smell/taste), and must point out that this approach was unsuccessful for me over multiple attempts. In fact, just the opposite was what worked: First, a spread of butter with blue cheese - a nice salty tang, nothing objectionable. From there, a creamy champagne/pear salad dressing with Roquefort - wonderful complements of sweet, tangy, and rich/bitter. Finally, crumbled Gorgonzola in salads with fruits and nuts.

So, to anyone else who has such a 'blue cheese problem' and is working on it, consider the alternative method.


David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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See, when I was a kid and blue cheese was just too strong for me, (or so I thought) it was the Gorgonzola that seemed milder and more palatable. Am I wrong? Maybe at that point I was just eating cheaper cheese...

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Got some Neal's Yard Cheddar, and all I can say is why the heck did I wait so long?

Eating it straight you get some lovely grassy, tangy notes and a super-duper long finish. Toasted on those skinny slices of Swedish rye it is even better. The finish is so good that it goes on for days.

Had some grocery store cheddar from a Harry & David gift box, so naturally, I put some side-by-side. The Harry & David tastes like wax in comparison to the good stuff.


Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther

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I am not positive, but I know a lot of the NY ched is the Montgomery's cheddar.  Here is a website:  http://www.farmhousecheesemakers.com/about...default_12.html

I agree - there are many different styles of cheddar, but the Montgomery's is one of the best.

A lot of what New York cheddar?

Certainly not what you find in your neighborhood supermarket.

And come to think of it, I don't think I've seen any New York State artisanal Cheddars around these parts. Given that New York State is a big Cheddar-producing region, up there with Vermont and Wisconsin, I would think that I'd have seen some artisanal New York Cheddars by now. Or maybe I'm just not paying attention.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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A lot of what New York cheddar?

I think Gariotin meant NY = Neal's Yard. :biggrin:

I also got to taste a really nice cheddar from Vermont at the store. Cannot remember the name, but it was yellow, really rich, and lovely. You could taste grass and flowers in it. I would have got some, but at the time I in the mood for something less dry and crumbly - it was kind of like Parmesan that way.


Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther

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Ha Ha - Sandy, yes she's right! I didnt' think the Neal's Yard starts w/New York before I posted!

There are some really nice Vt cheds - Shelburne Farms, Cabot cloth-bound and now Grafton is going the same thing.

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Note to self : the next time a French cheesemonger warns me that a cheese is really strong, it may actually be too strong.

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pennylane, don't leave us hanging - what was it and what did it taste/smell like??

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VIEUX LILLE.

Now what am I to do with this glob of putrifying animal matter in the refrigerator?

(Should have done an eGullet search before I bought it...)

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Wow - that really sounds awful! Take a pix if you can, before you throw it out - "pinkish grey viscous rind" sounds ghoulish.

It is not listed in the DK French Cheese book either...

I have to say that I am now intrigued about finding this cheese on my next trip to France...maybe not to taste, but to see. On the other hand, due to an accident, I have no sense of smell. Sometimes I can easily deal with things that are problems for other eaters, like durian. Maybe I will try to taste that glob of putrifying animal matter....

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Wow - that really sounds awful!  Take a pix if you can, before you throw it out - "pinkish grey viscous rind" sounds ghoulish.

It is not listed in the DK French Cheese book either...

I have to say that I am now intrigued about finding this cheese on my next trip to France...maybe not to taste, but to see.  On the other hand, due to an accident, I have no sense of smell.  Sometimes I can easily deal with things that are problems for other eaters, like durian.  Maybe I will try to taste that glob of putrifying animal matter....

Throw it out?! Oh no, I've already eaten some of it!! And believe me, the taste of putrefaction lingered in my mouth for the rest of the day, even after I bit off the end of a jalapeno pepper!

The funny thing is that I also have a highly impaired sense of smell, but I think the fact that the cheese came wrapped in its own layer of seran wrap, and then a layer of paper, and then another layer of plastic, and then a plastic bag - well that says it all. It took a lot of courage to gingerly peel away the layers with the tip of a long knife, especially the innermost layer, from which dripped a putrid orange pus. As you can see, my vieux lille looks nothing like the picture David Hatfield posted! Where is the "pinkish grey viscous rind"? Well, scroll down:

Here is the vieux lille looking relatively innocuous:

gallery_35332_4994_1434.jpg

And here, you get just a glimpse of its true slimy nature:

gallery_35332_4994_19324.jpg

And here it is in its full putrid glory!

gallery_35332_4994_20973.jpg

I must say, that after getting up close and personal with my vieux lille, I don't know if I will actually be able to eat any more of this vile and rotting gunk. I was thinking of using it up in a recipe which consists of cooking it in beer and then coating it in breadcrumbs and frying it, but I don't know if even that will be enough to mask its taste...

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Except for the last pix, where it is getting a little slimy looking, the cheese looks inviting - nice creamy paste and clearly a washed rind. You might be on to something with the beer pairing - how about combining w/a neutral cheese like neufchatel and beer for a spread with dark bread?

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