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TdeV

What to do with hard, dry, old cheese?

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I have a few blocks of cheese (2 lbs) which have been hanging out in my fridge for quite a long time now. There are wedges of Gruyère, Ricotta Salata, and a nameless goat cheese. Once upon a time I put hard cheeses in the Cusinart food processor with the metal blade where they rattled around until ground into small pieces, but this damaged the locking ports on the work bowl, and I daren't make those worse. I don't think I'm strong enough to cut the cheese with a knife. There's no way I could grate it. There is no mould on the cheese.

 

What shall I do with these blocks of cheese?

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You can very likely grate them on the fine side of a box grater or microplane and use them as seasoning, or boil them to add flavour to a stew (this is common with hard, old parmesan rinds).

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1 minute ago, jimb0 said:

 boil them to add flavour to a stew (this is common with hard, old parmesan rinds).

I saved ends and bits of parmesan for precisley this purpose, and put a small, 1 year old piece in a recent batch of red sauce.  It was rather unpleasant, definitely not my thing.  That said, I wouldn't steer anyone away from trying this, as I can see how some might like it.  So, use this as a gentle caution and try with something small just in case you might not like it.

 

@TdeV make lots of cheese bread or pao de quiejo!  :D Or dog/cat treats!  It'll be a workout grating it, maybe the food processor would come in handy.

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Use an ice pick or chisel to make smaller chunks, then suck on them.  Pretend it's Bhutanese dried yak cheese, if you like.

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Facial scrub with sugar, olive and castor oils?  Umami-cleansed pores are the future.

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32 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

I saved ends and bits of parmesan for precisley this purpose, and put a small, 1 year old piece in a recent batch of red sauce.  It was rather unpleasant, definitely not my thing.  That said, I wouldn't steer anyone away from trying this, as I can see how some might like it.  So, use this as a gentle caution and try with something small just in case you might not like it.

 

@TdeV make lots of cheese bread or pao de quiejo!  :D Or dog/cat treats!  It'll be a workout grating it, maybe the food processor would come in handy.

 

I mean, I wouldn't necessarily eat the rind after boiling, it's something that you'd take out, like a bay leaf.

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Posted (edited)

@jimb0 sorry for not being clear, I did not like the flavor imparted by the dried parm into the red sauce at all - just not my thing :) 


Edited by jedovaty (log)
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Ah, that’s fair. Taste is subjective, of course. I find a little knob can just add a background bit of umami, which I enjoy. 

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2 hours ago, jedovaty said:

I saved ends and bits of parmesan for precisley this purpose, and put a small, 1 year old piece in a recent batch of red sauce.  It was rather unpleasant, definitely not my thing.  That said, I wouldn't steer anyone away from trying this, as I can see how some might like it.  So, use this as a gentle caution and try with something small just in case you might not like it.

 

@TdeV make lots of cheese bread or pao de quiejo!  :D Or dog/cat treats!  It'll be a workout grating it, maybe the food processor would come in handy.

 

Indeed, I pitched a bag of parmesan rinds last night.

 

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Do you have a hack saw?  I have used one to saw blocks of brick-hard cheese into slabs and then saw the slabs into cubes.  

I put the cubes in a steamer and steamed them, checking at 5 minutes, 10 minutes and found most were softened at between 15 and 20 minutes 

so I could put them through the food processor a few at a time.

 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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6 hours ago, andiesenji said:

Do you have a hack saw?  I have used one to saw blocks of brick-hard cheese into slabs and then saw the slabs into cubes.  

I put the cubes in a steamer and steamed them, checking at 5 minutes, 10 minutes and found most were softened at between 15 and 20 minutes 

so I could put them through the food processor a few at a time.

 

To what end purpose, please.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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8 minutes ago, Darienne said:

To what end purpose, please.

 

Hi @Darienne. The first part of the question was how to get the wedges into smaller shape. (Thanks @andiesenji).

 

The second part of the question was what to do with them once there.

 

What would you do with them?

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Posted (edited)

Ditto the Fromage Fort recommendation. I've used this recipe from David Lebovitz with varying cheese mixtures and good results each time.   If your cheeses are less interesting, Melissa Clark has a recipe for Jalapeño Fromage Fort in her recent book.  The recipe is available online here (scroll down) 

 

Edited to add that I've had only one cheese that completely resisted my efforts to grate it with my mouli-juilenne.  It's an old dry jack (Vella Golden Bear) that was rock hard when I bought it and has become like glass over time.  I will be trying @andiesenji's steaming method on it very soon!  If that fails, it will be joining the Parm rinds in soups!


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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I have not tried it myself, but I suspect that if fromage fort was the desired end result you could probably soak the recalcitrant cheeses in your wine first, and then buzz them in a food processor once they'd softened sufficiently.

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