Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
|Into a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.||375° Degrees|
Two pounds of
the nutritional equivalent of four gallons of milk.
Now you could just let these
set and then enjoy them as crackers or while
they're hot, you could take
advantage of their temporarily plastic state. [scoops them off places them on
small containers so they droop over the sides] Now these little guys may look
floppy now, but believe me, they set up fast. So work quickly. They're also very
hot, so work safely.
Let these set for about 10 minutes, and you'll be able to load them up with things. Like what? Well, like, say a meatball. Meatball shooter. Sounds good to me. Or maybe you could build a little salad. Eh? It's cute, isn't it? Or you could just stick them right in the top of a bowl of mashed potatoes. Always a hit at my house. Of course, you don't have to do any of that. You could just eat one. Mmm mmm! Good cracker!
In 1837, Queen Victoria
was presented with a
1,100 pound wheel of cheese for her coronation.
The rinds of semi-hard cheeses are almost always brown-orange or brown-gray. But this is a challenging family to identify otherwise because it's really two families in one. Rubbery, meaty cheeses, like edam, are semi-soft and represent some of this country's favorite cheeses because they're so gosh-darned user friendly. Then, there are washed-rind semi-softs like epoisses and langres which are washed in a special kind of brine that sets the inner texture and encourages specific bacteria to grow. Now these are some of the strongest cheeses around, and can usually be identified by that sticky, orange rind. They're good, but stinky-good.
GUEST: FDA Agent
Great though many American cheeses are, when it comes to young, runny cheeses like brie and camembert, the Europeans have the edge because they use high quality raw milk, which can only be used in this country to make ...
FA: ... cheeses
that have been aged at least 60 days before sale.
AB: That's because the Federal Government figures that after 60 days, any potentially dangerous bacteria ...
FA: ... will have been eliminated.
AB: Cheeses aged less than 60 days ...
FA: ... must be made from pasteurized milk.
AB: Pasteurization is named after the scientist, Louis Pasteur. He's the guy who figured out that living critters, albeit small ones, are usually to blame when good food goes bad.
FA: Pasteurization utilizes heat to destroy the problematic entities.
|AB: That's ... that's ... that's true. But different times and temperatures can be used to pasteurize milk. For instance, holding the milk at 145 degrees for 30 minutes, nukes the nasties while preserving some of the body, the character, the flavor of the milk.||
|FA: Heating milk to 161 degrees for 15 seconds kills everything, good, bad and indifferent.||
Ultra - Pasteurization =
It also shuts down enzymes, and knocks off a bunch of nutrients. In other words, it kills the milk. But since that method is a hundred times faster than that method, it's the one most often employed by the dairy industry. Which is why most American milk tastes like his shirt. And it's why young American cheeses never quite reach their potential. Of course, you can always drive up to Canada and score you some young, raw cheese ...
FA: Just know that when you come back across the border, I'll be waiting for you.
AB: Oh, bother.
FA: [takes raw milk] I'll just get rid of this contraband.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen! My honest-to-goodness favorite cheese trick of all time. [tries to get a wedge of cheese to jump through a hoop] Come on, boy! You can do it! Fine. If you won't jump through the hoop, I'll have to make soup out of you. That's right. A serious cheese soup for serious cheese people. What are we going to need? We're going to need a pot: soup pot, Dutch oven, or a large saucepan. We will require the services of a spatula or wooden spoon, a medium-size hand sieve, an immersion stick blender, and an electric kettle.
|You don't actually have to have an electric kettle, but it will make heating up this 32-ounce—that's one quart container of chicken broth—a little bit easier. And yes, this is packaged chicken broth. And yes, I'm okay with that.||
Heat 1 quart chicken broth to a simmer.
|As with so many soups, we begin with a sweat. Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Then toss in five ounces by weight of diced onions, five ounces of diced carrots, and five ounces of diced celery, along with a healthy pinch of salt. Now stir this off and on for 5 to 10 minutes, until the veggies are nice and soft.||
2 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
5 Ounces Diced Onion
5 Ounces Diced Carrots
5 Ounces Diced Celery
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
|Now use your hand sieve to evenly distribute 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, just right on top of the vegetables. Why flour? Well, we're basically making a roux here. Okay? We're going to coat these flour granules with the fat that's in the pan. Then when we add the hot liquid, it will thicken very quickly without forming any lumps. Now once all the flour is in, just stir and cook for a few more moments until you don't see any flour really left in the pan. Perfect.||3 Tbs. All Purpose Flour|
|Now we pour in the broth. Nice and slow, stirring all the time. Now one bay leaf and one tablespoon of garlic, minced fine. Cover that, turn down the heat to a simmer, and set our timer for about half an hour.||
Stir Constantly While Gradually Adding Broth
1 Bay Leaf
|And now the fun part. But first you've got to fish that Bay Leaf out of there. Even when they're cooked, they're never really good eats, you know. Okay, add one cup of heavy cream. Yes, that's right, heavy cream, and then buzz it up with your stick blender until it is smooth and creamy.||1 Cup Heavy Cream|
|Now we add the cheese, 10 Ounces of shredded fontina. Like most semi-firm cheeses, fontina is known for its smooth melting nature. But it will help if we add it slowly, stirring in just a handful at a time. Gentle melting is the key to a smooth Cheese Soup.||
10 Ounces Grated Fontina
|Time for a few finishing flavors. I like a teaspoon each of Marsala wine and Worcestershire sauce, and half a teaspoon of hot sauce and white pepper. Why white? Well, you wouldn't want to mar the pastoral creaminess of this, now would you?||
1 tsp. Marsala Wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. Hot Sauce
1/2 tsp. White Pepper
[takes a bite]Mmm mmm! Now that is cheesy. As far as service suggestions go, I
don't know, open a beer and pour it in a glass. It's about all you have to do.
If you're going to hold this soup for service, however, I don't suggest you keep it over heat. You should stash it in a Thermos. That way it won't get grainy. If you do have to reheat it after cooling, I definitely suggest using a double boiler. Remember, gentle heat's the way to go. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to finish my soup.
More sheep are milked than any other type of animal in the world.
Funky and aromatic. Soft ripened cheeses usually come in disks, loaded with a light, fuzzy mold called Penicillium candidum. So much of the milk's original moisture is locked inside these jewels that that cheese literally oozes at room temperature. Brie and camembert are the most famous of this, my other favorite category. Although they're always white in this country, due to the use of pasteurized milk, in Europe, the raw milk that's usually used, creates a reddish or brown rind.
|Let's take a moment and review our cheese storage procedures. Above all, we must remember it's alive. And, like anything that's alive, cheese has likes and dislikes, okay?||
It likes to be kept cool but not cold, so the top shelf of your
refrigerator is the best space. It likes to be moist but not wet, and it likes
to breathe, so packaging is very important. When it comes to soft, crumbly or
excessively stinky cheeses, I like to go with a plastic container, and I slide a
little piece of moist paper towel or slice of apple in there to provide some
moisture. The plastic is also good because it prevents the funkiness from
spreading around, if you get my drift. Harder cheeses I do like to wrap, but
never with plastic. I go with wax paper, loosely wrapped, and just secure it
with a little rubber band, okay.
Now whenever you're contemplating the service of cheese, always allow it to come to room temperature before you dine upon it, okay? Because cold hardens the fat. That will just trap aroma and flavor.
Now if you decide to have a cheese tasting party, or to serve a cheese course with your next dinner, and I certainly hope that you will, remember that there are no rules. But I am going to make a couple of suggestions that have helped me in the past. Two of them, okay? One: Never serve more than 3 cheeses. As far as I'm concerned, you get past 3 and everything pretty much ... well, just smells like a gym sock, okay? And number two: Try to find a theme, okay? A way of tying the three cheeses together. Here are just a few examples.
|Here we have one type of milk. In this case, goat's milk, that's been made into three very, very different types of cheese.||
Same Type of Milk
|Over here, we have three very different members of the same cheese family, okay? These are all washed-rind cheeses but they are very different from each other.||
Different Members Of The Same Cheese Family
|Here we've got the very same cheese, three times. The only difference is age. I think this is like this week, that's last week, and that's two weeks ago. The runny one. Probably my favorite, okay? But they're all the same.||
Same Cheese Style
|And here we have the exact same style of cheese, in this case blue cheese, but made by three very different creameries.||
Same Cheese Style
|Last but not least, you can just serve one great cheese like this. One nice big block of cheese but with several different contrasting accompaniments, okay, so that you can get an idea of the full range involved.||
One Blockbuster Cheese With Contrasting Accompaniments
As far as amounts, you want to look for about a quarter pound of cheese, total, for each diner. Oh, and make sure that every cheese has its own clean knife. We don't want to, you know, cross the beams. Now if you excuse me, I think I've got some cheese to eat.
Cheese and wine produced in the same geographical area tend to pair well.
The easiest cheeses to recognize by sight are mold-veined cheeses like Roquefort, gorgonzola and stilton. Now the mold you see here requires air to grow, so the compressed curd is punched with needles, creating micro-tunnels for the fungi. If you've never tried these cheeses, well, they've got a very wide range of flavor and texture. They can be creamy, they can be hard, they can be grainy, they can be just mildly funky, or they can be tongue-numbingly funky. You know what I mean? I'm talking like Detroit funky. You know? Yeah.
Fromage Fort, 'strong cheese'
in French, was traditionally made
by combining leftover cheese with milk and allowing it to ferment.
Fresh cheeses like cream cheese, feta, cottage cheese and chevre are generally under two weeks old when they're sold so they haven't had time to develop any kind of rind. Now with the exception of the brined feta, which is usually crumbly, these cheeses are easy spreaders. And they are often rolled in ash, seeds or leaves before they're sold. Flavors range from grassy fields to hints of citrus.
You know, every couple of weeks I like to clear out the old chill chest. Just clean things up and I gather up the little hunks and chunks and bits and pieces of cheese that have accumulated in here. And of course, I can't really throw another cheese party with this stuff. It's a little too old for that, but that doesn't mean that I have to get rid of it. In fact, this is just right for my favorite cheese trick of all time.
Allow the cheese to come to room temperature before making Fromage Fort.
|Any cheese will do. You just need about a pound of it. Cheddar, provolone, Fontina, camembert, St. Andre, edam, gruyere, it just doesn't matter. What does matter is that you remove any hard rinds that might be hanging around and that you cut everything down to about a, I don't know, three-quarter-inch cube. Be approximate. Really hard cheeses like parmesan should be grated coarsely.||1 Pound Leftover Cheese|
|Now everything goes into the food processor along with a quarter of a cup of dry white wine which, if you've had a cheese party, you probably have left over. Three tablespoons, that's one-and-a-half ounces, of unsalted butter, at room temperature, one clove of garlic, and a small handful of parsley. If you force me, I'd say that's about two tablespoons. And now, we'll take everything for a spin. Let this go for two full minutes in order to break things down and make this nice and creamy.||
1/4 Cup White Wine
3 Tbs. Unsalted Butter Room
1 Clove Garlic
2 Tbs. Fresh Parsley
Mmm. Would you look at that? Homemade cheese spread. And believe me, this is better than anything you could ever think of buying in a store. If you like a firmer texture, just stash it in the refrigerator for a little while. Oh, and in the refrigerator, it'll last ... Well, I don't know how long it lasts because I've never had it last more than about a day. Mmm.
A cheese course can be served as either a prelude to or substitute for dessert.
GUEST: Lactose Man
Most of the folks walking around on this planet are lactose intolerant. That means that they lack the enzyme necessary to break down lactose, a sugar that occurs naturally in milk. Now when these people drink milk, or eat young cheeses, they get a painful punch from ...
LM: I'm Lactose Man!
AB: Yes, from Lactose Man. You know what, Lactose Man? I'm not afraid of you.
LM: Oh, you will be. You will be.
AB: Oh yeah? Take your best shot!
LM: [punches AB in the stomach, the next shot has his fist soaking in ice]
You see, cheeses that have a little age on them have had their lactose, or milk sugar, consumed by the bacteria in the cheese. So there's little, if any, lactose still present.
AB: How's your hand, Lactose Man?
LM: Uh, it hurts.
AB: How's the cheese, Lactose Man?
LM: It's good.
AB: [to his sleeping editors] Hey, pretty good. You guys should be proud.
Well, I hope that you enjoyed this collection of shorts, Part 1 of what will probably be a 60-part course, cheese course. Ha ha. You know, that may seem like a lot of programs, but heck, I can't think of any food, mmm, that deserves the attention more than cheese. So see you next time on Good Eats.
AB: Hey! You going to eat that brie?
Transcribed by Mike DiRuscio
Last Edited on 08/27/2010