Smile and Say……”P” is for PANEER


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15 down, 11 to go!

“P” is for PANEER

 

Creative Commons/Stanhopea
Creative Commons/Stanhopea

Dating as far back as 6000 BC, paneer is a fresh cheese used in South Asian cuisine similar to queso blanco (oh, look, I gave away tomorrow’s cheese!).  Moist and soft, and crumbly in texture, it is a rich source of milk protein.

The use of paneer is more common in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh due to the prominence of milk in their cuisine. It is sometimes wrapped in dough and deep-fried or served with either spinach (saag paneer) or peas (mutter paneer). One of my favorite restaurants locally is India, and they feature paneer kabobs as well as a grilled paneer wrap.

You want to make your own? Easy! All you need is a half-gallon of whole milk, a quarter-cup of lemon juice or vinegar, and a bit of salt to season. Heat the milk until it’s foamy, then take it off the heat. Add the lemon juice and the milk will curdle. Let it stand about 10 minutes until you have curds and whey, Miss Muffet, then strain the curds from the whey with a cheesecloth. Now you have paneer in its most simple form. There are instructional videos available online if you really want to learn the process.

kripyā bhojan kā ānnaṅd lijīyai!

 

Smile and Say……”O” is for OAXACA


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“O” is for OAXACA

Creative Commons/Roobray
Creative Commons/Roobray

 

Oaxaca (also known as Asadero and Quesillo), is semi-soft, white, string-type cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s similar to Mozzarella, but has a savory, buttery flavor and is great for melting. It’s one of the most popular cheeses for making quesadillas and has been compared (in texture and flavor) to Monterey Jack.

 

Oaxaca, within Mexico  www.wikipedia.com
Oaxaca, within Mexico http://www.wikipedia.com

Oaxaca is named after the state in southern Mexico where it was first made. The string cheese process, originally from Italy, which is used to produce mozzarella, was brought to Mexico by Dominican monks who settled in Oaxaca. Since buffalo milk was unavailable, they started using cow milk instead. The production process is complicated and involves stretching the cheese into long ribbons and rolling it up like a ball of yarn.

Smile and Say……”N” is for Neufchatel


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“N” is for NEUFCHATEL

Creative Commons/Myrabella
Creative Commons/Myrabella

 

Neufchâtel is a soft cheese made in the region of Normandy, France. It’s one of the oldest cheeses in France, with production believed to date back to the 6th century in the town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray. Similar in appearance to Camembert, the taste is sharper and saltier. Unlike other soft, white-rind cheeses, Neufchâtel’s texture is grainy. It’s typically matured for 8-10 weeks.

www.cc-pays-neufchatelois.fr
http://www.cc-pays-neufchatelois.fr

In the late 1800s, a New York dairyman made the first American cream cheese as a result of his attempt to create a batch of Neufchâtel. This American Neufchâtel is softer than regular cream cheese due to its lower fat and higher moisture content. These days, it’s found in most grocery stores as a reduced-fat option to regular cream cheese.

 

 

Smile and Say……”M” is for MANCHEGO


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“M” is for MANCHEGO

Creative Commons/Zerchund
Creative Commons/Zerchund

Yes, going for the obscure. Manchego takes its name from the dry plateau of La Mancha, south of Madrid and not far from Toledo, Spain. Originally named by the Arabs “Al Mansha” (meaning land without water), La Mancha is a vast, dry, flat region with few trees, and scorched by temperatures that can reach 122 degrees F, with minimal rainfall.

www.wikipedia.com
http://www.wikipedia.com

Manchego is one of the popular cheeses from Spain. Authentic Manchego is only made from the Manchego sheep’s milk. The farmhouse version is produced from unpasteurized milk while the industrial version is made from pasteurized milk.

The rind is inedible with a distinctive, traditional herringbone basket weave pattern, pressed on it. There are specific differences in Manchego cheeses, depending on their aging period.

Semi Curado – Young Manchego cheese is aged around 3 months are supple and moist. The flavor is fruity, grass, hay with a tangy note.

Curado – Manchego cheese aged for 6 months acquires a caramel and nutty flavor. It has distinct acidity.

Viejo – Manchego cheese aged for a year becomes crumbly in texture while the interior of the cheese acquires a butterscotch color. It has a sweet, lingering taste.

Manchego cheeses are best paired with a sherry.

Smile and Say……”L” is for Lappi


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“L” is for LAPPI

www.finlandia.com
http://www.finlandiacheese.com

No, not Limburger, that smelly cheese! (I know some of you are guessing – so let’s just say that from L to Z, there are maybe half a dozen that are familiar – the rest of the posts should serve as something new and different) 🙂

Lappi, as you can imagine, originated in the Lapland region of Finland. It’s derived from skimmed cow’s milk, and is similar to Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese, except that the milk is pasteurized. It’s smooth and creamy, and gluten-free. Lappi pairs well with a Riesling.

Smile and Say……”K” is for KASHKAVAL


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“K” is for KASHKAVAL

Kashkaval
Kashkaval

 

Made since before the Roman Empire, Kashkaval’s name is derived from an Italian cheese called “Caciocavallo.” That translates to “cheese on horseback.” It is believed that  the name comes from the fact that two cheese forms were always bound together with rope and then left to mature by placing them ‘a cavallo,’ or straddling a horizontal stick or branch.

Kashkaval is popular in Eastern Europe and Mediterranean regions.

It’s made from cow’s milk (Kashkaval vitosha), ewe’s milk (Kashkaval balkan), or both milks (Kashkaval preslav). In Romania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia, kashkaval is a generic term for all kinds of yellow cheese.

It ages for six months, during which time it develops a spicy, somewhat salty taste with a hint of olive oil. The slightly hard texture of this cheese makes it suitable for grilling and grating. It can be served as a cheese platter or used in salads, appetizers, pizzas, and lasagna.

And if you’re in New York City, stop by the Kashkaval Garden for a glass of wine and some fabulous Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food!

Smile and Say……”J” is for Jarlsberg


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“J” is for JARLSBERG

Creative Commons/Howcheng
Creative Commons/Howcheng

After Halloumi and Idiazabal cheeses, you were hoping for this, weren’t you? Yes, something familiar. Lovely, mild Jarlsberg, from Norway.

It was created by Anders Larsen Bakke, and is very similar to Swiss Emmental (what you think of as ‘Swiss cheese’). Jarlsberg is generally stronger and sweeter in flavor, though. It has a nutty taste, and melts well, so is used in sandwiches, quiches, and even in fondues. But if you read my post on Gruyere, you wouldn’t even consider adding Jarlsberg to a real cheese fondue. At least, I wouldn’t.

Pair it with a good Merlot. And you can find recipes at the official Jarlsberg website, HERE.

Vel bekomme!

Smile and Say……”I” is for IDIAZABAL


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“I” is for IDIAZABAL

Creative Commons/Ardo Beltz
Creative Commons/Ardo Beltz

Did I fool you with this one? You were wondering, weren’t you? 🙂

In order to find the source of Idiazabal, you’d need to find the Latxa or Carranza sheep in the Basque regions of northern Spain. This cheese was named after the village where it originated.

In summer, the sheep migrate to higher pastures to graze on the blossoming, new grass. During this time, artisanal cheesemakers milk the sheep, make the cheese and leave it in the rafters to mature. At the end of summer when the cheesemakers return back to the lowlands with their sheep, the cheese has ripened and is ready for sale.

Idiazabal has a hard natural rind. The cheese is dry, but not crumbly, and feels “pleasantly oily” in the mouth. The characteristic smoky flavor is the result of the cheeses having been stored near the fireplaces. There were no chimneys in the simple mountain huts, so the cheeses absorbed the aromatic smoke. The taste of the cheese is reminiscent of burnt caramel and bacon (Come on! What could be better?!). It pairs well with red wine and cider.

Smile and Say……”H” is for HALLOUMI


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“H” is for HALLOUMI

Grilled Halloumi cheese. www.wikipedia.com
Grilled Halloumi cheese. http://www.wikipedia.com

Something a little different today. Halloumi is mostly made from goat’s and sheep’s milk, and originated in Cyprus. Its texture is similar to that of mozzarella or thick feta, except that it has a strong, salty flavor from a brine preserve. When you cook Halloumi, the saltiness is removed and the cheese is very creamy.

Halloumi is an essential part of a Cyprus Meze and often offered in warm weather, as an accompaniment to watermelon and cold beer. The photo above is grilled Halloumi. It also can be fried, or sliced into a salad. To grill it, just slice into 1/2-inch thick slices, brush with olive oil, and grill for a few minutes on each side. The outside will be crispy and the inside will be soft and melted. Enjoy your meal with gladness and health!

Smile and Say……”G” is for GRUYERE


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I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese!  I hope you enjoy these posts!

“G” is for GRUYERE

Photo by M. Reynolds
Photo by M. Reynolds
www.wikipedia.com
http://www.wikipedia.com

Same view, different seasons (and my photo is from 1979).

Now, you may recall that my “G” post last year was similar. Right! Last year, in my “Oh! The Places I’ve Been” theme, I listed the small village of Gruyères as my “G.”

Gruyere cheese is probably my favorite – yes, partly because it’s made in my beloved Switzerland, but its taste is so unique. It’s a good melting cheese, and you shouldn’t make a cheese fondue without using equal amounts of Emmanthaler (“Swiss”) and Gruyere cheeses (that’s known as moitié-moitié – half and half).

gruyere ch