Archive for the 'Hard Cheeses' Category

29
Jan
10

Mezze, Meze, or Mezza… it’s all good!

I love Mediterranean food. I love the way they eat. I love that they are super healthy people. My favorite way to entertain is Mezze. The fundamental principle is taking your time, and building community… hmmm – I think this is a recurring theme for me.

The thing I love about this style of entertaining is its simplicity. The basic philosophy is contrast: hot/cold, crispy/smooth, spicy/mild, savory/sweet! If you want to try it – Trader Joe’s is the perfect place to buy everything you need without  cooking a thing! Following a list of foods that work:

  • Roasted almonds (mix them with dried fruit for added bang)
  • Olives – green, black, different sizes, etc
  • Goat Cheese (mix it half and half with cottage cheese, add some olive oil and black pepper and WOW)
  • Cheeses
  • Cold cuts
  • Small bites of grilled meats – Lamb chops, chicken, sausages, etc
  • Fresh veggies
  • Hummus
  • Baba Ghanouj (eggplant version of hummus)
  • Prawns – sauteed in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sherry, cayenne, parsley – served in their pan juices.
  • Nice crusty bread
  • Dried fruits – figs, apricots, dates
  • Fresh fruit – whatever is in season
  • YOUR IMAGINATION

If you want to try this and need help, email me, send me mailbox question – I’ll feed you lots of ideas!

11
Jan
10

Mailbag Monday part two… moldy cheese

Ewww

Question:  We found an unopened container of crumbled feta in the fridge (I forgot what its original purpose was supposed to be). Its expiration date was 12/15/09, but since it’s cheese, I assume that’s more of an arbitrary date — it’s not like it has a visible mold colony growing on it. Would you have any problem using it a month after its expiration date? Thanks – Kevin, Washington

Answer: The US Dept of Agriculture and the Mayo Clinic suggest the following. This is because of the types of mold that grow. Color is not always a good indicator for what molds are safe, however the general rule of thumb is stay away from the pinkish molds.

For Hard Cheeses such as: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere

Safe to eat if the mold is removed. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn’t cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. Cover the cheese in fresh wrap.

For Semi-Soft Cheses such as: American, Asiago, baby Swiss, Monterey jack, mozzarella, Muenster, Gorgonzola

Safe to eat if the mold is removed. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so that it doesn’t cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. Cover the cheese in fresh wrap.

For soft cheses such as: Brie, Camembert, cottage cheese, Neufchatel, feta, ricotta, shredded and sliced cheeses

Discard the cheese.

Also for dairy products like yogurt:

Discard it.

Since you say your feta isn’t showing any signs of mold, and still smells ok, I’d say it’s good to go.




Patrick Bartlett


A conversation about food, wine, and the art of living well!

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