Saturday, November 26, 2011

cheese bits

you might remember that at one point in time, i was a highly trained cheese person.  i guess i still am, although not on the cusp of cheese trends or anything like that, but DAMN i still love cheese.  fancy cheese, not fancy cheese, any everything in between.  which is why i always put together the cheese tray at family holidays.  of course, i tend to pick out too many cheeses, and some of them aren't as well-received as others (for whatever reason, i am the only person in my family who likes an aged goat gouda), so what do you do with all those leftover bits? especially if you are a dork and forget to put them away before they start to get hard and weird around the edges?  why, you make the delicious fromage fort.  i like to call it "cheese in a pot," because it most closely resembles those "potted" cheeses you sometimes get in holiday baskets; flavored like port or pimento. want to make some of your own? here's what you do;
  • gather all your leftover cheese bits.  ALL of them.  got weird things with herbs? blues? soft, runny cheeses? some tillamook?  it will all be delicious in this, i promise. if you think that sounds weird, it's because it does, but trust me.  in the last batch i made, i put in feta, herbed goat cheese, aged gouda, smoked cheese, sharp cheddars, and some mystery "sheep" cheese that i'm not really sure was sheep.  guess what? it rocked.  cheeses you think would taste terrible together taste great in this.  
  • some wine, broth, water or milk/cream.  i prefer to make mine with white wine, that's classic.  not a sweet white either; a house white, a chardonnay, something dry and delicious.  if you don't like wine, use some sort of brothy goodness to give it some more flavor.  if you don't have broth, add some water, maybe mixed with some milk or cream.  use what you have.  have some nice sherry? that would be good too.  
  • garlic.  one or two cloves, depending on how much you like garlic or how much cheese you have.  today i used two cloves, and had a whole food processor full of cheese.  remember: you won't be able to taste the garlic at first, and it will get stronger.  so if you think you didn't add enough, wait a day, and taste it again.  
  • pepper. you can grind it, or you can sprinkle it out of the shaker, i'm not going to judge you.  
  • you may need some salt, but personally, i never use it, and haven't needed it.  cheese is pretty salty.  
cut your cheeses into pieces about the same size.  roughly, you're going to blend the hell out of them, so don't fuss over it too much.  put your garlic in the food processor, then pulse it a bit to start chopping it.  add the cheese, in batches if you have a lot (adding softer cheeses nearer to the end), pulsing and mushing and mixing.  add the wine (or broth, or whatever) a bit at a time, getting the cheese mix damp, but not swimming.  you will probably have some chunks, and that is okay.  you can blend it smoother or rougher depending on how you like it, but i enjoy some fat bits of cheese mixed in there.  add as much liquid as will make it smooth-ish without being creamy (because if you mix it too much, it will start to separate and be weird).  when it's done, pack it into jars or pot!  you can eat it right away, but it gets better the longer it sits.  spread it on crackers, toast, or pipe bits into endive spears to be all fancy. dip crudite in it, use it on a sandwich, or eat it on a spoon.  feed it to your friends, make sure you say "fromage" like you mean it, and watch them swoon. 



Spacebeer said...

This sounds amazing!

amanda said...

it's pretty boss. also, if you spread it on toast or bread then broil it, it will get golden and be even better (if at all possible). i also think adding leftover champagne if you have it, would be great. cheese in a pot forever!

stoic and pariah said...

i wish i didn't read that. because now.. i MUST have it! broiled cheesy toast bits? ahh.