One of the things I love most about the holidays is celebrating with a variety of foods - and having lots of leftovers when everyone else goes home! And, as you may have guessed, leftover cheese is my favorite. I even plan the type and quantity of cheeses I buy for a gathering to make sure I'll have exactly what I want for dishes the next day. Here are some of the ways I like to use up those various bits of cheese.
Cranberry Cheddar Definitely a seasonal favorite. Produced using milk from cows not treated with growth hormones, this cheese is creamy and has nice flavor characteristics. It comes from the Hennings family in Wisconsin. If you have leftovers, you can't beat it on a grilled turkey sandwich. Just place the cheese on top of slices of turkey and grill. I like it much better than using cranberry sauce because it doesn't ooze out. The cranberries are contained in the melted cheese and provide that lovely fruit flavor that goes perfectly with turkey leftovers. Brie After your friends have left, some of the brie from France might still be around. It's traveled a long way so you want to make sure to find a way to show off its creamy richness. Instead of "green eggs and ham," how about free range eggs, ham and brie? I love this combination. For breakfast (or a late night snack) eggs are a nice treat. I prefer scrambled. I like to heat the ham prior to adding the eggs and the just before the eggs are ready to serve (some like them hard and others do not), I slice the brie and layer it over the finished eggs. I turn the burner off and get the plates out of the oven where they've been warming, and serve. Your friends and family will marvel at your genius with a classic dish! Robusto This aged Gouda style cheese from Holland is a family favorite. This cheese has nutty characteristics and melts great! I've recommended this cheese to many customers who say they like creamy but not strong cheese, and it's always a hit. For leftover cheese, I love to use it in potatoes. I like to mash them, broil them, bake them and scallop them! Robusto, or any aged Gouda, works for any of these dishes. The easiest way to prepare is to shred the cheese into the potatoes as you are mashing them. But, MY favorite is to rub olive oil on red potatoes and to broil them. Just as the potatoes are getting close to being ready, I shave the Robusto on them and broil another 30 seconds. WOW! Blue Holiday Blues? We have them, just for you. Blue cheese is an essential part of a cheese plate but what do you do when it is leftover? Blue cheeses range from spicy to creamy, many are mild and others are not for the faint of heart and are very sharp. I like them all, but the flavor guides how I might want to use the leftover cheese. Creamy mild blues - I call these types of cheese "beginner blues" - are perfect in old fashioned macaroni and cheese. Some of the cheeses that fall into the mild category are Bavaria Blu, Danish Blue and Buttermilk Blue. I like adding these cheeses to macaroni that is already cooked. Blue breaks down very quickly, so stir the cheese in while the pasta is hot and serve immediately. I also like to serve blues on a piece of baguette with a slice of pear and a walnut. Put the ingredients on the baguette and broil for a few minutes until the cheese bubbles. This is a great treat. Any blue will work for this dish. Blues are expensive cheese, as they have to be aged for a long time, so savor these dishes as special treats. What cheese are you looking forward to having leftover and how will you use it? I'd love to hear.