Ain’t no cure for the Summertime Blues! Or maybe there is a cure. What about the many blue cheeses available that will make your picnickers do a happy dance? Think sliced blue cheese on burgers — there are some great ones from Wisconsin that are sure to please. From creamy (Buttermilk Blue) to piquant (Salemville Blue), there are a variety of styles and products available to jazz up your summer grilling. Let’s not forget the salad blues, crumbly and delicious — so flavorful you don’t even need a dressing to tie the ingredients together. I even like macaroni and cheese made with creamy Gorgonzola crumbles or a cold elbow macaroni salad with blue. Mmmm…I am hungry now.
White cheeses are some of the best around, especially during the summer months. Not sure what I mean? How about all of the fresh cheese and goat cheese products that are perfect as the season heats up? Everyone knows about fresh mozzarella now, but just 10 years ago it was considered exotic (and in many ways it still is). Creamy and full of lactic flavors from the farm, fresh mozzarella was meant for pairing tomatoes and basil. Yet there is more to this cheese -- try it on a grilled Ciabatta sandwich with tapenade or in a pasta salad with peaches. When it comes to fresh mozzarella, I really like the Crave Brothers, farmstead family-owned producers from Waterloo, WI. In addition to making some delicious cheese, they do some really cool stuff around the farm. For example, they use manure to run all of the electricity for the farm and the surrounding homes (over 300 of them and I am sure the manure runs air conditioning in the summer).
Continuing with whites, let’s not forget Chevre (goat cheese) on bagels for breakfast. What a great fresh start to the day and I support organic or local producers for chevre. Last but not least, how about the white crumbles? I mean the feta and goat crumbles that make an everyday dinner salad extraordinary. I like these cheeses with greens, Mache and fresh stone fruit or berry salads. I will eat a salad for dessert it is so good.
Now, what about red cheese? Check out a wonderful cheddar from third generation producer Henning’s of Wisconsin (Kay and Kerry are great!). Why would I refer to white cheddar from Wisconsin when talking about red cheese?
Because this cheese is loaded with cherries from Michigan! Tart and sweet, the fruit adds just the right amount of flavor to bring a uniqueness to this traditionally produced creamy cheddar. What a great way to dress up a turkey sandwich or even throw a twist on a grilled cheese. Perfect to stuff into a grilled chicken breast for a nouveau cordon red! There are many ideas for this cheese. Great when shredded on ice cream for dessert — yes, I said it. Now, you try it.
Summer is a perfect season to be inspired to integrate nice tidbits of flavor into your everyday meals. Cheese is a great way to do this without breaking the bank or getting away from your tried and true recipes. Just a little goes a long way towards adding flavor and fun.
Got a favorite red, white or blue cheese? I’d love to hear what it is!