5 Best Gourmet Cheeses


Many people are familiar with the famous cheeses; mozzarella, cheddar, American and provolone. While these can all be delicious and excellent parts of an meal there are ways to spice up your diet with gourmet cheeses that you may be less familiar with. This article will provide you with five gourmet cheeses that you can enjoy.

cheese

Halloumi is a cheese from the island of Cyprus that can be very delicious and can add a foreign flavor to your cheese experience. Halloumi is white in color and similar in texture and taste to mozzarella cheese. Where Halloumi really shines is as a grilling cheese as it maintains its shape and texture on the grill. Halloumi is commonly served grilled (with grill marks and all) and accompanied with lemon and fresh parsley. As an alternative, try Halloumi in a sandwich accompanying tomatoes and baby spinach.

Ricotta cheese is well known but a gourmet cheese that can add as an alternative is ricotta salada. Unlike ricotta, ricotta salada is a longer lasting cheese. To make ricotta salada cheese makers apply salt to the outside of ricotta which works to draw the water out of the cheese. As such, ricotta salada is no longer a soft cheese and has a more aged and less fresh flavor. Many people use ricotta salada with pasta as a topping which is quite an excellent flavor.

Burrata is a cheese that is derived from mozzarella cheese. Unlike mozzarella cheese burrata is stuffed with cream and when you slice into it the cream will leak out onto the plate. As a result of the cream, the flavor of burrata is very rich and fresh, though it is not long lasting and should be consumed within a day of being purchased.

A swiss cheese known as coffee cheese is a semi-hard cheese that stands up to the high temperatures of coffee melting only slightly. It is commonly placed into the coffee and absorbs much of the flavor of the coffee as a result. When it melts it absorbs the flavor and is consumed once the coffee is finished.

While many people are familiar with the sharp aged cheese known as blue cheese, a gourmet alternative is Roquefort. French in origin, Roquefort cheese is known as a stinky cheese with deep blue veins of mold. While the sharp flavor can cause some to run away from it, other people love the sharp and strange flavor from the cheese. If you like stinky cheeses like blue cheese, Roquefort cheese can be an excellent alternative that is gourmet in nature.

Finding the gourmet cheeses can be difficult in comparison to some of the more common varieties. Try shopping at a gourmet cheese Columbus shop to find a gourmet cheese that you may be interested in. Remember to shop around and experiment. You may find something unique that you really and truly love.

 

Healthy Drinks For The Summer

smoothiesYour summer vacation doesn’t have to be around roasted chicken and hams. Instead, add delicious, healthy, cold and colorful to every snack time to satisfy the senses, boost nutrition, and reduce the risk of health conditions. Following are some of the summertime drink recipes for you to enjoy.

Papaya Pudding Smoothie – This drink is creamy, sweet and beta-carotene rich but sugar and dairy free.
Ingredients: 1 cup cubed papaya, 1 large peeled banana, 3 figs, and 1 teaspoon soy lecithin granules.
Direction: Blend the papaya in a blender jar briefly. Add banana and process again. Add figs and soy lecithin granules and blend until smooth. Serve chilled in dessert cup or over yogurt. You can also use mango in place of papaya or substitute dates for figs. Sprinkle with cinnamon or spice of your favorite before serving.

Multi-fruit Ginger Ale – Multi-fruit ginger ale is a low sugar choice for a summer snack. The sweet fruit combo sweetens the bite of the sour variety.
Ingredients: 3 sliced apples, 1 inch fresh chopped ginger root, 1/2 cup seedless grapes, 1/2 chopped lemon, and water.
Direction: Blend the apple and ginger root. Add the rest of the fruits and process again until smooth. Pour into large glasses. Fill the glass with water and ice. You can use blackberries in place of grapes. Garnish the drink with mint leaves or top with a few dried fruits.

Anthocyanin Cooler – Anthocyanins are substances that are considered to be powerful antioxidants. They are found in the skins of fruits and vegetable such as strawberries, goji berries and raspberries.
Ingredients: 12 fresh large raspberries, 6 ounces of water, lemon tea ice cubes, 2 ounces of raw honey and mint leaves for garnish.
Direction: Place raspberries in a blender jar with water and honey. Puree mixture. Fill two chilled glasses with crushed ice. Divide puree into two glasses and garnish with fresh mint. You can substitute strawberries for raspberries or top dried goji berries before serving.

Vitamin C Colada – This is a Vitamin C containing drink from four sources.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 1/4 cup herbal tea, crushed ice, 2 springs of rosemary, orange slices for garnish.
Direction: Put juices into blender with tea and blend thoroughly. Put ice in each glass and pour in blended mixture. Garnish with orange slices or fresh mint.

Xango Juice – Xango juice is a ready made fruit drink that contains apple, pear, grape, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, citric acid and cherry, along with xanthanoid compounds from mangosteen percarp. This is a safer substitute to keep you cool during summer. Have one or two glasses of this juice between meals every day.

Easy Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

easy chicken enchiladas In the mood for Mexican food tonight? We have you covered! These easy creamy chicken enchiladas are simple and taste amazing.We combined it with some fresh pineapple and green salad. Maybe not the most traditional Mexican sides but we have been trying to eat healthier and thought they would still make delicious sides.

Ingredients:

2 lbs cooked chicken (boiled and shredded)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1.25 oz taco seasoning packet
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chilies
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz container of sour cream
12 flour tortillas
1/4-1/2 cup of cheese

Precook 2 pounds of chicken and shred it. I just used my Ninja  Ninja Blenderfor a few seconds and I had instant shredded meat. (Just don’t do it too long or you might have baby food chicken!) And add the onion and 1/2 of the can of green chilies then mix well.

shredded chicken

In a separate bowl stir together the remainder of the green chilies, the chicken soup, and sour cream. Mix well.

cream of chicken

Coat a 9X12 (or similar size) pan lightly with cooking spray and put 1/2 of the sour cream mixture into the bottom of the pan. Then place a spoonful of sour cream mixture and spoonful of meat on tortilla and roll up. Place in pan.

preparing sour cream enchiladas

Top with remaining sour cream mixture and shredded cheese.

Cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until warm.

easy chicken enchiladas

 

White Chocolate Popcorn

white chocolate popcornWhats for dessert? White chocolate popcorn! It is easy and you only need 3 ingredients. This recipe can be done with either microwaved popcorn or air popped popcorn. We all like the air popped better but if you don’t have an air popper don’t worry you can still enjoy this treat.

Ingredients:

1 scoop of popcorn kernels
1/2 bag of white chocolate chips
Dash of salt

Pop your popcorn then remove the unpopped and small kernels. We do this by pulling out handfuls of popcorn from the bowl and placing it on a cookie sheet. After you have thrown out the bad pieces put the popcorn back in the bowl.

airpopped popcorn
popped popcornMicrowave 1/2 bag of white chocolate pieces in the microwave. Make sure not to burn it. We do it for 30 seconds then mix, then 30 more seconds mix, and if needed 10 more seconds till it is a creamy consistency.

melting white chocolate

Drizzle the white chocolate on top of the popcorn and mix together.

white chocolate popcorn mixing white chocolate popcorn

After mixing let the popcorn cool for a couple minutes in the fridge or if you are in Utah like us, we just set it outside right now. We place it on the cookie tray but you could leave it in the bowl. You could also add things like M&M’s or candy cane shavings.

white chocolate popcorn

Hearty Winter Soup

winter soupYesterday I wanted to make something super simple that would last me a couple days so I decided to make soup! I have never made soup without a recipe but I thought what the heck I’ll give it a try. I just combined a lot of ingredients into a pot and 25 minutes later had dinner for around 5 dollars.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 large can tomato sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chili’s (not drained)
3 stalk of celery
2 large potatoes
1 green pepper
2 large carrots
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 yellow onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 can of corn (drained)
1 can of french cut green beans (drained)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes to a large stock pot. Then fill the large tomato can with either water or vegetable stock. Add cut up potatoes, celery, green pepper, and carrots to the pot.

chopped vegetables

Let simmer for about 20 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.

winter soup directions

hearty winter soup

While the vegetables are cooking saute the onion and garlic  in 1 tbs of butter.

saute onion

Add the meat and cook completely.

meat and onions

Add the meat, corn, and green beans and let cook for another 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

winter soup

 

Creamy Tomato and Chicken Pasta

creamy tomato chicken pastaLooking for a super simple cheap meal tonight? This creamy tomato pasta is so easy and tastes awesome and perfect for 2 people.

Ingredients:

1/2 small yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 can of tomato or pasta sauce
1/2 cup cream
Fettuccine
1 cup cooked chicken

Directions

Cook fettuccine according to package and prepare the sauce while the pasta cooks.

boiling pasta

Dice the onion and garlic and saute in 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs olive oil.

sauteing onions

Add tomato sauce and chicken then add cream. Combine with drained pasta.

tomato sauce

Top with Parmesan and enjoy!

creamy tomato with chicken pasta

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pizza

I’m a huge pizza lover, but it can sometimes become an unhealthy meal. I wanted to find a yummy, healthy pizza that I could make at home. Last night I made this spinach artichoke chicken pizza and I know I’ll be making it again! Easy and healthy, my two favorite parts of a recipe (besides dessert, in which case healthy isn’t part of the equation).

What you need:

1 whole wheat pizza crust
Olive oil
1/2 onion
1 Tblsp minced garlic
2 cups spinach
1 can artichoke hearts
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked chicken

To make it easier and save time, I chose to buy a pre-made pizza crust. I got the whole wheat (which tasted so good with the final product).

Directions:

1. Pre heat oven to 475 degrees F

2. Precook your chicken and cut into cubes

3. Brush the crust with 1 tbsp olive oil

4. Cook onion and minced garlic in the remaining olive oil

5. Brush the onion and garlic mixture onto the crust

6. Add a layer of mozzarella cheese

Homemade spinach artichoke pizza

7. Add spinach, chicken, and artichoke

8. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top

Homemade spinach artichoke pizza

9. Cook for 10-12 minutes

10. Add parmesan cheese and you’re done!

Homemade French Fries

homemeade french fries recipeLooking for a great appetizer for a movie night or the big game? Homemade french fries are delicious and actually pretty easy to make. The best part is you only need three ingredients! Potatoes, oil, and salt. We love making homemade fries they are easy, taste amazing, and we know what goes in them.

The easiest way to make fries is if you have a deep fryer but if not you can just use a big pot with oil (as long as you have a thermometer and can keep your temperature constant). We fry all sorts of food so we got a big deep fryer so we could make bigger batches and have easier clean up. We purchased this T-Fal Deep Fryer from Amazon. Trust me if you fry often this is the way to go, don’t skimp an get a small fryer. Go for the gusto!

We use vegetable oil but if you want to be a bit healthier you can try a different oil. If you choose to use a different oil remember your fries may taste a bit odd. Make sure you get nice sized Russet Idaho potatoes, there isn’t anything better for fries.

Alright now it is time to learn how to make the perfect batch of fries. Hint: There is a big secret so keep reading and follow these directions! First get the oil really hot (we set our fryer to 375 degrees). While the oil is getting hot peel and cut the potatoes. Make sure you get all the eyes removed so you just have skin free potatoes. In the picture below you would want to cut out the long brown line through the potato and the little brown eyes still in the picture.

raw potato for homemade french fries

After you have nice looking potatoes cut the potatoes into long thick wedges. You don’t want little fries otherwise they will burn and make you very sad.

cut-potato-wedges for homemade fries

After you have cut the potatoes into wedges put them into a bowl of water. Do NOT skip this step. Potatoes have tons of starch and soaking them in water will help get rid of the starch and make for better fries. Don’t trust me? Try it one time and look at the bowl at the end of the night, all the starch will be at the bottom of the bowl.

cut french fries in waterAfter you have your potatoes cut you are ready to begin. We eat a lot of fries so we cut anywhere from 8-10 pounds of potatoes for 3 or 4 people. You may not need that many, but let’s be honest once you start it is hard to stop!

Pull out a handful of the cut potatoes, just enough to get  a few more than a single layer of fries in your fryer, and then put them in a strainer to get rid of excess water before frying. Don’t overload it otherwise your fries won’t turn out.Be very careful of splashing oil if you didn’t get most of the water off.

cut fries in strainer

As soon as you put the potatoes in the oil the oil temperature drops due to the potatoes, which is good because at this point we don’t want our fries to get burned on the outside and not cooked in the inside. Turn the temperature down to around 330 and cook the fries for 9 minutes.  They won’t look done and guess what they aren’t! Ready for a secret, what makes these fries the best you will ever have is that they are fried twice.

After 9 minutes in the fryer your fries should look like this picture. If you were to eat it now your fry would be raw on the inside and not very good. So don’t!

Fries halfway doneAnd then lay the half done fries on paper towels on the counter. Turn up the heat again all the way till the oil is hot and then repeat the steps for all the rest of your batches until you have a counter full of half done fries.

fries halfway done laid out on counter

I know you are probably drooling and ready to eat your fries and it is almost time. Don’t worry! The next step is pretty fast. Turn your fryer all the way up. For us that means 375. Cook the fries for only 3 to 3:30 minutes in the same size batches as the first go around. Pull out and salt your fries and eat up (you won’t even need ketchup. While you are eating your first complete batch, make sure your oil gets back up to temperature and then start the second batch and so on. You can eat fries all night.Yes these may take a bit more work than heading to McDonald’s but they are worth it.

homemeade french fries recipe

 

Rainbow Cheesecake

rainbow cheesecakeLooking for one of the most amazing desserts ever? This rainbow cheesecake will wow anyone that sees or eats this cake! I got this recipe from babystepz.com. I will be honest this isn’t the quickest recipe (mostly because of cooking and cooling time) but the prep time is actually pretty fast.

 

Here is what you need:

Crust

  • 2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 2 sleeves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Filling

  • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 each of liquid food colors

To make this cake make sure your Springform Pan (I use this one because it doesn’t leak, even after more than a year) is waterproof. If you aren’t sure if your pan is waterproof wrap the bottom in at least 2 layers of tinfoil.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating make the crust.

Start by putting gram crackers in a Ziploc bag and crush them into tiny pieces using a rolling pin. I used about 2 of the 3 sleeves in the gram cracker box.

water proofing springform pan

Put the crushed gram crackers in a bowl and combine with the other dry ingredients for the crust and mix them well.

making gram cracker crust

Mix the softened butter, a little at a time to the mixture, then put into the springform pan. Make sure to press the crust into an even bottom layer.

making gram craker crust

Cook the crust for 10 minutes. Pull out the crust and turn down the oven to 325 degrees. Let the crust cool completely (you can put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process)

cheesecake crust

The filling is super simple to make. Cut the 4 packs (2lbs) of cream cheese  into chunks and mix until smooth. It took about 3 minutes in my KitchenAid. Next add the sugar to the creme cheese and mix for another 3-4 minutes until smooth. Next add vanilla, salt, sour cream, and heavy cream; beat until smooth. Then add one egg in at a time.

rainbow cream cheese filling

Pull out 6 medium size bowls and pour the batter evenly. Add food coloring to each bowl to make the colors of the rainbow.

rainbow cheesecake ingredients

Then choose what order you want from outside to inside and pour each bowl into the center of the cheesecake. The cheesecake will spread out and give you the cool color rings of the rainbow.

rainbow cheesecake

Next comes the only scary part. Fill up a cookie sheet with 3/4 to 1 inch of water and put it into the oven. Set the springform pan in the water bath and let the cheesecake cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

After the cake has cooked for the hour and forty five minutes turn off the oven and crack the oven door and allow the cake to cool for another hour inside the oven. Doing this will help the cake cool down at a more gradual temperature and help the cheesecake not crack.

rainbow cheesecake

Take the cheesecake out of the water bath and cover with tinfoil and let it cool in the fridge for 4 hours. Then cut and enjoy.

rainbow cheesecake