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Talk Curdy To Me: National Cheese Day Recipes

June 4th is the single most important food holiday of the year: National Cheese

Day! There are endless ways to enjoy cheese on this holiday: fondue, melted in a

sandwich, eaten alongside cured meats on a charcuterie board or simply on its own. There's no shortage of ways to enjoy the glorious dairy delicacy that is cheese, but here are a few uber cheesy recipes worthy of celebration!



Strawberry Baked Brie


Baked Brie is usually associated with the holiday season, but this version sans puff pastry and with fresh strawberries is light and summery! Come on, look at that oozy cheese, how could you say no?


Image and recipe by Pizzazzerie.


Serves 6.


INGREDIENTS:

- 1 cup strawberries hulled and sliced

- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

- 1/2 cup walnuts roughly chopped

- 8 ounces brie wheel

- 2 tablespoons basil diced




DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, combine strawberries and balsamic vinegar.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Place brie wheel on parchment and top with strawberry mixture. Add on chopped walnuts and bake for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven, top with diced basil, and serve immediately with crostini, crackers, or baguette rounds.

 

Beecher's "World's Best" Mac & Cheese


When only the best will do.


Image and recipe by Beecher's Handmade Cheese.


Serves 4.


INGREDIENTS:

- 6 ounces penne pasta

- 8 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

- 1-1/2 cups milk

- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

- 2 ounces Just Jack cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

- Pinch garlic powder


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

  2. Cook penne 2 minutes less than package directions. Rinse in cold water and set aside.

  3. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk while whisking. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

  4. Add 1-3/4 cups Flagship cheese, 1/4 cup Just Jack cheese, salt, 1/4 tsp. chili powder, and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all in¬gredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.

  5. Combine pasta and sauce in a large bowl and mix carefully. Scrape into an 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and chili powder.

  6. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let Mac & Cheese sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese


This one's for the spice lovers!


Image and recipe by Cabot Creamery Co-operative.


Makes 2 sandwiches.


INGREDIENTS:

- 2 jalapeño peppers

- 4 ounces Cabot Cream Cheese, room temperature

- 4 ounces Cabot Pepper Jack, sliced

- 4 slices of thick bread like Texas Toast

- 1 tablespoon butter, softened

- Salt and pepper to taste



DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Slice the peppers in half, remove the membranes and seeds and stuff each half with 1 ounce of cream cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the prepared baking sheet.

  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the peppers and cheese have softened slightly, but still hold their shape.

  4. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Turn two of the slices over and top each with ¼ of the Pepper Jack cheese, two halves of the jalapeno poppers and the remaining cheese. Top with the remaining slices of bread buttered side up.

  5. Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium low heat and grill the sandwiches until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, about 3 – 5 minutes per side.

 

Authentic Cacio e Pepe


Cheesy, peppery goodness from only 4 ingredients.


Image and recipe by Pina Bresciani.


Serves 2.


INGREDIENTS:

- 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

- 2 1/2 cups pecorino romano grated

- 250 g spaghetti

- salt for the pasta water


DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a pot, bring water to boil. Make sure the water doesn't fill the pot – it should be shallow (ie. a lot less than the normal amount of water you would use to boil pasta). Lightly salt the water when it comes to a boil.

  2. In the mean time, finely grate the pecorino.

  3. With a mortar and pestle, grind up the peppercorns to a fine consistency. Set 1.5 tsp of the pepper aside- this is the pepper you will be using.

  4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook it for half of the amount of time indicated on the box. It will finish cooking in the pan.

  5. While the pasta is cooking, heat a stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add the 1.5 tsp of pepper and toast it, maximum one minute. You should smell the aroma of black pepper, but don't burn it.

  6. Once the pepper is toasted add a ladle of pasta water to the pan.

  7. Boil the pasta for half the amount of time that the package indicates (eg. if it says, 10 minutes on the package, boil it for 5 minutes). Add the pasta to the pan (it will finish cooking in the pan).

  8. Over medium heat, let the pasta finish cooking in the pan. Move it around with tongs, and by shaking the pan when it is cooking. Add pasta water as needed. The point is to get the starch to release into the pan. You want there to be a little bit of starchy liquid left in the pan. This is what helps form the cream.

  9. While the pasta is cooking in the pan, add a small amount of pasta water to the grated pecorino. With a fork, mix the pasta water in until the mixture forms a paste. Set it aside.

  10. When the pasta is al dente, remove the pasta from the heat. Wait 30 seconds, and add the pecorino mixture to the pan, and stir quickly with tongs. A beautiful creamy consistency should form between the pecorino and the starchy liquid in the pan.

  11. Plate, and spoon the creamy sauce on top. Add more fresh pepper if desired. Enjoy your cacio e pepe!



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