Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day Two Forty Five - Results

Well folks it sure has been an eventful day for me, thankfully all the minor hiccups have been resolved! And without further ado, let's get to those results right?

Contestant Number #1 - Fondue : Unfortunately this fantastic melted bowl of goodness is not this week's winner, why you may ask? Well that's because even though the curds have such an ease of meltability, they do not function as successfully when combined with other cheeses in a dip or fondue setting. Should the curds be combined with other cheeses, it is best to do so in the form of a sauce for a pasta dish such as mac n' cheese, so that it has a form of carb absorption.

Contestant Number #3 - Pizza : This was an easy no as well, however again, you might ask why. You must think, if she just told me that curds when melted could potentially work with other cheeses with the backdrop of a carb, why wouldn't they work with a pizza crust and in this case, my honest response is that white cheddar curds or cheese curds in general do not meld with tomato sauce in terms of the nuances of each's flavor profile. So then you might say, why couldn't you utilize other toppings for the pizza? Yes you definitely could but if you ask me, the best usage of cheese curds is in baking which brings us to why contestant number two has won this week.

Contestant Number #2 - Muffins : Our winner this week because as previously mentioned the best use of cheese curds is in baking -- easy to blend in with a bread or muffin batter and when baked, you will get multiple cheesy morsels of goodness in every bite, each more concentrated than say grating cheese into a batter; this way you won't get hints of cheese but it will be a more forward cheese presence. With that let's get to the recipe for this week!

Two Cheddar Dill Chive Muffins

3 eggs
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of gluten free flour (This will make the muffins gummier and chewier!)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/3 cup of EVOO
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 8oz bag of white cheddar dill cheese curds
1/2 lb of Grafton village 1 year aged cheddar
2 tablespoons dices chives
Black pepper
Crushed Red Pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine dry ingredients, herbs, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Combine wet ingredients with curds and 2/3rds of the grated Grafton. Now whisk everything together and place in muffin tins, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of each muffin and place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Upon taking a bite, you will get the young creamy punch of the curds with the nutty firm notes of the aged Cheddar!

As promised, another curdy idea could be making a white cheddar dill cheese polenta with Rosemary and thyme and topped with mixed mushrooms and wilted arugula. I tend to be a little lazy and do buy the Roland polenta cornmeal mixture which is easily cooked in a decently sized sauce pot with some water, EVOO, the herbs I mentioned, of course the curds and some garlic. Cook over lowheat until polenta thickens. While the polenta is cooking, dice up a nice melody of mushrooms and sauté with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little mustard, some red wine, shallots and oregano. For the wilted arugula, you need to just throw it in a pan with some EVOO for about three minutes. Once everything is finished, place a nice large spoonful of polenta in a bowl, top with some wilted arugula, sauteed mushrooms, and slivers of Parmesan and now you have a delish dinner!

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