April 7, 2010

cheese, glorious cheese

i'm trying to give up cheese. it may seem odd that cheese is something i need to give up, but i LOVE cheese. maybe it's a holdover from my vegetarian days, or just the proven fact that cheese is one of the top things in life, along with coca-cola, sex, books, and david bowie.

so i'm trying to relegate cheese to the status of a treat, as i have dealt with my other previously mentioned obsession, coke. coke is it, yo!  sorry, got distracted.  with the possible exception of parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino romano (which in theory are not eaten in large quantities) i am going to eat cheese on holidays only. official holidays, my birthday and anniversary. no arbor day, or patriot's day, or guy fawkes day...although any holiday is an option should i really hanker for a hunk o' cheese!

the only way i can think of accomplishing this heretofore never imagined feat is to outlaw cheese in my house. if there is cheese in the fridge, i will eat it.  if there is cheddar cheese in that fridge, i will eat it as a meal!

now, one of the things i hate most about the way our culture deals with food and dieting is that we have these 'guilty' or 'sinful' or 'bad vs. good' labels for everything food-related. so i'm never going to say 'cheese is bad.' it's just that, for me, it's too much of a damn good thing ;).

so...what to do to with those odds and ends of the various cheeses i will now not be eating? there is a lovely something known as fromage fort, or in much less lyrical english, strong cheese. many recipes for this concoction exist, but i usually, oh so surprisingly, just throw stuff in with abandon and it always comes out well!

when first making this, i followed this recipe, from the inimitable jacques pepin. now i eyeball everything, based on how much cheese i have.

fromage fort
cheese [can be a mixture of any kinds: brie, blue, swiss, goat, cow, sheep, etc.]
garlic [grated or minced], at least 1 clove, or to taste
white wine, 1/4 - 1/2 cup [amount will vary based on how much cheese used]
salt and pepper, to taste

chop cheese into small pieces, removing any rind, and add to food processor. if using harder cheeses, like parmigiano, it's easier to grate before blending.

add white wine gradually; it's easy to add more to reach desired consistency, but difficult if you put too much in to start. add garlic, pepper and salt, if necessary. the cheese may be salty enough without this addition, so use your own judgement.

blend until smooth and creamy. add more wine as necessary until the consistency is to your liking.

chill until slightly firm and eat with bread or crackers or what have you while listening to the labyrinth soundtrack (that last part is just a serving suggestion). can also be eaten straight out of the food processor, but it is better after a bit of fridge time. m. pepin also suggests putting it on bread and broiling it, which is deliciously tasty as well.

now...why am i giving up cheese again!??!?


Elizabeth Gallo said...

ok. now i have to go have cheese for lunch! great post, t -- can't wait to make fromage fort!

Happy Holidays said...

i was so enthralled with the high end cheese display a few weeks ago i blindly walked right into some post to prevent carts from hitting the display... i had a HUGE bruise on my thigh for the better part of a week from the thing... i thought to myself... perhaps i too should give up cheese... bacchus loves it when i decide a brick of cheddar, some crackers and wine will be dinner... he knows i like to share...

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