Cheesiest column ever

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cheese is one food item I don't think I have ever devoted an entire column to. Sometimes cheese served simply is the best, with a cracker variety or homemade rolls. Cheese can be the star of a recipe or a complement ingredient that adds to the main attraction. However, cheese is delicious and deserving of its own column. Today it is all about cool and refreshing or warm and comforting cheese.

Hot Cheese in a Jar

2 pounds melted Velveeta cheese, do not substitute

1 medium onion, grated or ground

1 (5.33-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 pint Miracle Whip salad dressing, do not substitute

1 (8-ounce) can seeded, deveined jalapeno peppers, chopped fine, cut stems off if needed

Melt cheese in top of double boiler. Add onion, milk, Miracle Whip and peppers to melted cheese, and mix well. Pour into six (8-ounce) jelly jars. Cool, screw on caps, refrigerate. May be used as a cheese spread or let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to use as a dip. Ingredients may be mixed in a blender, then added to the melted cheese. Yields 6 jars.

The jars of cheese, tied with a ribbon, make nice gifts when something small would be appreciated. But remember, the jars are not processed and must be kept refrigerated.

Homemade Boursin

This recipe is easy and inexpensive and always a favorite when it is served.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon chives, chopped

Cracked black pepper or lemon pepper

Blend cream cheese with garlic, basil, caraway seeds, dill weed and chives. Pat into a round, flat shape. Roll all sides lightly in lemon pepper or cracked black pepper. Good to make a few days ahead or serve right away with assorted crackers.

Plains Cheese Ring

This recipe was one of first lady Rosalyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter's favorite recipes years ago and was a common appetizer on her table while entertaining.

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated, then allowed to soften

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup mayonnaise

1 small onion, grated

Black pepper, to taste

Dash cayenne

Strawberry preserves

Combine all ingredients except preserves. A food processor works well and eliminates the need to chop ingredients. Place in ring mold greased with a little mayonnaise. Chill. When ready to serve, unmold. Fill center with preserves. Serve with buttery crackers. Serves 12.

World's Best Pimento Cheese

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Handful fresh parsley

Several vigorous shots of Pickapepper and Tabasco sauces

1 cup pecans

1 small jar diced pimentos and all juice

12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Puree till smooth in processor the mayonnaise, cream cheese, garlic, parsley and sauces. Turn into a bowl. Now, in food processor, process just till coarsely chopped 1 cup pecans. Add pecans and pimentos, with juice, to mayonnaise mixture. Now grate in food processor 12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese. Turn into bowl with remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine.

Let stand, refrigerated, at least one hour. It is even better the next day.

Blintz Souffle

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

Sour cream, for topping

Blueberry syrup or assorted jams, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch dish and set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, orange juice, flour and baking powder until well blended. Pour 1/2 batter into prepared dish. Place remaining 1/2 aside. Prepare Blintz Filling.

Blintz Filling:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 pint small curd cottage cheese

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl or food processor fitted with metal blade, combine all ingredients. Mix until well blended. Drop filling by heaping spoonfuls over batter in dish. With a spatula or knife, spread filling evenly over batter, it will mix slightly with batter. Pour remaining batter evenly over filling. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately with sour cream and blueberry syrup or assorted jams. May be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Before baking, bring to room temperature. Yields 8 servings.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie

30 vanilla wafers, crushed

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup nondairy whipped topping

1 (10-ounce) box frozen raspberries, drained

3 to 4 chocolate toffee candy bars

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine wafers and butter. Pat into 9-inch pie plate. Bake 15 minutes. Turn off oven and leave crust in oven for 10 minutes; remove and cool. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and whipped topping. Add the raspberries. Fold and pour into crust. Crush candy bars in blender or food processor; sprinkle on top of pie. Chill 1 hour before serving. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Koch Kaese, Cooked Cheese

1 pound dry cheese, like cottage cheese

1 teaspoon baking soda

Butter

Approximately 1/2 cup sweet cream or evaporated milk

Salt, to taste

Caraway seeds

Mash cheese with a fork in a large bowl. Add baking soda, mashing it in well. Let stand until it gets smooth and clear, about 6 to 8 hours. Stir up well. Let stand until all runs together. Put a little butter in a skillet on heat, on top of stove. Add the cheese mixture. Heat slowly until it starts to cook. Add cream or evaporated milk and salt. Add caraway seeds. Be careful not to cook too long. It's very touchy. It likes to turn watery and gets very sticky. Serve on warm fresh homemade bread or rolls. Makes about 2 cups.

Have a great week and, until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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