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Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheeseheads

Since we're not Wisconsin residents I guess we're not "official" cheeseheads. (Those from afar may not know that the state of Wisconsin produces the most cheese in the U.S.)

However, living all my life 15 miles from the Wisconsin border has definitely had an effect on me.
I adore cheese. It's one of those foods that I couldn't give up. I'd give up sugar and sweets before I would ever give up cheese. Truly.

There are 3 or 4 cheese factories within a 10 mile radius of my home. Yes, I am lucky. We have lots of opportunities to purchase local cheese.

There is a great town just over the border that has several stores which offer such cheeses. Oh, the varieties are vast. The smells are overwhelming. It's.... wonderful.

One such store has a bargain bin! They sell all their scratch & dent (for cheese this would be the end pieces with some rind on them) for $1.99 per pound. Sometimes the bargain bin is empty.

However, a few months ago we hit the motherload. The bargain bin was overflowing. We bought award-winning 2-year aged cheddar, jalapeno cheeses, smoked brick, smoked cheddar, dill cheddar, garlic curds, baby Swiss, aged Swiss, Romano, Parmesan, bleu, feta, Colby, Colby Swiss, and more. Yes, all for $1.99 per pound! Some of these cheeses normally cost $10 or more per pound.

We bought so much we had to bring it home in a huge box. And it wouldn't fit in our refrigerator...
What to do with all this cheese?


Luckily, I have a loving husband (who also likes cheese but I have yet to convert him to the "stinkier" varieties, lol. He's from the city.). He agreed to convert his beer fridge into a cheese fridge.

A few months later, and we still have the fridge almost half full of cheese! You should have seen the fridge when we first got home - it was so full we could barely close it. Mmmmm.....cheese.
For an easy, delicious cheese recipe check out my easy Alfredo sauce. It's made with cream cheese, parmesan cheese, butter, and milk.

I've made my own cheese. Check out New England Cheesemaking Supply Company for supplies. You'll need milk that is not ultra-pasteurized. It's supposed to state such on the gallon, so I originally bought some milk that simply stated "pasteurized". Well, no luck. The next time I tried, I used organic raw milk from a nearby farm. Success! I made mozzarella. I think when my kids are a tad older I'll get more into the cheesemaking.

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