3 tips to make this the cheesiest year ever
(BPT) - Looking for a stress-free and undeniably delicious snack for your family game night? Want to surprise a special person you haven’t seen in a while with a gift delivery? Or do you simply want to kick grandma’s recipes up a notch this year? The solution is simple: cheese. Not just any cheese; awesome cheese.
Cheese makes everything better. That’s why Josh Gentine, a third-generation member of the Sargento Foods legacy, founded The Big Cheese Co. Well, that, and he got his hands on some extra-sharp, 12- to 15-year aged Wisconsin cheddar. According to Gentine, cheese ages like fine wine, getting sharper and more complex with each passing year. He maintains his cheddar is “the sharpest you’ve ever tasted,” adding jokingly, “it’s so sharp it has a British accent, and it was so good that it was worth starting this new company.”
With that in mind, here are three tips for making this year your cheesiest ever.
Tip 1: Sharpest surprise
Cheese is the perfect gift. “Cheese is our common denominator,” says Gentine. “There are only two types of people in this world: people who already love cheese and people who need to try The Big Cheese.”
With The Big Cheese, blocks are sent directly to your doorstep, so you can send a little love without leaving the sofa. A 2.5-pound block to your foodie aunt, a 5-pounder to the family of four. A 40-pound behemoth sent directly to the door of your friend who’s always entertaining (or will be, once that's safe again). It’s an unexpected gift that you can be confident will be enjoyed and not regifted or left to gather dust in a hallway closet.
Tip 2: Charcuterie champion
Charcuterie boards have become their own popular subgenre . Some would say a full-fledged movement, with people creating over-the-top, picture-perfect trays packed with premium deli and dairy. The art of the board is all about balance, in color and flavor. Put your folded, reddish cuts of cured meat opposite pale cheeses, next to green olives or grape garnish. Mix and match an assortment of hard and soft cheeses with tapenades and spreads. Temper the salty meats with sweeter fruits like pears or apples. Or keep it simple when you’re looking for something quick and tasty for family movie night. Simply pile up the plate the way they like it, so everyone has options.
Pro Pointer: Serve your extra-sharp, aged cheddar (and other cheeses) at room temperature. When cheese is too cold, its taste is muted. By allowing cheese to come to room temperature, you’re allowing its flavors to come out and join the party.
Tip 3: Sharpen a family favorite
Family recipes that stay the same year after year can become tired or stale, so add a little zing with a cheesy kick. The secret is the sharp cheddar. Adding shreds of the zesty treat brings more complexity to dishes. It’s the perfect way to amp up mac and cheese, bring extra creaminess to grits or polenta, elevate a grilled cheese sandwich or breathe second life into leftovers like turkey melts.
Try this recipe for a great new take on a family classic:
The Big Cheese Mac & Cheese
From Jessica Slomberg @NYCFoodComa
1 and 1/2 cups half-and-half
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add plenty of salt and 1 pound radiatori pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente (5-10 minutes depending on type of pasta).
For more information, visit TheBigCheese.com.
Easy tips for cooking your favorite fish and shellfish at home every time
(BPT) - Crab legs for a birthday. Scallops for an anniversary. Salmon for when family are in town. Many people enjoy eating seafood at restaurants as it is a favorite choice for celebratory meals. However, when it comes to cooking seafood at home, it can be intimidating. Seafood — fish and shellfish — is surprisingly simple to cook with a few tips and tricks.
"Seafood is easy, delicious and widely available, making it a great option for home cooks," says Linda Cornish, president of Seafood Nutrition Partnership. "Whether it is shellfish or a fillet of your favorite fish variety, seafood makes any day special. Plus, you can feel good about enjoying immune-boosting food rich in vitamins A, B and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and minerals such as calcium, selenium, iron, zinc and more."
To help kick up your confidence in the kitchen when cooking seafood, Seafood Nutrition Partnership and its partners from the Eat Seafood America! campaign offer simple kitchen tips:
The 10-minute rule: Measure the fish at its thickest point. Cook it on medium-high (about 375 degrees F) for 10 minutes per inch, turning halfway through the cooking time. That means a thin fish like sole or pollock cooks in about 4-5 minutes while a thicker salmon or tuna steak might be 15 minutes.
Test for the flake: The best way to tell if fish is done is by testing it with a fork: insert it at an angle at the thickest point and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done, and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.
Create foil packets: Foil makes cooking seafood and cleanup simple. Choose your seafood, such as shrimp or a piece of fish, and vegetables such as bell pepper, green beans, cherry tomatoes or zucchini. Use a large piece of foil and layer fish on top of veggies, season to taste, add a couple of lemon slices, and add a drizzle of oil before cooking in the oven, on the grill or even campfire.
Steam on the stovetop: Steaming is a popular way to cook shellfish due to its simplicity. Fill a deep pot with 1-2 inches of water, add wire rack and bring to a boil. Add seafood and cover to cook. Seafood like lobster, crab legs and shrimp will turn pink or red when done, so look for the bright color and then enjoy.
Stock up with canned and frozen options: Fill your freezer with seafood when it’s on sale, so there's something always ready to go when meal planning. When you’re at the grocery store, also grab canned seafood that is often a reasonably priced alternative. Then try adding into favorite recipes or toss into salads or pastas for an easy meal that is sustainable and planet-friendly.
Cook once, eat twice: Try doubling recipes to get ahead on cooking and have a dinner or lunch ready for later in the week. Recipes that freeze well, such as chowder or gumbo, are great to double. Also, consider cooking an extra piece of fish to use on a salad or in a sandwich the next day.
Explore grab-and-go options: Try pre-prepped seafood from your local grocery store to just bring home and heat. Instructions are typically on the package but if you have questions, ask the pros at the seafood counter.
Try new recipes: With everyone spending more time at home, it's fun to try new recipes. You can enjoy restaurant-quality seafood dishes at home in a few simple steps. Be inspired with this recipe that can be updated with whatever fish fillets or veggies you have on hand. For a quick one-pan meal, choose vegetables and slice them to cook in about the same time as your fish.
Pesto Salmon Sheet Pan
1/2 acorn squash, cubed
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. On a large sheet pan, place acorn squash, red onions, potatoes and cauliflower. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat well and place in single layer around the edges of the pan.
3. Add salmon to the sheet pan and spread with about half the pesto.
4. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness, until salmon is fork tender and fully cooked through.
5. Top with the remaining pesto and serve.
Share your finished seafood dish on social media and tag #EatSeafoodAmerica. For additional simple seafood recipes to try at home visit seafoodnutrition.org.
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