A while back, I bought come extra sharp cheddar cheese at our local Costco. All I have to say about the “extra sharp” adjective is – HA! FAT CHANCE! It was about as sharp as a baseball. Needless to say, I can’t stand wasting food, so I had to find a way to use it up.
First up, Bacon Cheddar Quick Bread with Dried Pears, (by Dorie Greenspan in the October 2008 issue of Bon Appetit). Yes, I made something out of the magazine, even though I’ve been very disappointed with the change in format this year. For me, the biggest strike against the magazine is the microscopic, hard-to-read font that they’ve been using. A few months ago, I counted five different fonts on one page alone, and finally gave up. And, I’m not alone in my disappointment over the changes in a much-loved magazine. I really appreciate Bon Appetit trying to keep things fresh and interesting, but I think they went a bit too far.
Now that I’ve got that out of my system (thanks for listening), what can I say about this quickbread recipe from dear Dorie?
Pros: good texture and great idea. I will try it again, but I will tweak the recipe. Dorie offers some great alternate flavoring suggestions.
Cons: the flavor. I hated the bacon and the sage, and I used a quality bacon from Whole Foods, and I usually like sage. The aforementioned cheddar was completely indiscernible. Neither Master Chow nor I would eat more than a slice of this bread (and I picked all the bacon out of mine), so it sits in my freezer. If you decide to make it (and Brilynn had great results, so don’t be afraid), use a really, really sharp cheddar. The kind that will put hair on your chest.
What I will do differently in the future: no sage or bacon. I will use blue cheese, and increase the pears and walnuts. Did I say no sage?
On to experiment number 2 – a cheese souffle made with the same shameful IMPOSTOR of an extra-sharp cheddar cheese. If you’ve never made a souffle before, you should know that it is very important to make a strongly flavored base, so that the dish actually tastes like something once it has been mixed with the egg whites, and baked.
I got to work and doctored this recipe from Food and Wine by adding both anchovy paste and sundried tomato paste, since I didn’t have gruyere (nooooo, I had a crappy cheddar). Voilá! A pretty good cheddar cheese souffle and, unlike the savory bread, Master Chow had several servings of this, as did I. If you used a really good flavorful cheddar, this would be excellent. Recipe after the jump . . . .
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