Behold the power of Cheese.
I love cheese, who doesn’t? So of course I was thrilled when I was selected by the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program to participate in a Sargento taste test. Our challenge: compare any of Sargento’s 100% natural cheese (made only from natural ingredients) to a processed cheese product.
First off, I am not a processed cheese type person, I can’t remember the last time I purchased anything that was called “cheese product”. I love artisanal cheeses and we all know how fond I am of fresh cheese curds. Back in the day though, I would pick up pre-packed cheese if I was in a hurry to make something or didn’t have the time to shred cheese myself.
I stopped by one of my local grocery stores to check out the selection. I knew first off that I wanted to bring home some cheddar and I also picked up the reduced sodium provolone and colby-jack cheese.
With the processed cheese, provolone and colby-jack, I whipped up three different types of grilled cheese. To me, it was the best way to taste each cheese and see their “melt-ability”.
To no surprise, the processed cheese was my least favorite. I didn’t buy the yellow american, that we all grew up with but instead pick a white southwestern flavor instead hoping for something different. It was still gross, barely melted and tasted like plastic. My husband said it reminded him of glue.
On to the next two, I spruced them up a bit by adding prosciutto to the provolone and salami to the colby-jack. The lack of sodium definitely affected the flavor of the provolone, but it was not a bad cheese and if I was in a pinch I would certainly use it again. It melted, but not as well as the colby-jack. That was the my favorite of the three. It was also reduced-sodium but had the most flavor out of the bunch. I’ll be snacking on this and probably taking it for lunch the rest of the week. My husband also agreed that the colby-jack was the best.
With the bag of shredded cheddar that I purchased, I made a tomato and cheddar pie. I had spotted this recipe in the August issue of Bon Appetit and I knew it would be delicious with my CSA tomatoes.
Recipe: From Bon Appetit
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1 cup buttermilk
Filling: 2 pounds large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4in slices
2 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal
For the crust:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Using your finger tips rub in the butter until a coarse meal forms. Stir in the buttermilk and knead gently with your hands until the dough forms. Wrap in plastic and chill for an hour.
For the filling:
Lay your tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with 2 layers of paper towels. Place another 2 layers of paper towels on top of tomatoes.
Let stand for 30 minutes to drain.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic to about 11” in diameter. The dough is very sticky, so I recommend dusting some flour on the dough or plastic wrap before rolling.
Remove the top layer of plastic and invert into the pie dish. Carefully remove the top layer of plastic.
Top both cheese in a medium bowl, reserving 1/4 cup.
In a small bowl, whisk scallions, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over bottom of crust, then top with 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Arrange 1/3 of the tomatoes over the cheese. Spread half of the mayonnaise mixture (about 1/3 cup) over. Repeat layering with 1 cup of cheese mixture, 1/2 of remaining tomato slices, and remaining mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese mixture over, then remaining tomato slices. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup cheese mixture. Fold overhanging crust up and over edges of tomato slices.
Bake pie until golden brown and cheese is melted and golden on top about 35-40 minutes. If the crust gets too dark about halfway through, tent with foil. Let sit for at least an hour before serving.