Cheese of the Week – Gouda

July 3, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Posted in cheese, Food | Leave a comment
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Named after the Dutch town of Gouda, just outside Rotterdam. It accounts for more than 60% of the cheese produced in Holland and it has a very long history. Gouda is a traditional, creamery, hard cheese. It is round with very smooth, yellow, waxed rind. The flavor is sweet and fruity. As time passes, the taste intensifies and becomes more complex. Mature Gouda (18 months plus) is coated in black wax which provides a stark contrast to the deep yellow interior. Gouda is considered to be one of the world’s great cheeses. It is both a table cheese and a dessert cheese, excellent with fruit and wine. Gouda is now made globally in a style similar to the creation of Edam.
Country: Holland
Milk: cow milk
Texture: semi-hard
Fat content: 40 %
Gouda  is an orange cheese made from cow’s milk. The cheese is named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands, but its name is not protected. However, the European Commission has confirmed that “Gouda Holland” is to be protected (although “Gouda” itself is not). Cheese under the name of Gouda is currently made and sold all around the world.
The cheese is from cultured milk that is heated until the curds separate from the whey. Some of the whey is then drained, and water is added. This is called “washing the curd”, and creates a sweeter cheese, as the washing removes some of the lactic acid. About ten percent of the mixture are curds, which are pressed into circular moulds for several hours. These moulds are the essential reason behind its traditional, characteristic shape. The cheese is then soaked in a brine solution, which gives the cheese and its rind a distinctive taste. The cheese is dried for a few days before being coated to prevent it from drying out, then it is aged. Depending on age classification, it can be aged a number of weeks to over seven years before it is ready to be eaten. As it ages, it develops a caramel sweetness and sometimes has a slight crunchiness from salt-like calcium lactate or tyrosine crystals that form in older cheeses. After 24 months of aging, sodium chloride crystals start to form around the outside casing of the cheese. These crystals are usually removed with a soft cloth.
The term “Gouda” is now a universal name, and not restricted to cheese of Dutch origin. The term “Noord-Hollandse Gouda” is

Gouda at a cheese market

registered in the EU as a Protected Geographical Status. The cheese itself was originally developed in Gouda which is in the Dutch province South Holland. The main distributor during this period of time was Pieter’s Kaas (Owned by Dutch priest Peter Haase)

Within the Netherlands, the cheeses vary based on age and additional ingredients. From young to old, these are: “Graskaas”, “Jong”, “Jong belegen”, “Belegen”, “Extra belegen”, “Oud” and “Overjarig”. Younger cheeses are creamier while older cheeses are harder and saltier.
Stinging nettle cheese, or “Brandnetelkaas”, is a type of gouda that contains stinging nettles (Urtica dioica). The small, green particles give the cheese a distinct flavour and appearance. Another variety of gouda contains small pieces of red capsicum, imparting a mildly spicy flavor.
Gouda is exported in two varieties: Young Gouda cheese, aged between 1 and 6 months, is a rich yellow in color and with a red or yellow paraffin wax coating. This cheese is easily sliced with a cheese slicer. Older Gouda cheese has a pungent underlying bitterness, yet is considerably creamier; it sometimes is discernible by a black paraffin wax coating. This strong-tasting cheese is hard and often brittle.
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat pasta
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon paparika
4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese,
shredded
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10 inch casserole dish.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until a roux forms. Stir in the milk, salt and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth and thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
4. Combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce; transfer to prepared dish.

Start the Year off Right!

January 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Posted in baking, Food, grilling | 1 Comment
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On New Year’s Day, people around the world set the table with foods that are said to bring good luck and prosperity.

For instance, many cultures believe that eating doughnuts will get you more than a flabby tummy. In the Netherlands, anything in the shape of a ring is considered good luck because it symbolizes coming full circle, completing a year’s cycle. So for the Dutch, it’s doughnuts for New Year’s.

And in the American South, there’s a saying that, if you eat peas on New Year’s Day, you’ll have plenty of everything the rest of the year, which is why the dish Hoppin’ John made with black-eyed peas is so popular in many parts of the United States.

Pork plays a role in many countries’ feasts, including Germany, where it’s served with sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, which is considered another lucky dish, because the leaves are said to represent paper money.

Lentils and pork: In Brazil, as in Italy, bowls of little coin-shaped lentils will be served up to signify wealth. To make the dish even better, chunks of pork sausage are added.

Hidden coin: In Greece, St. Basil’s Cake is served with a gold or silver coin inside. The first slice is for St. Basil (New Year’s Day coincides with St. Basil’s Day, which is named for one of the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church), the second slice is for the house and the next slices go to the most senior resident down to the youngest. The one who finds the coin will be blessed with good fortune in the coming year.

Watermelon: For the Vietnamese, watermelon is a sign of luck because of its red flesh. People even dye the seeds red and serve them as delicacies.

Red snapper and soba noodles: Red (or pink) is also considered a lucky color in Japan, where red snapper is served up, as well as long soba noodles. The belief is if you can suck up one noodle completely without it breaking, you will have a long life.

Rice, herring and cod: Rice turns up on New Year’s tables from Vietnam to Scandinavia, where a silky rice pudding is served. Like the St. Basil’s coin, an almond is hidden in the pudding, and the lucky recipient is said to enjoy good fortune.

Grapes: In Spain and Portugal, as well as Mexico and Cuba, it’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. According to the legend, Spain enjoyed a gigantic grape harvest at the turn of the 20th Century. The Spaniards considered that a huge stroke of luck, so a dozen grapes from a bunch are eaten in celebration and to ensure another 12 months of happiness.

Sources: Chicago Sun Times

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