Tangy, melty, gooey, crumbly. There are so many varieties of cheese and I think I love them all. However, I find that home cooks are very discriminatory with their cheese choices and have segmented certain types for specific uses. We think mozzarella for lasagna and pizza, shredded Monterrey jack for tacos and Parmesan to top all pasta dishes. I have to say this loudly - YOU'RE MISSING OUT! One of the best ways to change up an old staple or even introduce more dimension to a dish is by using something familiar in a new way. Here are some ways I beg you to try - your tastebuds and your dinner buddies will happily thank you.
Feta has a great salty tang that elevates weeknight pasta with tomato sauce. It's also amazing when melted so mix it with a can of diced tomatoes, pop it in your oven at 350 for 15 minutes and you have a new and easy dip for crusty bread.
Parmesan is a great staple but I have some rules. Don't buy it in a can and spend the extra dollars to buy a smaller, good piece and grate it yourself. The taste is immensely stronger meaning you need less for any dish. Try it on tacos, over grilled sweet potatoes and don't throw away the rind. Place it in your freezer and pop it into any pot of simmering soup - this gives your soup amazing background flavor (just don't forget to throw out the rind before you eat!).
Gruyere has a bold stinky flavor that I just adore. Replace even a portion of your traditional cheddar in mac & cheese and it will elevate this kid's meal into an adult treat! I've also found that in the middle of summer when pesto becomes ordinary (I know, how dare I say that!) mixing in a little gruyere gives more punch to a pesto spread or sauce.
And there you have it, your first introduction to my love of cheese. And if you're looking for something quicker, simply pop open that bottle of wine and enjoy it with any of these cheese beauties.