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Hooked on Cheese: Ouleout

Hooked on Cheese: Ouleout

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Last week, I was at Eataly hanging out with Greg Blais, Eataly’s head cheesemonger and a long-time buddy of mine. We were hovering near the cheese counter doing what two guys like us like to do — namely, talking and eating cheese — when Greg suddenly grinned and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, it’s Jos!” I knew I had to meet anyone who could make Greg light up like that.

Jos was Jos Vulto, owner and head cheesemaker at Vulto Creamery, a small cheese producer based in Walton, N.Y. (located in the Catskills). As Jos approached, Greg reached into the cheese case and sliced me off a piece of Jos’ Ouleout, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese. After looking at and smelling it for a moment, my first thought was, “This guy is making real reblochon cheese!” It had the signature orange rind, was fudgy and gooey, and had a bit of a nose on it (read: it was smelly!). When I finally tasted it, it took me back to the days where every now and then a raw milk reblochon would find its way into America, and happily, into my hand. Those days may be long gone, but thankfully we Americans can now eat Ouleout instead.

When I asked Jos about his path into the cheese world, he said his trajectory was not a straightforward one. After initially moving to Brooklyn from Holland in order to pursue a career in the arts (he had been awarded an artist’s residency at the esteemed contemporary art institution PS1), he ended up discovering another passion: making cheese as a hobby in his Brooklyn home. After his cheeses’ popularity skyrocketed, he moved his operations to the country, where he now sources his milk from a small dairy farm of grass-fed Jersey cows. The milk is unpasteurized and his cheeses are aged between 60 and 90 days.

The Ouleout could be paired with a big red wine, sautéed garlic, herbed mushrooms, or marbled rye bread — anything with bold depth of flavor. However, one recipe in particular comes to mind as an incredible use for this cheese: tartiflette, a traditional French dish I’ve been craving for ages. To make a tartiflette, you cook potatoes and onions in herbs and garlic; then de-rind a reblochon, or in this case, an Ouleout cheese, and place it on top of the potatoes; then set the dish under a broiler until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly on top.

You can follow Raymond's cheese adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and his website. Additional reporting by Madeleine James.

Pickle Grilled Cheese (seriously delicious!)

Buttery, crispy and golden on the outside with melted cheddar cheese and thinly sliced pickle inside, this pickle grilled cheese sandwich is for all those pickle lovers out there. One bite of this cheesy pickle sandwich and you&rsquoll be hooked!

If you&rsquove been following along Girl Heart Food for a little while, you know my love for cheese runs deep.

Heck, as a kid, I even remember coming home from school, throwing cheddar on a plate, melting it in the microwave and digging in. The love is real.

So, any excuse to pile cheese onto something, I&rsquom in!

Just recently, hubby and I visited our local farmer&rsquos market.

Aside from veggies for sale, local vendors are selling all sorts of food, one of which is grilled cheese sandwiches.

Hubby and I ordered a couple and shared, one was a pickle grilled cheese sandwich.

We took it home and devoured. Both of us agreed that the dill pickle sandwich was our fave.

And since I&rsquom no stranger to grilled cheese sandwiches, you know I had to make my own!

If you&rsquore a pickle fan and a grilled cheese sandwich fan, then this bad boy is for you!

Serve with a big bowl of homemade tomato soup or a stack of potato chips and you&rsquore set for one comforting meal!

Two People Die after Eating Raw-Milk Cheese Made in New York State

Two people have died following an outbreak of listeria linked to a popular artisanal raw milk cheese made in upstate New York, the authorities said this week.

The deaths occurred in Vermont and Connecticut, local officials said. Four other people in New York and Florida reported feeling sick after eating Ouleout, the artisanal cheese, which is produced by Vulto Creamery in Walton.

Illnesses started on dates from Sept. 1 of last year to Jan. 22, the Food and Drug Administration said. All six people were hospitalized and two people died.

Ouleout has been celebrated across the United States as much for its unusual back story as for its flavor: It was created by Jos Vulto, a Dutch artist linked to the Museum of Modern Art, who started making cheese in his apartment and aging it under a sidewalk in Brooklyn.

Vulto Creamery, which produces Ouleout, said it was recalling the product, and, as a precautionary measure, three other soft washed-rind raw-milk cheeses: Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc. “We are very busy working on this recall with F.D.A. and our customers,” the creamery said in an email without offering details on the cause of the outbreak.

Listeria monocytogenes is a health risk often connected to unpasteurized dairy products. It can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, pregnant women and the elderly, the Public Health Department in Connecticut said.

“Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and fetal infection among pregnant women,” a statement said.

Vulto Creamery began contacting clients on March 3, asking them to return purchases of Ouleout after being informed of a listeria strain in a sample, the health department said. It issued a recall on March 7 and extended it to the three other brands.

The deaths highlighted concerns over safety regulations around artisanal cheese production in the United States, particularly around the raw-milk cheese segment, which re-emerged only about a decade ago, experts say. The outbreak has also revived a continuing debate between the virtues of raw-milk cheese, which aficionados say tastes better, and safety. Some customers swear only by pasteurized-milk cheese.

Europeans have eaten raw-milk cheese for hundreds of years. In France, for example, 15 percent of its cheese is made of unpasteurized milk, according to French agricultural statistics. The thinking is that when milk is cooked, or pasteurized, many of the flavor-rich enzymes are destroyed.

Ouleout, a soft washed-rind cheese that is aged for 60 days, “requires real craftsmanship” because it needs to retain a good amount of moisture even as it matures, said Carlos Yescas, program director at Oldways Cheese Coalition, a nonprofit organization that promotes artisanal cheese making. “Otherwise, the cheese will dry out really quickly.”

Washed-rind cheese is made by washing and curing the cheese in beer and other solutions, helping create its pungent flavor.

More than half of artisanal cheese produced in the United States is made of unpasteurized milk, Mr. Yescas said, adding that there are a number of ways in which the cheese could be contaminated.

Listeria, he said, could originate from the wood boards used to age the cheese, the water supply or improper sanitation, like walking in dirty boots. “It’s hard to pinpoint,” Mr. Yescas said.

In the United States, regulations on raw-milk cheese are less stringent than in Europe, where more steps are required to ensure that there is no contamination, he said. Here, there is only a single national standard for raw-milk cheese production, Mr. Yescas said, which requires that the cheese be aged for at least 60 days to block E. coli from developing.

“We need to take a look again at the 60-day rule and have a consensus with the scientific community, regulators and cheese producers,” Mr. Yescas said.

Ouleout was an instant hit when it came out a few years ago. Mr. Vulto quickly earned a reputation among cheese lovers as an urban cheese maker “extraordinaire.”

Mr. Vulto came to the United States from the Netherlands in 1990, according to several media outlets specializing in cheese. He spent two years as an artist-in-residence at P.S. 1 in Queens, a contemporary art institution affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He specialized in crafting abstract installations made of metal.

His specialty involved “wrapping empty buildings in cloth and building contained fires of sawdust and hay inside,” according to Culture Cheese Mag. When the building started to emit smoke, the cloth absorbed an imprint of the building. Mr. Vulto called the technique “rooking,” a play on the Dutch word for smoke.

In 2008, Mr. Vulto switched to cheese making, reportedly inspired by the stink caused by a carton of soured milk in his refrigerator. He began creating rudimentary cheese in his apartment, and gradually mastered the art by making and remaking new batches and studying techniques.

To store and age the cheese, Mr. Vulto used a “crawlspace in the floor of his Williamsburg studio, which opened up under the sidewalk,” wrote Geoffrey Gray, a food writer. It was “too small for a person but the conditions were just right for aging cheese.”

Mr. Vulto eventually moved to Walton, near the Catskills, where he opened his cheese production facility.

Mac and cheese make an appearance on our table a couple times each week to keep the kiddos happy and full. Adding lightly browned Kielbasa to cheesy pasta is a great way to get more protein in their meals.

We prefer this homemade mac and cheese without a roux because it saves time and effort. Quick meals are important to have on the menu when our family is always on the go.

We like to serve this Kielbasa Mac & Cheese with our Air Fryer Broccoli or Broccoli Cauliflower Salad and fruit smoothie for a complete meal.

There is always keep a pound of smoked sausage or Kielbasa in the refrigerator or freezer because it is so versatile. Kielbasa is very popular in our Kielbasa and Sauerkraut and on top of our Cheesy Potato Casserole. So it only makes sense to have a great mac and cheese recipe to mix it into.

A Variety of Mac & Cheese Textures

This easy recipe is made without a flour and butter roux and melts the cheeses in warmed heavy cream instead. Mac and Cheese and Kielbasa is an entry-level mac and cheese that is easy to make.

If you&rsquove got roommates that are hooked on the blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese this recipe offers a similar texture, but much more flavor. So one small step out of the comfort zone may offer another meal idea that the whole family can enjoy.

For a super creamy mac and cheese with Velveeta try stirring browned Kielbasa into our Crock Pot Mac and Cheese.

For a hands off recipe that doesn&rsquot take much time substitute coins of browned Kielbasa for ham in our No-Boil Mac and Cheese with Ham.

Tips & Tricks

  • Brown is a flavor, not just a color on the smoked sausage
  • We like to cut the Kielbasa in thin coins to allow more bites of macaroni to enjoy with meat. Thinner slices will brown very quickly
  • This recipe can be made with 12 ounces of dry pasta for an even cheesier pasta dish
  • Freshly shredded cheese will melt the fastest and easiest, but pre-shredded cheese will make the recipe a bit quicker
  • Salt pasta water with at least a teaspoon of salt before adding dry pasta
  • Mac and cheese is creamiest right after stirring into the cheese sauce, the creaminess with soak into the pasta within 20 &ndash 30 minutes
  • Monterey Jack cheese can be substituted for Colby Jack or Pepper Jack cheese

Ingredients Needed:

  • Kielbasa or smoked sausage
  • Vegetable oil
  • Elbow pasta, we also live cavatappi or small shells
  • Heavy cream
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Dry mustard
  • Granulated garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How to Make Kielbasa Mac and Cheese

Cook pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package. Cook to al dente. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooked lightly brown thin slices of Kielbasa in a skillet with 1 &ndash 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and shred cheese. Set browned sausage aside on a plate. If there is excess oil, line plate with paper towels.

Using the pot the macaroni was cooked in heat heavy cream until warm over medium heat. While cream is heating stir in dry mustard, granulated garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk together well.

When cream is warm and beginning to steam whisk or stir in shredded cheeses. Whisk until melted, then add pasta immediately. Turn heat off or to low.

Stir pasta well and then stir in Kielbasa. Serve warm and enjoy!

More Easy Meal Ideas:

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Pasta is a simple shredded chicken and bowtie pasta meal. Kielbasa would make a great addition to this one pot meal too!

Rotini Pasta Salad with Lettuce mixes salad greens, veggies and pasta together with a simple homemade dressing for a light dish.

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake is one of our favorite Lenten casseroles.

Sheet Pan Sausage, Potatoes, Peppers and Onions is another simple meal that we keep Kielbasa on hand for, it&rsquos so delicious!

A homemade cheese ball is the kitschy hit no holiday party can resist

A few years ago, I got fed up with my inexpert baking skills . Facing a slew of holiday parties, I decided to bring a cheese ball instead of slightly singed sugar cookies to each and every one. I’m not sure where my inspiration came from, although it might have been from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook (I am a huge fan of brand cookbooks: see also Jell-O and Campbell Soup. I figure those folks in the test kitchen know what they’re doing.)

The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook has sadly been lost to the sands of time/moving boxes of books I have yet to unpack. But I recall that it had an entire chapter on cheese balls, and I got really fancy with it. I started with your classic round ball, and even worked my way into cheese logs. I remember that it was fun to basically doll up your cheese ball any way you like: tabasco or no, green onions or chives, herbs dried or fresh, and myriad cheeses, from blue to brie.

I am far from the first party thrower/attendee to get hooked on the cheese ball: According to Cheese Culture Magazine , the inspired spherical creation first sprung up in the 1800s, but really came into popularity in mid-20th century America. While the cheese ball’s popularity waned post-’70s, thanks to cheese ball enthusiasts like Amy Sedaris, the kitschy, nostalgic appetizer has made quite a comeback over the past few years.

Recently I spied a whole Cheese Balls cookbook by Dena Rayess from Chronicle Books , and was immediately riveted. The vintage-esque photos immediately drew me in, as did the sheer volume of the book. Rayess offers 40 recipes, including any kind of cheese ball you can imagine, from savory to sweet (there’s a cheesecake one I need to try next), in categories like “Afternoon Snacks” and “Evening Affairs,” and shapes like spherical and logs to even pumpkins and owls.

Intrigued, I spoke to Rayess about the modern-day renaissance of the cheese ball. She explains that she was drawn to the party app art form because, “I love throwing parties, but I get overly ambitious. Most of the time I’m down to the wire, vacuuming like crazy and still stirring something, half-dressed. So the cheese ball has always been like my last minute, can-make-this-in-15-minutes, go-to party snack.”

  • 1 8 oz. (500 g) can refrigerated crescent rolls (I used Pillsbury)
  • 4 strings mozzarella cheese, cut into halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the melted butter with garlic and parsley, stir to mix well.
  3. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into triangles. Place a string cheese horizontally at the bottom of the triangle, fold in the sides and roll up to form a croissant-shaped rolls. Brush the top with the garlic herb butter.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

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These buttermilk blueberry muffins taste like coffee cake and I am not mad about that! Per usual, by the end of the week my&hellip

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One of my favorite things to bring to a cookout (besides the meat!) is a good summer pasta salad. There are two stars to&hellip

Which dairy free cheese to use

There are quite a few vegan/dairy free cheese brands on the market. Here in the UK we have an abundance of foolproof cheese, some of them are worldwide while other's aren't

Here are a few that tick the box for me

  • Daiya cheese shreds
  • Violife
  • Bute Island Apple wood cheese (this is a favourite of mine)

Of course if you have a favourite brand that's not listed simply use that instead.

Mind-Blowing Multi-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce (Nut-Free)

This nut-free vegan cheese sauce may be the answer to all of your cheezy needs.

If nutty vegan cheese is too heavy for you to digest but you still want to curb that cheezy craving for all the things, you’ve come to the right place.

That cheezy pasta, or that cheezy dip for your chips, or that cheezy sauce all over your broccoli…

There’s not a thing in this world that I wouldn’t put this stuff on…well ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme.

While I may not douse my oatmeal or chocolate cake in this goodness…this stuff is still magic.

While surfin’ the waves of the inter web, you’ll come across vegan cheese sauce recipes based on cashews, sunflower seeds, or beans. This one, however, puts the veggie kingdom on the pedestal.

That’s right. Carrots and cauliflower can magically turn into cheese sauce. It’s possible, and it’s delicious.

What I love about this is sauce that you can devour a ton of it with zero guilt. It’s packed with nutrients + fibre, yet low in calories and fat. Sometimes the sauces made from nuts (as delicious as they are), can be a little heavy, ya know?

To create a simple + yum pasta, just cook up your fave noodles, pan sear, then chop up some vegan sausages (the Gusta or Field Roast brands are yum), steam some broccoli florets, then mix everything together with this sauce. Top it all off with green onion and vegan parmesano (make this easy parm recipe, or find yourself some amazing Violife cheese to grate)!

Finish assembling your crescent roll cheesecake

Once your cream cheese mixture is spread over the bottom layer of crescent roll, unroll your second can and create the top crust layer by laying it gently over the filling.

Finally, bake your cheesecake bars for 30 minutes. Musgrave notes, "This recipe should be hard to burn." Still, she advises, "Make sure you watch [the cheesecake] in the oven [to ensure] it is baking evenly and not browning too much on top."

When the crescent roll cheesecake is baked to perfection, top it with cinnamon and powdered sugar for a sweet finishing touch. If you do plan on bringing your cheesecake to a party, it's okay to make it ahead of time. Or, if you fix this treat for yourself — which we highly encourage — Musgrave says, "Leftovers keep in the fridge for three to four days." As in, if you don't finish it all in one sitting, you can enjoy this dessert practically all week long!