Just when I think I may be hard pressed for a recipe theme, I see that there are two pretty tasty food holidays on the horizon; Jan. 20 is National Cheese Lover’s Day and Jan. 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day!
Since I couldn’t begin to pick between the two, I’m honoring both days with the recipes below.
I’ve always considered cheese a healthful part of my diet, but while gathering recipes featuring cheese, I wondered what the Internet is saying about cheese these days. The healthyeating.org site says this:
“Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet. According to government statistics, nine out of 10 women and six out of 10 men fall short of calcium recommendations. The high-quality protein in cheese provides the body with essential building blocks for strong muscles.
“If you are lactose intolerant, many cheeses, particularly aged cheeses such as Cheddar and Swiss, contain little or no lactose and are often well tolerated.
“For the past 30 years or so, saturated fat — found in meats, eggs, cheese, butter, whole milk, lard and some oils — was considered a primary cause of heart disease. New research, however, is showing that saturated fat has a minimal impact on heart disease risk, which is changing the “saturated fat is bad” paradigm and allowing people to enjoy more cheese and other favorite foods. Further research is needed showing significant scientific agreement.”
Calories still matter, so grating smaller portions of hard cheese over dishes or using small amounts of aromatic or sharp cheese over dishes will help cut calories without sacrificing flavor. Also consider reduced-fat cheeses.
To properly store and serve cheeses, follow these quidelines:
• Take chilled cheeses out of the refrigerator an hour or two before servings.
• Leave cheeses like mozzarella and feta in their original packaging, replacing the water every two days.
• Don’t store cheese near strong smelling foods — it may absorb the scent.
• Store other cheeses by wrapping them in waxed paper and placing it in a loose food bag to maintain humidity. Blue cheeses in particular should be tightly wrapped.
• Store cheese in the warmest part of the refrigerator, like the vegetable drawer.
As for storing chocolate cake, I don’t think I’ve ever had to store one because it is always gone with the first serving! This week, you truly can have your cake and eat it, too — along with a delicious cheese-filled dish!
Janelle Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.