Smoky Gouda Fruit Plate

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Smoky Gouda Fruit Plate! What smells like bacon, is salty like bacon, and can be eaten at room temperature like bacon, but isn’t bacon? Give up? Smoky Gouda cheese. Here you have a mild, soft, slightly sweet-tasting cheese that practically gives you the same high as eating bacon. Seriously. The hickory smoked flavor practically makes your eyes roll back. Not to mention, the buttery smooth notes coat your tongue making it practically melt in your mouth. You realize the fruit is for show, don’t you? Just kidding.

SMOKY GOUDA CHEESE PLATE

Ingredients:

7-ounce wheel of Smoky Gouda cheese, wax removed

1 pint strawberries, washed and whole

1 bunch green grapes, seedless

Instructions:

Allow the cheese to come to room temperature. Remove the wax seal; cut cheese I nto bite-sized chunks. Arrange smoky gouda cheese, strawberries, and green grapes on a platter. Serve with crackers, if desired.

Culinary Cauliflower

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Culinary Cauliflower! Not everyone is a fan of cauliflower. I get that. It might be because of the way it’s prepared. Or smells. Or possibly because it looks bland and boring. Meh. Well, here’s my solution if you promise to give it one more chance. Smother it in cheese. Good cheese, like smoky Gouda. Then take buttery garlic croutons and sprinkle them over the top. Get the picture? Sooo, if the family turns up their noses at the idea of eating cauliflower, simply shrug your shoulders, kick off your shoes, and curl up on the sofa with the entire bowl yourself.

CULINARY CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

1 cup water

1/2 cup smoky bacon Gouda cheese, sliced thin

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup garlic croutons, coarsely crushed

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Warm water over medium heat in a saucepan with a steamer basket. Cut off stem of cauliflower, removing the leaves. Make an “x” in the core with a sharp knife. Once the water is boiling, reduce it to a simmer, place cauliflower in the steamer basket. Cover and steam for 15 minutes until tender. Drain. Cut cauliflower into florets. Transfer to an ovenproof bowl. Combine sliced Gouda cheese and milk in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on Low (30%) in 30-second intervals. Stir until smooth as it melts. Pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top. Bake 5-10 minutes until golden and bubbly. Warm butter in a pan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic croutons. Stir occasionally until brown. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over melted cheese. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Quiche Cheese Minis

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Quiche Cheese Minis! Cheese can be a weakness, in my opinion. Mostly because there are so many kinds. Think about it: Aggiano, Brie, Cheddar, Danablu, Emmental, Feta, Gouda, Havarti…and the list goes on. I could probably eat my way through the alphabet in CHEESE alone. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Some experts say cheese is bad for you. I disagree. After all, look at the French. Their diet is filled with cheese, baguettes, and wine. Did you know people in France have low rates of coronary heart disease? “By some estimates, the average French person eats 57 pounds of cheese each year—while the average American eats a measly 34.”* My husband and I visited France where we truly enjoyed the superb food and spectacular culture. And became ultimate cheese lovers.

QUICHE CHEESE MINIS

Ingredients:

1 tube of crescent rolls

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

3 eggs

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

1/4 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 cup Smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease muffin tin with nonstick spray. Place one triangle dough in each muffin cup. Beat Neufchâtel cheese, Greek yogurt, and butter until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time beating well to combine. Stir in chopped onion, sun-dried tomatoes, Herbs de Provence, sea salt, and pepper. Gently fold in Gouda cheese. Spoon into muffin cups. Do not overfill. (If you have extra filling, no worries, you can make a couple crustless mini quiches.) Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and center is set. Remove quiche minis and serve warm.

* “Here’s Your New Science-Backed Reason to Eat More Cheese”, Mandy Oaklander @mandyoaklander

April 13, 2015 TIME.com