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Cheese of the Week: Red Row

Cheese of the Week: Red Row

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This flawless hard cheese is washed in apple cider

Red Row is a firm cheese that's washed in apple cider as it ages.

Cheese of the Week is a weekly feature on The Daily Meal, drawing on the expertise of internationally renowned cheese expert and consultant Raymond Hook. What follows is based on an interview with Hook.

Want more? Click here for the Cheese of the Week Slideshow.

Red Row is produced at Caromont Farm in Esmont, a small town about 20 minutes south of Monticello, Va., by the husband-and-wife duo of Daniel and Gail Hobbs-Page. The cheese is made from locally sourced milk from Brown Swiss cows, and is a semi-pressed hard-rind cheese that’s cave-aged for two to three months and has a red, white, and brown mottled rind.

As the cheese ages, it’s washed with apple cider a couple of times a week, which gives it a distinct washed-rind flavor without being too powerful, according to Hook. "It’s about as close to a perfect cheese as you’ll find," he said. "A lot of washed-rind cheeses are very powerful, but this is very flavorful without being too pungent. There are no negative flavors — they’re all pure and clean — and there are undercurrents of sweetness from being washed in cider."

The cheese has a faint acidity and plenty of sweet overtones, including pineapple. The aroma is best described as "socks lost in hay," but is actually much milder than most firm cheeses you’ll find, like Parmesan or pecorino. For that reason, it works as a great substitute when you’re looking for something a bit more mellow.

Hook recommends pairing this cheese with hard cider; he’s an especially big fan of the well-balanced Albemarle Pippin Apple Cider.

How Does Milk Become Cheese?

There are hundreds upon hundreds of cheeses out there, and they all start with plain old milk. Here's how the magic happens.

Most of us know that milk is the primary ingredient in cheese. But, how does bland, fluid milk become dry, flavor-packed Parmigiano Reggiano? Or an oozy Brie with a velvety rind? Or a bold blue cheese like Roquefort?

In another word, fermentation.

While we think of cheese as an elegant snack, it&aposs also just the controlled spoilage of milk. It&aposs "milk&aposs leap to immortality." It&aposs dried-out milk solids. It&aposs milk jerky. If you&aposve ever left milk in your fridge for long enough to curdle, you&aposve made a rudimentary (and not very tasty) form of cheese.

Cheese is the human-administered spoilage of milk, resulting in a less perishable, more delicious form of concentrated fat and protein. During this process, friendly bacteria are harnessed and harmful bacteria — called "pathogens" — are avoided. Cheese was invented as a practical way to store calories for longer than milk stayed fresh and now is simply a delicious, historic food that many of us choose to eat.

What is Cheese Bread?

Let’s back up. This cheese bread is homemade bread swirled with real cheese. It’s a simple yeasted dough that I adapted from my sweeter homemade cinnamon swirl bread and my basic sandwich bread. Each slice is extra soft with a chewy crust and ribbons of melted cheese throughout. For extra flavor, brush the top of the unbaked bread with garlic herb butter. The cheese on top crisps up, while the garlic butter infuses down into the bread.

I have 3 loaves in the freezer right now. Things would become dangerous if there wasn’t a constant stash of cheese bread in our house.


For the mac and cheese:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the cooked macaroni into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Sprinkle half of this seasoning mixture and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar over the macaroni and toss to combine.

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, working continuously until it makes a light roux.

Reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking as you slowly add the milk. Once all the milk is incorporated, cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until ingredients begin to simmer.

Add the cream cheese and diced American cheese in batches, and stir to melt and blend. Add 1½ cups of the shredded cheddar and turn off the heat.

Season the cheese sauce with the remaining seasoning mixture and stir well. Add the eggs and continue to stir to combine.

Spread the macaroni evenly into a cast iron skillet.

Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, making sure to cover them well. Fold in the chopped bacon. Top with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.

Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling around the edges.

For the topping:

Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave oven. Using a fork, mix in the pecans, brown sugar and breadcrumbs.

To assemble:

Remove the foil from the baked macaroni and cheese, sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top and return, uncovered, to the oven.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes, then let the dish rest 15 minutes before serving.

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

What is better than a thick and creamy baked potato soup on a cold winter day? This recipe is a-maz-ing. My son loved it so much, he started crying in the time it took me to refill his bowl! We serve it with fresh bread straight out of the bread maker! Head over to Here Comes the Sun for the full recipe.


3 lbs russet potatoes —10-pound bag of potatoes at Aldi is $4.49, so 3 pounds = $1.35

64 oz chicken broth —at Aldi $1.89 for 32 oz, $3.78 total

16 oz cream cheese— at Aldi $1.29 for 8 oz, $2.58 total

To make this recipe into a freezer friendly version: Cut up and freeze the potatoes, onion and garlic. When you are ready to cook, add everything except the cream cheese to the crockpot and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.

After that time is up, add the cream cheese and stir until it melts in. Use an immersion blender or food processor to make the soup creamy, and serve!

Total cost: $8.41

DIY American Flag Cheese Board

Start your patriotic party off right with an impressive American flag meat and cheese board. This unique way of displaying a typical party platter will have your friends and family saying, "Cheese a grand old flag!"

Sunny Anderson makes Steak Supreme, as seen on The Kitchen, Season 17.

Use a large rectangular wooden cutting board as your base and put the long side of the board at the bottom. You'll need a bag of blue potato chips to make the star section. Select the flattest chips to make a square in the upper left-hand corner of the board. This will be the base for the cheese-shaped stars.

For the cheese part of your board, you can pick up your favorite white or off-white cheeses such as Gouda, white Cheddar, and Monterey Jack. We used 2 different varieties for flavor and color contrast. You'll need a small star-shaped cookie cutter to punch out stars. When prepping the cheese, cut each slice into pieces that are 1/2 inch thick this makes them easier to handle. We like to use mild white Cheddar for the stars because a firmer cheese tends to be easier to cut. Punch out enough stars from one type of cheese to cover the blue chips section. Rest the stars on top of the potato chips. Save the scraps for other dishes like sauces, soups or eggs.

Now you're ready to make the stripes. Line uniform squares or rectangles of cheese along the base of the board. You can make slices yourself or you can buy the pre-sliced variety for perfectly uniform slices. Now comes the meat--you can use small rounds of pepperoni or salami! On the next row, lay out your favorite pre-sliced pepperoni or salami, making sure that they overlap slightly. When we made the second row of cheese, we used the second variety of cheese. Continue this pattern all the way up to the top for red and white stripes.

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Monthly Clubs

Get the best from behind our counter delivered straight to your door! Whether you're treating yourself or surprising a foodie friend, a subscription to Murray's Monthly Clubs are the best way to stay up to date on our best products and get your cheese fix once a month. This gourmet food club offers five delicious options, including our exclusive Cheese Board of the Month Club and original pairings.

When you subscribe, you'll receive a confirmation email with a welcome letter which will provide you with an overview of the Monthly Clubs program. Your first delivery will ship the month following the date of subscription--for example, if you sign up in January, your first delivery will be the February Monthly Club.

Plus, Shipping is FREE on all of Murray's Monthly Club deliveries!

Get the best from behind our counter delivered straight to your door! Whether you’re treating yourself or surprising a foodie friend, Murray’s Monthly Clubs are the best way to stay up to date on our best products and get your cheese fix once a month. We have five tasty options that suit every cheese need, whether you’re new to cheese, a total expert, or just looking for a quick snack. We’ve also got all the supplies to craft delicious original bites or build your own cheese board! Each Monthly Club delivery also includes a detailed guide to the products included, with descriptions of origin and flavor, along with beverage pairings for each.

When you subscribe, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a welcome letter (which can be printed or forwarded if you’re sending a gift), which will provide you with an overview of the Monthly Clubs program and information about the incredible deliveries you’ll be receiving. Your first Monthly Club installment will ship the month following the date of subscription--for example, if you sign up in January, your first delivery will be the February Monthly Club.

Plus, Shipping is FREE on all of Murray's Monthly Club deliveries!

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

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Cheese of the Week: Sexy, Swoon-Worthy Kunik

Kunik. It may very well be the sexiest cheese in the U.S.A. Made from a blend of goats' milk and rich Jersey cream, it's the kind of cheese that'll make you (or more importantly, your girlfriend) swoon. This fluffy-rinded, triple creme delight is a product of Nettle Meadow Farm, nestled in the southeast corner of the Adirondacks. Pop open a bottle of bubbly, slice off a wedge of buttery Kunik, and watch the sparks fly. Goats have never been so sexy.

To get your hands on a chunk of this delicious cheese, click here and enjoy a 10 percent discount on the small-size Cheesemonger's Choice Selection, featuring Kunik. Just enter the coupon code 'Esquire' to get 10 percent off. This week only! Offer expires May 18 &mdash when the next Cheese of the Week appears on this blog.

Anne Saxelby is the owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers in New York City. She knows everything about cheese, and she is always cheerful.

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