This is the closing week of recipes and dishes for Super Bowl 2018. As we often find in life, it’s the simpler things that often contain more appeal. When we’re hosting a foodie event there are a few guidelines to review. I know, I suggest guidelines, and some of my readers will say: ‘Eat it or do without!’ In all sincerity that’s how most of my friends were raised back home, in Lewis County, Missouri.
But times have changed and a good host always considers the needs of the guest in the menu planning.
My first suggestion is to pick up or create clever food identifications, for the table.
This is particularly helpful with foods that contain nutmeats or shellfish. If you are aware of someone with ‘true’ gluten allergies, be sure and label foods; especially if the individual has celiacs disease. Once several years ago I commented on a deli visit where every salad, under the glass had raw onions and/or green peppers in them. Many people (including myself) can’t handle these items in the raw state, as it triggers serious reflux. Now I’m making it sound like you can’t put together a ‘fun’ buffet because of everyone’s ‘needs’. Not true, keep the standard raw vegetable platter and fresh fruit and cheese in place. This will help with those who are on modified eating regimes do to personal resolutions for the New Year.
I’ve overlooked dairy allergies, cinnamon and pineapple. Let’s just hope these folks use good judgement and ask when it’s necessary about what’s inside the dish.
When I wrote the smoked Gouda spread I was aiming for simplicity. For a cheese dish that would be subtle, yet unique and definitely not overpowering. Frequently I will smoke my own Gouda when I’m seeking a bolder smoked flavoring. This means I will smoke with a hickory or an oak chip. In the grocery store we find that most of the Gouda is smoked with Applewood or other less pungent woods. Both styles will work. Sometimes I prefer the Applewood because it is more subtle and not overpowering. Believe me if you don’t like smoke taste in your cheese, you want to use a wood that is not robust.
When we entertain with appetizers I always try to keep at least one uncomplicated or natural state cheese side. The smoked Gouda spread fills the bill pretty nicely. There are green onions inside the spread, but if they’re minced pretty fine it should work well.
In my grocery store I can purchase pre-grated Gouda cheese. You do not want this! Purchase a block of Gouda and grate by hand, for the best outcomes. Go the same route with the 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Grate it fresh! Pre-grated cheeses have their place, but usually not in a dip or spread. The best taste and smoothness will come from using only fresh.
Sometimes it is tempting to take a short cut with new recipes and such. For this cook it is imperative to present only the best. Your dish is an extension of who you are, your reputation. Don’t make big substitutions. It was only a few weeks ago that I made like five, 9-inch cheesecakes, for an event that required only two.
(My staff was eating it for days!!!)
In closing, here’s a cheese tip that I found in a Dutch Food store around Buffalo, Missouri, last weekend. ‘When thawing cheese, take the cheese directly from the freezer to a warm place. (Something like the top of the coffeemaker or the refrigerator.) Thawing in this fashion makes the cheese return to its creamy state and it doesn’t crumble.’ I plan on trying this myself in the near future.
Enjoy, Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Smoked Gouda Dip/Spread
8 ounces softened cream cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
8 ounces shredded, smoked Gouda cheese
4-6 green onions, chopped fine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve with crackers or toast points.
Debbie Dance Uhrig