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It's new and it's cheesy. It's mac & cheese, please!, and it's an ode to America's favorite comfort food right alongside grilled cheese. This is why one of the recipes in this book is called Mac & Cheese Meets Grilled Cheese (The Ultimate Comfort Food). Make the mac & cheese, make a grilled cheese and voila! You've got something that's a whole lot better than a spoon to scoop up the creamy mac & cheese. Want unconventional? Indian-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Mac & Cheese might do the trick. Sounds strange, but it's beyond delicious. Lots and lots of cheese, plenty of proteins, spice, vegetables, herbs - you name it. Melty, cheesy deliciousness 50 different ways. Take a dive into melted cheese land.
This, my second book about grilled cheese (my first book, Great Grilled Cheese, continues to go strong), includes a whole batch of new recipes that I came up with, but it also has recipes from stand-alone grilled cheese trucks and restaurants across the nation. Wait 'til you see their recipes. They're stunners.
This time I also included delicious grilled cheese go-with recipes. Deep-fried pickles, anyone?
With 50 Recipes
Photography: Maren Caruso
Have you ever wandered down the cheese aisle of your local store or into a cheese shop and felt feelings of dread rather than excitement because of the sheer number of choices? When you have 200 or 300 cheeses to choose from, it’s nearly impossible to know where to start unless you’re a cheese expert. Then, once you make your choices and get the cheese home, you may wonder what, exactly, you should do with it. How do you serve it? Cook with it? Store it? Pair it with wine? All of these “cheese essentials” together with 50 recipes and Maren Caruso’s beautiful color photos make up “Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials,” a book that I’ve written to help simplify cheese and make it an everyday food you can master and enjoy in just a few short chapters.
Photography: Maren Caruso
While many of us grew up making and eating grilled cheese sandwiches, most of us never thought to venture beyond cheddar or American cheese slices, usually on white or wheat bread. The tried-and-true grilled cheese is still satisfying, but in this book I wanted to go a step further. I drew on the seasons to create seasonal grilled cheese sandwiches, expanded the classic sandwich by creating new combinations with all kinds of cheeses, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices, and went for broke by developing sweet grilled cheese sandwiches, some even with chocolate!
With the popularity of panini machines, I decided to write the recipes for all three methods of making grilled cheese sandwiches: on the stove, in a sandwich maker, or on the outdoor grill. Why the outdoor grill? Because I figured while the kids were eating hot dogs, maybe the adults would prefer oozing, melting cheese in between two thick slices of sourdough. (Or maybe the kids would prefer that too?)
Photography: Andy Ryan
I have never been more proud than when this book won a James Beard award. Although a fun book to write, it was not easy. Pairing cheese and wine turned out to be a challenge as both cheese and wine are agricultural ingredients and as such, are essentially moving targets. That is, they change from batch to batch, year to year. Still, I wanted to capture the magic of American cheese and wines made in America, and so it went.
In this book, I feature my ten basic guidelines for pairing cheese and wine. I also include a two-page chart with cheeses and wines so that you can figure out what to buy next time you want to pair a cheese with a wine. For example, do you have a chardonnay you'd like to open? Simply find chardonnay on the chart and see which cheeses intersect with that wine. Want to match your cheddar with a wine? Look up cheddar and find the wines that go with it. It's pairing made easy.
I also include recipes for entertaining with cheese and wine. The 50 recipes include hors d'oeuvres, pizzas, picnic ideas, cheese plates, and dessert. Perhaps most fun was creating the how-to of giving a cheese and wine party. It's easy and fun.
Finally, yet perhaps most importantly, I profiled 25 new American cheesemakers from across the country and 25 winemakers, some from lesser-known wine-producing states such as Colorado, Texas, and Virginia. I figured if you were like me, you'd want to know the stories behind the great cheeses and wines we're lucky enough to enjoy.
Photography: Martin Jacobs
This book is my baby as it was my first book. I wrote it at a time when little was known about American cheese and its producers. I could tell, though, that a big movement in American cheese was just under the surface.
I was extremely proud when this book was honored by the International Association of Culinary Professionals as the Best American cookbook in 2001 because to me the cheesemakers were finally getting their place in the sun after all their hard work. I was just the messenger. I still feel that way.
The New American Cheese celebrates American cheesemaking with profiles of 55 cheesemakers, chapters on the history of cheese in America, how to taste cheese, how to store it, and loads of other cheese-related information, and it includes 80 recipes for cooking with cheese.