Cheese

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Set aside a weekend afternoon to make this perfect winter dinner

An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
Photo: Aya Brackett

If you’re in the Northeast and Midwest, you’re likely slogging through days that include snow, sleet, and grey skies. In other words, it’s the perfect weather for comfort food dishes.

This one is a bit of a project: Since gnocchi are known to be ornery, the key to getting pillowy lightness with these Italian dumplings is to add only enough flour to bring the dough together. The first thing you’ll notice with this dish is probably the rich sauce, then you’ll bite into the sublime dumplings. You’ll want to make this over the weekend.

Gnocchi Gratin


Now, more than ever, we need to eat what makes us feel our best. But what does that mean?

A close-up of a grilled cheese sandwich.
A close-up of a grilled cheese sandwich.
Photo: istetiana/Getty Images

There’s been a goodish bit of chatter lately about “eating your feelings” and nonstop comfort food roundups. This is not a dig. To begin with a meaningless pandemic cliché: Now, more than ever, we need a catalog of all the ways to combine carbohydrates and cheese.

But “comfort food” means different things to different people. I’m so spazzed about Tuesday (and the days/weeks/please, please, not months to come) that I hadn’t even considered what I’d want to eat. I have a Bota Box of sauvignon blanc; I’ll be fine.

I have a Bota Box of sauvignon blanc; I’ll be fine.


Fire up the grill — it’s skewer season

Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

You don’t have to be a carnivore to use your grill all summer long. Vegetables and fruits are good candidates for grilling, of course, but there are also a number of cheeses that stand up to the flames.

These cheeses have a high melting point and will soften rather than melt when heated. They can be thrown on the grill (or fried or seared in a skillet), developing a delicious brown crust; with some cheeses, the interior will get creamy, while others will retain their structure while heating through.

Halloumi

A semi-hard brined cheese usually made from a combination of goat…


Razan Alsous fled Syria with her family: She found her way in her new home by making squeaky cheese

Halloumi frying in a pan. Photo: Jennifer A Smith via Getty Images

When the car bomb exploded underneath her husband’s sixth-floor office balcony, Razan Alsous decided enough was enough.

Alsous, then living in Damascus, Syria, was studying pharmacology at the local university while looking after her three children. Her husband worked with British companies in Syria in the import industry. He called that day in 2012, in the middle of the civil war roiling the country: “You’ll hear on the news that there’s a car bomb over here. I’m still alive. I don’t know when I’ll be back home.”

The car bomb crystallized thoughts in the Alsous family’s minds. They had long…


Cheese over chocolate for the win

Photo: GMVozd for Getty Images

Cheese and wine are a natural combination in Switzerland, the home of fondue. Using Swiss cheeses — like Gruyère, Emmental (the original “Swiss”), Appenzeller, Fribourg, or Vacherin, for example — is traditional, but any good melting cheese works equally well (cheddar, Comté, or fontina, to name just a few).

Dry and acidic white wines are good for balancing the heaviness of the cheese, but beer, dry cider, and red wine are also nice. If you don’t have a fondue pot, use any enamel or ceramic-lined pot — or start the process in any pot at all, then transfer the finished…


Tax hikes take effect today

Bravo for Getty Images

You hear a lot about brie and Gouda, but what Americans really like is Italian cheese — mozzarella on pizza, Parmigiano Reggiano on pasta, Pecorino Romano on crackers.

That’s what makes the tariffs the Trump administration imposed at midnight on Italian cheese, amid a menu of duties on other popular European foods and drinks, so pazzo.

In the dark of comfort-food season, the duties are sure to increase prices on your provolone, fontina, and Asiago, according to Ralph Hoffman, executive vice president of family-owned Schuman Cheese, which claims to be America’s biggest importer of Italian hard cheeses.

Based in Fairfield…


Cooking

Add olives for the win

Photo by margouillatphotos for Getty Images

A few years ago, Jackie invented a new spread for pre-dinner canapés: Pitted olives (usually a mix of intensely flavored green and black varieties) finely chopped in the food processor and blended with cream cheese and grated lemon zest.

At least we both thought she’d invented it: It turns out that cream cheese with (bland) olives can be found in supermarkets made by the company that sells those silver-wrapped blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese. …

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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