Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Which cheeses are best to have on hand in the kitchen for cooking?

Strong, mature cheeses are generally better for cooking than mild cheeses. Cheddar is the most widely used cheese for cooking, but other firm-textured cheeses are equally versatile and delicious. Gruyere is very popular for cooking because of its excellent flavor and good melting qualities. Gouda cheese is a good alternative.

Emmental and stretched curd cheeses, such as Mozzarella and Provolone, make excellent melting cheeses and are popular because, although they become stringy, they maintain their creamy qualities during cooking longer than other cheeses. Emmental is classically used with Gruyere in fondues, and Mozzarella and Provolone are good for topping pizzas. Haloumy, which is another stretched curd cheese, can be dry-fried like steak.

Blue cheeses melt well and retain their piquancy, making them useful for sauces, pasta, grilled dishes, souffles, soups, salad dressings, dips and for topping red meats.

Very hard, grainy cheeses such as Parmesan and Romano are useful sprinkled over foods, but they also melt well in sauces, souffles and risottos. They are often combined with other cheeses such as Swiss Gruyere, but even a small quantity will add a lot of flavor.

Smooth, fresh cheeses such as curd cheese, cream cheese and ricotta have a mild, milky flavor that is excellent in desserts, and can also be used in savory fillings for pastries or pasta. Soft, fresh flavored cheeses, such as those with garlic and herbs, can be melted to make sauces or used in savory fillings. Keep the cooking time for these cheeses brief, otherwise they will separate.

Goat's milk cheeses are slightly less versatile than most but can be used for pizzas and crostini. They combine particularly well with nuts. Rinded goat's cheeses are best when peeled before being cooked in case the rind imparts too much of a farmyard flavor.

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14:02:37 on 10/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Where is the best place to store cheese and how should it be wrapped?

Ideally, cheese should be stored in the refrigerator, at temperature of 4-6 degrees C, because this provides a low temperature and low humidity.

To avoid cheese being tainted by the aromas from other foods, keep it in its own plastic box or separate compartment in the refrigerator, and store it in its original wrapper, where possible. Or else wrap individual pieces of cheese in waxed paper or foil. Greaseproof paper draws the fat from the cheese and encourages mold. Plastic wrap can induce sweating, although it may be used to cover just the cut surfaces of hard and blue cheeses. Whatever the material used, do not wrap cheese tightly; allow it to breathe. The harder the cheese, the longer it will keep. Some cheeses like Cheddar, Cheshire, Leicester, Colby, Emmental, Gouda, Parmesan and Romano can be kept for months if properly wrapped and stored. A little mold or cut surfaces which have become slightly dried and cracked can simply be trimmed away.

Ideally, buy only a quantity of cheese that you can consume within one to two weeks.

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13:09:14 on 10/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How do goat's milk and other animals' cheese differ from cheeses made with cow's milk?

When they are young, mild and creamy, fresh goat's milk cheeses taste quite similar to cheeses made from cow's milk. Their characteristic tang develops with age and very mature goat's milk cheeses have a strong 'farmyard' flavor though they should always taste clean. Unlike most cow's milk cheeses, the paste is usually bright white in color, except for hard goat's milk cheese, which is pale yellow.

Goat's milk cheeses are just as high in fat as cow's milk cheeses, but both goat's and ewe's milk cheeses are easier to digest than cow's milk cheeses because their fat particles are smaller; some people who are intolerant of cow's milk can tolerate goat's milk.

With their high flavor, goat's cheeses cannot easily be substituted for cow's milk cheeses in cooking, but they are good in souffles, or grilled, served with salads.

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11:29:24 on 10/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Can we serve cheese to a vegetarian?

Yes and no. It all depends if the vegetarian is a lacto-vegetarian or a vegan. Lacto-vegetarians do eat dairy products, which include cheese as well as milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, buttermilk and ice cream. A vegan does not eat dairy products or eggs, fish , meat, poultry or game. However, you can serve soycheese to a vegan. This is made from soy beans, available in various flavors such as black pepper, chives and garlic, and is suitable for cheese boards. It is available in health food stores.

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10:33:40 on 10/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is farm and farmhouse cheese? Do these names mean the cheese is of better quality than cheese which is not labelled 'farm' or 'farmhouse'?

The terms 'farm' and 'farmhouse' are not legally regulated, so their use is no guarantee that the cheese has been made, as one might expect, on a small scale using traditional equipment. However, the terms usually indicate high quality, specialty cheeses. Generally, the cheese has been made on a farm, using the milk of that farm and, frequently, its neighbors. However, this can include a wide area and a large number of animals. Similarly, cheese producers not based on farms may have very large or quite small specialized operations.

Farm or farmhouse cheese makers in Australia tend to focus on European-style cheeses, such as chevre or goat's cheeses, ewe's milk cheeses, washed rind and vine ash cheeses, Brie, Camembert, Feta, Haloumy and Swiss cheese styles. These fine or specialist cheeses are most often made on a small scale, by cheesemakers who use traditional methods and provide this country with huge diversity of cheese.

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09:17:23 on 10/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

The difference between cereals and breakfast cereals.

Cereals are the edible grains or seeds, of grasses. The name comes from Ceres, the Roman goddess of tillage and corn. The cultivation of wild grasses marked the transition of hunter gatherers to agriculturalist. The cultivation of grains developed according to geography and climate. The main cereal grains are wheat and barley, which spread from Egypt and the Middle East to Europe, India and parts of Asia. Rice became the staple cereal of Asia; millet developed in Africa and Asia; corn and maize became the staple cereals of North and South America.

Some of these cereal crops are processed to produce the large range of breakfast cereals available on supermarket shelves worldwide. Cereal grains have also given rise to other processed foods in several food cultures, such as noodles, pasta, tortillas, couscous, polenta, as well as several flours and breads.

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Celery seems to wilt and go soft quite quickly even when kept in the refrigerator. Is there a way to keep it crisp?

A whole head of celery will keep fresh for up to a week when placed in a vegetable crisper, or in a long-life green storage bag, in the refrigerator. However, it may need to be cut in half to fit in the crisper drawer. You can break off individual stalks for use and the remainder will keep well, especially if it is still attached to its root base.

To prepare celery, cut the strings from coarser outer stalks, trim the stalks and wash all the celery carefully to remove trapped earth. The celery stalks can then be sliced, diced, chopped or cut into strips to be cooked in soups and stews, braised or steamed as a vegetable or used in stir-fries. Serve it raw as a crisp partner to cheese.

For best effect when serving as a raw accompaniment, especially on a cheese board, you can leave some of the leaves attached.

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04:37:18 on 10/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -