By Jennifer Williams, Contributor, US Daily Review
I stopped at The Cheese Shop at the Westside Market in Cleveland, Ohio to see if they had any fresh ricotta this week. This cheese shop is my guilty pleasure (along with stuffed olives from Rita’s). And oh, my – do they EVER have cheese. I find local cheeses and great imported cheese. One of my favorites is Cahill’s Irish Whiskey. This is a tart cheddar cheese with a fabulous bouquet and touch of whiskey at its finish. I use it in Hollandaise for a kick. Just a touch, finely shredded. It is also lovely in a béchamel sauce. I’ve also used the cave aged Gruyere and Drunken Goat. I love buying a nice block and grating it myself. Cheese is a great dessert; otherwise we would not have invented a sweet dense cake made from it.
I wanted to make a cheesecake and lasagna. Today, I finally got around to making the cheesecake today. It is not a labor intensive recipe – three blocks of cream cheese and a cup of ricotta cheese. I bought enough dry ricotta to add to the lasagna and for the cheesecake. Tonight, I shredded the block of ricotta finely and dumped a cup of it into the cheesecake mix. It took an hour and a half to bake, three hours to cool in the oven, and then needs to chill in the fridge overnight. It was an experiment. The ricotta was fluffy and added something fresh and wonderful to the cheesecake. It is dense yet light. I will add a drizzle of dark chocolate before serving.
There is simplicity in cheese, even with all of the complex varieties of flavor and blends. Just like you must have the right wine to make dinner perfect, the right cheese will complete any meal. Dinner is a meal to be shared. I do not like eating dinner alone. At breakfast, I can contemplate the day and read a book. Lunch gives me a few minutes to review the morning and prepare for the afternoon. But dinner…at dinner, you are done with day and can relax your mind and body and soul. Dinner can be long and refreshing over good food and good conversation. And a small, rich slice of cheesecake just rounds out the meal. Or a plate of good, flavorful cheeses. Enjoy…
Jennifer Williams is adjunct faculty in American History at Ashland (OH) University and the American Public University System. She is also the teaching chef for the New Day Family Resource Center in Sandusky, Ohio. Her interests are photography and curling. She lives with her family in Norwalk, Ohio.