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Festival Foods

Say Cheese!

It is that time of year- football, raking leaves, and back to school for the kids! Fall is breathtaking and its colors are so much fun to work with. Just taking cheese and using a leaf cookie cutter you can make any cheese platter a center piece! Add nuts and a cranberry sauce or chutney and you have amazing appetizers ready in minutes. The kids will love to have one of each color leaf from your platter. One yellow, orange, white, or maybe marbled, include pepper jack and the guys will come back for more till the platter is empty. Leaves of cheese can be used as a garnish for any dinner plate or appetizer! Be creative and have fun with cheese and how you serve it. Fall is when we can expect bonfires and lighting our fireplace for the first time since last winter. Just watching the flames dance makes me warm and cozy! Once again in my house we gather and food is always involved. We are trying to be healthy so apples and sliced cheese is a fall treat we are enjoying. Fall also makes me think I need warm things to serve, other than hot chocolate or hot apple cider. J  To serve at home or take to a party, be sure to have the recipe handy because your guests will be quick to ask for this one. Parmesan Crab Dip 2-6oz can crab meat or 12oz freshly prepared 1 8oz cream cheese 1/2 cup Mayonnaise 1 cup grated or shredded Parmesan and Asiago blend (Belgioioso can be found in deli) 1/3 cup Sour Cream 1/3 cup Sliced Green Onions, 4-6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed or use 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic from a jar Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small baking dish, mix all ingredients. Sprinkle lightly with paprika for a little color. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 45 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with Toast points, Garlic Toast, Tortilla Chips, or Toasted Baguette bread. Fresh Mozzarella Stretching! What is better than freshly made mozzarella cheese?! On a pizza, making a capresse tray, or just placing in the middle of warm freshly sliced baguette bread with fresh basil and sliced tomatoes! We are making fresh mozzarella cheese at Festival Foods. We started at the Green Bay East store and had so much fun that we went to Oshkosh and are planning to be in our Appleton stores on October 5th. We will then schedule other stores soon so watch for more information on our Facebook page. We also plan to have kits for making mozzarella at home. A few of our deli managers and I had the pleasure of going to Belgioioso to be a part of their team and made fresh mozzarella. We were so impressed with their sanitation, organization, and passion to be the best. They are quite detailed on how everything was executed and so proud to produce some of the best cheese made in Wisconsin. They taught us to make the curd and then how to stretch the curd to make fresh mozzarella cheese. We then knew we had to take this experience and make it part of who we are at Festival. We are purchasing the curd from Belgioioso and then stretching right in the deli department. Kits will be available with instructions similar to what I have below. SO… gather the family, put on the apple cider and/or hot chocolate and stretch your own mozzarella! Family is food, fun, laughter, and memories, Begin your fun fall memories and enjoy cheese from Festival and Wisconsin! [caption id="attachment_2930" align="alignnone" width="609" caption="Above is Megan at GB East stretching the mozzarella and Kate wrapping."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_2931" align="alignnone" width="388" caption="Above is Camille and Joe from Oshkosh getting ready to cook the curd for stretching"][/caption] Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh cheese curds, cold
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Hot water (160-165° F)
  • Warm water (90-100° F)
  • Cool water
  • Equipment
  • 2 large metal mixing bowls
  • Thermometer
  • Knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • 3 pairs of thin Latex gloves (optional)
Cut mozzarella curd into 1-inch cubes. (Cutting the curd while still cold gives cleaner rather than jagged edges). Place cut curds in a large mixing bowl and pour just enough warm water (roughly 90 to 100°F) to cover the curds. Never pour water directly on top of the curds, but pour water along the sloped side of the bowl to gently envelope the curds. This brings the curds to temperature gradually. Let stand for a few minutes until the curds warm through. (Test by picking the largest piece of curd in the bowl and splitting it open. If it still feels cold on the inside, let stand for a little longer.) Warming the curds through helps them melt evenly once really hot water is introduced. When the curds are fully warmed, they should go from a firm, tofu-like texture to a softer/squidgier texture. Introducing warm water to cold curds will cause the temperature of the water to drop slightly. If the water feels too cool, add a little more warm/hot water to bring the water temperature to 100 to 120°F. When all of the curd pieces have warmed through, drain the water from the warm curds into a separate bowl and reserve. (This water is the brine for your finished balls of mozzarella. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and stir to dissolve.) In the bowl of curds, pour hot water (160°F) around the edges of the bowl until it just covers the curds. Let the curds sit for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften and melt. Use a wooden spoon to gently fold the curds over each other in the bowl. When you get one smooth, homogeneous mass, you are ready for the next step! During step 4, keep feeling the temperature of the water. It should be uncomfortably hot to the touch. If the temperature drops, skim off some warm water and add hotter water to raise the temperature of the bowl. Keeping the curd mass submerged in super-hot water, gently pull one end of it away from your body (while guiding the remainder in the bowl with your other hand). Imagine you are guiding a fire hose or straightening a long stocking. Keep as much of the ball submerged under water as possible. (This will keep the curd smooth and silky.) Once the curd is loosely elastic and stretched, roll one end of the hose until it meets the other end—as if you are coiling a stocking. Then, take the mass in one hand and pass it through your other hand cupped in the shape of a "C". As the ball completely passes through the C-shaped hand, pinch the smaller ball off from the larger cheese mass (by bringing your pointer finger in toward your wrist). Place balls or logs in ice water for about 10-15 minutes.
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