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Soft cheeses should be uniform in color throughout, and the cheese should fill out the crust casing, which itself should be free from cracks and not too dry.
Semi-firm cheese should not be too crumbly or dry with the color being relatively uniform.
Hard cheeses should be uniform in color and have a firm, uncracked rind that is not too dry or pasty.
Bleu cheeses should be not too dry nor too crumbly, and should feature veining that is evenly distributed.
All cheeses, regardless of variety, should be well wrapped and kept in the warmest section of the refrigerator. (The refrigerator door is often one of the warmest spots). As storage life is related to the moisture content of the cheese, the softer the cheese, the shorter amount of time it will keep fresh. In general, firm and semi-firm cheeses will keep for two weeks while soft, bleu and grated cheeses will keep for about one week.
Fresh cheese: Marscapone, Ricotta and Quark
Soft cheeses: St. Andre, Bel Paese and Brie
Semi-firm cheeses: Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey jack and Fontina
Firm cheeses: Jarlsberg, Raclette, Parmesan and Romano
Blue-veined (or bleu) cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola and Danish Blue
Garlicky Tomatoes With Ricotta and Arugula on Multigrain Toast
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Nutrition per serving:
(2 toast halves): 150 calories, 29% fat (5 g; 1g saturated), 20% protein (8 g), 51% carbs (20 g), 3 g fiber, 172 mg calcium, 1.5 mg iron, 233 mg sodium
1 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
1/2 t grated lemon peel
4 sli multigrain bread, toasted until crisp
3/4 cup fresh arugula, coarsely chopped
Preheat the broiler.
Whisk olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet and broil until tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir ricotta, lemon zest, salt and pepper in same bowl. Spoon this mixture over toast, then top with arugula. Cut the toasts in half and arrange roasted tomatoes on top.