Grandmothers did a lot with cheeses. Economical and readily available and in an infinite variety, they had to be a key ingredient. On Saturday or Sunday night for supper, they wouldn’t get out the fondue pot and long forks and set up the lazy Susan. If they did, they would probably use Tyler Florence’s recipe found here. More than likely they would serve something like Mountain Republic’s good old mac and cheese found right here OR they would have a little Welsh Rarebit.
Welsh Rarebit you say? It is melted sharp cheddar and beer and a thickening agent, etc. over toast. Mmmmmm. Why it is called Welsh Rarebit is the stuff that fills whole lexicons. Have fun Googling your idea of an answer. There are many.
Served with a side of warm fruit compote (easily made) or fresh fruit on lettuce with a poppy seed dressing (or tossed greens with a light olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt/pepper dressing) and you’re back in front of the TV with dinner, a beer and dessert and you only had to carry the plate in one hand, the beer in another.
Best to cook the compote ahead because, although simple to make, it takes 3 hours in the oven at low temperature to “candy” or sweeten the fruit. All fruit sweetens when cooked. Here’s all you do:
Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. In a baking or casserole dish, combine the following well-drained canned fruits:
1 can of cubed pineapple
1 can of peaches (cut to size of the pineapple cubes)
1 can of pears (cut to size of pineapple cubes)
Canned cherries if desired
Stir the mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar and unsalted butter pieces (or Olivio).
Cook for 2 hours. Then set temperature at 350 degrees and cook for another hour. Delicious! Worth the wait. Probably VERY bad for you.
Now for the Welsh Rarebit:
I have attempted to lower the calories in this and to keep the ingredients simple. There are many variations on this recipe so “Google” a few.
In a medium saucepan over low to medium heat, make a roux of roughly 2 Tbs each unsalted butter (or Olivio) and flour ( all purpose or use Wondra – it’s easier). A “roux” is the French culinary term for 1/2 flour and 1/2 fat cooked until smooth with a slight bubble. It is the basis for most sauces. How easy it that, eh?
Stir in a scant teaspoon Dijon or dry mustard and tsp Worcestershire sauce and the remaining ingredients:
dash of salt and pepper (freshly ground always).
1/2 cup whole milk or 3/4 cup heavy cream. (add more milk if mixture thickens too much)
1 and 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese.
1/2 cup of your favorite beer
I always crush a clove of garlic and put a little of the juice in.
Stir the above until melted and smooth. Pour over your favorite toast (rye, whole wheat, etc.)
Now wasn’t that easy?