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Friday, August 28, 2009

Beemster Lite - taste great, less filling!

For quite awhile customers at our store have been asking us for a "lite" cheese. I've been loathe to put one in our case because to me, most lite or low-fat cheese tastes like cooked rubber. Not that I've ever actually tasted cooked rubber, but you get the idea. And the texture, ick. It gives me the chills to even think about how some lite cheeses feel in my mouth... I may be a junkie, but I have standards nonetheless!

So typically when someone asks me for a lite or low-fat cheese, I direct them to a cheese made with a milk type that's lower in butterfat - like one of the wonderful goat's milk cheeses made right here in Northern California. Until now. I have finally found a lite cheese I can live with: Beemster Lite Matured. I have always been a fan of Beemster - with its nutty, caramelly flavor and long finish, but I still assumed that the lite version of the cheese would be horrible. I'm so glad to be wrong. Beemster Lite Matured has the creaminess and sweet yet nutty flavor I love, with the same long finish I associate with this type of cheese. But it has 33% less fat than other Gouda style cheeses and about 20% less salt. Simply awesome.

I found this recipe on the Beemster website and it's delicious. If you're trying to go "lite" one night, this would be a good one to try:

Serves 4
  • 5 oz. Beemster Lite Matured, in cubes or matchsticks
  • 2 tblsp. olive or wok oil
  • 18 oz. green asparagus, sliced diagonally into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2.5 oz. arugula or baby leaf lettuce
  • 8 slices of ham
  • 2 pears, peeled & sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 3.5 tblsp. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 tblsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tblsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • freshly ground pepper
Grease a grill pan with 2 tblsp. olive or wok oil, and grill asparagus until golden brown and done but still crunchy - about 3 to 4 minutes.
Mix dressing ingredients: olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, mustard, & pepper.
Divide lettuce evenly on to 4 plates, place asparagus on top of greens.
Put the ham on the hot grill pan until crispy. Divide the pear, green onion, and Beemster evenly over asparagus.
Drizzle dressing over salads and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Tip: serve with ciabatta or warm French bread. Try mixing green & white asparagus (be sure to completely peel the white variety).

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