Say Cheese!

Grrrr Gnash – that feeling you get when you’ve been having this brilliant, epiphanic, life-changing idea burning away on the backburner of your medulla oblongata, and you’ve kinda sorta been tinkering around with it, and it’s like that hide and seek game where you’re going warmer… warmer…. warmer………….. And then BAM! Someone else pips you to the post and does something to make it an actual Thing and not just a random brain-fart??

Dang frikkin nabbit.

Happens to me all the time. It’s like I’ve missed my true calling as Chief Genius of Awesome Inventions by a few millimeters (Caribou – do you remember that t-shirt you used to have that read “yes, you may refer me to as super-genius? That was an awesome t-shirt, is all). So my most recent dashed hope is all about cheese. I love cheese. I love cheese in all it’s different formats, but one of the things that really makes me happy is crispy frazzled cheese – you know, when you’ve overstuffed a cheese sarmie (it is the only way to make a cheese sarmie) and some spills out when you grill it, and it turns into a little crispy, crunchy nugget of intensified cheesy, heavenly hallelujahs? It makes my knees go weak. If I had to pick between crispy cheese nibblets and, say, Jon Bon Jovi, I’d be all like Jon Bon Who?

{suddenly, Abe Lincoln takes on a whole new appeal...}

{suddenly, Abe Lincoln takes on a whole new appeal…}

I’m the person who likes a good cheeseburger – but hold the burger, the bun, the pickles and the sauce.

And so for months I’ve been experimenting, trying to make a paleo version of my other big weakness (potato chips) (clearly, I was destined to be an obese couch potato and not Jon Bon Jovi’s significant other). And I was this close *holds forefinger and thumb one quarter of a micrometer apart* when I saw this article.

Well done, Ms. Kerschner, well done *slow clap*. I doff my cheese hat to you.

I applaud the company for taking what they could have sneered at as a whackadoodle idea, and trying it out anyway. Awesome!! So I don’t know quite how this product is made, but here are some of my own versions of frazzled cheesy crisps which will have to suffice until FROLLIcKS All Cheese Crisps takes the world by storm and becomes available at the corner shop down the road. Next to the liquor store with the dodgy uncle behind the counter.

{i imagine that this is what the corridors of heaven look like}

{i imagine that this is what the corridors of heaven look like}

They’re like those parmesan crisp things that everybody and their aunt likes to pop next to a bowl of soup. One. Just one. What is the point of one chip? (Unless it is a Dorito, then it has three points – sorry, couldn’t help myself).

All you need is a semi-hard to hard cheese with a mild flavour – I find that a really loud flavour, like an aged cheddar, results in quite a bitter chip. Emmenthaler and Edam work phenomenally, as do a nice subtle young cheddar. Some will go flat and crisp to the point of shattering, and some (Babybel, Imma pointing at you right now) will puff up and make cheese cookies – technically this is a fail since I was aiming for crisps, but actually it was one of those happy accidents cos ain’t nothin’ wrong with cheese cookies.

{babybel before}

{babybel before}

{babybel after}

{babybel after}

Pre-heat your oven to screaming hot and line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicon mat.

Then, prep the cheese – either slice it thinly (for rectangular or square shapes) or grate it and pile it up in little heaps (for round shapes) leaving plenty of space for the splodges to spread out when they start to frazzle. Although I would normally NEVER buy sliced cheese (portion-control for cheese is a ridiculous concept) it does make prep much easier. These are redonkulously expensive snacks, by the way. You can tell that something is suitable for a paleo diet when you have to take out a loan to cook a meal.

I’ve been experimenting; mixing a bit of finely chopped sautéed onion with grated cheddar works gorgeously. I want to try them with chopped nuts as well sometime (before Ms. FROLLIcKS tries it).

Pop your prepared cheese into the hot oven – now keep a close eye on them, some cheeses will be ready in no time. You will know it’s done when the cheese has frazzled (it’s got little holes all over the surface and is sizzling) right to the centre. You also want to see a bit of golden-browning happening along the edges. If you want the top to be as brown as it’s bottom (ooh!) you might want to give it a blast with the grill element.

{emmenthaler before}

{emmenthaler before}

{emmenthaler during}

{emmenthaler during}

{emmenthaler after}

{emmenthaler after}

Remove from the oven and wait a few moments for it to cool a bit – don’t be alarmed at the pools of cheese oil that may pool around the crisps, it’s bizarre but as the crisps cool down they seem to re-absorb the fat. I guess that is pretty alarming since you will end up eating it and it will probably line your arteries but it’s cheese so in my books it’s worth it. That’s where all the flavour is, as with all food that is bad for you.

{emmenthaler forever after tralalaa}

{emmenthaler forever after tralalaa}

Season the crisps while they are hot – the seasoning sticks better that way. Experiment! As soon as they’ve firmed up a bit, remove them from the tray and let them get completely cool and crisp before serving. They go amazingly with any kind of dip – cheddar and wholegrain mustard, Emmenthaler and cream cheese (I can feel my arteries cringe as I type that), Babybel and something sweet and spicy… the possibilities are endless.

Here is some cheese porn for your viewing pleasure – I kept the best for last:

if piles were this good i'd totally want them

sizzzzzle

frazzled

ooooh better than jon bon jovi

Now, find a quiet corner. Remember how I said that these are quite expensive? Well, what I meant was that you should cut costs by only making them for yourself and no-one else. Anyway, it’s paleo so I don’t know, it’ll make you faster and more feral or something.

PS: Think you’re a cheese person? Check out THESE Cheese People.

PPS: If Jon Bon Jovi allowed me to do this to him… I totally would.

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One thought on “Say Cheese!

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