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Spring/Summer 2015

cooking & entertaining with wisconsin cheese

Cheese Curds

Summer’s Favorite Snack TACO ROAD TRIP





Sunny patios, bustling farmers’ markets and potluck picnics. Warm weather has arrived in Wisconsin, and America’s Dairyland is beautifully blooming with lush seasonal bounty. We’re ready to celebrate all of its fresh, seasonal flavors. Our menus are rewritten for spring and summer, and we’re retiring the apron and oven mitts for a few months to do less cooking and baking, more arranging and pairing. We’re letting big flavors do the heavy lifting by creating dishes and pairings that are short on prep but big on taste. This issue of Grate. Pair. Share. shines the spotlight on Wisconsin cheese as the star ingredient and pairing companion all season long. Celebrate the simple joys of Wisconsin cheese curds whether they’re fresh and squeaky from the creamery, deep-fried and gooey or included in a recipe. Take your beer game to a new level with three refreshing beer cocktails and perfectly matched cheese pairings. Headed to a graduation party or outdoor summer soirée this weekend? Our reimagined potluck staples will quickly become a favorite among guests. If you’re feeling some summer wanderlust, hit the road and head to Milwaukee in the name of tacos—you won’t regret it. Whatever your summer calendar entails, Wisconsin cheese is here for you.

The Dairy Farm Families of Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

In This Issue

Taco Road Trip Follow us to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (yep, that’s right) on a tour of innovative, cheese-filled taco delights.

Beer Cocktails & Cheese What’s better than a simple, refreshing cocktail? Pairing it with Wisconsin cheese, of course.

In Every Issue First Bite Strawberry, Fontina & Prosciutto Toasts

Hot Dish Cheesy Bites & Dishes We’re Craving Right Now

Behold, The Cheese Curd Get to know Wisconsin’s favorite— and squeakiest—snack.

5 Ways Blue Cheese

1 Cheese, 2 Nights Feta

Sweet Endings Mascarpone & Summer Fruit Ice Pops

Summer is Served Step up your potluck game this summer with new twists on classic crowd-pleasing recipes.






Alexandra's Kitchen

Annie's Eats

Savory Simple

Candid Appetite




Teri & Jenny

My Name is Yeh

Country Cleaver

Snixy Kitchen

Spoon Fork Bacon

Editorial Team Patrick Geoghegan, Heather Porter Engwall, Abby Despins, Troy Giesegh, Joanna Miller, Megan Bykowski-Giesegh, Megan McDowell, Abbigail Kriebs

Grate. Pair. Share. is a publication of the Dairy Farm Families of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. For more information about Wisconsin cheese, visit

Heading to Wisconsin? Plan your visits to cheese shops and creameries with our .Traveler’s Guide to America’s Dairyland. Download the map.

Str awberry, Fontina & Prosciut to Toasts Recipe & photo by The Candid Appetite Servings: 12 pieces

Ingredients: 1 loaf crusty bread (baguette or sourdough), sliced 12 pieces (1/2-inch thick) 8 ounces Wisconsin fontina cheese, thinly sliced 12 slices prosciutto 1 pint strawberries, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions: Heat oven to 350째F. Place bread pieces on baking sheet and bake until toasted and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. To assemble toasts, place 2 fontina pieces on each square. Top with prosciutto pieces and strawberry slices. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

M�ket D�р

Bright & Frсh

Get the Recipe

Get the Recipe

This easy pasta dish combines seasonal veggies like asparagus and yellow tomatoes with a simple white wine sauce and Wisconsin mozzarella and provolone.

Juicy watermelon and tomato, creamy Wisconsin burrata and a fresh herb dressing—this salad celebrates summer with every bite.

T�t & S�t

These Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes are light and fluffy with a sunny citrus zip. They’ll be the hit of your next party. Get the Recipe

Supр Slaw

Forget the boring coleslaw. This version with apple, Wisconsin queso blanco and a lemon ginger yogurt dressing is packed with unexpected flavors. Get the Recipe

B LU E CHEESE The tangy, earthy flavor of Wisconsin blue cheese is perfect any time of year, but we’re especially excited about how it effortlessly enhances even the most classic summer dishes. Even ice cream! Trust us, you’ve got to try this.

1. Tomato Salad Top sliced fresh tomatoes with thinly sliced red onions and basil. Drizzle with olive oil, and top with crumbled blue cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Blue Cheese & Bacon Guacamole Mix crumbled bacon and blue cheese into freshly prepared guacamole. Add more for garnish.

3. Blue Cheese-Topped Ice Cream with Caramel Corn Top vanilla ice cream with crumbled blue cheese and caramel corn.

4. Chicken Salad Mix shredded chicken with mayonnaise, dried cherries, sliced celery and chopped walnuts. Season to taste and top with crumbled blue cheese.

5. Blue Cheese Compound Butter Combine 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter with 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese. Mix well. Place on piece of plastic wrap, roll into log shape, chill for at least 1 hour. Slice and serve atop grilled steak or chicken.

One Cheese, Two Nights: 1 FETA 2 Cheesemakers often refer to feta as “pickled” because it’s packed in a salty brine. This brine gives feta its signature tart, salty flavor and crumbly, moist texture. Wisconsin feta is a perfect addition to bright summer recipes like these Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Recipes and photos by My Name is Yeh

1 Fattoush Salad 2 with Feta Servings: 2-4

Ingredients: For Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon ground sumac* 1 teaspoon honey * Look for sumac in the spice aisle or Middle Eastern markets

For Salad: 2 pitas 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed 1 cucumber, coarsely chopped 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped 2 stalks green onions, chopped 3 radishes, thinly sliced 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste 4 ounces Wisconsin feta cheese, thinly sliced Halved hard boiled eggs and/or chopped grilled chicken (optional) Lemon slices or wedges (optional)

Directions: Whisk all dressing ingredients until well blended. Set aside. Prepare grill for direct heat. Grill pitas on both sides. Cool slightly and cut or tear into pieces. In large bowl, combine spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, radishes, red onion and mint leaves. Toss with dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top with pita pieces, feta, eggs and chicken, if using. Serve with lemon slices or wedges, if desired.

1 Grilled Chicken 2 Sandwiches with Feta and Muhammara Servings: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients: For Sandwich: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1/4 cup kosher salt 4 cups cold water Black pepper to taste 8 ounces Wisconsin feta cheese, thinly sliced 8 slices multigrain bread or 4 buns, split Lettuce or spinach leaves

For Muhammara: 1 16-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, lightly toasted 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin 1/2 teaspoon harissa powder or pinch of crushed red pepper Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Make brine for chicken: Combine salt and water in large bowl. Fully submerge chicken breasts in brine. If needed, add additional brine, using 1 tablespoon of salt for every 1 cup of water. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. While chicken is brining, prepare muhammara. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Remove chicken from refrigerator and heat oiled grill to medium-high direct heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and place in large plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use rolling pin to pound chicken to even thickness, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Season both sides with black pepper and grill 3 to 4 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. In final minute or 2 of cooking, place 2 to 3 slices of feta on top of each chicken breast and cover to melt feta slightly. Grill or toast bread and spread 4 slices with thick layer of muhammara. Top with chicken, lettuce or spinach and remaining bread slices.

Beer Cocktailsand Cheese Is there anything more refreshing than an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day? The answer is yes, and it’s called a beer cocktail. Paired with Wisconsin cheese and some fresh, flavorful bites, these cocktail pairings are perfect all season long for serving a crowd or enjoying a moment of summer repose on the patio.

Michelada and Monterey Jack The michelada is a traditional Mexican beer-based savory cocktail with flavors varying regionally. Our version combines a spiced tomato juice base with pale lager that’s sure to change your cocktail game this summer. Serve with Monterey jack for a creamy, slightly tangy pairing that will cut through the spice and stretch it even further. Pickled vegetables and Spanish chorizo will drive these flavors home with extra brightness and heat.

Michelada Servings: 6

Ingredients: 3/4 cup (6 ounces) tomato juice 1/3 cup lime juice 1/4 teaspoon celery salt 1

teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce 3 cups (24 ounces) pale lager beer

Lime wedges and hot sauce, for garnish

Directions: In small pitcher, combine tomato juice, lime juice, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Mix well. Pour 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) mix into glass. Top with 4 ounces (1/2 cup) beer. Garnish with lime wedges and additional hot sauce, if desired. Mix ingredients together until combined. Serve with sliced Wisconsin Monterey jack cheese, pickled vegetables and sliced Spanish chorizo.

Michelada _ 1 part mix

4 parts beer

Where’s the Ice?

These beer cocktails are best served without ice, so we recommend starting with chilled beer and mixers.

Blood Orange Radler and Cave-Aged Cheddar The German term radler literally translates to “bicyclist.” The beer-based beverage traditionally served as a more hydrating and less potent drink for cyclists than, well, beer. But you don’t have to be a cyclist to enjoy this refreshing (and refreshingly easy) summer cocktail. With a simple 2:3 ratio of blood orange soda to farmhouse-style ale or saison, this cocktail is effortlessly flavorful and crisp. Cave-aged cheddar will bring big, earthy flavors to the table and balance the citrus flavors. Serve with fresh basil and peach preserves for a summery and elegant finish.

Blood Orange Radler Servings: 6

Ingredients: 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blood orange soda 18 ounces (2 1/4 cups) farmhouse ale or saison (highly carbonated French-style farmhouse ale) Directions: Pour 2 ounces (1/4 cup) soda into each glass. Top with 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) beer. Serve with Wisconsin cave-aged cheddar, fresh basil and peach preserves.

Blood Orange Radler _

2 parts blood orange soda 3 parts farmhouse ale

How much cheese?

If your pairings will serve as an appetizer before a meal, plan for 1 ounce of cheese per person. As a standalone snack, have enough for 2 to 3 ounces per person.

Elderflower Shandy and Gouda We’ve merged the worlds of floral sweetness and clove-forward spice, and we’re never looking back. Hefeweizens are brewed to harness flavors produced by both ale yeasts and malted wheat, and they pour perfectly with elderflower liqueur and freshly squeezed orange juice. Even in small doses, the fragrant, floral liqueur syncs perfectly with the beer’s aromatic spice, creating the ultimate summer cocktail. Wisconsin gouda’s mild and creamy characteristics pair easily with this shandy’s three-part harmony of spice, citrus and sweetness. Serve prosciutto and cantaloupe for an extra dose of clean, sweet nuance.

Elderflower Shandy Servings: 6

Ingredients: 6 ounces (3/4 cup) elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain) 30 (3 3/4 cups) ounces hefeweizen 6 ounces (3/4 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice

Orange slices, for garnish

Directions: Pour 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) elderflower liqueur in each glass. Top with 5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) hefeweizen and 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) orange juice. Garnish with orange slice. Serve with Wisconsin gouda, prosciutto and sliced cantaloupe.

Elderflower Shandy _

1 part elderflower liquEUr 5 parts hefeweizen 1 part orange juice

is Served

SUMMER Potlucks bring us the foods we love over and over again at each summer gathering, but sometimes we just want to mix things up. We asked five food bloggers to reimagine a few classic summer dishes, creating modern updates on the traditions we love, and a chance to surprise our guests with new tastes when they are least expecting it. The least surprising part? Wisconsin cheese. It always delivers.

Veggie Pizza with Parmesan Herb Cream Cheese Servings: 16 pieces

By Annie’s Eats

Ingredients: 1 sheet puff pastry

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon milk

8 ounces Wisconsin cream cheese, softened

6 spears thin-stalked asparagus

1 cup (about 4 ounces) Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for garnish

3 radishes, thinly sliced 1/4 cup shelled peas

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced

1 carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

Directions: Heat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry sheet into 12x12-inch square. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Use hands to press down puff pastry dough, leaving thicker 3/4-inch rim around dough edge to form crust. Lightly brush puff pastry sheet with egg and water mixture. Lay second sheet of parchment paper over puff pastry; place baking beads over dough, except rim, to weigh it down. (You may also use dried beans or rice to weight dough.) Bake until well puffed and beginning to brown, about 24 minutes. Remove baking beads and top parchment paper; bake about 4 to 5 additional minutes, until golden brown. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and cool pastry completely. Place pastry on serving platter. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, parmesan, garlic, basil and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add milk and stir mixture until creamy and evenly combined. Carefully spread cheese mixture in even layer over puff pastry, except rim. Trim ends of asparagus and chop into 1-inch pieces. Blanch in small pot of boiling water 30 seconds. Remove immediately with slotted spoon and cool. Scatter asparagus, radishes, peas, green onion and carrot over pizza. Garnish with additional grated parmesan. Slice into squares and serve.

“Veggie pizza” is a Midwestern summer potluck classic. In this contemporary version, the canned dough is replaced with puff pastry. Grated parmesan is folded into the cream cheese herb base that’s topped with a colorful mix of asparagus, radishes, peas, green onions and carrots.

White Cheddar & Chive Cheese Ball Servings: 1 1/2 cups

By Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin white cheddar cheese, cubed 1/4 cup (1 ounce) Wisconsin fontina cheese, cubed 1/4 cup (1 ounce) Wisconsin baby Swiss cheese, cubed 2

tablespoons Wisconsin mascarpone cheese, softened


teaspoons white wine vinegar


garlic clove, chopped

2 1/2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced 1

cup shelled and roasted sunflower seeds, divided

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper to taste

Crackers and cut fresh vegetables (such as radishes, carrots and celery), for serving

Directions: Place first 6 ingredients in food processor bowl and pulse until creamy and mixture comes together. Add chives, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and pepper; pulse until blended. Place on sheet of plastic wrap; form smooth ball and chill at least 15 minutes. Spread remaining sunflower seeds on clean, flat surface. Unwrap cheese ball and roll in seeds until completely covered. Place on plate or platter and serve with crackers and cut fresh vegetables.

You can’t really go wrong with a classic veggies and dip platter, but for an extra special appetizer, try this homemade cheese ball. It’s made with four kinds of cheese, flavored with garlic and fresh chives and rolled in sunflower seeds for added crunch.

Quinoa Salad with Marinated Asiago, Red Peppers & Walnuts Servings: 6-8

By Alexandra's Kitchen

Ingredients: For Marinated Asiago:

For Salad:

8 ounces Wisconsin asiago cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup walnut halves

1 cup quinoa

Zest of 1 lemon


1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

1/3 cup red onion, minced

1 tablespoon thyme, minced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

4 green onions, rinsed, trimmed and finely sliced

Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

2 cups pea shoots or arugula

Directions: For Marinated Asiago: Place asiago in bowl with lemon zest, herbs and garlic and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to glass jar. Pour in 1/2 cup olive oil to cover cheese. Stir well; chill at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. For Salad: Heat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts on rimmed sheet pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning. Place walnuts in tea towel and rub to remove papery skin. Roughly chop. Set aside. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add big pinch of salt and quinoa; simmer 9 minutes, or until white rings separate from most of quinoa kernels. Drain in fine-meshed sieve and run under cold water until cool. Set aside to dry. Meanwhile, place red onion in bowl and pour balsamic vinegar over. Season with pinch of salt. Set aside at least 15 minutes. Place drained quinoa in large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter pinch of red pepper flakes over quinoa, if using. Add walnuts, macerated red onion and vinegar, green onions and red pepper. With slotted spoon, remove marinated asiago from oil and add to salad. Toss and taste. Add up to 1/3 cup reserved oil as needed. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Fold in greens and serve. If pasta salad is more your style, try swapping out the noodles for quinoa, a South American super grain. In this recipe, it’s paired with marinated Wisconsin asiago cheese, red peppers, walnuts and fresh greens.

No-Bake Butter Pecan Mini Cheesecakes Servings: 6

By Country Cleaver

Ingredients: For Buttered Pecans:

For Cheesecakes:

2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons corn syrup

10 speculoos (spiced shortcrust biscuit) cookies or pecan shortbread cookies

1 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups pecan halves

3/4 cup buttered pecans (ingredients listed to left) or store-bought candied pecans, plus additional for garnish

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream, plus additional for garnish 2 tablespoons sugar 1 cup (about 8 ounces) Wisconsin mascarpone cheese, room temperature 1/4 cup prepared caramel sauce, plus additional for garnish 1 teaspoon rum extract (optional)


1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare Buttered Pecans: Heat oven to 275°F Melt butter; add corn syrup and rum or vanilla extract; mix. Toss pecans in corn syrup mixture to evenly coat. In small bowl, mix brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss pecans in sugar mixture. Spread pecans on parchment-lined nonstick baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes, stirring pecans every 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on baking sheet. Prepare Cheesecakes: Place cookies, butter and 3/4 cup pecans in bowl of food processor. Pulse to combine until small crumbs form. Divide between 6 small jars or dessert bowls. Set aside. In bowl of electric mixer using whisk attachment, whip cream until stiff peaks form, slowly adding sugar during last 30 seconds of whipping. In another bowl, mix together mascarpone, 1/4 cup caramel sauce, rum extract and vanilla extract. Fold mixture into whipped cream and combine until evenly mixed and no white streaks of whipped cream remain. Divide evenly over cookie crumbs in serving dishes. Refrigerate 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Before serving, top with additional whipped cream, caramel sauce and chopped pecans. Who doesn’t love butter pecan ice cream? Take those irresistible flavors to a whole new level with these individual cheesecakes. No oven required!

Raspberry Ricotta Parfaits Servings: 4

By Savory Simple

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups fresh red raspberries 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided 1

tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur, optional


cup graham cracker crumbs


tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


ounces Wisconsin ricotta cheese

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: In medium bowl, gently stir raspberries with 1 tablespoon sugar and Grand Marnier, if using. Let mixture sit 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until berries have darkened in color and released some liquid. In separate small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat ricotta, heavy cream, vanilla extract and remaining 1/4 cup sugar 30 to 60 seconds until evenly combined and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Set out 4 short drinking glasses. Layer 2 tablespoons graham cracker mixture into bottom of each glass, followed by 2 to 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture. Top with 2 tablespoons berries. Repeat with second layer, finishing with thicker layer of ricotta, berries and liquid.

On hot summer days, we crave the flavors of a fresh fruit pie topped with cream, but most of the time we’d rather not turn on the oven. These parfaits are just the thing — layers of fresh raspberries, creamy Wisconsin ricotta and graham cracker crumbs for a dessert that comes together in minutes.



Our favorite road trips always revolve around one thing: the food. Barbecue, pizza and pie have all inspired us to hit the highway. This summer, we’re in search of tacos, and our destination is probably a little further north than you’d expect. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is home to a vibrant restaurant scene and innovative chefs who consistently push boundaries and explore new ways to prepare and serve the local Midwestern food grown and produced around them. Cheese, of course, is an important ingredient, whether it’s made by a cheese plant in a more rural part of the state or produced just down the street at one of the country's only urban creameries. Join us on a taco tour of Brew City. Meet the chefs and learn how to prepare at-home versions of their tasty tortilla-filled creations.


VAGABOND STREET TACOS This downtown spot brings the culture and flavors of street food indoors in a space outfitted with vintage Airstream trailers and DJ booth. Chef Ramses Alvarez’s taco menu is filled with innovative twists like portabella confit, duck carnitas and kung pow shrimp. We loved the Pollo Rostizado with chipotle lime rotisserie chicken. This at-home version makes use of a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a quick blender salsa for a street-food inspired meal that comes together in no time.

Chipotle-LiMe Rotisserie Chicken Tacos Servings: 20 tacos


For Salsa: 2 7.5-ounce cans chipotle salsa or sauce (San Marcos® brand recommended) 1/2 cup sherry wine vinegar 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 1/2 cup canola oil 2 tablespoons garlic, minced Salt and black pepper to taste

For Tacos: 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken 20 corn tortillas 2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin queso fresco cheese, crumbled 1 cup sour cream 4 radishes, thinly sliced 2 cups arugula


To prepare salsa, place chipotle sauce, vinegar, lime juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in blender. Blend until smooth. Shred rotisserie chicken and place in large bowl. Add chipotle-lime salsa and mix well to combine. Place chicken mixture in large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until warmed through. Warm tortillas, according to package directions. Place portion of chicken on each tortilla. Top with cheese, dollop of sour cream, radish slices and arugula.


BelAir Cantina

At this SoCal-style cantina with three Milwaukee-area locations, Chef Noe Zamora’s menu is packed with fun, fresh and flavorful tacos like the Ninja Pig and the TSU360 with mesquite marinated beef, chimichurri sauce and queso fresco. One of our favorites was the black bean and cheese taco. This simple-but-brilliant concept starts with a homemade black bean spread on a tortilla topped with a heaping handful of shredded mozzarella cheese. It’s then grilled cheese-side-down in a hot skillet to create a perfectly browned, crispy cheesy treat. In this at-home version, we’ve swapped dried beans for canned to save time and topped it with avocado, cilantro and red onion.

Black Bean & Mozzarella Tacos Servings: 12 tacos


For Black Bean Spread: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 white onion, diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 1/4 1/4 1/2

teaspoon cumin teaspoon salt teaspoon black pepper teaspoon chipotle chile powder cup water

For Tacos: 1 teaspoon olive oil 12 flour tortillas 6 cups (1 1/2 pounds) Wisconsin mozzarella cheese, shredded Sliced avocado, cilantro and/or red onion, for garnish


For Spread: In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cilantro; cook 1 minute. Add black beans, cumin, salt, black pepper, chipotle powder and water. Bring to a simmer; cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender and blend in batches until smooth. For Tacos: Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat. Spread each tortilla with black bean spread and top with shredded mozzarella. Carefully flip taco into skillet, cheese-side-down. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until cheese around edge starts to brown. Using spatula, remove from skillet and flip onto plate, cheese-side-up. Garnish with sliced avocado, cilantro and/or red onion.


Gypsy Taco

To get a taste of Chef Mitch Ciohon’s one-of-a-kind taco creations, you’ll need to follow Gypsy Taco on Facebook or Twitter to track down his roving taco trailer. With regular stops around Milwaukee (and scenic Door County in the summer months), the tacos are filled with super-local ingredients like roasted root vegetables or kombucha-braised pork shoulder. We couldn’t pass up the bratwurst and deep-fried cheese curd taco. It’s the ultimate Wisconsin treat.

Wisconsin Brat & Fried Cheese Curd Tacos Servings: 8 tacos


For Tomato Relish: 1 green heirloom tomato, diced 1 red heirloom tomato, diced 1 small red onion, diced 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard 1/4 cup (2 ounces) red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar Salt and black pepper

For Sriracha Mustard Mayo: 1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon Sriracha 1 tablespoon mustard For Tacos: 4 uncooked Wisconsin bratwursts 12 ounces deep-fried Wisconsin cheese curds click for recipe 16 corn tortillas 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced


For Tomato Relish: In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Cover and set aside. For Sriracha Mayo: In small bowl, combine mayonnaise with Sriracha and mustard. Mix well. Set aside. For Tacos: Prepare grill for direct high heat. Grill brats, turning, until cooked through. Remove from grill, cut lengthwise and return to grill, flat-side-down for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to plate, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside. Prepare deep-fried cheese curds, according to recipe. Warm tortillas on grill or stovetop. Spread mayo over 1 tortilla. Top with a second tortilla. Top with 1 halved brat, some tomato relish, fried cheese curds and green onions. Repeat for remaining tacos. Serve immediately.


La Merenda

When Chef Peter Sandroni opened La Merenda nearly a decade ago, he jumpstarted a culinary revolution in the Walker’s Point neighborhood and popularized small plate menus across the city. His menu continues to draw inspiration from around the world while incorporating local ingredients. A taco filled with mushrooms and huitlacoche (a Mexican delicacy also known as “corn smut”) is made with a Chihuahua-style cheese made just around the corner. In this at-home version, we’ve focused on the mushrooms and cheese, but if you can find huitlacoche in your area, feel free to add it into the mushroom mixture for added flavor.

Mushroom & Cheese Tacos Servings: 12 tacos


For Salsa: 1 cup fresh corn kernels 1 cup radishes, diced 1 small red onion, diced 3 tomatoes, chopped Juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


For Tacos: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 yellow onion, sliced 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 2 cups mushrooms, chopped 1 tablespoon cumin 1 cup Wisconsin Menonita cheese*, shredded 1 tablespoon truffle oil, optional Salt and black pepper to taste 12 flour tortillas

In large bowl, combine all salsa ingredients. Mix well. Set aside until ready to serve. To prepare tacos, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms, cumin and cheese and cook 1 minute to incorporate flavors (it’s not necessary to melt cheese). Remove from heat. Add truffle oil, if using, and adjust seasoning to taste. Keep warm. Heat tortillas, according to package directions. For each taco, spoon mushroom mixture over, leaving an edge. Fold tortilla and top with spoonful of salsa. Serve immediately.

*You may substitute another Hispanic-style Wisconsin melting cheese, such as asadero, or Wisconsin Monterey jack or muenster.

The Guide:

Lori Fredrich If you’re in need of a restaurant recommendation in Milwaukee, local food writer Lori Fredrich is a very good person to know. Luckily, she shares her inside scoop with readers of When she’s not writing about the local food scene, Fredrich is often creating dishes of her own as a recipe developer. This flavor-packed recipe combines Wisconsin juustoleipa or “bread cheese” with chorizo and a quick chipotle crema.

Juustoleipa Tacos With Chorizo Servings: 12 tacos


For Chipotle Crema: 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle chiles en adobo, minced 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


For Tacos: 1 pound (16 ounces) fresh Mexican chorizo 1 medium white onion, diced 1 medium-large poblano chile, diced (remove seeds and veins if milder chile flavor is preferred)


ounces Wisconsin juustoleipa cheese, sliced vertically into 1/2-inch strips 12 corn tortillas, warmed according to package directions Chipotle crema (recipe below) Chopped cilantro, sliced radishes and lime juice, for garnish

For Chipotle Crema: Place crema or sour cream, minced chipotle and salt in small bowl; stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. For Tacos: Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from chorizo, if necessary, and crumble into skillet, breaking up with spatula as needed. Add onion and poblano. Cook, stirring often, until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain mixture, if needed, and transfer to warm serving bowl. While chorizo mixture is cooking, heat grill pan over medium heat. Place cheese strips on grill and heat for about 4 minutes per side, or until cheese is warm and glistening. Remove from heat; set aside on warm platter. For each taco, place scoop of chorizo into warmed tortilla, top with 2 to 3 strips of grilled juustoleipa and drizzle with chipotle crema. Garnish with cilantro, sliced radishes and squeeze of fresh lime juice.


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Curd Oh, the beloved cheese curd. Ask any Wisconsinite, and he or she will declare an undying devotion to the squeaky, cheesy perfection of these delicious bites of cheese heaven. We take our curds more than a little seriously—happily traveling many miles to get the freshest batch possible. Still warm from the vat? You’ve hit the jackpot. Thankfully, you don’t need to live in Wisconsin to find our cheesemakers’ curds. They’re now shipped to retailers across the country and can even be ordered directly from a creamery for a speedy, squeaky delivery. And that’s just the fresh variety—we haven’t even gotten to the golden delicious perfection that is the deep-fried cheese curd. You’ll find them on menus across the state—everywhere from corner taverns to family diners to fine dining establishments. But let’s back up. Just what is a cheese curd? Cheese curds are essentially small pieces of cheese (usually cheddar—yellow or white) that didn’t grow up into large wheels or blocks to be aged. We like to call them “the building blocks of cheese.” They are separated out from the whey during the cheesemaking process, leaving behind a solid curd of cheese that has a mild milky flavor. And, best of all, they squeak when you eat them! (The freshest curds are the squeakiest, but you can often bring back the squeak by popping them in the microwave for a couple of seconds). We highly recommend snacking on fresh curds straight from the bag, and sampling a batch of fried curds with an ice-cold beer. But the fun doesn’t have to end there. Read on for more ways to enjoy the glorious Wisconsin cheese curd.

Deep-Fried Cheese Curds Servings: 6

Ingredients: 1 pound (16 ounces) Wisconsin cheese curds 2 cups buttermilk 2 cups beer (lager)

DIY Dipping Sauces Fried cheese curds are great on their own or served with a tasty dipping sauce. Try one of these easy options:

2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sriracha Ketchup: 1/2 cup ketchup + 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 quart (4 cups) vegetable oil, for frying

Preferred dipping sauce

Directions: Place cheese curds in mesh strainer. In large, deep bowl, combine buttermilk and beer. Submerge curds in mixture by placing strainer in bowl. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Set aside. In large Dutch oven or deep-fryer, heat oil to 375째F. When oil is ready, remove curds from buttermilk beer mixture. Strain well. Toss curds in flour mixture, shaking to remove excess flour. In 3 to 4 batches, fry curds 2 minutes, or until curds begin to turn golden brown. Do not crowd. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Chipotle Ranch: 1/2 cup ranch dressing + 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce

Honey Mustard Aioli: 1/2 cup mayonnaise + 1/4 cup mustard + 2 tablespoons honey

Lemon Dill Tartar Sauce: 1/2 cup mayonnaise + 1 teaspoon lemon zest + 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice + 1 teaspoon dill pickle relish + 1/2 teaspoon dill

Biscuits with Cheese Curds and Blueberry Preserves Servings: 4

Ingredients: For Blueberry Preserves: 2 cups blueberries 1/2 cup water 2/3 cup sugar, preferably superfine 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 tablespoon water

Juice and zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, optional

For Biscuits: 4 prepared biscuits (store bought or use your favorite recipe) 10 ounces Wisconsin cheese curds 2 tablespoons fresh thyme

Directions: Place blueberries, water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until berries soften, give up some juice, but keep their shape. While berries cook, dissolve cornstarch in water. Add to softened berries and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture thickens (if you like a thicker "preserve," add additional cornstarch-water mixture). Remove from heat and taste for sweetness; stir additional sugar into mixture, if preferred, and stir until dissolved. Add lime juice, zest and 1 teaspoon thyme, if using. Cool and refrigerate, bringing to room temperature at serving time. Heat oven or toaster oven to 350째F. Split biscuits in half. Top each half with cheese curds. Bake 5 minutes to toast biscuits and warm curds. Remove from oven. Top with blueberry preserves and thyme.

Need a quick breakfast? Prepare the blueberry preserves up to a week in advance and keep refrigerated, or use your favorite brand of blueberry jam.

Chorizo Burgers with Cheese Curd Corn Relish Servings: 4



For Relish:

For Relish: Combine vinegar, lime juice, honey, salt


tablespoon red wine vinegar


teaspoon lime juice


teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper


tablespoons olive oil

and pepper in medium bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Add corn, chopped cheese curds and red onion. Mix well. Add green onion and cilantro; gently mix to combine. Set relish aside while preparing burgers. (Relish may be made up to 1 day in advance. Combine everything except green onion and cilantro; cover and refrigerate. Add green onion and cilantro before serving.)

1 1/2 cups corn kernels 1

cup Wisconsin cheese curds, chopped into small pieces (about 1/4 inch)


tablespoons red onion, diced


tablespoons green onion, chopped


tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For Burgers: 1

pound ground pork


ounces bulk chorizo sausage


teaspoon salt


tablespoon Mexican-style hot sauce, such as CholulaÂŽ


hamburger buns


tablespoons mayonnaise

For Burgers: Heat skillet over medium-high heat or prepare grill for direct medium-high heat. In large bowl, combine ground pork, chorizo, salt and hot sauce. Use hands to mix well until all ingredients are well combined. Divide mixture into four portions and shape into patties. Season patties with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

To Serve: Lightly toast buns in skillet or on grill. Spread each bottom bun with mayonnaise. Top with burger and spoon relish over top. Serve with additional relish on the side. Can’t get enough of the curd? Check out for more recipes and ways to find fresh curds, fried curds and more.

Sweet Endings

Rich, creamy Wisconsin mascarpone is the perfect complement to luscious summer fruit in this make-at-home ice pop recipe. It’s actually two recipes in one: choose blackberry basil or peach rosemary. Or both!

Mascarpone & Summer Fruit Ice Pops Recipe and photo by Snixy Kitchen Servings: 10 popsicles Ingredients: 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup basil leaves, packed, or 4 sprigs of rosemary 8

ounces Wisconsin mascarpone cheese, room temperature


tablespoons plain yogurt


tablespoons heavy cream

1 1/4 cups blackberries or 1 1/2 large peaches, peeled, seeded and sliced Directions: Prepare Herbed Simple Syrup: In small saucepan, stir together water and sugar. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in either basil or rosemary, depending on which pop flavor you're making. Set aside to cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain herbs from syrup. Discard herbs. Whisk mascarpone, yogurt, heavy cream and 1/4 cup syrup until smooth. Set aside. Reserve remaining syrup. In blender or food processor, purée blackberries or peaches, depending on flavor choice, and remaining syrup until smooth. Fill ice pop molds by layering mascarpone cream and puréed fruit 1 spoonful at a time until almost full. Use chopstick or handle of fork to gently swirl fruit with mascarpone cream. Place lid over mold and insert sticks as straight as possible. Freeze 4 to 6 hours, or until pops are frozen solid, preferably overnight.

Š 2015 Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.

Profile for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Grate. Pair. Share. Spring/Summer 2015  

A magazine about cooking and entertaining with Wisconsin cheese. Find recipes to refresh summer potlucks, easy beer cocktail and cheese pair...

Grate. Pair. Share. Spring/Summer 2015  

A magazine about cooking and entertaining with Wisconsin cheese. Find recipes to refresh summer potlucks, easy beer cocktail and cheese pair...