Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Propose a Gjetost

What the heck is gjetost? I'm pretty sure I remember seeing it sold in Miles Kimball catalogs when I was a kid, and I thought it was some sort of novelty item...Sponge Bob Squarecheese, if you will. Well, it is a bit novel, outside of Norway that is. Gjetost is a cheese made by boiling the leftover whey of cow's and goat's milk until the lactose caramelizes, producing the cheese's Malibu Barbie-tan color. Yes, this cheese is sweet, and has a pliable texture rather like fudge. It also has a pronounced "goaty" flavor, which of course is not at all unpleasant (unless one doesn't like goat's cheese). Gjetost is very much like a solid version of goat's milk caramel, or cajeta (major yum!)

So why am I writing about gjetost? Well, I sent my DH out to buy some goat's cheese for a salad, telling him make sure the cheese was somewhat firm. Not being a goat connaisseur (yet), he bought two kinds, one of which was gjetost...because it felt firm. Not what I was looking for, but what the hell - we'll try it.

Last night's dinner consisted of soupe a l'oignon, sans crouton (DH doesn't like the roof-of-mouth skin-ripping burn of traditional meltycheese bread topping) and an array of cheeses that had been collecting in our fridge, one of which was the red-wrapped cube of Ski Queen.

I tentatively cut off a thin sliver, not quite knowing what to expect, but anticipating the sweetness. It's...interesting...somewhat of an acquired taste, as it doesn't seem to belong on a cheese plate at all. It competed with the vinaigrette on the salad and with the soup. I can see how the Norwegians eat it for breakfast, on bread or crispbread. It would probably work very well with an accompaniment of sliced apples or pears. And looky - I found actual recipes on the 'net. If you try any of them, do let me know.

Eggplant and Gjetost Strudel
Dyresteg (Roast Venison with Goat Cheese Sauce)
Norwegian Baked Apples
Cheese Apple Cups
Norwegian Meatballs