Leftover cheese. It happens you guys. You might laugh in my face, but it’s true! We had a holiday party this weekend and even with a million people crowded into my kitchen nibbling on my platter of cheeses and meats and fruits…there was still leftover! I’m here to tell you what to do with it.
First, the next morning while you pour out empty wine glasses, shuffle around the kitchen picking up paper plates and probably popping a few Advil, nibble on what looks good on the tray. That’s part of the whole process. Whisper YOLO to yourself as you dig a stale cracker into that cheeseball that’s been sitting out all night– and pop a piece of leftover toffee in your mouth while you get some hot water running in the sink. Once you’ve had your breakfast of leftovers and headache meds, take all the cheese that was left on the board and set it on a plate off to the side. Proceed with washing the dishes. Assuming your headache isn’t too bad, I HIGHLY recommend popping in your headphones and turning up a podcast. Makes that cleanup time fly by!
Ok, dishes are running, kitchen is clean, headache is gone (we hope)! Time to put your leftovers to work.
The star of this leftover lunch is obviously the cheese. You can do this with ANY combination of cheeses left over on a platter– believe me I’ve tried a lot. Typically on my cheese boards I try to always feature the following:
-A hard salty cheese like a pecorino or aged parmesan
-A blue cheese (this time I went for a festive cranberry gorgonzola)
-An aged cheddar
-Something bloomy and stinky! I love Talleggio, but this one changes depending on my mood
I also more often than not have the following leftover:
-Sweet (fig) or savory (like today– Onion and roasted garlic) jams or jellies
-Leftover cured meats (I had meat that was never put out on the tray because I over-purchased–and instead was happily sitting in my fridge. Personally I wouldn’t be whispering YOLO to myself as I grabbed 12 hour old meat, but you do you)
-A variety of pickles (not for the sandwich but just on the side!)
Post Party Panini
This is hardly a recipe, more a method perfectly suited for the hungry hungover hostess– so follow along:
Take all the leftover cheese and cut the rinds off if they have them. Toss them in the food processor. This truly does work with just about any amount and type of cheese (I have yet to meet one that didn’t), I think this time I had about 8 oz of leftovers if I had to put a weight on it, but it’s so flexible just wing it!
Toss the cheese in the food processor along with a spoonful (maybe one Tbsp) of dijon or whole grain mustard, and a splash of white wine (likely leftover from the night before). I probably used 2 Tbsp of wine for today’s cheese dip. Add some freshly cracked black pepper if you like, you could even add some fresh herbs if you are feeling crazy.
Pop the lid on and process away! Let it run for quite awhile, it will emulsify and get smooth, creamy, and spreadable. Think of it like your own homemade boursin. Go ahead and take a taste (you’ll be very impressed with yourself, I assure you) and scrape the sides to make sure everything has been processed. Give it another 30 seconds or so if necessary! Smear it into a jar (or into your mouth) and set aside. This is not only amazing on a sandwich, but makes a generally delicious spreadable cheese that can be enjoyed on crackers, sliced baguette, or ya know– a spoon!
Get two pieces of bread (I found a frozen loaf of semolina in my freezer, but any hearty bread will do), smear them with cultured butter or olive oil and get to making your sandwich! Smear on the cheese and layer up with jam and meat. But I must warn you, as you bite into that creamy, cheesy, jammy, salty panini, you’ll likely start planning another party.