This post is a public service announcement of sorts. I recently discovered a relatively new cheese that must be shared....White Jasmine's Cumin Gouda. Huma Siddiqui is a chef who specializes in Pakistani cuisine, author, entrepreneur, local TV celebrity, and now cheese maker. She is a beautiful, multi-talented lady who you can learn more about on her website White Jasmine. There you will find information about her local TV show, cooking classes, specialty Pakistani spice blends, cookbook, and cheeses (which came on the market in just the past year or so).
When I think of Pakistani food, the only cheese that comes to mind is Paneer, a mild white farmer style cheese. When Huma's cheeses came on the market I didn't give them much consideration as I couldn't quite reconcile the idea of "Indian" spiced cheeses and how they might be used in my kitchen. I'm sad to say, I was very closed minded to the unique product she had created.
Well, those days are over. My mind has been opened and all thanks to Huma herself. On a routine stop at Metcalfe's Market Hilldale this past Saturday, she was there sampling her Cumin Gouda. In that place, at that moment, I was able to take her special cheese out of the little mental box I had placed it in and consider the possibilities. Her Cumin Gouda is a creamy rich Gouda that explodes with the flavor of cumin and the heat of red chiles. It is delicious and so unique!
I'm not traditionally a Pepper-Jack cheese eater. It has its purpose in my life on one specific occasion, when I make my Squash Enchiladas. I never eat it from a cheese tray, never choose it for my sandwich at the deli, and don't even use it in any other Mexican cooking I might do. I'm also not generally a fan of cheeses that are boldly flavored with other ingredients. I'm kind of a purist I guess when it comes to cheese. I like good cheese for the sake of the cheese itself, not because it has a bunch of stuff added to give it flavor. This is probably why I didn't give Huma's cheeses a closer look. Her Cumin Gouda is not even in the same league as any Pepper Jack I've ever had, though that's the only class I can think to put it in for comparison.
Needless to say after my "aha" moment at the sampling station, I bought a chunk of the cheese and tonight it made a star cameo on my dinner of Borracho Beans and locally made corn tortillas from Mercado Marimar. I can see this cheese joining future events in my kitchen in the form of quesadillas, grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches, on top of chili, and I think it will even replace Pepper-Jack on my Squash Enchiladas. It may even show up on one of my cheese plates, which is a very coveted place of honor for any cheese. (I put a lot of love and thought in to my cheese platters). I will bet money that when it shows up on one of my cheese plates it will be one of the first cheeses to disappear.
I am looking forward to trying her other flavors, Tandoori Gouda and Sajji BBQ, and hope you give them a look too. If you do please tell me what you think and how you used them. I hope you will be as excited by the Cumin Gouda as I was.