Steve Jenkins, cheesemonger at Fairway Markets and cookbook author in New York City, shares his secrets for using cheese in every day recipes.

Eat Your Heart Out Cheese

If you want to unwrap the true potential of cheese, talk to Steve. "I've been up to my elbows and eyeballs in cheese for the past 34 years," he says. Steve insists that great cheese -- made by people and not machines -- will change your life: "I've found that the higher the quality of cheese on the table, the higher the quality of conversation." We can't guarantee that your table talk will sparkle like champagne, but Steve's tips will turn out cheese memories that go way beyond supermarket mozzarella.


Give great cheese a chance
 His top three widely available picks are parmigiano-reggiano ("The single greatest cheese in the world. An entire genre of food -- pasta -- was built around it"); Humboldt Fog goat cheese ("It has the melt-in-your-mouth texture of ice cream that makes you want to lick it. Its piney, peppery flavors go well with tomatoes and cucumbers, or smoked salmon"); and Rogue River blue cheese ("It's smooth like butter and packs heat that dissipates into sweetness -- exhale through your nose to capture all the flavors").

Treat cheese with TLC
 Wrap it in foil or wax paper and refrigerate it in the crisper drawer. Bring the wrapped cheese to room temperature (it will take about half an hour) before serving.

Don't toss blemished cheese
 If your cheese develops surface mold or hardens, just cut it away. "Cheese is a living, breathing thing, so buy it in small quantities and buy it often," Steve says.