Queenie Cooks: Parmesan Cheese Bowls

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: November 10, 2018 | 8:05 a.m.

If you read my columns on a regular basis (Bless your heart!) you already know that I practically wax poetic whenever I find a recipe for something tasty that is quick and easy to make and only requires few ingredients.  Well, this week, prepare to be impressed, because making these Parmesan Cheese Bowls is almost as simple as “throw some shredded cheese on parchment paper” and the number of ingredients?  One!  That’s right, you CAN add a bit of hot sauce, for example, if you like.  But all you really need will be a couple of cups of shredded parmesan cheese and 10 minutes watching your oven!

True story.  I was spending my birthday week (doesn’t everybody celebrate for at least a week?) in New York City with my sister a few days ago, and she was telling me about making Parmesan Cheese Bowls.  I’d actually wanted to try them for some time, but just never got around to it.  Anyway, we were talking about all the great fresh fruit and vegetables in the farmer’s market and the subject turned to avocados and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew, she had whipped out some cheese and shredded it and were making little baked cheese rounds to mold into edible bowls for serving the guacamole!

Just lay out your shredded parmesan cheese in circles about 6 across

Actually, these made me a bit nostalgic.  I remember when Mama would make cheese biscuits with a big ole hunk of sharp cheddar in the middle of each.  Daddy’s favorite part was when a little of the cheese would melt out onto the pan while they were cooking and that cheese would pool on the baking sheet into a wonderful little puddle of crunchy cheese deliciousness.  WHEW, was that good.  I figured this would be about the same thing.  And actually, it was close.  

But back to the “recipe.”  It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.  You just spread out your cheese into rounds over a piece of parchment paper – about six inches across is a good size.  And the parchment paper is important, as without it the cheese can tend to stick to your cookie sheet, leaving you with a mess to clean up, and probably more crumbles than bowls.  These aren’t really as delicate as you’d think, but you have to work VERY quickly when you take them out of the oven. And take them out as soon as the cheese is well-melted and just barely beginning to brown.  Otherwise, they’ll quickly harden up and be impossible to mold into the shape you want.

By the way, you can do the same thing with small circles and just make parmesan crisps.  Add in addition to a little hot sauce you might want to try to spice them up, I’ll bet they’d be good with a bit of basil thrown in as well.  They’d be great crumbled up in soups, served holding fresh fruit or salads or dips or even the avocado we started off with.  They’d also make great party meal appetizers for the  upcoming holidays.  Who doesn’t like cheese???

As SOON as the cheese is melted and lightly browned

Once they were made, we had a lot of fun experimenting with filling possibilities.  We made a really pretty fruit bowl, a nice salad, and we even made the guacamole dip.  I’m thinking that you could fill them with pretty much anything that goes well with cheese!  And they look like you worked over that hot stove for hours.  

So go ahead – show your friends and family that you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to get fancy food – like edible bowls!  Just don’t make the mistake we did on the second try.  She had some fine old parmigiano Reggiano at $20 a pound in the fridge, and we figured if “regular, grocery store shredded parmesan cheese” was good, this would be great.  Wrong. Sounds good, but in reality, not so much.  Much as I love that particular cheese, I have to admit that those actually ended up tasting a bit burned and bitter.  

What a perfect way to serve a salad!

And that’s pretty much the only tip I have this week.  Take them out of the oven and work FAST and get good shredded parmesan cheese – but not too good!  These things really are delicious to eat, easy to make, and you can actually eat the dishes.  How’re you going to beat that?  Enjoy!  

Parmesan Cheese Bowls

  • 1 ½ Cups shredded Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400.   Have ready four small custard cups or four 3” diameter drinking glasses turned upside down. Cover the top of a large cookie sheet  with a cooking spray or parchment paper.  Spread ¼ of the cheese in four circles that are six inches across and spaced about an inch apart.  (You can also make little rounds about the size of a half dollar for some delicious Cheese Crisps.)   Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes.  Watch closely and be prepared to take them out as soon as the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Once cheese has melted, immediately use a large spatula to drop each circle of cheese over the cups, pressing lightly with a pot holder to form a bowl shape.  Let stand until cool  Remove “bowls” from custard ups.  Fill with fruit or vegetable salad or thick dips.  Makes 4 small bowls.  

Look for Queenie Cooks weekly for recipes that are generally simple to prepare, require relatively few (and easy to find) ingredients, and usually budget friendly as well. We all have to eat. Let’s have some FUN with it!  

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