Unburdened By a Reference Point

cottage cheese sandwich

Although I was only in Florida for a few days, I became enamored with two new foods, actually, three. I’ve already declared my love and ambition for smoked whitefish. The other two are Cuban toast and cottage cheese. Cuban toast comes pre-buttered, which is an obvious win. And then there’s cottage cheese.

I’ve never tried cottage cheese before. I remember seeing it— bright white and slimy—in my college cafeteria. I never touched it. I haven’t had any exposure to the cheese since. I’ve never seen it in any fridge I’ve lived with. I’ve never been served it at a friend’s house. I’ve never seen it ordered at a restaurant.

In the morning before our flight back to DC my uncle asked what I wanted for breakfast. I said I didn’t eat breakfast. He gave me the whole metabolism spiel and listed a few choices. One of them cottage cheese. I jumped on it. I’ve been wanting to try it and it would make my uncle happy, so he scooped a spoonful on a plate. I took a bit. Magic.

It was like a congealed, less tangy, less salty feta. It was awesome. And it’s supposed to be good for you, no?

A few days later I purchased both a half pound of smoked whitefish and a tub of cottage cheese. I bought Nancy’s brand cottage cheese. It looked healthier than the rest, with the addition of L. acidophilus, B. bifidum and four strains of lactic cultures, plus it was on a sale.

Nancy’s cottage cheese, though, delivers on its promise of unique old-fashioned tangy character. This cottage cheese tasted like yogurt, not feta light. It was okay, but kinda weird to eat by the spoonful. It needed to be toned down.

Cottage Cheese Sandwich

Because I have no reference point for cottage cheese, I didn’t know how to properly consume it. Turning it into a sandwich filling seemed right. Until 80 wrinkled up his face at the notion. He ended up liking it, of course.

Combine cottage cheese, spicy brown mustard, lemon juice, Tabasco, scallions, salt and pepper. Lay red leaf lettuce on a slice of pumpernickel toast and spread cottage cheese mixture on top. Close sandwich with another slice of toast and cut in half.

Any ideas on what to do with the rest of the cottage cheese?

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  • Marina January 27, 2010  

    For a couple of years during my childhood I had the pleasure of living with my grandparents. One of the foods in their daily diet was cottage cheese. I can remember a favorite lunch time meal which included a nice ripe tomato cut open like a flower and filled with cottage cheese. Then you sprinkled salt and pepper on top. It was called a starred tomato.

  • Ashley January 27, 2010  

    I like pairing cottage cheese with fruit… pineapple, apple, strawberries. It was always good for that slightly salty/sweet combo. Makes for a healthy snack, too.

  • BS January 27, 2010  

    I think I was similarly scared by the bright, white, slimy mess in college dining halls. Still haven’t tried it, but you’re making me curious. It’s really not gross? It looks so gross.

  • ML January 27, 2010  

    During college, I used to spread it on a hot toasted bagel. Sometimes it was one of the only delicious things in the cafeteria.

  • dos dos January 27, 2010  

    I often mix it with fresh fruit or preserves for breakfast. Here are a few recipes I’ve saved using cottage cheese:


    Also, Rachel’s makes some good flavors, especially Roasted Red Pepper and Cucumber Dill. It shouldn’t be too hard to duplicate those at home. http://rachelsdairy.com/taste/products/roasted-red-pepper

  • Nee Nee January 27, 2010  

    My mom used to use cottage cheese in lasagna as a ricotta replacement, mostly because we didn’t have ricotta in our grocery store in the 80s. I heartily second the suggestion of cottage cheese and tomatoes + S&P. It’s another vehicle to consume ‘maters when they are in season. I glop cottage cheese on a cucumber and vinegar salad. Also, the dogs love it. It is a good thing to feed when they have upset stomachs.

    Nancy’s sour cream is also quite yummy.

  • Adam January 27, 2010  

    I agree that cottage cheese goes with fruit, but you should try peaches. Yum!

  • Cathy January 27, 2010  

    Cottage cheese omelettes!
    Greg’s dad dad (Gil!) has a brother. Right after I met Gil his brother was making breakfast and used cottage cheese as an omelette filling. This was WAY out of my experience level coming from the Lehigh Valley PA dutch country-and didn’t even want to try it but was convinced it was good. It was!
    We also use cottage cheese instead of ricotta for lasagne filling. Yum!

  • DZRTJUL January 27, 2010  

    I use cottage cheese as a pasta sauce. Use melt a little butter in a small pot, add garlic and saute a few minutes. Add your cottage cheese and stir until melted. to this you can add fresh basil, parsley, a little nutmeg, salt and pepper. Yummy and good for you!! (Some parm. is also great in this.).

  • Gaby January 28, 2010  

    Dear Endless Simmer, cool name! I saw the image of the sandwich but when I read it was cottage cheese, I was sort of the way you were at first. Never saw it being ordered, or in a friends fridge and now I would totally want to give it a try! I would also try it with chevre, or goat cheese and plantain tostone and champagne dressing, although tabasco sounds better!
    This site was such a pleasure to visit. Well presented, clean, clear and beautiful photos. I shall be returning for another delicious bite. Thank you for sharing,
    Cheers, Gaby
    You can visit me at http://ptsaldari.posterous.com

  • Rochelle January 28, 2010  

    Mix a tablespoon of cottage cheese into a bowl of hot egg noodles. Simple and delicious!
    Also- a scoop of cottage cheese is good next to scrambled eggs, as a topping for a green salad, or mixed with chopped spinach as a filling for bourekas (use puff pastry dough).

  • erica January 29, 2010  

    my fave simple salad from college ’til i gave up dairy (now eating goat cheese again… anyway!) was simply cottage cheese on a bed of lettuce with black pepper and sunflower seeds on top. yum.

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  • Jay February 7, 2010  

    A little late to the game, but I’ve got a weird one…I eat A LOT of it.
    1 cup Cottage Cheese
    1-2 tbsp Sweet Relish

    Want to be really gross, er, fancy? Mix in some finely diced beef jerky. I kid you not, it’s awesome, but I can only vouch for my brand of cottage cheese: Friendship. It’s like the Fage of cottage cheese, very thick and doesn’t need to be strained so it’s a little more “recipe ready”. Though I’d like to try this with those Rachel’s flavors if I could find them.

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  • Alice November 26, 2011  

    A co-worker turned me on to this:
    cottage cheese
    stir together and scoop with taco chips

    Quick and yummy meal or snack!

  • Alice November 26, 2011  

    Did I say taco chips? Tortilla chips, I mean! Cottage cheese/salsa scooped up with tortilla chips. Excellent.

  • Scream February 24, 2012  

    This looks delectable! I was surfing the web, seeing if anyone else liked cottage cheese with spicy brown mustard..but your recipe, wow! Gonna be trying this. Thanks!

  • Becky May 25, 2014  

    Cottage cheese and pears on a lettuce leaf! Yum. I use it as a sub for ricotta in lasagna too! Delish! Just had a baby spinach and turkey bacon wrap with two tsp of cottage cheese add a tomato slice! Yum!

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