It's here. The best valentine's fix for a cheesehead- the cheese heart. I created this last year, and it was a major hit. I think it's good to get away from the cookie-cutter gifting every now and then. I'm no Troy Landwehr, cheese carver, so this isn't entirely anatomically correct; but you get the gist. This project is very fun and effective, takes less than an hour, and around $20 to complete. Anyone can pull this off, so get out there this v-day and surprise somebody with your cheese heart! Then watch them shred it over nachos :)
Don't forget to share some pictures. Let's get everything together...
Step 1: Everything your little heart requires
Be a hunter gatherer and acquire these things:
A good size block of cheese, I used a 1 Lb block of cheddar. I'm sure you could use other cheeses as long as they are not too soft, or too hard and crumbly.
String Cheese, I used a total of four.
Wire loop carver, refer to the photo to see how I just made one
1 bottle of red food coloring
A bit of vegetable oil (not pictured)
Step 2: Rough cuts
This is where your knife and oil come into play.. Carefully dab some oil on your blade, this allows for a cleaner cut and less cheese debris hanging on. Cut your block down to this shield shape and bevel the edges a bit. After I took the picture, I actually sliced a bit more from the bottom edge, check it out below. Don't worry if things aren't looking spot on, this is just the rough shape. Also some good news, look at all the extra cheese you have piled up.
Step 3: Atriums, Ventricles, and You
I was happy with this general shape. Pull out your wire loop and start rounding everything up. I used the wire loop for everything here on out. Keep the wire loop nice and round while removing larger strips. I was able to bend my loop to a triangle to carve out thinner strips in grooves. Any cheese bits built up on the surface are easily wiped off with oil.
Step 4: Pulmonary plunging
Figure out where you want to let your arteries and veins to go in. Using the wire loop, push it in at an angle and twist it to scoop out material. Don't try to get it all at one time, you will break your heart. Be gentle and make a few passes through each hole. Don't forget the larger holes need to be at least the diameter of a cheese stick. They really only need to be 3/4 of an inch deep or so. I know I left out the descending aorta and stuff, you could one up me and throw that in at the bottom if you wanted.
Step 5: Paint the main veins (and arteries)
Pu-pu-put on.. Your ru-ru-ru-ru-rubber gloves, or all your fingers will be pinkies. Now, set one string cheese aside and get the rest in a bowl. Dump your food coloring onto them, and rub it all over to get full coverage. Next, take your leftover string and pull strips off of varying small sizes. Make sure you pull one medium sized string for your three mid-sized arteries coming from the top. Throw them right into the mix as well. While all of that good stuff is soaking in, start rubbing color into your heart. You could do this however you'd like, I just rubbed the dye on with my fingers and wiped away any excess.
Step 6: Some assembly required
We're now at the best part. Pick a nice plate or platter that you feel would display it best. You want to set out your smaller veins and whatnot first. It might not be a bad idea to wipe excess dye off of them, as you can see it leaves smudging and tracks on the plate. You're ready to cut your larger veins and arteries to size and stick them in their rightful places. Now carefully place your heart into place, and VOILA! Be proud of your newly created cheese heart, it is awesome. AND SHARE PICTURES!!!
Ohh, Did I mention I've always wanted an Ipad? I think it would help me accomplish great things. Any votes in the Valentine's Day Challenge will be loved. Thanks everybody,