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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Lately I have been taking an appetizer to several different meetings. In the effort to make things easy on myself I just keep taking the same herbal cheese spread over and over. I don’t have to think about it, just make it and take it.

This spread is also great on toast and has been breakfast for me a few times over the past few weeks too.

Herbal Cheese Spread

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 4T or more sour cream
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1 T dried dill weed
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)

Let cream cheese and blue cheese stand at room temperature until soft
Blend two cheese until smooth.
Adjust the amount of sour cream to reach the consistency that you want.
Add basil and dill weed
Mix thoroughly and put into your serving bowl
Top with walnuts (optional)
Chill until serving
Makes 1 1/4 cups of cheese mixture

In place of the cream cheese you can use the farmer’s cheese that Jen posted about here at NDIN a few years ago or you can use a yogurt cheese. I didn’t find a post here on NDIN about making yogurt cheese so I will post about that in the next few weeks. Using the farmer’s cheese or the yogurt cheese changes the consistency of this herbal cheese spread, but it still works.

You can use what ever blend of herbs you like. Play with it. Have fun with it.

Do you have a favorite appetizer that you tend to make a lot?

Sincerely, Emily

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Cottage Cheese

Our family likes cheese. A lot. I don’t know if that’s a regional thing because my husband isn’t so crazy about it. As for my daughter, I have to cut her off from cheese or she’ll eat it with every meal. Now, when I say I like cheese, I don’t mean I like gobs and gobs of it. I don’t like macaroni and cheese, I don’t like extra cheese on my pizza, and I definitely don’t like fake “cheese” flavored foods (read: Cheetos, Velveeta, and the like). What I really like are different flavors of cheeses: camembert, blue-veined, swiss, munster, cheddar, gorgonzola… ah! The list goes on. Creamy goodness – all of it!

About two years ago I started making my own cheeses and dairy products. I’ve ventured a little into some of the simple hard cheeses like manchego, and hope to have Hubby make me a cheese press over the long winter (hint, hint!). I also aim to get into some of the mold strains and waxes soon. In the meantime, what I make most of is mozzarella, cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, labneh, clotted cream, and sometimes cottage cheese.

Yes, I do keep raw milk, but did you know that YOU can make cottage cheese at home with plain store-bought milk?

cottage cheese

COTTAGE CHEESE

  • 1 gallon milk (preferably not ULTRA-pasteurized as it doesn’t always listen to directions)
  • ¼ tsp liquid rennet OR ¼ junket tablet mixed into ¼ cup non-chlorinated water (you will only need 1 Tbsp of this solution)
  • ½ cup (4 oz) cultured buttermilk
  • ¼ to ½ cup cream

If you have one large enough, use a double boiler to make this cheese as it helps to prevent scalding.

  1. Heat milk to 70-72 degrees. Remove milk from heat.
  2. Add buttermilk and stir thoroughly. Then add 1 Tbsp rennet solution and stir thoroughly once more.
  3. Cover milk and allow to rest at room temperature for about 4-5 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when it breaks clean from the side like custard.
  4. Use a long handled knife or spatula to cut the cheese into ½ inch-ish cubes, then cut those cubes diagonally in either direction (so you make an “X” in each cube).
  5. Allow the cheese to rest while you heat your double boiler (if you’re using one) up to 115 degrees. Insert the pan full of milk. Ideally the milk will heat slowly – about 2-4 degrees every 5 minutes. You may need to remove the liner pan of milk occasionally if it’s heating too quickly. Warm the milk up to 110-115 degrees. Then allow it to rest for 20 minutes, holding at that temperature.
  6. The curds will start to form nicely now. Test a few by squeezing them – if they’re not firm enough, cook them longer. But be careful – you can cook them too long leaving you with what I call “squeaky” cheese curds.
  7. Line a colander with cheesecloth or use a fine mesh strainer. Scoop the curds out into the cloth or strainer, and let it drain for about 5 minutes. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together, if you’re using it, and dip the cheese in ice-cold water several times. Gently squeeze any extra water and whey out of the curds then allow to drain for another 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer your curds into a bowl, breaking apart any large pieces.
  9. Add cream to your liking and eat!
  10. You can keep this up to 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Makes approximately one pound of cheese.

Growing up I always added a sprinkle of sugar to my cottage cheese, but some people use salt and pepper, add fruit, or eat it plain. How do you eat your cottage cheese?

Jennifer can also be found blarging at Unearthing this Life and other sundry places across the interwebs.

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Since we’re focusing on the Real Food Challenge this month, all of us here at Not Dabbling want to provide as many recipes as we can, ranging from simple to advanced. Each of us hopes that all of you can find something new to try that you can incorporate into your own Challenge. Also, make sure you post your progress with the Challenge here by Sunday. Everyone who comments or links on their progress will be entered for a chance to win a copy of “Food Inc” – the film that prompted this Challenge.

queso
This makes a wonderful crumbly mild cheese that melts fabulously on top of pizzas or beans, inside burritos or pierogies. Some call it Queso Blanco, others call it Farmer’s Cheese. Either way it’s probably the simplest cheese to make at home without any fancy equipment or ingredients.

What you’ll need:

  • Large, heavy bottomed pot
  • Cheesecloth
  • Strainer
  • Thermometer that reads up to 180 F
  • Slotted spoon
  • 1 gallon raw or pasteurized milk – not ultra-pasteurized
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar

Heat milk to 180 F, slowly so it does not scald or boil. Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, turn down heat to a low simmer.

cheese collage

Add vinegar, stirring constantly. The milk will begin to form small curds. This process will take from 5-15 minutes.

Pour milk through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and allow to drain for about 30 minutes. Conserve this liquid (whey) for making sauerkraut, soaking veggies or grains.

Tie corners of cheesecloth together and twist gently to squeeze out extra whey and help to form a ball. Allow to rest until the cheese stops draining.

IMG_5819

Crumble cheese for immediate use, or wrap with waxed paper to store for several days in the refrigerator. You can add salt or herbs for flavoring before you tie the cheesecloth 0r keep it plain to add to multiple dishes.

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