Archive for the 'cheese' Category

Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

marinated goat cheese 2 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Blooms on apple trees are like ripening avocados – notreadyyetnotreadyyetnotreadyyet – BLOOM! One day they explode from their buds, and then the next day the wind picks up or the rain washes all those little white petals away. All over the deck you just finished staining – with sticky, oily $50-a-pail stuff that says right on the label “do not paint if weather is threatening”.

patio Collage Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

But we did anyway, and then we invited some friends over for Prosecco and bourbon lemonade and summery nibbles on said patio, namely this goat cheese with warm garlicky-pepper-herb olive oil that takes approximately one minute to make. And isn’t it pretty? My friend Gwendolyn makes this with her family every Christmas Eve – to her it tastes like Christmas, but to me it tastes like awesome – and perfect for summer when pots of fresh rosemary and thyme are sitting on my windowsill. I like to put a few sprigs in a little jar with some peppercorns and a couple of garlic cloves and let it wait.. then when you’re opening the wine, pop it in the microwave to warm for 30 seconds and pour it over a log of goat cheese. That’s it. And though it’s simple, it tastes so much better than the sum of its parts.

marinated goat cheese 3 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Those dates? Whole Medjools sauteed in olive oil with sea salt – an idea that came in the first chapter of Molly‘s new book, Delancey. I added a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and they’re divine – warm and soft and somewhat crunchy on the outside from the oil and the heat of the pan. Sweet and savoury and perfect with cheese.

marinated goat cheese 1 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Once made, this becomes one of those back pocket recipes you make all the time – at least I have – the sort that you don’t need to refer back to the original to make. The very best kind.

Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Adapted from Gourmet, via Gwendolyn Richards

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
leaves of 2-3 sprigs of thyme
8-10 whole black or pink peppercorns
¼ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed (optional)
1 250g log soft goat cheese

crusty bread or baguette slices

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper and coriander; place the goat cheese in a shallow dish and pour the warm oil overtop. (Alternatively, combine the oil and herbs in a jar; keep in the fridge until you’re ready for it, then remove the lid, microwave the jar for 30 seconds, until the oil is hot, then pour over the goat cheese.)

Serve immediately with crusty bread or crackers. Serves 8.

button print gry20 Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

May 26 2014 | appetizers and cheese | 7 Comments »

Homemade Ricotta

Ricotta 11 Homemade Ricotta

I’m fairly certain that in some previous life I grew up on a farm, with chickens and dairy cows and those wide-trunked, top-heavy trees that flop over fences and into creeks. Or perhaps I just watched too much Little House as a kid.

We drove back from Kelowna yesterday, stopping in at D Dutchmen Dairy for our usual vanilla milkshake (like thick, cold cream – made with their own ice cream and a glug of whole milk from the Holsteins out back) and to stock up on dairy products to cram into the car for the last leg home.

DDutchman+sign 585x391 Homemade Ricotta

The sign on the barn said that each Holstein produces 8500 litres of milk per year (plus one calf) – math isn’t my forte, but that calculates to over 160 litres of milk per week, per cow. (Never mind urban chickens – I want to keep a cow in my back yard.) I fantasized for the rest of the drive about what I might do with access to a steady supply of so much good milk/cream/butter and how I might smuggle a cow into our garage, and when I got home I made a batch of ricotta.

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There are plenty of formulas for homemade ricotta out there – most are made with whole milk and lemon juice, some are enriched with cream, others use white wine vinegar as the acid. All you do is heat the milk, then stir in some lemon juice and it magically separates into curds and whey, which you then pour through a cheesecloth. Really, that’s it.

ricotta Collage 2 Homemade Ricotta

The milk/cream is heated to steaming – or 190F, if you have a thermometer in your drawer – squeeze in some lemon juice and let it sit for five or ten, then pour it through some cheesecloth. Isn’t it satisfying to use cheesecloth for actual cheese making?

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It will drain in less than an hour, but the longer it sits, the more whey will drain out – which you can thriftily use it in bread dough, pancakes, muffins and the like.

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If there’s so much whey that the colander is sitting in it, pour it out into another bowl. (You’ll wind up with about three cups of whey and one of ricotta.)

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A friend told me this morning his mom used to make paneer in exactly the same way – she’d set a plate on top to weigh it down, which you can do once the ricotta is firm enough to gather up in the cheesecloth. The more whey you press out, the firmer and drier your cheese will be.

ricotta 20 Homemade Ricotta

Ricotta is great in cheesecake, divine on pizza and tossed into pasta, spread on toast or crostini and drizzled with honey, and a soft, spreadable ball is perfect for a cheese board or brunch. Also? I find it immensely satisfying to have a bundle of fresh, homemade cheese wrapped in cheesecloth in the fridge. It’s almost like having my own cow. But I get to keep my lawn, too.

Ricotta Collage Homemade Ricotta

This formula makes about a cup – enough for a nice little ramekin for your breakfast table or to add to a recipe. Quantities are easily doubled – and the process is the same. I brought some to CBC this morning with a batch of cherry-rhubarb preserves – I simmered frozen rhubarb (gotta get rid of last year’s stash) and the last of a bag of frozen cherries on the stovetop with about a cup of sugar until it all got soft and jammy. Perfect with the smooth, creamy ricotta and a crusty, chewy baguette.

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Homemade Ricotta

This method and ratio is very close to a lot of recipes out there, like this one and this one. I used 2 1/2 cups 2% milk and 1 1/2 cups half & half – so long as you don’t go below 2% you should be fine.

4 cups whole milk, or some 2% and some heavy cream or half & half
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
the juice of a juicy lemon (3 Tbsp.)

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the milk (and cream, if you’re using it) and salt over medium-high heat until it’s steaming – if you have a thermometer, it should read 190F. Stir it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom.

Remove the pot from the heat and gently stir in the lemon juice, only stirring a couple times. Let it sit undisturbed for 5-10 minutes.

Line a colander or sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth and set it in a large bowl; pour in the curds and whey. (If the whey is too deep and the colander is sitting in it, you can pour it off into another bowl.) Let the ricotta sit for an hour or so – the longer it drains, the drier it will be. Place a plate on top of it if you want to press out as much whey as possible.

Makes about 1 cup of ricotta.

pixel Homemade Ricotta
button print gry20 Homemade Ricotta

May 13 2014 | cheese | 14 Comments »

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