Friday, August 14, 2009

Homemade cheese, curdly fun

The other night when I made tortillas, I also made cheese. Nothing fabulous, but it was technically curdled milk, and it tasted pretty good.

What I made was basically paneer, the kind of cheese they use in Indian food (saag paneer, etc). I found a recipe but it didn't work so I won't link to it. Fortunately, I saw my friend Charlie make this a couple years ago, so I knew what was going wrong and how to fix it.

The first thing you do is heat up some milk. I did four cups of 2%. When it just starts to boil, I was told to add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Well this did nothing...the milk just kept on foaming. I squeezed in a whole lemon until it looked the way it did when Charlie made it, like this:

Then I lined a colander with a (clean) dishtowel and poured the mixture through, and squeezed till it looked like this.

Then I sort of rinsed the curds a little and wrapped the towel around the stuff to make a ball, and squeezed and rinsed some more so it would be cool enough to handle. Then I hung it up from a cabinet handle with my iPod cord for said 20 minutes but I had it up there a lot longer.

Finally I took it down (not a lot of liquid drained out during its hanging, but this is what the recipe said to do, and Charlie did it, so...) and took the curds out and...Well I struggled with how to proceed at this point. I needed to compress them into a firm block. I eventually settled on putting them in a Tupperware, with another Tup over them (fitting inside) and on top of that, a pot of black beans that were soaking for the next day:

I let it sit this way for like 20 minutes while I did other stuff. Then I took the patty o' cheese out by inverting the container and whacking it. Then I cut the sucker into little cubes. I could have eaten them at this point, but wanted them to be a little more appetizing and snazzy, so I toasted them on a dry skillet. They browned up nicely, and I sprinkled them with kosher salt while they were still hot. I wanted to use Adobo seasoning, but that would be against the spirit of this project.

And that is it. They were so good and perfect for our dinner. They were slightly chewy and crumbly, I'm not sure they could have melted, like I I had wanted to do quesadillas, but maybe I'll try it sometime. Here is how they ended up in our finished dinner.

Next time: a recipe for tomatillo poblano sauce! (the green component).

Those are the homemade tortillas, and there are two fried eggs under there, then the sauce, cheese and avos.

1 comment:

  1. That is so cool Jessica and I think you should tell apple that their products have all kinds of uses. :)