Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheese please!

All wrapped up and ready for the fridge.
Back in the day, my mom sent my sister and I off to eco camp at the local nature center.  There we chased butterflies through fields with nets, stared into ponds to find tadpoles, turtles and alligators, and did the odd frontiersman task like make cheese.   Now, I know I ate that cheese then and found it utterly awful, probably because at that point I preferred velveeta to mild cheddar.  Since then, I have hopefully evolved as a person, but I can guarantee you that my tastebuds are completely different.
However, some activities from that time period bear revisiting, particularly the cheesemaking.  I love cheese.  I eat lots of it.  I remember reading somewhere that cheese and bacon are actually addictive, and the empirical evidence of my life indicate that this is a valid fact.  From the velveeta of my youth to the varieties of cheddar, jack and queso fresco that I find in Tex-Mex to the green-specked blue cheeses and ooey gooey soft cheeses I encountered in Belgium, I have become a well-eaten cheeseaholic.  And now I present to you a perfectly valid way of making your own cheese that hearkens back to those farm days.  My mom said that it tastes pretty much like skim milk, which it does, and which is perfect as I use it as a foil to my super spicy Indian dishes.


  • .5 gallon milk, whether 2% or whole is your choice.
  • Juice of one lime -- yes it's really that simple!
1.  Bring milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching
2.  Add lime juice and lower heat to medium-low. Stir stir stir!  Curds should form immediately and start clumping.  Stir for 5 minutes.
3.  Let cool for five minutes.  While the deliciousness that is cheese cools, line a strainer with cheesecloth if you have it.  I used coffee filters.  They drained slowly but did the job. 
4.  Squeeeeze out the extra liquid, wrap in saran wrap and chill for a few hours before using.

The whole process took 30 minutes and made me feel oh so gifted in the kitchen.  I recommend it.  And we did eat it with the saag paneer I made, and lemme tell ya, it was good stuff.  Not as good as my fave resto, but high quality for minimum kitchen time.  That recipe is up next!

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