Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Easy Cheese-y

"The Little Paris Kitchen" by Rachel Khoo   Chronicle Books   285 pages   $35

The Parisian kitchen is invariably small because so many of these addresses were once the grand homes of the well-to-do; now converted into apartments of bits and pieces for the few that can afford them.  Paris rents are sky high.  Khoo writes that she has only a mini oven and two gas rings in her small space.
And has six to eight guests anyhow!

Like a lot of people from other countries, Khoo has taken France to her (ample) bosom, coming to it from London. 

But it could be argued that her French Fantasy goes too far with a recipe to make our own cheese!  Although long ago I did see a recipe for making your own Velveeta - it seemed to be half margarine and half grated Cheddar mixed together somehow. 

FROMAGE FRAIS or Fresh Cheese
2 qts. 2 per cent milk
1/2 cup live or probiotic yogurt
6 T lemon juice
a pinch of salt OR sugar

Put the milk in a large pan and start heating it until little bubbles form around the pan edges - you don't want to boil it though.  Let it cool down and then add the lemon and yogurt and let it just sit there for 10 minutes.

Put the pan back on the burner - now is the time to let it boil.  It will sort itself out into curds and whey.

Line a strainer with a clean tea towel and put it over a large bowl.  Squeeze the towel tightly forcing more liquid (whey) into the bowl. 

Then turn the tea towel into a sort of hobo's bindle by tying the corners together and slipping them onto a wooden spoon set on the bowl edges.  Leave it like this for 30 minutes or overnight.

When you decided to use it, give it another tight squeeze and remove the tea towel.  If you want a sweet flavor, add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey.  To make it savory, add cracked black pepper or a pinch of chili pepper or freshly chopped herbs.  Serve with a slice of toasted brioche or bread.

She also gives us a way to turn leftover wine into vinegar, but leftover wine doesn't happen here. 

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