Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adventures in CHEESE!

I was considering doing an "Around the World" tour of recipes - trying some recipes from any country I could find and posting my culinary trip but frankly, I need more time. All of my time currently seems to be spent milking goats, making dairy products, cooking with said dairy products so I went - AHA! for now while the cheese and milk is in abundant supply - I will post about our cheesey adventures. I do not make a LOT of cheeses: so far just ricotta, Chevre, and mozarella.
I will make more as we are trying to save up to get a cheese cave up and running and I know I need to order some more starters but for now I am going to post recipes using the cheeses I currently make. Hopefully sometime in the midst of this, I will also add Feta cheese and cream cheese as well as Marscapone and Creme Fraische to the repertoire.
Today's cheese is Chevre. It's a pretty easy cheese to make. You can make it numerous different ways. I make mine using Flora Danica and Rennet. I heat a gallon of milk to 80* and then add 1/4 tsp of Flora Danica to the heated milk. Let it float for about 10 minutes, then add 2 drops of rennet to the milk and stir. The yield is pretty big with my creamy Nigerian milk so I usually have a lot of cheese to play with. After you add starters, you need to let the cheese rest for about 8 hours, usually I make mine in the evening and then I let it sit overnight. In the morning I use the curd skimmer to put the curds in the drain - I line a colander with cheese cloth, and then spoon the curd in. Sometimes this is where I layer my "fillings" in the cheese. Sometimes I just drain and use the food processor to add flavor to the cheeses. Most of the time I make several different flavors of Chevre so there is a variety.
Here are our favorites:
Chevre with dill and garlic - when you drain the cheese, layer the cheese, salt, dill (fresh or dried is fine, and minced garlic. I let it drain and then roll into a log, wrap and refridgerate.
Plain Chevre with Jalapeno jam. I used to not like Jalapenos, Until I was introduced to Jalapeno jam - I grow jalapenos now just to make the jam. It is sweet-hot and delish on crackers with plain chevre.
Chevre with Chipotles in Adobo - I drain the Chevre to make plain, the put it in the food processor with Chipotles in adobo and give it a whirl!
Chevre with Blueberries and Lemon - Another food processor one - plain chevre with blueberries (fresh or frozen) and lemon peel. This one is great to stuff Crepes with.
Chevre with Artichokes and Spinach - Oh YUM! I put plain chevre in the food processor with
canned artichokes (I like the one in oil) fresh or frozen spinach (IF it's frozen or you cook it yourself drain it really good!!!!) salt, pepper, and some grated romano cheese - it tastes off without the grated cheese - I promise.
Green Chile or Roasted Ancho chile - this one is layered during the draining process and made into logs
Red Chile - I use plain chevre and then layer drained cheese in a jar with homemade red chile sauce. I do not like the storebought stuff but if that is your only option, heat it slightly and add -garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to it, let it cool and then layer the cheese in the jar alternating with the cooled sauce.
I love experimenting and am still working on some new flavors.
I'll let you know how they turn out after I try them. Most of the time we eat our chevre on crackers, I use Graham crackers for the "desert" cheeses and wheat thins or homemade gluten free crackers for the savory cheeses.

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