Tag Archives: cheese to make with kids

My Radio Interview by Kid Chef Eliana

Lots has happened since the last time I posted! My book tour for One Hour Cheese started so that has kept me very busy. I went to Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Napa and more! Catch up on my events page. There are several recipes from my book shared by the bloggers on my blog tour so it’s totally worth a look if you’ve been considering buying the book. They all took beautiful photos and gave their own twists to the recipes! I love that. One-Hour Cheese 3D cover 2.4.2014

What inspired me to finally post today (other than a break from travel) is a radio show interview I did with Kid Chef Eliana! It was such a fun experience and I have to say, she was more professional than other adult operations I’ve witnessed! It blows my how much kids have at their fingertips now. To think that I never had a cookbook, a cooking TV show to watch, the internet or even foodie radio shows like hers growing up. Incredible. I had limited supplies but I had my grandma, my mom, my appetite and my hungry cousins and sister as inspiration.

 

I’m expecting some seriously good cooking (or other skills) from all you resource-rich kids! 😉 You can listen here. The first 22 minutes are all about my business and book and some fun questions she had for me like who would I share dinner with if I could choose anyone and my biggest kitchen disaster! Then at about 40 minutes, she makes my No Bake Tarts along with the Fromage Facile used to make them.

eliana_cooks-transp-revised

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a pretty cool show for any kids you know who may be aspiring chefs or just love good food- maybe even awesome to play in a classroom while kids draw or something.  It could inspire them to start their own podcast on their hobby! Just amazing that it can be done so easily isn’t it? That works for adults too btw. 😉 Super cool! Speaking of super cool, hope you’re having a great summer! Remember this is the ideal season to enjoy and share fresh cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta with fresh basil, juicy tomatoes and other summer delights. Til next time dudes, Claudia

20130518-UCC_4766

Throw another chunk of cheese on the barby! Huh?

So I went to my first BBQ of the season and as I do for most get-togethers, I decided to make cheese. You may already know that I often pan-fry Paneer and Queso Blanco (because they don’t melt!) but I don’t often grill them…of course I had to try. Though my cheese wasn’t very tasty today (I tried to multi task and allowed the milk to boil, a lot, I know better but it snuck up on me..email is distracting, time warp!), it was quite firm which made it great for the grill.

I had a michelada (mexican beer with lime juice and chili/salt mix) or two at the BBQ so I didn’t take photos of the results for you but I did take pictures of the prep and build up. Imagine toasty cheese cubes with grilled red peppers and potatoes, drizzled with rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper…yum! Don’t leave this on the grill too long or your cheese will get very dry- I did that.

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco is the easiest of all cheeses to make in my opinion- great for beginners and kids!

Thick and Crumbly Queso Blanco

Thick and Crumbly Queso Blanco

 

To use this cheese in salads I drizzle a little olive oil in a cast iron pan, sprinkle the cheese with salt, pepper, sometimes chili powder (any herbs and spices you like), brown it (it uniquely doesn’t melt, just browns and gets soft and chewy) and then add the crusty warm chunks to our salads. Use any dressing you enjoy. SO GOOD and a full meal!

Queso Blanco

you need:

1 gallon of whole or lowfat milk cow or goat milk– regular grocery store pasteurized is fine but NOT ultra or ultra heat pasteurized.

1/4-1/2 cup of vinegar (I use apple cider but any will work though they all give their own flavor) or 2 tspn citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup of water (for citric acid or a complete Queso Blanco and Paneer Kit visit our SHOP)

1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste- at this point you can also add chives, fresh chopped herbs, cayenne, anything!)

Heat the milk to a foamy, steamy simmer. Do not allow to boil or your cheese will taste cooked and will be rubbery. If you have a thermometer it would be between 180-195 degrees F. Be sure to stir often to prevent scorching.

When you see steam and foam and a gentle simmer, turn the temp to low and slowly drizzle in your vinegar. You may not need it all before you start seeing the clear separation between curds and whey. It’s like magic! When you see it, stop the drizzle and cook for about 10 seconds longer.

Turn off the heat and ladle or pour your curds into a colander lined with butter muslin or cheesecloth (or a boiled tea towel or even a large coffee filter, if you use regular grocery store cheesecloth, triple it at least, the holes are very large). Allow to drain for 20 minutes or so.

Then take your cloth corners and gently twist more whey out of the bundle. Open it up and mix in your salt. Stir it in evenly and taste until you like it.

curds

curds…pure potential

For a softer cheese, hang this from a hook or faucet and let it drain for another hour or so (place a bowl underneath to catch the whey). You now have a cheese that can be called a fresh cheese, bag cheese, farmer cheese or in our case, Queso Blanco.

For a nice firm cheese that you can cut up and use as a meat replacement (like tofu), place the bundle back in the colander, put a plate on top of it and then fill the empty gallon of milk with water and use it as a weight on top of the plate.

Let this sit and continue to drain for 1 more hour or until the cheese is as firm as you like it. Then it’s ready to eat fresh and soft as is or cover and refrigerate. It firms up more in the fridge. Enjoy!”

Spicy Queso Blanco

making mozzarella cheese with kids- it works!!

I recently gave a cheese kit to some friends in Austin. I was staying with them and since they’re entrepreneurial foodie types I thought they’d enjoy one. They did, but they soon asked for a demo and offered me the assistance of their three kids!! Gulp. Ranging from 9-2 years old…a challenge to say the least.

I was concerned that one, it would be too passive of an activity…step one, let’s watch milk heat up slowly…my other concern was that when we got to the stretching part they’d burn themselves.

Well, I’m happy to say that they remained pretty much interested (though the two year-old “multi-tasked” in other rooms halfway through) and we did indeed end up with mozzarella that they all took to school the next day :). As a bonus, no one burned themselves though we did sacrifice a good stretch for that bonus! Here we are hard at work, note my concerned look!

ps. Ideally I’d start kids with queso blanco- although it is not as hands-on, it’s faster, fool proof and does not involved dunking your hands into super hot water or stretching curds! check out my recipes section

Are you a Cheese Nerd? The basic stages of making fresh cheese (in this case for easy microwave mozzarella)

The joy that these photos bring me makes me feel like such a cheese nerd. The milk, curds, the whey, the cutting, the ladling, the coagulation, the end result. Oooooh.

note: My apologies for the lack of photos between curds and finished mozzarella knot. I was alone in the kitchen and can’t exactly take photos while stretching and shaping hot mozzarella. I will enlist a photographer soon and add those photos but for now, know that yes, there are steps in between. Unless you have a special microwave oven, you’ll have to do some work before it turns into the finished product. These were just photos to nerd out on, not a full instructional. See my recipes soon though!

Meanwhile, buttermilk cheese is apparently a Jewish thing? Who knew?!

I’ve been curious about the fact that buttermilk used to be a home staple but somehow has fallen out of favor. I’ve decided to try using it in many ways…pancakes, biscuits, waffles and of course cheese!!

Much to my excitement, it turns out that cultured buttermilk can be used as a mesophilic starter in cheese-making. More info. on that later.

As I searched for recipes I ran across this simple recipe that calls for baking buttermilk for a unique cheese- it sounded intriguingly different so I had to try it! Soooo easy and delicious.

Buttermilk Cheese (Tvarog) (D, TNT)
Source: “MealLeaniYUMM!” by Norene Gilletz
Yield: Approximately 2 cups

2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk

Place 2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk in a large covered ovenproof casserole. (I use a Corning Ware casserole.) Place in a preheated 375ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes. It will separate into curds and whey.

Pour warm liquid into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie ends of cheesecloth and let drain for several hours. (Hang it over the faucet of the sink; put a bowl underneath to catch the whey, which can be used to replace sour milk or buttermilk in baking.) For a firmer cheese, squeeze out most of the liquid. Wrap well and refrigerate. It will keep about a week.

Here it is draining…
bag o curds

The cheese was super creamy and tangy, kind of like a mix between cream cheese and sour cream. Next time I will try to make a cheesecake out of it. The yield was great!

Messing with Mozzarella

Ever since I made my first easy microwave mozzarella my mad scientist little brain has been cooking up variations. Mozzarella is delicious and very useful as is but besides that I can never seem to leave well enough alone, it’s not really a savory, snacking cheese in my opinion. I did however see its potential, with some additions.

moz knot

moz knot

So today I made a gallon batch, split the results in two, added dried jalapeno flakes and red pepper flakes to one bowl (fresh and pungent, bought at Limbo Inc., sorry they don’t have a website but they are at SE 39th and Holgate in Portland, OR- HUGE selection of dried herbs, spices as well as some local produce) and I added mixed herbs to the other (I believe it’s tarragon, parsley, dill and basil; along with cheese salt of course) and both varieties turned out so yummy.

Now they’re dangerously snacky! Yum, I could really eat the entire pound and a half right now. So is it good or bad that I experimented? Oh boy. Must. Exercise. Control.

One motivation that helps me not eat the entire batch now is that I want to see how the flavors change/improve/intensify with some time to infuse the cheese thoroughly. moz ball

Here are the end results and a photo of my lunch. Try some crazy variations yourself, I won’t tell Italy if you don’t.

Mozzarella Tasting

Mozzarella Tasting

Forgot to tell you a have a fresh batch of Feta curing!

Lovely giant jar of February Feta

Lovely giant jar of February Feta


Unless I make some sort of fancy cheese schedule, I will just let you know about the cheeses I’m making and their different stages/developments like this. So, I made a huge batch of raw cow milk Feta in early Feb. (if you’re in Portland, I get it at Kookoolan Farms) It’s supposed to age 2-3 months in brine. So far so good. I do fear daily that I will open the fridge to find a jar of green sludge but luckily, it still just looks like feta in brine (water that has been saturated with salt). If all goes as planned, I’ll let you know more about it when I taste it in April and May. Here are some pics of the giant jar…it is so gratifying to see it in the fridge every day!
Creepy science project view of Feta

Creepy science project view of Feta

the tao of cheese

Feb. 15, 2009

A wise cheese maker recently said to me, never name your cheese until it’s done. Last week I found out why and I let her advice ease my mind.

Fresh raw milk

Fresh raw milk

It was supposed to be mozzarella but for some reason the curds never did what they were “supposed” to. I thought I was a pro at making this easy cheese by now but whether it was the temp of the water/rennet or the different brand of milk I used, this batch refused to be mozzarella. I’m proud of myself for not letting this bother me. It’s a Taoist approach to cheese making and I have to say, it rather suits me! The cheese was still delicious but it ended up like a really thick, tasty cream cheese, almost a goat cheese consistency so I treated it as such. I made pizza and just scooped some flat spoonfuls onto the crust, they melted deliciously and the pizza was creamy and good!

the come hither look

the come hither look

I also shaped some of this thick cheese into a small wheel and rolled it in freshly chopped parsley, chives and cracked peppercorns. I served this with crackers, it tasted fresh and delicious. I had so much cheese that I dropped spoonfuls into a jar along with some crushed garlic chunks, pepper flakes and covered it all in good quality extra virgin olive oil. I let it sit in the fridge for a day. The next evening, I took it to a potluck and we spread the delicious oily concoction onto toasted rustic baguette rounds- delicious again!! I didn’t end up with Mozzarella but I did end up with a cream cheese for pizza, an herbed appetizer cheese as well as potluck oily cheese balls. Not glamorous names but I wish you could’ve tasted them! So, my cheese tip of the week, go with the flow and enjoy the cheese that comes with it!