Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two Very Exciting Cheese Nuggets

That's right! I have two very exciting bits of info to share with my fellow lovers of the curd...in the Bay Area (sorry out of towners...I wish you were here).

During my last few visits to Rainbow Grocery's cheese counter, I found myself warbling with excitement at the site of Lazy Lady Farms cheese! Yes, this is the cheesemaker that I nearly stalked when I was out in Vermont & yes, her cheese is remarkable & no, I have never known any of it to occupy a West Coast shelf. Gordon Edgar, cheese buyer at Rainbow & author of Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge, has always provided an insane assortment of curd, but this time...he has truly outdone himself.

The cheese available, yes...only one at a time thus far, has been different on both visits. My first purchase was Oh My (even she knows it's good), an 8 oz bloomy rind brie-style cow's milk cheese & the next trip it was Barick Obama (right), another cow's milk cheese but this time with washed rind & a tad stinkier. Lazy Lady supplies are certainly limited, so go grab a hunk while you can!

Many of you may already be in the know for exciting nugget #2, but just in case you are not...the California Artisan Cheese Festival is this weekend in Peteluma! Many of the tours & seminars on Friday & Saturday are full, but the Sunday Marketplace is still wide open! $45 for cheese, wine, & beer tastings galore, chef & cheesemaking demos (fun!), a cheese cooler, AND a festival wine glass. If you are not excited...I am confused.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Paneer, the New Easy Cheese!

Paneer, please do not be angry at me for the easy cheese reference. You are delicious in my curry, but you are also very easy to make. Hooray!

Step 1: Bring 10 cups of whole milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Easy enough...

Step 2: Reduce heat to low & add 1/3 cup lemon juice, I used Meyer lemons for the extra flavor. Cook, stirring occasionally, until curds & whey separate. Hands off Miss Muffet!

Step 3:
Remove from heat & let stand for 10 minutes.

Step 4:
Drain curd into a colander lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth & rinse gently with warm water.

Step 5:
Gently gather curd in cheesecloth & squeeze to release some moisture.

Step 6:
Flatten curd (still in cloth) slightly into a disk & place in a large mixing bowl. Fill smaller bowl with water & place on top as a weight. Let stand for 1 hour.

Voila! Paneer! This delicious cheese can be added to most Indian dishes as a substitute for meat...or in addition. I added it to this Food & Wine Masala recipe & it was delish!