Saturday, August 22, 2009

A simple thrill

There are simple thrills in life. Today I discovered one that is simply delightful. I learned how to make cheese.

Being in France has given me a chance to explore some of these age old arts, but ones that I never ventured to try before. Growing up in the Midwest one would have thought that these kinds of skills would have been passed on. But my parents were of the space age generation. They wanted everything new and store bought and wrapped in plastic or aluminum. Plus my mother was always afraid she would somehow manage to poison all of us if she tried her hand at things like making preserves or canning. And cheese making! Forget it! Milk? Cream? Those can “turn” too easily.

But cheese making is natural and safe. There is no need to be an expert artisan cheesemaker in the hills of France to create a delicious, homemade, gourmet cheese for next to nothing. So, here is the simple recipe I used to make a batch, albeit a small one, of simple cheese.

1 Cup of whole milk
On small individual container of plain yogurt
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste

A few coffee filters
A few deep coffee cups

All you need to do is heat the milk until a few small bubbles form, add the yogurt and stir until you have a smooth liquid consistency. Keep on heat continuing to stir. This process should take not more than 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the fresh lemon juice. Give it a couple of easy stirs and just let it sit for about 10 minutes. You should see the difference between the cheese curd and the liquid whey.

Layer several coffee filters into several cups. Pour in the curd and whey mixture. You will see it draining through the filters almost immediately. You can let this sit for about an hour. Drain. Now open the filters and find your creamy, delicious cheese! Remove the cheese from the filters and put in a small bowl. Add salt to taste and chill.

And guess what? If your budget does not allow you fresh milk, powdered milk will work too!

This will make just a small amount of simple spreadable but delicious cheese. That is the beauty of it. You only make as much as you need!

Enjoy the simple thrills! Savor life!