I made cheese!

I spent my Saturday night having a blast, making my curds and whey! I decided to make two types, mozzarella and paneer (Indian cheese).

Here’s how it all went down:

Step 1: I poured myself a glass of wine. This is my “welp! don’t know how this one’s gonna turn out!” face.

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Kristen got me a Mozzarella-making kit for Christmas!:

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Step 2: Boil milk with citric acid until the curds and whey start to separate.

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After letting it sit for 10ish minutes, drain and strain.

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Knead it after heating, and then repeat (OUCH! sooo hot!!!)

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Voila!!!!! Mozzarella!:

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To make paneer, I went old school. None of this fancy-schmancy citric acid….I squirted some lemon juice up in there!!!

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And then promptly dropped an almond that I was eating in there. Had to fish that out. Crapskies!!!

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Strain, drain, and HANG!

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Then press it for 3 hours. They suggested using a chapathi-maker. Uhhhhhh, riiiiight….I’ll just use my own version of a paneer-press….

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To use both types of cheeses, I decided to make two dishes that use them. For the paneer, I made Palak Paneer, which is an Indian dish with chopped/sauteed spinach, onion, tomato and spices. The cheese is chopped up into chunks and then added. I got to take a bunch of cooking classes while we were there and I finally got to use a recipe from one of them!! For the mozzarella, I sliced up some of it and put it over tomatoes with some salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

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The paneer came out perfect! The mozzarella…..welllllll, it wasn’t bad. It warned me in the packet not to knead it too much or else it would come out rubbery and that’s exactly what happened. But now I know this, and will do much better next time I make it!!

Other notable firsts:

* I had never read my India journal all the way through. When we were traveling, I wrote in it everyday, drew some sketches, and glued ticket stubs, fliers, and other handouts into it. What a ridiculous trip that was! I’m still reflecting and synthesizing everything that I learned during it.

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* I had never seen an example of a ridiculously awful, terrible, horrible teacher before.

* I had never danced with the Gray school of Irish Dance before!!! I couldn’t walk from Tuesday-Friday because of the workout I was put through! The girls are a level or two higher than me, and 15-20 years younger. I’m feelin’ my age, man!!!! But it felt GREAT to be able to dance again.

* I had never seen a school-wide geography bee before.

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6 Responses to I made cheese!

  1. beqlendvay says:

    Can I have your paneer recipe? I want to try making it!

    Like

  2. irishcait02 says:

    absolutely!!! do you want just the paneer recipe (like, just to make the cheese?) or the palak paneer recipe (the whole spinach/cheese shebang)?!

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  3. amanda g says:

    I’d like the whole palak paneer shebang recipe. I’ve never tried making paneer either but my saag definitely needs help

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    • irishcait02 says:

      If you’re going to make the whole thing, I’d double the recipe that I used (it could have used more paneer!), so all you need is a half gallon of milk (don’t use Ultra Pasteurized, and the higher the fat content the better…I used 2% and it came out fine), a lemon, and some cheesecloth.

      Boil the milk for about 5 minutes, then squeeze in the lemon, tablespoon by tablespoon until it starts to separate (I used 1/2 lemon for a quart of milk, not sure if it will double if you use a 1/2 gallon). Boil for another few minutes, then turn off the cooktop and remove from heat. Let it keep separating for 15ish minutes. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon into a cheesecloth, and then let it hang somewhere (the kitchen sink nozzle worked well) for about an hour. Unhang it and then find something to press it with for 3 hours (I used the olive oil bottle in the picture). Refrigerate overnight (or at least for a few hours)

      For the Palak Paneer recipe: (I got this from a restaurant in Dharmsala called Taste of India)
      500g spinach (about a pound)
      2 medium onions, crushed (use a processer)
      200g tomato puree (4 roma-ish sized tomatoes, boil/remove skin and seeds, put in processer)
      4 serving spoon-fuls of vegetable oil
      some cream

      spices:
      1/4 tspn (this is a regular size spoon….like a spoon you’d eat yogurt or cereal with) red chili powder
      1 tspn meat masala
      1 tspn salt
      1/2 tspn garam masala
      2 tspn fenugreek
      2 tspn fresh cilantro
      1/2 tspn cumin (jeera)
      1/2 tspn coriander seeds
      1 1/2 servingspoon fulls of a 50/50 garlic/ginger combo paste (you can just make your own)

      1. Coarsely wash/chop spinach and boil it for 10 mins in a cup of water. When it’s cool enough, run it through the food processor and set aside.

      2. Heat the oil and then add in the cumin and coriander seeds. After a minute add the onions and let cook about 10ish minutes.

      3. Add a big spoonful of water, and then the ginger/garlic paste. Cook another 2 minutes.

      4. Add the red chili powder, salt, meat masala, garam masala, and fenugreek, along with 1/2 cup water. Cook for another 2 minutes.

      5. Add tomato puree, cook another 2 minutes.

      6. Add spinach. Lower the flame. Cook another 5-10 minutes.

      6. Add the paneer, cook another 5-10 minutes. Add a bit of cream right before serving.

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  4. beqlendvay says:

    I’m so excited for this. Oh jesus.

    Like

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