In this edition of The Blue Plate Special, Kurt and Christine visit with Andrew Moore, author of Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, just released by Chelsea Green. Andrew discusses the elusive treats origins, flavors, uses, and why you should never eat the seeds. Following that discussion, Kurt gives Christine a primer on knife basics – bare essentials, selection, care and use.
On The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly, Edible Pioneer Valley publisher and editor in chief, sat down with David Asher. David runs the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking in British Columbia. He follows traditional and natural methods of cheesemaking and doesn’t rely on the freeze-dried cheese cultures that make up so much of today’s cheesemaking. Mary and David talked about cheesemaking methods, rennet types (During they veer off into a detailed discussion of rennet production and GMO rennet. For more information on GMO-produced rennets, read Changing Times for Wisconsin Cheesemakers from Edible Milwaukee.)
Listen to learn how David makes paneer and chevre at home. Recipes for both are below. These recipes have been adapted from David Asher’s The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (July 2015) and are printed with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing.
I learned how to make paneer at a gurdwara (a Sikh temple). The original community kitchens, gurd- waras open up their temples to the public and serve free vegetarian meals known as langar to anyone, regardless of gender, creed, or need, almost any day of the week. At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the most holy Sikh temple, tens of thousands of pilgrims are served wholesome meals every single day.
If you haven’t been to a gurdwara for a meal, I highly recommend it. It’s an important cultural experience, and an excellent way to get to know your neighbors and enjoy a meal with folks off the street. If you don’t want to accept a free meal, the temples will gladly accept donations, or your help in the kitchen.
Gurdwaras make phenomenal homemade Punjabi food, often featuring homemade paneer. When I learned that this temple I visited made its own cheese, I asked the community if I could volunteer in the kitchen and see how it was made. Expert cheesemakers, the Punjabis in the kitchen were very instructive and happy to share their skills. I later learned that many Punjabi households make their own paneer, even after immigrating to North America (you’ve probably seen them buying gallons and gallons of milk at the supermarket and wondered how they were going to drink it all). They should be an example for us all!
This is an adaptation of the gurdwara’s recipe, scaled down from the 25 or so gallons (100 L) of milk that they transformed into cheese in their kitchen! The 25 gallons of milk produced about 25 pounds (10 kg) of cheese, and all that warm cheese, sitting in the strainer, pressed itself firm. When making this recipe at home, you’ll probably not be making as much, and you’ll need to set up a cheese press to press your paneer firm.
Queso fresco, literally “fresh cheese” in Spanish, is a similarly made heat-acid cheese that’s commonly consumed across Mexico and Latin America. Essentially paneer made on a different continent, the recipe for queso fresco is virtually identical to its Indian cousin.
1 gallon (4 L) milk—and almost any milk will do!
1⁄2 cup (120 mL) vinegar (or 1 cup [240 mL] lemon juice, or 1⁄2 gallon [2 L] yogurt or kefir)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt (optional)
2-gallon (8-L) capacity heavy-bottomed pot
Medium-sized wire strainer
Homemade cheese press—two matching yogurt containers, one with holes punched through from the inside with a skewer
Makes about 1 1⁄2 pounds (700 g) cheese
Bring the milk to a boil over medium-high heat.
Be sure to stir the pot nonstop as the milk warms to prevent its scorching on the bottom; the more time you spend stirring, the less time you’ll spend scouring! As well, stirring promotes presence of mind and keeps you focused on the milk, which may boil over if forgotten.
Let the milk rest by cooling it in its pot for a minute or two. Letting the milk settle will slow its movement and help ensure good curd formation.
Pour in the vinegar or lemon juice, and gently stir the pot once or twice to ensure an even mixing of the acid. Do not overstir; the paneer curds are sensitive when they’re fresh and can break apart if overhandled. Watch as the curds separate from the whey . . .
Let the curds settle for 5 minutes. As they cool, the curds will continue to come together. As they become firm, they will be more easily strained from the pot.
Carefully strain the curds: With a wire-mesh strainer, scoop out the curds from the pot, and place them to drain in a colander resting atop a bowl that will catch the warm whey. Pouring the whole pot through the colander is not recom- mended, as the violent mixing that results can make it difficult for the cheese to drain.
Add spices or salt (optional). If you wish to flavor your paneer or queso fresco, consider adding various herbs or spices to the curds before they are pressed. Now is also the best time to add salt.
Press the curds (optional): Transfer the paneer curds from the colander into a form while they are still warm, and place the cheese-filled form atop a draining rack. Fill up the follower with hot whey, and place atop the form to press the curds firm. The paneer is ready as soon as the curd has cooled. It can be taken out of the form and used right away, or refrigerated in a covered container for up to 1 week. Paneer, unlike other cheeses, can also be frozen.
The cultural circumstances within which chèvre evolved make the production of this cheese ideally suited to our modern times. With the many distractions and diversions in our lives, it is often difficult to find dedicated time for cheesemaking; chèvre’s simplicity helps it find a place in our daily rhythms.
Cows’ milk can be used in this recipe in place of goats’ milk: the soft and creamy curd that results is firmer than yogurt cheese and is sometimes called cream cheese, fromage frais, or Neufchâtel, though that final name is an American bastardization of a very different bloomy-rinded French cheese. The long fermentation of the cows’ milk allows its cream to rise, creating a beautiful layer of creamy curd atop the whiter curd below.
Chèvre is excellent on its own but also serves as a delicious canvas for adding many other herbs, spices, and flavors. Roasted or raw garlic, cracked pepper, preserved lemons, even fruit preserves all pair well with chèvre. But be sure to add them at the end of the cheesemaking process, when the cheese is salted and drained; if the flavorings are added too soon, their flavor will flow away with the whey.
Chèvre is generally eaten fresh in North America, so it is a little-known fact that it can also be aged! Chèvre is the foundation of an entire class of aged cheeses that start as this fresh cheese.
1 gallon (4 L) good goats’ milk
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) kefir or active whey
1⁄4 dose rennet (I use less than 1⁄16 tablet WalcoRen calf’s rennet for 1 gallon milk)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) good salt
1-gallon (4-L) capacity heavy-bottomed pot
Du-rag or other good cheesecloth
30 minutes to make; 2 days total
Makes about 11⁄2 pounds (700 g) chèvre
Warm the goats’ milk to around 90°F (32°C) on a low heat, stirring occasionally to keep it from scorching.… Read More
Emily Kaiser Thelin is a writer and editor based in Berkeley with a focus on food, drink, travel and design. A two-time finalist for James Beard awards, from 2006 to 2010 she was a food editor at Food & Wine. In 2007 she co-authored The Harney and Sons Guide to Teawith Michael Harney, published by Penguin Press. Her work has also appeared in the Best Food Writingseries, Oprah, Dwell, Gourmet, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Timesand The Washington Post.
Now she is hard at work with her friend and mentor Paula Wolfert on their new Kickstarter-funded project: UNFORGETTABLE: Bold Flavors from a Renegade Life, a retrospective on Wolfert’s life and career in light of the onset of Alzheimers.
In this episode of The Blue Plate Special, hosts Kurt and Christine Friese talk to Thelin about Wolfert’s remarkable career and how the new project is coming together.
Get you tickets now for Eating Words: The Edible Institute Food Writing Conference in the City of Literatur
Elizabeth Pearce is a drinks historian and the drinks curator for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in the cradle of American drinks culture, New Orleans.
Gibson and Elizabeth explore the rich and storied history of drinking in the city of New Orleans, from its early days as a French colony, to the rioting (and hangings) that took place when the Spanish took control of the city and outlawed French spirits in favor of those produced by Spain, through Prohibition – it took one Federal agent just 37 seconds to be served a drink when he inquired, pulled from under the driver’s seat of the taxi that picked him up at the train station – and onto today.
The two also discuss Elizabeth’s book, The French Quarter Drinking Companion, in which she and her two co-authors recount the tales of what happened to them in each of the 100 bars they visited in the city’s French Quarter.
More about Elizabeth, her book and blog, and the historical tours she offers can be found at Elizabeth-Pearce.com.
Get you tickets now for Eating Words: The Edible Institute Food Writing Conference in the City of Literature
Kurt & Christine chat with Summer Miller, author of New Prairie Kitchen, about the burgeoning cuisine of the Heartland. Summer spent 4 years touring and tasting at farms and restaurants to find the best of this oft-neglected region, where the best soil on earth makes growing and eating local food easy. Summer Miller blogs at ScaldedMilk.com.
The conference will be held October 2-4. Make your plans now! Tickets are available here, hotel arrangements here, travel info here, and the agenda is posted here. You can follow updates via Facebook and Twitter.
Recipes below the fold…
On this episode we hear from Weston Miller, assistant professor of Consumer Horticulture with Oregon State Extension. Weston primarily works with the Master Gardeners Program and the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship, which he started nearly 5 years ago. He talks about the role that Extension plays in modern times and the resources that are available to the homestead-minded residents of Portland. He also talks about his new call-in radio show, Grow PDX, on xray.fm and his appearances on TV and in print. The story and interview were recorded at KBOO Community Radio in Portland, OR. Find more information about OSU Metro Extension at extension.oregonstate.edu/metro.
Mary Reilly of Edible Pioneer Valley spoke with Kathleen Weber, the founder of Della Fattoria Bakery in Petaluma, CA, about baking artisan breads at home. Kathleen generously shared her recipe for Tomato Bread Soup with us. Show off fresh summer tomatoes in this rustic recipe.
Recipes below the fold…… Read More
On Underground Airwaves, we talk a lot about the enjoyment of food. But for many people there are economic and social factors that keep them from the opportunities of enjoying good, healthy food. At the Sisters of the Road Cafe, they are attempting to make eating good food available to all people. Their hot food barter model allows them to serve fresh foods that you would normally not find in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. They also focus on dining with dignity, which creates an inclusive community where everyone’s needs can be served. We have a story from Kris Soebroto who has worked at Sisters of the Road for several years. She has gotten to know the community at Sisters intimately and has seen first hand the humanizing effect of a dignified dining experience. She talks about the work they are attempting at Sisters and how some of the things we take for granted, such as giving a gift, can be incredibly meaningful. The story and interview were recorded at KBOO Community Radio in Portland, OR. Find more information about the Sisters of the Road Cafe at SistersOfTheRoad.org.
Family-owned and operated since 1974 in the historic Village of Newcomerstown, Ohio, Tastee Apple, Inc. has sold over 250,000,000 apples with candy, chocolate, caramel, and other toppings. Entrepreneur, Greg Hackenbracht joins us on this segment of Cuisine KaChing. Greg started the Company along with his father, John, when he was only 19 years old.
For 40 years, Greg, along with his management team has been guiding the enterprise with his focus on quality, innovation, culture, process and profit with a passion for constant improvement. And, they’ve frown the Company organically by simply listening to their customers.
The only U.S.A.-based company in the industry certified by the Safe Quality Food Institute, all of the apples go through a unique, seven-step rating process to guarantee the quality and freshness of the fruit. They work with several select apple growers from Missouri, Washington and other locations, favoring the northern-most suppliers because they tend to produce a firmer, longer lasting apple, one that is most optimal for their particular process. Only fresh packers are used
Perfectly-ripe apples are “dipped” in made-from-scratch, small-batch, kettle-cooked caramel or a candy coating. After the apples cool, they are rolled in gooey toppings like milk, dark or white chocolate and then rolled in fresh peanuts, pecans, cookies, or pretzels. The candy and caramel apples are then carefully packaged, stored and shipped to stores throughout the country to enjoy with family and friends.
The company has achieved a fascinating balance of “home-made-from-scratch quality along with process-manufacturing and massive scale.