I love books that give me inspiration…obviously Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has had an influence on me as you’ll see in this post! Also, I checked out the local Sunday morning Farmer’s Market today, I was AMAZED. The farmer’s were proudly displaying “no spray” and grown in Redlands in all the booths. I think more and more people are turning to locally grown vegetables. In California, right now, I can get broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, onions, garlic and strawberries. And I appreciate how lucky I am. Also, the produce is cheap! Three bags of groceries for $20 is awesome. Although, I won’t be converting to a vegetarian anytime soon!
In the book, Kingsolver, spent an entire chapter on how to make cheese in your own kitchen. Mozzerella, Ricotta and other kinds of soft cheeses are described in the book. So, if you know me, I went straight to the Cheese Queen website to check it out. For as little as $24, I got a Mozzerella and Ricotta Kit that includes everything I need to make 30 balls of cheese! The tablets are the rennet and the bag on the right is the citric acid. Pour one gallon of milk into a large pot, heat to 90 degrees, add the above ingredients as specified by the recipe, and let sit for five minutes. At the end, it will look like custard, which I then cut in it with a knife on the diagonal. Then you bring the pot back to the stove and heat to 105 degrees (thermometer is provided in kit).
Drain the whey in a colander.
In a microwavable bowl, heat cheese for one minute. Drain the whey. Stretch the curd. At this point, you can get the kids involved as long as you have rubber gloves for them. And from here you can form little balls, or make string cheese, or let it form into one big blob of cheese.
Presto! Mini pizza’s with fresh mozzerella!
Some notes: The more you handle the cheese, the firmer (rubbery) it gets. The above photos are from two attempts at making the cheese. Another thing is that it is “an art” according to the directions. It only takes thirty minutes- but it will take some practice to get your desired consistancy and flavor. Herbes de Provence or other herbs would be fabulous mixed in to this recipe. I’m thrilled and feel like such a “homemaker” now that I can make cheese in my own kitchen!!