Storm the Cassoulet

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Ingredients:

1 Gallon of Milk (Not Ultra Pasteurized)

1 1/2 tsp Citric Acid

1/4 Rennet Tablet or 1/4 tsp Single Strength Liquid Rennet

1 teaspoon kosher Salt

Purified or Distilled Water (Make sure water is not tap water.  Cannot use water that has any chlorine in it)

Equipment

Food Thermometer

Knife to Cut Curds

Spoon or Ladle to Stir Curds

5 quart Stainless Steel Pot

Large Stainless steel Colander

Large Glass bowl

Food grade, heat resistant gloves for stretching the curds

Method:

Prepare the Citric Acid and Rennet: Measure out 1 cup of water. Stir in the citric acid until dissolved. Measure out 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl. Stir in the rennet until dissolved (mix the rennet just before you use it – potency expires in 20 minutes).

Warm the Milk: Pour the milk into the pot. Stir in the citric acid solution. Set the pot over medium-high heat and warm to 90°F, stirring gently.

Add the Rennet: Remove the pot from heat and gently stir in the rennet solution. Count to 30. Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Cut the Curds: After five minutes, the milk should have set, and it should look and feel like soft silken tofu. If it is still liquidy, re-cover the pot and let it sit for another five minutes. Once the milk has set, cut it into uniform curds: make several parallel cuts vertically through the curds and then several parallel cuts horizontally, creating a grid-like pattern. Make sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Cook the Curds: Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 105°F. Stir slowly as the curds warm, but try not to break them up too much. The curds will eventually clump together and separate more completely from the yellow whey.

Remove the Curds from Heat and Stir: Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring gently for another 5 minutes.

Separate the Curds from the Whey: Ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl with the slotted spoon.

Microwave the Curds:  Microwave the curds for one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on your rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times. At this point, the curds will still be very loose and cottage-cheese-like.

Microwave the Curds to 135°F: Microwave the curds for another 30 seconds and check their internal temperature. If the temperature has reached 135°F, continue with stretching the curds. If not, continue microwaving in 30-second bursts until they reach temperature. The curds need to reach this temperature in order to stretch properly.

Stretch and Shape the Mozzarella: Sprinkle the salt over the cheese and squish it with your fingers to incorporate. Using both hands, stretch and fold the curds repeatedly. It will start to tighten, become firm, and take on a glossy sheen. When this happens, you are ready to shape the mozzarella. Make one large ball, two smaller balls, or several bite-sized bocconcini. Try not to over-work the mozzarella.

The mozzarella can be used immediately or kept refrigerated for a week. To refrigerate, place the mozzarella in a small container. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of cool whey and pour this over the mozzarella. Cover and refrigerate.

 

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French Onion Soup

french-onion-soup

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided evenly into 3 pieces

6 large yellow onions, halfed and cut root to stem into 1/4″ thick slices

2 cloves garlic, chopped

salt

2 cups water, plus extra

1/2 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup dry red wine

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups beef broth

6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with twine

1 bay leaf

black pepper

baguette slices cut 1/2″ thick (1 per bowl).

8oz shredded Gruyere cheese

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400F

Generously grease the inside of a large Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the butter into the Dutch oven, then add the onions with 1 teaspoon salt.

Cook covered for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and stir onions, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot.

Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown (about 1 1/2 hours). Make sure to stir the onions and scrape the sides of the pot after 1 hour.

Remove the pot from the oven and place over medium-high heat.

Cook the onions, stirring frequently and scraping the sides of the pot until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown (use oven mitts to handle the pot), or for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the bottom of the pot is coated with a dark crust (another 6 or 7 minutes).

Once the onions are a very dark brown, add the garlic and continue to stir for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Stir in the sherry and red wine, and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid evaporates (another 7 to 10 minutes).

Stir in the broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you do to loosen everything up.

Increase the heat to high until simmering, then reduce the head to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes in the oven.

Remove and discard the herbs from the soup, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, adjust oven to boiling.

Ladle soup into the bowls, then top with 1 or 2 baguette slices. Sprinkle with Gruyere cheese, then broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges (3 to 5 minutes).

Let cool 5 mintues before serving.

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Cheese Stuffed Breadsticks

breadsticks

Ingredients:

1 1 (10 5/8 ounce) package pillsbury refrigerated garlic breadsticks

5 ounces mozzarella string cheese ( 1 ounce pieces)

Parmesan cheese

Marinara sauce (optional)

Method:

Separate breadstick dough.

Open each package of string cheese.

Divide string cheese pieces in half.

Take 1 piece of cheese and wrap breadstick dough around it taking care to seal it completely.

Place each breadstick on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.

Spread garlic seasoning that is provided in the package on breadsticks.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes.

Do not overcook.

Serve immediately…..dip in marinara.

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Pepperoni and Cheese Crescents

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Ingredients:

11(8-oz.) can Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls

24 slices (about 5 oz.) pepperoni (or other meat)

2oz. (1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese

1cup tomato pasta or pizza sauce, heated

Method:

Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 8 triangles; pat out each triangle slightly.

Place 3 slices pepperoni, slightly overlapping, on center of each triangle. Top each with about 1 tablespoon cheese.

Roll up, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point. Place rolls, point side down, on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375°F. for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm crescents with warm pasta sauce for dipping.

Shape these crescents up to 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate them. Bake them just before they’ll be served.

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