Time to return to seeing friends, to break out the suitcases and travel again seems to be approaching. Do your recent kitchen adventures remind you of friends you’ve been unable to spend time with. Memories are such a valuable possession.
This past week was an adventure in cooking in place of travel and another meal reminded me of friends who moved home more than a year ago.
Adventures in cheese making. I’ve been reading that making mozzarella is not too difficult. First step, Google to peruse varied and sundry instructions. I chose this one – https://cheesemaking.com/products/30-minute-mozzarella-recipe. Next, assemble the correct ingredients – milk, rennet, and citric acid; Amazon was the source of the last 2 items, the rennet in particular was nowhere to be found nearby.
First time around, I clearly made a mistake in heating the milk to the correct temperature. Nothing coagulated – then or all day long. Back to Google to see if the mixture could be saved, used for something else, or somehow be repurposed. A resounding “no” was all that I could find.
I had milk again this week, so Saturday afternoon I was off again on a mozzarella adventure. Following an amalgam of several recipes I doubled the amount of rennet. After the requisite 5 minutes there was some curdling, not enough to cut as described in the instructions. I let it sit 30 minutes, there was more curdling. I let it sit all day. Constant Companion (CC) miraculously found the space for overnight in our refrigerator.
First thing Sunday morning (almost) I headed to the hardware store for cheesecloth to strain the results; CC and I decided it was somewhat ricotta-like, with lots of whey. The question was what to do with this “cheese.” Ricotta pie, with about half of it,* was our solution. I chose a recipe without a crust. I needed something relatively easy.
*The second half of the “ricotta” has thickened more making it somewhat spreadable. I’m not sure what to do with it or the remaining whey.
Crustless Ricotta Pie. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Beat 4 eggs with a hand mixer, adding one at a time. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp lemon zet, 1 tsp vanilla (or cinnamon), and ¼ cup flour (I used almond flour). Mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased pie pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until firm and browned.
Recalling friends. Our bounty of vegetables this week included beautiful zucchini and eggplant. I was inspired by a roast eggplant with tahini sauce our friends served one evening. This is really easy, Half the vegetables, then score the flesh in a cross-hatch pattern. Brush with olive oil and a little bit of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes.
Tahini sauce. Put about 20 garlic cloves and about 2/3 cup of fresh of lemon juice into the blender. Strain out any solids. Mix with 1 cup of tahini paste and ½ tsp cumin (still not used with my family). Thin with water to reach the consistency you want. Serve over the roast vegetables.
Dinner that night was these amazing vegetables with tahini sauce, keftedes (Greek meat patties), and steamed string beans. Wish our friends could be with us to enjoy.
Another hint, learned at a cooking class. Next time you get wonderful strawberries, cut the box in half. Arrange half of the berries in the bottom and the other have in the top. When they are separated this way, the fruit remains fresh longer.
PS. I shared our roast eggplant adventure with our friends. Would you believe she recently cooked eggplants exactly the same way?