Grocery & Foods
In the July/August issue of the Food Network Magazine, I saw this recipe — or I guess it is just an idea — for serving puppy dogs. My child likes hot dogs, but more than that she loves the white buns, and serving mini-hot dogs on small rolls might be a better size for kids. It’s also a fun way of miniaturizing a classic.
Of course hot dogs and white buns are hardly nutritious, but what’s a picnic without hot dogs. They would also be good for an appetizer during a football game or party. Vienna Beef sells Beef Pups, which are mini-hot dogs but a little larger than the ones in the picture, and Oscar Mayer and Hebrew National also sell a mini hot dog/cocktail frank. If you want to go the organic route, Applegate Farms has an organic pork cocktail frank, but they might be harder to find if that brand isn’t available in your area. Then again, you can also just cut up regular sized hot dogs if you want.
And lastly, with all hot dogs, a parent should be aware of the chocking hazard. If you have a small child or your child is unfamiliar with hot dogs, you might want to monitor their eating at first. Know your kid and be reasonable.
In the October Bon Appetit, the BA Foodist talked about making popcorn the old-fashioned way on the stove. That got me to thinking how a generation of kids these days have been raised on microwave popcorn where the magic of popping is contained in some bag tucked away in a microwave. Though microwave popcorn is convenient, the gourmet variety is often more tasty and you can also control the flavor better. If you want to, you can use less salt and butter, add some sugar for kettle-style popcorn, or you can even add other herbs and spices to create your own unique falvors. I have heard of people using sage, rosemary, taco seasoning, mild chili powder, ground pepper, and parmesan cheese.
So how is it done?
Well, it is pretty easy and you don’t really need to buy any special equipment, just the whole corn kernels. You will need about 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil for 1/2 cup of kernels, a pan or large metal prep bowl, and any flavoring you want. Here is a recipe from Alton Brown on how to use a large bowl covered with aluminum foil. You can also use a large stock pot with cover. Just make sure to crack the cover and let the steam out once the kernels start popping. If you search the internet you will find numerous recipes using slightly different oil and kernel amounts and different types of vegetable oils.
There are also specialty popcorn makers if you want to go that route. One is called the Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper, which can be purchased at Amazon for $24. Another vintage-style popper is called the Atom Pop Corn Popper, but this item is a bit harder to find online. You can check their website to see if a dealer is near you or contact them directly for a way to purchase it. If you don’t want to make you snack on the stovetop, of course you can also buy a hot air popper such as the Presto PopLite Hot Air Corn Popper. This item costs about $20 and gets very high marks on Amazon.
As for kernels, the most important thing to keep in mind is that old, dry kernels don’t taste as good. One way to go is to buy fresh gourmet varieties online and choose the one you like best. The picture above is for the Fireworks Popcorn Variety Pack, but there are other gourmet suppliers too. Boulder Popcorn, Black Jewel, Crown Jewel, Wabash Valley Farms and the already-mentioned Fireworks. If you don’t want to go the online route, you can always look for Orville Redenbacher’s at your local supermarket. Some people also store the kernels with a little moisture in the jar to prevent them from getting dried out. You can use a mister or just pour some water in the jar, immediately pour it out, and then let the residual water add some moisture to the kernels while storing.
As for salt, Morton makes a special popcorn salt that is finer and sticks to the kernels better. You can look in your supermarket for it or buy it directly from Morton (4-pack for $5.56). You can also make your own version of popcorn salt by putting some kosher salt into a coffee bean or spice grinder to make a finer grained salt.
I hope this inspires you to try making your own popcorn. Microwave popcorn is surely convenient, but the old-fashioned popcorn is healthier and you get to control the flavor to create that perfect snack food. Plus, kids can start to see the ‘magic’ again and help out in the kitchen. Happy popping.
The last issue of Gourmet had some advice about which potatoes to use for mashing. I can never remember which ones are best or the advantages of each variety, so this article was definitely a helpful reminder to me. In the end, it essentially depends upon your taste though.
If you like lumpier potatoes or want to make smashed potatoes, red and white boiling potatoes with a smooth, shiny skin can be used. These varieties also tend to absorb garlic and onion flavor well.
If you like light, fluffy, and smooth mashed potatoes with no lumps it is best to choose a baking potato such as a Russet. These potatoes will have a coarser, non-shiny skin. Traditionally this has been the potato of choice for mashed potatoes, and they absorb milk, butter, and salt very well.
The difference between boiling and baking potatoes is the level of moisture and starch. Boiling potatoes have more moisture and less starch and baking potatoes are the other way around with low moisture and high starch. Baking potatoes, therefore, are drier and tend to absorb a lot of butter and milk.
Boiling potatoes with high moisture hold their shape better during cooking, hence the reason they are used for boiling. So if you are boiling potatoes for stews, then high moisture potatoes are a good choice.
With that said, in between the boiling and baking potatoes are the Yukon Golds, which are medium moisture and medium starch. This is a versatile choice and can be used for stews, mashing, smashing and most of your potato needs. I personally use Yukon Golds.
Earlier I posted on my initial success of making butter, and since it was a little too easy, I decided to bump up the standard a bit in order for me to cross it off my ten cooking goals for 2010. Instead of just making butter, I decided to make my own bread too and learn how to use a butter mold — all for a holiday meal.
So what did I do? First of all, for pre-Christmas Eve I made two loaves of homemade olive bread. I mostly used my go-to Jamie Oliver recipe, but this time I adapted it with another one specifically for olive bread. I also used my vintage butter mold that I bought off of eBay. It worked well and was a nice touch. I just soaked the wooden mold/press in ice water for 30 minutes, used a spatula to press the soft, room-temperature butter into the mold, and then I covered the bottom with cellophane wrap and chilled it until hardened. Out came a nice fancy butter round with a design on top.
As for the butter, I am still trying to perfect it but the results are so good that I will definitely be buying less supermarket butter. My first try at butter was quick, easy, and the tastiest of all three attempts so far. The cream I had used had soured in the fridge (not at room temperature) and the container had been opened allowing some of the milky liquid to evaporate. The cream came out clumpy, smelled rather sour, and was harder to churn but the result was the best.
For my second attempt, I had opened the carton to let air in for about 10 days and used the heavy cream right at the expiration date. I also let it sit out on the counter for 8 hours to culture at room temperature. This made a nice creamy butter that tasted great on the olive bread, but it just didn’t have the tang of that first one. I could tell when I smelled it that it wasn’t quite sour enough.
On New Year’s Eve, I used another carton of cream that I had also opened and let sit in the fridge. It was about six days past its expiration date, and I didn’t let it sit on the counter as I couldn’t wait several hours for the butter. The cream was much clumpier and just starting to sour. This batch was in the middle of the pack in terms of taste, but it still didn’t have the tang I was looking for.
So what have I learned? Well, first of all sour, cultured cream is best for butter, and now my fridge has a cream culturing experiment going on it. I have about 2-3 cartons of cream aging in the fridge awaiting the butter-making process as I count the days until they go sour. I am also not buying ultra-pasteurized cream hoping that the less pasteurized product will speed up the culturing process. I am also going to store the milk in different containers. I am no food scientist, but I suspect that more air will enhance the culturing, just as a decanter helps wine. If you just open a carton, there is very little surface area for evaporation to take place and not much room inside to let the natural souring process happen. I think my next attempt will involve culturing the cream past the expiration date in the fridge in a different container, then letting it sit out for 12+ hours on the countertop. We’ll see what happens.
So the butter making continues even though I accomplished my cooking goal. Now I am locked in a stranger battle of trying to make cream turn sour just the way I like it. Of course, there are easier ways to culture cream/butter by using yogurt and letting it sit out longer, but for some reason I want to replicate that elusive first batch. There was just something inspiring about taking some cream I was ready to throw out and in five minutes making the best butter I have ever had.
Now that it is winter up north, I bought some grapeseed oil for its lower smoke point during cooking. When a pan starts to smoke in the winter in Minnesota, opening a window is a cold option to air things out.
The smoke point is when the oil fat starts to break down and forms a gas. For grapeseed oil that happens at 485 degrees, but every oil has a different point at which it begins to smoke. Extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point at 375 degrees, and it is for this reason that many cooks don’t use olive oil when frying, sauteing, or roasting at high heat.
In the past, I used canola oil when heat was an issue, but in the December Bon Appetit the ‘BA Foodist’ recommended grapeseed oil, so I thought I would give that a try. A lot of foodies like to use grapeseed oil as it has a very high smoke point and offers flavor neutrality, which means you can add it to dishes without imparting a strong flavor. If you want olive flavor that is fine, but not every food is enhanced by such a prominent flavor.
Some common high-heat oils that cooks use include: grapeseed, peanut, safflower, and canola. There are also more exotic options such as avocado and rice bran oil.
With that said, some cooks don’t care for canola as much as other products as they detect a fishy aroma. I had never heard this before, but when I compared the aromas of grapeseed and canola oil, there was a noticeable difference between the two. I can’t say canola oil was exactly ‘fishy’ but I could see how someone might smell it that way. The grapeseed oil, on the other hand, was very neutral and had almost no aroma at all. Peanut oil is also high-heat and often used for frying, but is tends to be less flavor neutral than other seed-based oils.
Another good thing about grapeseed oil is that because it has half as much saturated fast as olive oil, your salad dressing won’t solidify in the fridge. Of course, you also lose the olive oil flavor if that is what you want. I guess it all depends upon what flavors a person wants to come through.
With that said, I now must caveat this post, as I have oversimplified the oil discussion quite a lot. Opinions run high with oil especially concerning health issues, and many Italians use olive for all types of cooking regardless of heat, except maybe deep frying. There are also many variations of olive oil, so you can still get high-heat olive oil too. And then there is the difference between refined and unrefined oils, with unrefined oils smoking at much lower temperatures. For instance, and unrefined olive oil will start to smoke around 320 degrees, so save that oil for finishing dishes and don’t cook with it.
Lastly, when storing cooking oils, try to keep them in a dark, cool place as heat, air, and light are the enemies of oil. Basic cooking oils should be consumed within six months as they will start to become rancid and break down — even if you can’t smell it. Extra virgin olive oil keeps longer as it has less acidity and more monounsaturated fat, but even olive oil after a year will start to lose many of its healthful benefits and break down.
When buying cooking oil, don’t buy dusty bottles, and try to choose oils in non-clear or metal containers as they let in less damaging light. Also, pick bottles that aren’t at the front of the shelf as these too will be exposed to less light. A good idea overall would be to simply replace your standard cooking oil every six months. You won’t get sick from old oil, but why use it in your food?
The other day I was at the grocery store and avocados were on sale. After picking out five for $5, a lady asked me how to tell if they are good or not. I told her that unfortunately most of them were too ripe. They were squishy to the touch, and not worth buying.
So how does one pick out avocados at the grocery store?
I eat an amazing amount of avocados, and now I can just touch them and tell if they are perfectly ripe or will be ripe in a day, two days or longer, so I usually just choose the ripeness according to when I think I will use them. If you want one that is ready to eat or close to it, you should try to buy an avocado that gives slightly when lightly squeezed. You want a firm tenderness; not rock hard or too squishy. But don’t squeeze them too hard or else they might bruise.
An avocado that is rock hard will probably take more than three days to ripen, but you can speed up the ripening process by sealing the avocado in a paper bag with a banana or apple. These fruits release ethylene gas, which is a ripening agent. If an avocado is already ripe and you are not ready to eat it, you can store it in the fridge for up to a week.
For instruction on how to cut avocados, I found three internet videos useful. All three are good, but I have only embedded the Epicurious.com one in this post. You can also check out Chowhound and Rouxbe for their videos on how to pit and cut an avocado.
Since avocados can be rather expensive, especially when not in season, preservation is also a key. Avocados, once cut, will quickly start to brown, so when I make guacamole, I squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the top so the leftover guacamole doesn’t brown.
If you are only going to eat half an avocado, you can also store the side with the pit in it in the fridge. A lot of people first squeeze lemon juice on it to prevent browning, but the Chowhound video below uses onions in a plastic container. It’s a good tip, and one which I will try the next time.
Avocados are often used to make guacamole, which is very easy to make in its most basic form. It is simply ripe avocados, salt and garlic, but a lot of recipes add other ingredients. Rick Bayless, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur, gives his recipe in stages so you can add different flavors as you see fit. Bayless also has his signature chunky guacamole that he serves at his restaurant, and you can find that version at The Recipe Link. If you search the web, you will no doubt find dozens of other guacamole recipes to suit your taste.
As for me, I often take the easy way out. I use Rick Baylsess’ Frontera Guacamole Mix. I know it isn’t fresh and might be missing some of those prominent lime, onion and tomato flavors, but it is still very flavorful and spicy. I think it is a good substitute if you like a hotter type of guacamole or you don’t have limes, cilantro, or other fresh vegetables around. Everyone I have served this to has commented on how much they like it.
If you want to know more about Rick Bayless and how he came to be one the premier chefs for Latin cuisine in the US, you can listen to this story on NPR. The NPR website also gives his recipe for roasted tomatillo guacamole.
This is the third and last part of my truffle series. Over the past month, I have written a couple times about truffles. The first post talked about the rise of the domestic truffle industry and the second simply elaborated on what exactly a truffle is.
But now as French black Périgord truffle season is upon us, it will be good to give some online resources for buying your truffles. It is time to try that risotto with truffle shavings on top.
First of all, truffles appear during set months of the year depending upon the type of truffle and region. For instance, the black Périgord truffle from Australia starts arriving in late May and continues through August. During the summer you will also have the milder Italian black summer truffle available. After that comes the white Alba truffle from September through December, which you can buy right now. And there is also a milder black Burgundy fall truffle available right now too. Lastly, the French black Périgord starts arriving in December and goes until March — both in the US and Europe.
Of course there are other varieties too such as Oregonian white and black truffles which also appear in the winter and spring, but if you’d like to know more about the common culinary varieties, Tartufi Unlimited has a good description of each type along with the season.
One of the great things about New Zealand and Australia now producing black Périgord truffles, is that due to their winter months being reversed, we now have black Périgord truffles another 3-4 months out of the year. And the recent domestic farming start-ups in the US also ensure a better, fresher truffle supply. Who knows, but in 10 years truffle prices may even start to drop.
At the present time though, domestic and foreign truffle prices are roughly the same, despite a 100% import tariff on foreign truffles. The domestic producers are matching the going market rate and competing instead on freshness and speed of supply. Truffles are full of moisture and a long trek from Europe reduces that moisture, but it may only take domestic truffles a couple of days to get from underground to your dinner plate.
Truffles are expensive though, and not everyone appreciates the musky and earthy aroma. Right now the Italian white Alba truffles, which are in season, are pulling in $180-240 per ounce. The black Périgord truffles are a bit cheaper, and will cost roughly $60-90 per ounce, but the exact prices are determined at the beginning of each season based upon supply and demand.
If you want to buy truffles, the first place to look is domestically. In the United States, two sources are Piedmont Valley Truffles and Tennessee Truffles. Again, these will be fresher than European truffles (if you live in the US) and cost about the same. In the coming years, more and more US-based truffle farms will be coming online, so there should be more buying options in the near future. Tennessee Truffles also sells Australian black truffles in the off-season.
If you can’t get them from those sites, you may need to purchase European truffles from online gourmet food and specialty stores. Several of them exist, and I have listed a selection below. If you search online will no doubt find more suppliers.
When ordering truffles, it is good to keep some general rules in mind as you won’t want to waste a lot of money or purchase some disappointing truffles.
First, when buying truffles be aware of the season and don’t buy so-called ‘fresh’ truffles when they are not in season. Anything that is too cheap is probably not a top-of-the-line French or Italian truffle, but instead a lower quality truffle. They may look similar and be the same color, but they are not the prized truffles sought after by chefs. Don’t get me wrong, they may still be very good for cooking, but you just need to be aware of what you are buying as they won’t be as aromatic or flavorful as the higher-end truffles.
Second, there are some problems with counterfeiting using Chinese black truffles. Chinese truffles are sometimes stored with real Périgord truffles to pass on the aroma to the inferior Chinese truffles, and then the lower-quality products are represented as French. Stick with established online retailers, and again, if it is too cheap, it is too good to be true.
Third, it is always best to buy fresh truffles, but if you absolutely need some truffle in the off season, you may have to turn to canned truffles. Look for some that are “first cooking whole” and canned in their liquid. Again it is best to buy only from reputable suppliers such as Plantin which offers good canned truffles.
And lastly, when you get your truffles, they may come packed in rice or vacuum packed, but it is best to store them in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers in the refrigerator and use them up quickly as truffles lose their aroma very fast. It is also not recommended to freeze them, but if you absolutely must, do it in olive oil and only for a short period of time. But the wisest thing to do is protect your investment and it quickly.
Yesterday I purchased off of eBay the vintage wooden butter mold pictured to the right. One of my cooking goals for 2010 is to learn how to make my own butter. I know it isn’t that difficult, so I held myself to a higher standard of making butter for a special occasion. And even that seemed a bit too easy, so that led me to buying the butter mold, and now my plan is that on Christmas Eve I am going to bake a loaf of bread and make my own butter too. I think that will be a good combination.
So after buying my mold, I started looking into how exactly to make butter and ran into this video. You just have to shake heavy whipping cream in a jar for several minutes and rinse. That seemed too easy, and I had some cream already in the fridge, so I gave it a quick try. You are supposed to leave the cream out at room temperature for 6-12 hours to culture it first, but since I had a partial pint of cream already in the fridge and about to go bad, I decided to skip that step. So I got a Mason jar, poured in the very thick cream and started shaking.
After about 3-4 minutes I started to vigorously shake the jar as I wasn’t seeing the results that were in the video. He had a deliberate and steady shake, but I had to upgrade to a wild and violent shake. Maybe it didn’t form as quickly because the cream was chilled — I don’t know. Regardless, I did get the cream into a very thick state, but I still didn’t have the little globules of butter, so I just put in about a half cup of cold water and started shaking again. It only took about 10 seconds after that and I had nice, tangy fresh butter. I rinsed it a couple of times, smashed in some freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, and made some hot butter toast.
It took me only 10 minutes from the end of video to having warm toast with fresh butter. That was nice. And I think my daughter is going to like making ’shake’ butter too.
There are a lot of videos and instructional material on the web on how to make butter, but in addition to the video referenced above, I thought these two articles were interesting. One is from Cooking For Engineers and the other is from Saveur magazine. I will probably use a combination of their techniques when I make my final holiday butter.
If you want to buy butter molds, cookiemold.com has some nice hand-carved ones and Ruby Lane has interesting vintage molds and presses available. Just do a search for ‘butter molds’ on their website. Other than that, you can always check on eBay as I did.
Recently a question was posed to me about which bread making machine was best, and frankly I didn’t know. While living abroad I learned how to make a simple bread dough from a Jamie Oliver recipe and have used that recipe ever since. I have never used a KitchenAid mixer or any other machine for bread; I make it completely by hand and I love the results. But frequent bread making from scratch is rarely an option for most people, and now that I have an artisanal bakery nearby, I have only made bread once in the last six months.
Essentially, bread making depends upon a person’s situation. Food needs, busy schedule, size of family, and existence of bakeries can all affect how and if we bake a loaf of bread. So here are a few questions you might ask yourself when thinking about buying some new bread making equipment.
- Do you have a good bakery nearby? You will likely bake less bread if that is the case.
- What type of bread do you like? Do you want artisanal bread or just better sandwich bread for you kids’ lunch box?
- Do you have dietary restrictions? If you can’t eat gluten, then making your own bread is a good option.
- Cost? If you can’t afford a bread machine or mixer, you may need to make bread the old fashioned way.
- How much bread do you eat and how often? These are simple questions but important.
Too many people buy bread machines and kitchen mixers and never use them. They just have different bread needs, and that’s perfectly fine, but if you are looking to invest in kitchen tools or to start making bread, examining your habits, needs, and expectations will help make it so you actually use the equipment you buy.
So with that said, I like to group home bread making into four categories.
- Handmade bread from scratch with no tools;
- Handmade bread with use of kitchen tools such as mixers;
- Semi-handmade bread with use of a bread machine; and
- Completely automated bread with full use of a bread machine.
The first method of completely making bread by hand is probably the most messy and time consuming and takes some dedication. This is what I do as I don’t own a food processor, KitchenAid mixer, or bread machine. However, I don’t feel that most people unless they are serious bakers or bread lovers would choose this method nowadays, especially with so many kitchen tools to make the job easier.
I initially chose making bread this way because I had no appliances and no good bakeries. If you are a serious bread purist, concerned about cost, or a foodie that just wants to learn baking and make a handful of loaves per year, this style of bread making will probably be fine. It works, isn’t as hard as it seems, and tastes great. I just started out with a simple recipe and moved on to more elaborate breads. Here is the Jamie Oliver recipe I use.
The second method of using kitchen appliances to help out is probably the most common. Either a mixer or food processor assists in mixing and kneading the bread dough, and you are left to proof and bake the bread on your own. The advantage of this method is that it cuts down on some of the work and clean-up and also gives you a lot of flexibility with making different types of bread. You control the bread product. And for most cooks, you will already have a mixer or food processor that can handle bread dough. This is the way I would do it if I had the tools.
If you cook bread in this manner, I would also recommend two books that will help cut down on the time without sacrificing bread making results. Both Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Bread In Half The Time will give tips and techniques to make fresh bread quicker by proofing dough in the microwave or using a different type of dough that can be refrigerated.
The third method of using a bread machine to do everything except baking the bread is a hybrid approach and is also popular. You still have some control over the bread but the bread machine eliminates the mixing, kneading, and proofing steps. You simply take the unbaked, proofed bread from the machine, form it how you want, and bake it in the oven. This is a great compromise approach if that suits your needs.
With proper measuring of ingredients and a book or two, this method will also yield very good baked bread. A useful tool for this method is a digital scale to get the ingredients properly measured as that is one of the main causes of unsatisfactory bread machine results. Go by weight and not volume if you use a bread machine.
As for bread machines, a highly recommended model is the Zojirushi BBCCX20 Supreme Bread Machine. I have also seen the Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker mentioned as a good choice, and it has excellent reviews on Amazon. The Zojirushi will allow you to control the bread making process a bit more than the Panasonic, and it has a horizontal loaf, which usually means better crust. The Panasonic is more of a start-to-finish machine, puts the yeast in on its own, and has a vertical loaf. With both of these machines, you can take the dough out and cook it in your own oven.
And if you end up going the total bread machine route, a highly recommended book is The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook, and if you want to create more artisanal-tasting breads Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine is useful.
Finally, the last method of complete automation with a bread machine is obviously the easiest, but you lose a lot of control over your bread result. This doesn’t mean it is bad bread, but you will have less control over shape, rising, and crust and you may need to experiment to get your results to come out properly. Again, the books listed above will help produce better results, and they will also give numerous recipes. The main benefit of this all-in-one method is less work, but if you are willing to forgo true artisanal bread, a bread machine will allow you to have fresh bread awaiting you in the morning along with that great aromal. Also, for larger families that eat a lot of bread, taking this route may be the easiest and best option to ensure a great supply of fresh bread.
And last of all, if you want a good site for a lot of useful bread-making resources, I would recommend checking out King Arthur Flour. Serious bakers use this site, and it is well organized and has a lot of good equipment. Happy baking.
After failing at my first attempt at making mozzarella cheese, I succeeded the second time around. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my less-than-satisfactory effort, so I made some changes and all worked out fine. Basically, the last time I felt that the microwave step of heating the cheese to get it all stretchy, along with the firmness of the cheese curds were the big problems. So here is what I did differently.
First of all, since temperature is important, I boiled some water and re-calibrated my thermometers, then picked which thermometer was best. It turns out the thermometer that came in the cheesemaking kit was completely off, almost ten degrees lower than the boiling point at 212 degrees. I can’t imagine anyone would have an easy time making cheese with that thermometer.
The next thing I changed is I let the curds and whey cook to a higher temperature than recommended by a few degrees, and then let the mixture sit twice as long. This ensured that my curds were nice and firm.
After the curds set, I cut them up with a knife, stirred them a bit, and reheated the mixture to the higher temp for the waterbath, all according to the recipe. I sided with using the hot waterbath method instead of the microwave, and that helped a lot. Last time, the microwave unevenly heated the cheese curds, and they ended up breaking down into a ricotta-like texture. The hot waterbath, even though a bit more time consuming, worked great for getting the mozzarella all stretchy so it could be kneaded and formed properly. It was a lot more forgiving than a microwave.
I also divided the curds into two batches so if I messed up one time, I could still have a second attempt. Both batches turned out, but it was good to have a back-up plan. For flavoring, I added thyme, freshly ground pepper, and salt.
So I am on my way to completing my top 10 cooking goals for 2010. One of those goals was making cheese, and though I will not stop with just mozzarella, I probably won’t be going crazy with home cheesemaking any time soon. I will, however, be ordering the book: Home Cheese Making (shown above) to plan out my longer term cheese projects, but the next attempt will just be a simple ricotta cheese. A while back I made some Italian gnudi (boiled ravioli stuffing) from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, and in that recipe it calls for ricotta. I think I will make some fresh cheese and try that instead.