{Product Review & Recipe} Cottage Cheese & Bell Pepper Quesadillas, Pickled Peppers and Gulab Jamuns – Strange Bedfellows? Maybe …

“Life is the sum of all your choices”
Albert Camus

Given the choice, I would cook and bake all day with olive oil as my happy cooking medium … SIGH if only I didn’t find the price a little prohibitive. My dream came true when Sharon brought me a selection of the recently launched Borges Olive Oil product range {more here}. The bottles staring down from the shelf in the living room tempt me {yes, the kitchen is still ‘work in progress’}, and of particular interest is the Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil that Borges has developed specially for the Indian market. It’s a blend of refined and virgin olive oils, making it ideal for Indian cooking.

I was skeptical as to whether it would withstand the high heat for deep frying but decided to give it a shot since another product was awaiting review … a gulab jamun mix from GITS! The marriage of 2 reviews together inspired me, so I set off to ‘knead the dough’ to make Gulab Jamuns, also known as ‘waffle balls’!

There are many things I stay away from. Top of the list is deep frying, unless of course it is  Beignets & Donuts, or maybe Churros; ready to eat packaged foods is also not quite me. My mantra is very much ‘Do It From Scratch‘, and I rarely deviate from my path. Some time back I received an interesting foodie parcel from GITS, a company at the forefront of the instant foods revolution in India. It had a selection of ready to cook, as well as ready to eat foodstuff. A quick check of the fine print read no preservatives; I was happy to live with this for once. The gift bag had ready-to-eat Dal Makhani and Palak Paneer which were very impressive, and then yesterday I needed to make a quick dessert and the Gulab Jamun mix caught my glad eye! I wasn’t too convinced about how it would turn out but thought I would give it a shot, as it offered me a chance to deep fry in Extra Virgin Light Olive Oil!

Gulab jamun is one of Indias most popular desserts and is traditionally made out of evaporated milk blended with wheat flour, fried and soaked in sugar syrup. It jamun gets its brownish red color because of the sugar content in the milk powder or khoya. Gulab jamun originates from an Arabic dessert, Luqmat Al-Qadi {Arabic for “the judge’s bite”}, that became popular in the Indian Subcontinent during the Mughal era. Rosewater syrup is often used; however saffron syrup and honey are also common. The dessert also became popular in Turkish-speaking areas, spreading to the Ottoman Empire.

The result was most unexpected and made me eat humble pie. I have never eaten such delicious ‘dough balls deep fried and soaked in syrup, as Allesio said on twitter; we have discussed jalebis and ras malai in the sweet past! The gulab jamuns were outstanding, with a generous addition of finely chopped dry fruits. that formed a part of the mix. They were excellent served chilled too. The box had instructions to make 25 little balls, but I made 16 and they were just right when ready. This is one product that I will certainly use in the future. My SIL asked me if the olive oil imparted any unnecessary flavour etc to this dessert. Surprisingly not! It is a clean, light olive oil and seems quite ideal for Indian cooking.

Going backwards, for lunch I made these cottage cheese quesadillas, the cottage cheese marinated in an extra virgin olive oil marinade which I got from my sis. It’s a staple I use, and good quality EVOO really makes a difference. These quesadillas are a great hit with the kids, and can easily be made into non vegetarian ones too. They taste wonderful stuffed to the gills with pickled jalapeños. Were especially good crisp and warm as it was pouring cats and dogs. Recipe follows, as does the recipe for the pickled peppers, which are last, and certainly not the least!

Pickled jalapeños is something I have been making for the last 2-3 years, but couldn’t  recall  the name of the blog I found the recipe at. Then saw it at David Lebovitzs while googling, and decided it’s a great  recipe to share. Tangy and sharp, pickled peppers are part of our foodie existence and at any given time I have one jar ready in the fridge, and the next undergoing pickling. We can’t live without them. The kids love them to bits, especially the daughter, and the peppers are an inherent part of their every meal! In India, it is during the monsoons {or the rainy season} that these bright green peppers flood the market. Now is the best time to bottle them!


 

Cottage Cheese & Roasted Bell Pepper Quesadillas
Makes 12 wraps
500gms cottage cheese, cut into 2″ strips
5-6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil {I used Borges from here}
1 tbsp dried oregano
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
12 small whole wheat tortillas {I used 5″ chapatis/Indian flatbread/rotis}
1 each roasted red and yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 green capsicum, julienned
Pickled jalapeños {recipe follows}
Cheddar cheese, or cheese slices
Method:
In a large bowl whisk the olive oil with the minced garlic, oregano, lime juice, red chili flakes and salt. It should be slightly extra salty and very tangy as cottage cheese is very bland.
Leave it marinate for 30 minutes. {I often leave this in the fridge overnight, for both the cottage cheese and chicken variations. Cuts down the work the next day}

Turn into a large wok and stir fry gently on high heat until all the liquid evaporates. Let cool slightly.
Lay a flour tortilla flat. Grate some cheese over it, or place a cheese slice across. Scatter a few juliennes of green capsicum, followed by a scattering of pickled jalapeños. Top with a 2-3 tbsp of the cottage cheese filling, followed by the roasted bell peppers. Gently fold into half, and place on a hot griddle with a few drops of olive oil. Decrease heat to minimum, press the wraps down with a flat spoon for the cheese to seal the sides together. Turn and repeat for the other side, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes till slightly crisp.

Serve hot or warm.
Note: You can substitute the cottage cheese for boneless chicken strips for a non vegetarian version. This makes for nice lunch box fillers too.

Pickled Jalapeños
Adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Michael Symon’s Live to Cook by Michael Symon and Michael Ruhlman
300gms jalapeño peppers, sliced {I snip them with kitchen scissors}
1 cup apple cider vinegar {I’ve used white vinegar in the past & it works well}
1 cup water
1 tbsp peppercorns
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds {I forgot to add these}
2 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic, lightly bruised
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp sugar

Method:
Place the chopped jalapeños in a glass preserving jar.
In a non reactive saucepan, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.
Remove from heat and pour the brine over the peppers. Place the lid on the jar and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate for at least a week before using, if possible. {You can use them sooner, but Michael says they’re worth the wait... I agree totally}
Note: I store them in the fridge, but like anything preserved it’s always better to take your own precautions. Can according to jar manufacturers instructions.
Also, I like to add 2-3 whole slit sharp green chillies to the jar to increase the heat as the jalapeños we get here aren’t very hot.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: SAY CHEESE; It’s HOMEMADE!

“Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.”
Clifton Fadiman

Say cheese and faces light up. Big smiles all around. Cheese is a universal pleaser, a crowd puller, with few and far between who don’t fall for it’s cheesy charm. I’ve been on a soft cheese trip for a while, using my spare time trying to make mascarpone, ricotta, quark, cottage cheese etc at home. So when I got invited by Foodbuzz to post this month, I had this big SMILE!! SAY CHEESE!!

I made cottage cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, quark and mozzarella. All, but the last, were outstanding. I had little luck with the mozzarella as it didn’t get stretchy and ‘taffy like’. It reached some in between point, which could be used, but I don’t think I’ll attempt making it again. The other four were very very good, and even though I’ve made them before, I attempted a few with a different recipe. I stuck to the quark recipe though …a wonderful one from Arwen @ HogletK .

Mango Lassi
This is my own little recipe, as I love to use vanilla sugar in food now. My Mom used crushed ice to make cold coffee when we were young. We had a strong canvas bag and a mallet next to the blender at all times!
Ingredients:
Flesh of 2 large mangoes
500 gms low fat yogurt
6-7 tbsps of vanilla sugar (adjust if required)
10 cubes of ice, crushed
Method:
Whiz all the ingredients in the blender till smooth.
Serve in tall glasses, garnished with sprig of mint, or keep chilled until required. Can be made the previous night.
Note: use regular sugar instead of vanilla sugar if you like.
Serves 4-6

I’ve made some refreshing Mango Lassi since the post is all about dairy products, so come grab a glass, & let’s SAY CHEESE!

Characterized by a mild, clean taste, and soft texture, fresh cheese is simple to make. They are unripened, rindless cheeses, which vary in consistency from the creamy and smooth – fromage frais, cream cheese and mascarpone, to thicker curd mixtures – ricotta, pot cheese and cottage cheese. The fat content varies, with many low fat and skimmed milk recipe versions available.

Mascarpone is a fresh (i.e. not aged or ripened) soft cows’ milk cheese which originated from Lombardy, Italy. Technically speaking, it is not cheese as it is produced by a culture being added to the cream which has been removed during the production of Parmesan. However it is generally described as a curd cheese. Once the culture has been added, the cream is heated and left to thicken. It has a creamy white colour, a slightly sweet taste making it highly suitable for desserts, and a soft, dense, texture which can be easily spread. Mascarpone

Recipe adapted from Addicted Sweet Tooth
Ingredients:
1 litre cream (I used 25% low fat cream;you can use 36% whipping cream)
2 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice ( juice of 1 ½ limes approx)

Method:
Heat the cream over a waterbath/double boiler until it reaches 180ºF/82ºC
Stir in the lime/lemon juice and keep at this temperature for a few moments longer until it starts to thicken.
Remove from heat, cover, and let sit at room temperature until it is cooled down a bit.
Refrigerate over night. The next day it will have thickened further.
Pour it in a strainer lined with multiple layers of cheesecloth or clean towel. Refrigerate for about 24 hours to let the whey drain

Traditional, creamy, vegetarian, quark is fresh cheese made from cow’s milk, which is moist and white. It has a light taste and a smooth and soft texture. Quark simply means “curd” in German and the cheese is said to date from the Iron Age. Quark can be made from whole, skimmed or semi-skimmed milk or even buttermilk. Soft and moist, like a cross between yogurt and fromage frais, it should taste lemon-fresh.Homemade Quark (Curd Cheese)
adapted from recipe @ HogletK
Ingredients:
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
3 1/2 cups full cream milk

Method:
If your milk is not pasteurised you should bring it to the boil, then allow it to cool to room temperature (covered with a lid).
Stir the buttermilk into the milk in a container you can cover.
Put the container in a warm place. Allow the culture to proceed for ~24 hours, or until the curds and whey separate. At first the milk will look grainy, and eventually the curds will float on the whey. The grainy stage is probably sufficient, but might give a lower yield.
Dampen a clean tea towel and use it to line a sieve. Place the sieve over a basin. Pour the curds and whey into the strainer. Bring the tea towel together so that it covers your quark and do it up with a rubber band. Place the entire draining apparatus in the fridge.
Allow to drain in the fridge overnight, or for 24 hours. The drained quark should have a consistency similar to sour cream, but it has a more sour taste.


Traditional, whey cheese made from cow’s milk, it is a basin-shaped cheese, pure white and wet but not sticky. Good Ricotta should be firm, not solid and consist of a mass of fine, moist, delicate grains, neither salted nor ripened. It is white, creamy and mild, and is primarily used as an ingredient in lasagna. Ricotta has a creamy white colour, a slightly sweet taste making it highly suitable for desserts, and a texture similar to some cottage cheeses though generally lighter. Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Recipe posted by
David Lebovitz of DavidLebovitz.com
Ingredients:
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Method:
In a large pot, bring the milk, yogurt, heavy cream (if using), vinegar, and salt to a boil. Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.
Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl.
Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid.
Storage: Homemade ricotta is best served slightly warm, although it can be refrigerated for up to three days, if desired.
Makes 2 cups.

Mozzarella is a unique Italian cheese, traditionally made from the milk of the water buffalo. It should be eaten within days, and is delicious melted on pizzas, sliced in rounds for salads, and in numerous other culinary applications. The cheese itself is very mild, tasting slightly tangy and slightly sweet, with strong milky overtones. You can find the recipe here at Saveur.com. It’s a ’30 minute Mozzarella’ with lengthy instructions, but didn’t work for me. The recipe does have a good rating though. It’ll be a while before I venture this way again!
Cottage cheese or Paneer refers a type of cheese that was originally found in the area that today encompasses Iran, India and Pakistan. This cheese is used in curried dishes and is very popular, when wrapped in dough and fried and is delightful for snacking. Since it is a high protein food, this cheese is often substituted for meat in many vegetarian entrees of Indian cuisine. It is commonly used in curried dishes.
Herbed Cottage Cheese / Paneer
Ingredients:
3.5 litres whole milk
3 tbsp white vinegar
Method:
Bring 3.5 litres of milk to a boil, add 3 tbsp of white vinegar to it, & stir constantly till small curd form & whey becomes translucent.
You should get milky whey. Strain through cheesecloth/ soup strainer and then transfer to box to set. Leave on counter for 30 minutes with weight to get rid of excess liquid, then leave in fridge overnight with weight on top.
Unmold it, rinse under cool water, place in bowl, cover with water & refrigerate until use, or use immediately.

Let’s head for the table

…and soft cheese is on the menu today. I attempted to incorporate it into our meal in as many ways as possible. Must admit I never realized it was such a versatile option! When I started working with so many in tandem, I reached a point where I had to knock things off the menu to avoid overloading the table!! Here we go…

The warm smell of fresh baguettes baking wafts through the house. Crostini is on the menu…

Quark & Mascarpone Cream Cheese
Whisk ½ cup quark + 1 heaped tbsp mascarpone + 2 cloves of minced garlic + salt to taste in a bowl.
Toast slices of baguettes brushed with olive oil. Top with cream cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella & sliced tomatoes, or, cream cheese and pesto. You can find a wonderful recipe for
Almost No Knead Baguette here (A King Arthur Flour recipe).

Another wonderful way to use quark is in cheesecake or as fillings in regular cakes. I used it in an Almond Nut Torte with Peaches & Plums , and also in a Dobostorte

A delightful and addictive bread, versatile & a certain winner! it’s easy to make, you can even make a sweet version with ricotta, candied fruit & orange water. This is one I make often.French Fougasse with Ricotta, Walnuts & Romesco
adapted from The Practical Encyclopaedia of Baking, pg 444
Ingredients:
450gms all purpose flour
280ml warm water
20gms fresh yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
200gms homemade ricotta
1/2 cup
Romesco sauce
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Olive oil for brushing
Method:
Take 4 tbsps of water from the 280ml, & dissolve the fresh yeast into it. Stir the salt & 2 tbsp olive oil into the remaining water.
Make a well with the flour, & pour the dissolved yeast & water mixture into it. Knead to a dough, kneading further on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, till it gets smooth & elastic.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap & leave in a warm place for about an hour until doubled.
Punch down & divide into 4 balls of dough (or 2 if you have a big oven)
Roll out to about an 8″ circle, brush with 1/4 of the Romesco, sprinkle with 1/4 of the walnuts, & 1/4 of the crumbled ricotta. Season lightly with salt.
Fold over the dough 2-3 times on itself to incorporate the stuffing. Shape each back into a ball.
Flatten each & fold the bottom third up, & top third down to make an oblong.
Roll into ovals with a flat base, cut slits diagonally, three on each side. Pull slightly to open the cuts.
Place on oiled baking sheets. Cover with cling wrap & leave to double for 35-40minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C, brush the loaves with olive oil, & bake for approximately 25-30 minutes till golden brown. Cool on racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

It’s fun to serve slabs of cottage cheese grilled in different ways. If I make regular plain cottage cheese, I sometimes give it a Middle Eastern marinade, & serve it with cherry tomatoes. I also like using it as a savoury filling in lentil pancakes.

Grill slabs of herbed cottage cheese on a very hot grill pan brushed with oil. Carefully flip over & grill the other side too. serve hot with romesco sauce.

Note: Always serve grilled cottage cheese or paneer tikkas hot, straight off the fire/oven, because they tend to get rubbery as they get cold.


Here’s a chicken ricotta pesto lasagna, adapted from a vegetarian version of Pesto Lasagna from channel4.com. It’s a great lasagna, made interesting with the addition of pesto. It’s a wonderful make ahead recipe. Another good recipe, my fave so far is the Chicken Ricotta Lasagna, which can be found here.

Chicken Ricotta Pesto Lasagna
Adapted from Pesto Lasagna Recipe @
Channel4.com
Ingredients

200g fresh basil leaves, plus extra to serve
200g toasted almonds
6 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
200ml fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp
250g homemade ricotta, drained
1 quantity
quick tomato sauce
1 quantity bechamel
500-750gms cooked chicken mince
200gms homemade mozarella
1 tsp salt
20 lasagne sheets

Method:
Put the basil, almonds, garlic, a good pinch of salt and 200ml olive oil into a food processor and pulse to give a uniform and creamy consistency. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the ricotta.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook the sheets of lasagna, and lay out flat on kitchen towels. Reserve a little pasta water.
Loosen the pesto with a little of the pasta cooking water. Spread a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce in the base of a deep 1-litre ovenproof dish. Arrange 4 lasagne sheets on top. Spread some pesto-ricotta, some chicken mince, followed with bechamel.
Repeat 5 times, finishing with a layer of mozzarella. Bake for 15-20 minutes, covered, until cooked through and hot.
Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high.
Grill for a 5-7 minutes, until golden. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with a scattering of basil leaves.

A meal without spuds, is a meal incomplete. I used some mozarella in the lasagna and some in the crostini. The remaining went in here. Spuds we loved … full of garlicy & cheesy flavour. To keep fibre in the meal, these green beans tossed in a mix of quark and olive oil were good.

Potato croquettes
Mash some boiled potatoes. Mix in grated mozarella, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Roll into crouqttes & shallow fry on low heat till brown on all sides.
Green beans
Toss blanched green beans in a mixture of roasted garlic, olive oil and a little quark.Serve warm / room temperature.

Clear the deck… MAKE ROOM FOR DESSERT!

This was the most fun part of the cheesy tale. I put together a variety of desserts with mascarpone cheese as the base, oscillating between my two loves – coffee & fruit. I made a tiramisu using a batch of failed macarons, then a mango mascarpone budini using the same crisp almond cookies, and two ‘faux’ mascarpone panna cottas too. ‘Faux’ because panna cotta is cooked cream & I didn’t cook the cream here. There is a lot of variety you can get together in desserts using mascarpone.

For both the tiramisu and budini, I just whipped up the mascarpone with vanilla sugar.
Mango Mascarpone Budini
adapted from this recipe @ Epicurious.com
Crumble some macarons into the base of an ice cream/dessert bowl. Top with mascarpone. Add chopped mango pieces. Cover with a layer of mascarpone. Just before serving, top with roughly crumbled macarons.

Tiramisu
Line a desert ring with parchment paper & place it on a lined tray. Make a layer of crumbled macarons, sprinkling of strong coffee, layer of mascarpone. Repeat twice, ending with mascarpone. Leave to set at least 6-8 hours. Dust with cocoa just before serving.
Mascarpone Panna Cotta
Soften 1 tsp gelatin over 3 tbsp of cream.
Whisk 250gms of mascarpone, 200ml low fat cream (-3 tbsp) with the vanilla sugar. Strain the softened gelatin into this, & whisk till well blended. Divide into 2.
For the mango panna cotta, gently fold in some chopped mangoes, reserving a few pieces to make a sauce for the top if required.
For the coffee panna cotta, line the base of some silicon cases with crumbled macarons. Drizzle over some strong coffee. Top with whipped mascarpone. Leave to set for 6-8 hours, or better still, overnight.

Thank you for being part of my new found love. Hope you had a cheesy good time!

BACK TO SCHOOL VEGGIE PIZZA IN A GARLIC PESTO CREAM SAUCE

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.”
Edgar W. Howe
Oh how I love this quote…what a lot said in a nutshell on the lives of mothers!! The kids are excited to be back to school (& so am I). Two months of vacation are finally drawn to an end, & schools have reopened. What a relief. It’s been a long two months & I’m looking forward to some sort of routine in life again. No dragging them out of bed at 9am anymore, blah, blah, blah…! Phew! They’ve enjoyed their vacations, a lot actually, despite the heat, and have been looking forward to going back to school. So I made them a ‘back to school’ special lunch to celebrate. Made them pizzas with ‘AB in 5 Minutes’ dough, adapted to include a little whole wheat flour, followed by Chocolate Cherry Muffins. I make these muffins very often, & you can find that recipe here.We all voted for a change from the regular tomato based pizza sauce. The time was right to try a sauce I’ve bookmarked off Cooking Photographers blog a while ago. She offers a 3 cream based sauces, each of which sound like a must try. I decided to make the garlic sauce, because of my love for garlic, but halfway through worked some pesto into it too. I usually keep a bottle of homemade pesto in the fridge, which comes in very handy at times like these.It made a beautiful sauce which complimented the vegetarian pizza wonderfully well. I’m trying to get the kids to eat more veggies as a meal option, because I find them increasingly going for chicken or non vegetarian food. That does bother me at times.This was my attempt to get vegetables back onto the table, & I must say I got huge thumbs up for my attempt. Even the daughter who normally has 2 slices had 4. I shall not even tell you how many the son had…LOL! The main topping was of smoked cottage cheese. The idea of cottage cheese coming from a pizza we recently had at Pizza Hut here, which had a non-tomato pizza sauce. I smoked the cottage cheese prior to using it; it enhances the flavour in a special way.To give the pizza a spicy kick, I added some homemade pickled peppers. The peppers have been sitting getting ready in the fridge for a week, & were just done right! The pizzas were delicious, & AB in 5 rules my life. Can’t get over the fact that I have dough ready in the fridge at any given time …YAY!! I love leafing through the pages of this wonderful book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.
GARLIC PESTO CREAM PIZZA SAUCE
as adapted from the Cooking Photographer
Ingredients:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic; minced
400ml light cream (25% fat)
1/2teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
3 tsps pesto (I make my own, recipe for pesto here)
1/4th cup Parmesan & Romano Cheese, grated

Method:

  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and add the rest of the ingredients, but add the cheese last so it doesn’t hit the hot pan and seize up. Stir constantly until thickened.
  • Reserve in bowl till it comes to room temperature. This sauce it continues to thicken as it stands, so don’t thicken it too much on the flame.
  • Note: This makes enough sauce for 6-8 small pizzas
As adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
You can find the recipe for the Master dough here, or better still, buy the book.
(I made 2/3 portion of the dough with 3 1/8 cups of plain flour, 1 cup wholewheat flour, 2 cups of water, 1 sachet of yeast, 2 tbsps of olive oil, some red chili flakes & salt)
To assemble:
  • Preheat the oven to 300C.
  • 20 minutes prior to baking, line your baking sheet with parchment paper, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Flatten out a small ball of dough to make a base. (I tried both versions, a thick crust & a thin crust. Both came out superb.) Allow to rise at room temperature.
  • 5 minutes before baking, spread about 1/4 cup pizza sauce on the base, put toppings of your choice & bake for 15-20 minutes/ till done.

This goes to Susan @ Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting. This week’s edition of YeastSpotting will be hosted by Nick of imafoodblog

Note: Here is how I smoke cheese, or even burger patties, chicken tikka etc.

  • Place the cottage cheese in a big heatproof bowl ( I use steel). Keep a lid handy and a weight that you can place on top. A heavy book will do fine!
  • Heat a piece of coal on the fire till red hot. Place a small cup of foil in the same bowl , drop the hot coal into the foil, drizzle 3-4 drops of melted butter/clarified butter directly on the hot coal to intensify the smoke fumes, and quickly shut it with the lid so that minimum fumes escape. Place a weight over the lid, and leave unopened for at least 30 minutes. This will help get a deep, intense smoked flavour.
  • I smoke mozzarella the same way too. Only difference is that I clingwrap it well & place it in the fridge.
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