Tag Archives: cheese

Columbian Arepas with Chives

I love arepas, but the only ones i’ve encountered are the ones you find at the fair or rock festival with a slice of swiss in the middle. Large and filling, the arepas found at such places are more fluff than substance.  These are more of a cheesey corn cake, the added chives gives it a subtle savory note that is divine.  We served this with pernil, a Puerto Rican pulled pork to round out a brunch we put on with friends. The guests had an alternative option to cornmeal waffles and served the meal topped with guava infused syrup.

IMG_9740

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup arepa flour (precooked cornmeal)
  • 1 cup  grated mozzarella (1/4 pound)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

PREPARATION

  1. Toss together arepa flour, cheese, chives and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then stir in water until incorporated. Let stand until enough water is absorbed for a soft dough to form, 1 to 2 minutes (dough will continue to stiffen).
  2. Form 3 level tablespoons dough into 1 ball and flatten between IMG_9732your palms, gently pressing to form a 1/4-inch-thick patty (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches wide), then gently press around side to eliminate cracks. Transfer to a wax-paper-lined surface. Form more disks with remaining dough in same manner, transferring to wax-paper-lined surface.
  3. IMG_3345Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then fry arepas in 2 batches, turning over once, until deep golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes total per batch. Drain on paper towels.

IMG_3367

Farmers Cheese

Photo by Michael Abner
Photo by Michael Abner

I have been interested in making cheese for a little while now after visiting a farmer’s market in Saint Paul, MN a few years ago.  This dairy farmer was selling his cheeses and I was intrigued about making it.  Now, a few years later, and I found myself with a few days off and time to spare, so I decided to try my hand at making cheese.  I did not want to use rennet (I have not been able to find it locally, and when the urge to make something strikes I generally do not have time to order online…), so I researched rennet free cheese.  In farmers cheese, you use lemon juice to cause the milk to curdle.

So you basically take a gallon of whole milk (Skim milk just gives you less curds, and who likes skim milk anyway, except for frothing for lattes) and bring it to 190 degrees (medium heat), stirring to keep from burning.

Photo by Michael Abner
Photo by Michael Abner

At this point you  pull the pot off of the heat and pour in the juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup), stir this in and leave it alone for 10 minutes.  Seriously, just leave it alone!  I decided that I wanted to have a bit more taste, so I added fresh rosemary leaves at this point.  You pour this into a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and allow it to strain all of the whey out.  After most of the whey has drained off, you can gather the cheese cloth together and squeeze the rest out.

At this point, you are left with just curds, which can be salted and kneaded to mix.

Photo by Michael Abner
Photo by Michael Abner

I was concerned about there being too much salt, so held back to just a pinch.  However, when I served it, I had to salt it to bring out the flavor.  This was really good on crackers.  I would not suggest using anything sweet with this, as it does not have enough “tang” to counteract the sweetness, but it complements salty items very nicely!

A tip:

Do not use “ultra pasteurized” anything.  This prevents any curds from forming and you will just have wasted a gallon of milk and a lemon.

IMG_5887
Wasting Lemons is sad

 

When I find non-ultrapasteurized goats milk, I will make something with that!  If so, I will keep you updated.