Friday, August 24, 2012

buttermilk fried chicken

my last meal
would include
fried chicken
to me
it invokes
warm summer nights
picnic loaded convertibles driven by dapper gents
barefooted at the shore
grand times
a happy childhood

forget the trimmings
serve me up
a crispy breast
a slather of honey
leave me in my memory
Buttermilk Fried Chicken

*this recipe was previously shared in 2010

Monday, August 13, 2012

simple summer tartlettes

this is not a recipe
an idea
what can be done
peak of the season
simple summer tartlettes
puff pastry
line tartlette pan with puff pastry, rolled to 1/8th inch thickness.  place in the refrigerator to get nice and cold.  meanwhile, thinly slice fruit, keeping skin on.  roll out marzipan to an 1/8th inch sheet and gently lay a round into the bottom of the pastry lined tin.  arrange fruit in a thin layer on top.  sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon on top (like you would salt and not be heavy handed).  bake at 400 until the pastry is browned and crisp (about 15-20 min).
serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

homemade feta

making cheese
can be
labor intensive
not difficult
it requires
attention to detail
a super clean work area
few specialty ingredients

feta cheese
aged in a brine
making it
salty and creamy
Feta Cheese
1 gallon pasterized goat's milk (do not use ultra-pasterized)
1/4 tsp aroma B mesophillic starter 
4 drops (double strength*) rennet
1/4 cup non-chlorinated (bottled) water
butter muslin
flake sea salt or kosher salt
for brine
8 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt

heat the goat's milk slowly in a large heavy stock pot to74F. remove pot from the flame and burner (but leave on stove), and gently stir in the mesophillic starter. allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before moving on to the next step.
meanwhile, mix the rennet into the 1/4 cup water and after the wait time, gently stir into the milk pot.  do not scrape the sides or bottom of pan, but gently stir for about 2 minutes.  cover the pot and leave on the back of the stove undisturbed for 12 hours. (the objective is to keep the milk at the 74F for the entire time)
after 12 hours, gently ladle the curds into a muslin lined colander (over a bowl if you wish to keep the curds). allow it to sit uncovered for 1 hour
after 1 hour, tie the ends of the butter muslin to create a pouch that can be suspended or hung**.  i tie the pouch to my sink faucet and allow the curds to drain directly into the sink. it is also easy to run a wooden spoon through the knot and suspend the pouch over a deep pot.  
allow the curds to drain for a full 12 hours
open the pouch remove the curd mass (it should be fairly stable) and flip it over. return it to the butter muslin and suspend for an additional 12 hours.
**an alternative:  after you have drained the curds for the initial 1 hour, you can transfer the curds to a muslin lined plastic tomato basket, flipping every couple of hours.  this will give you a more uniform shape.
remove the curd, which should now be quite firm, from the cheesecloth and place on a draining mat, or surface that has small holes (cooling rack, pizza pan, bamboo mat).  cut the curds into desired size (about 1"x1" or larger for interesting presentation).  lightly salt all sides of the pieces and allow to dry for 3-5 days uncovered in your refrigerator. you are looking for the pieces to become a bit yellow on the edges.
prepare your brine with enough advance that it is cooled to approx 60F by the time you are ready to use it (you can store it in the refrigerator if made in advance).  to prepare the brine, simply boil the water and add the salt. stir to dissolve completely.

when ready to brine, place the dried cheese pieces in a glass jar, careful not to jam and pour the brine over. cover the jar and brine the feta for 2-3 weeks before enjoying.  you will notice the flavor builds as time progresses.  if stored properly, this will last about 6 months (although i dare say it is so delicious, it probably won't make it that long!)

i find the brine a bit salty, so i quickly rinse my feta in non-chlorinated water, and gently dry with a paper towel before eating
it is delicious & beautifully presented with strong black olives, a bit of hot pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.


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