Friday, October 15, 2010

Rainy Day Simmering: Goat Cheese and Concord Grape Jelly (not necessarily to eat together...)

I just happened to need to make chevre today and also had some grapes quickly shriveling their way toward raising status so I'm doing both at the same time. I'm cooking up a storm today in preparation for the Artistree Gallery Opening this evening - my contribution will be a selection of gluten free small breads and cheeses. 

I've been making my own yogurt and ricotta for some time now - and a lot of it, ever since an itty bitty kidney stone showed up by chance in some x-rays and my doctor said I couldn't go vegan after all and in fact had to increase my dairy intake. But a couple of weeks ago another wrench was thrown into my diet plans when results came back from some allergy tests showing that I have moderate problems with almonds, eggs, and - !@#$% - cow milk and whey. Since my sluggish metabolism is consistent with food allergies, the naturopath who did the tests suggested I switch to goat and sheep milk. I haven't found a source of sheep milk (and it's probably prohibitively expensive, anyway) and goat milk and yogurt tastes like it's been strained through dirty socks (to me, anyway) but I actually do like goat cheese. So I'm going to try making my own goat cheese to see if I can make it a cost effective dairy option. (I think not, unless I buy my own goat. I'm really wondering if they can be house trained. I know our friend Sarah would provide us with a suitably indoor-sized critter...)

Anyway, here's what's cookin' at the moment:

How to Make French Chevre Cheese

Consider making your own chevre cheese with goat's milk. Chevre means "goat" in the French language. The goat's milk makes a soft pliable cheese that you can mold easily. Goat's milk is also found in a variety of other cheeses such as feta, gouda and camembert. French chevre cheese is the freshest goat cheese available because it ages in just a few hours. Some people allow their curds to set for 24 hours before they make the cheese, but this is not a necessary part of the goat cheese-making process.
Difficulty: Moderate


Things You'll Need:

  • 1/2 gallon goat's milk
  • Stainless steel pot
  • Dairy thermometer
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Stainless steel colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Stainless steel bowls
  • Strainer
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pepper
  • Molds
  1. 1 Begin pasteurizing the goat's milk. Fill your pan with goat's milk. Place a dairy thermometer in the pan to keep track of the temperature.
  2. 2 Allow the milk to rise to a temperature of 90 degrees F. Continue to stir the milk, or it will scorch. Once the milk boils, allow it to continue boiling for just a few seconds. Turn the burner off and remove the milk from the heat.
  3. 3 Add the vinegar to the milk. Continue to stir the goat milk slowly. You will notice that curds have started to form, and this is perfectly normal.
  4. 4 Line the colander with cheesecloth. Place the colander on top of a stainless steel bowl. Stir the goat milk for 30 seconds, and then pour it into your strainer.
  5. 5 Ensure that the whey (liquid) separates completely from the curds. Discard the whey that is left in the pot, or save it for a sourdough bread starter.
  6. 6 Lift the cheesecloth with the curds out of the colander. Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to remove any excess whey.
  7. 7 Pour the curds into a bowl. Add salt and pepper to the cheese. Mix the chevre cheese with your hands and form it into a bowl.
  8. 8 Press the cheese into molds or a small bowl. Cover the chevre cheese and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the goat cheese to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 days.

    Concord Grape Jelly

    I'm doing a micro-mini batch (about a half quart of grapes) so I'm not bothering to adhere to a recipe, sterilize jars, etc. If you want to be all official, there are tons of grape jelly recipes online. Here's my off the cuff method:

    1. toss grapes in a stainless steel pot and cover with water
    2. boil the crap out of them
    3. strain out skins and grape bits and puree with about a cup of sugar (reserve grape juice)
    4. pour puree and juice back in the pan and boil some more
    5. strain out the chunky stuff
    6. add a couple of tablespoons pectin to juice
    7. boil for a minute, stirring constantly
    8. skim off foam
    9. put in jars
    10. refrigerate overnight
    If jelly doesn't set, add a little water and call it grape pancake syrup ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.