Leafy Green Salads With Homemade Cheese

Leafy Green Salads With Homemade CheeseThrowing some leafy greens with other vegetables together on a plate and topping it with some nuts, seeds and your favorite dressing or vinaigrette is a great way to get your daily servings of vegetables.

How about going a step further and adding some cheese, like Parmesan, grumbled goat cheese, or even some of your own homemade cheese made in an hour? What? Yes you read right, homemade cheese made in one hour.

One Hour Cheese by Claudia LuceroWe were listening to NPR this past week, and the program was All Things Considered, and I was very intrigued at hearing that you could make cheese in one hour.

Listen here to the 3 minute interview with Claudia Lucero who runs Urban Cheesecraft in Portland, Oregon, and authored the book “One Hour Cheese” (CLICK HERE TO HEAR INTERVIEW). 

After listening in the car to the interview with Claudia, the very next day with a gallon of milk from Whole Foods Market, I ventured to make some homemade cheese in my own kitchen for the first time.

Here’s what you need to do to make your own cheese in an hour….

Pour 4 cups milk into a 2-quart saucepan and heat it on medium as you stir.

Look for foam to begin forming around the inside edges of the pot as well as little simmer bubbles coming from the bottom—not a rolling boil. Stir continuously so that a skin doesn’t form on the milk’s surface.

Once you see a soft boiling of the milk, slowly add 1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice. You can also use vinegar. Apple cider or white vinegar will do.

As you are slowly pouring in the lemon juice, stir gently to incorporate it until you see the clear separation of curds, which will be white solids, and whey, a clear liquid.

This separation of curds from the whey is called coagulation.  When you see coagulation and the liquid no longer looks like plain milk, turn the heat to low and stir the curds very, very gently as you cook them for 2 minutes more after the coagulation begins.

Have a cheese cloth placed in a small strainer over a bowl, and using a slotted spoon, carefully spoon out the curds and place them into the cheese cloth, and let any excess whey drain off.

After the whey has drained off, you can add some sea salt or Himalayan salt to the cheese and mix in.

We add some garlic seasoning, which gave it a great flavor. In Claudia Lucero’s book, she even shows you how to make a faux cheddar cheese (which takes days to make) in an hour by just adding turmeric to give it that orange look that you see when purchased at the market.

Here is what we got at our first try making homemade cheese.

making homemade cheese

The cheese is much like a crumbled cheese you would buy at the market. Here are a few leafy green salads we put together using our homemade cheese.

Leafy Green Salad With Homemade Cheese

               Leafy Green Salad With Homemade Cheese

This salad is a few handfuls of leafy greens (your choice) topped with sliced radishes, pecan pieces, pomegranate vinaigrette, and homemade crumbled cheese.

making a leafy green salad with root vegetables and homemade cheese

Our next salad is a plate of leafy greens, with a fried egg and some root vegetables, consisting of sliced radishes and golden beets. We topped the salad with a olive oil and sweet balsamic vinaigrette, homemade crumbled cheese and fresh thyme.

Leafy Greens With Root Vegetables and A Fried Egg And Homemade Cheese

Leafy Greens With Root Vegetables and A Fried Egg And Homemade Cheese

As we mentioned at the on set of the article, this is a great way to get a few servings of your daily need of vegetables, and a added treat you make yourself, Homemade Cheese.

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Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt - garnished with fruitTo make homemade yogurt all you need is a half gallon of whole fat pastured fed milk and about a half cup of organic yogurt or a yogurt starter. We used the latter. If you do decide to use yogurt as your starter, avoid any flavorings and stick to plain, unflavored yogurts.

We are so amazed that we could do this. Why you may ask? Because we did not make it with a yogurt maker incubator. It was made with a crock-pot and the oven. Here is how it is done.

crockpot with fresh homemade yogurtUsing a crock-pot able to hold 4 cups of milk (1/2 gallon) pour milk into the ceramic bowel and place crock on low for 2 to 3 1/2 hours or until the milk reaches 180 degrees. Our crock-pot warmed the milk to 180 in about an hour and forty minutes.

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, this heating step is necessary to change the protein structure in the milk so it sets as a solid instead of separating.

Next, remove one cup of the warm milk, and incorporate the yogurt starter into the milk then add it back into the crock-pot and mix in well.

Heat the oven to about 200 degrees for about 5 to 10 minutes and turn the oven off. Remove the ceramic pot insert from the crock-pot heating element and with the lid on wrap the pot in a large towel. Place a cookie sheet on the center rack of the oven, and put the towel wrapped pot onto the cookie sheet.

comparing store bought Greek yogurt to homemade yogurtClose the oven door and turn inside oven light on (if your stove is electric – if gas, it is not necessary) and let the milk and starter incubate for up to 12 hours.

The towel will help hold the heat in, and turning on the incandescent light bulb will help maintain warmth in the oven. If your oven is gas, the small flame that is always lit will help maintain heat. 

jar of Homemade YogurtTo stop the process or the fermentation of the milk, remove the pot and unwrap it, putting the pot into the refrigerator for up to six hours and then transfer to a clean sterile jar.

The yogurt has a thin consistency like Yoplait or Dannon yogurtBut to get a thicker yogurt like Greek yogurt or possibly Bulgarian style yogurt, you need to put the yogurt into a clean cheesecloth and let the whey drip off.

In the dairy farm community, some farmers take the whey, which is mostly water with some lactose or milk sugars, protein, and yogurt cultures, and mixes it up with the cows’ feed.

Some dairy farms are now adding the whey to their anaerobic digesters, which is a septic tank for cow poo. By adding the whey to the manure and letting it brew to the point of releasing a stinky gas that is then converted into electricity.

One upstate New York farmer’s digester produces enough electricity to run the farm and sell some back to the grid (Consumerist).

Homemade YogurtThe whey from strained yogurt and even cottage cheese is an acid whey, also referred to as sour whey, and there is the sweet whey from cheese making. They two types of whey are used for many things, with two just mentioned.

Link here to a recipe using whey to make Lacto-fermented Applesauce.

Enjoy your homemade probiotic or cultured yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. We tried a little real maple syrup, and oh boy what a treat.

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