Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Homemade Ricotta

making ricotta

This is incredible. It’s quick, it’s easy — it’s magic. It’s homemade ricotta cheese, using just whole milk, lemon juice (or vinegar), and a little salt, as well as a few pieces of equipment. It’s homemade ricotta cheese for less than the price of buying commercial ricotta. It’s homemade ricotta cheese that tastes fresh and pure in a way the stuff from the tub never will.

It’s homemade ricotta cheese! (more…)

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In America, we have Cheetos. In France, they have gougères. France: 1; America: 0.

Maybe that’s not the best comparison, but I can’t think of anything in America that quite compares to gougères. Maybe garlic bread, but then France still wins. Or popovers, which is closer, but not traditionally cheesey, so France still wins. Moral is: start making gougères.

Gougères are magical little creatures — I still don’t understand how the baking chemistry works — that start out as a really sticky dough made from butter, cheese, eggs, and flour, and become puffy balls of cheesey wonder after 30 minutes or less in the oven, with a crunchy outside and a gooey inside. They’re best fresh, but are yummy for days after, and are perfectly paired with a sweeter white wine, but will be happy with any white wine, sparkling wine, or rosé. They are an easy, splendid treat that I am going to add to my party repertoire. In future tries, I plan on pushing the quantity of cheese and black pepper as far as it will go (will report back), but for now, this recipe is pretty classic. And, most important to note, you serve these beauties fresh from the oven — just the right steamy/gooey/crunchy/cheesey way to start a meal. (more…)

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When I was a kid, I loved Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese. Once, my mother — an amazing cook — made mac and cheese from scratch and, because it was made with whole-wheat penne and also because it lacked a fluorescent orange color, I was not a fan. So it was Stouffer’s, or now that I’m a grown-up Annie’s, for me. However, even though Annie’s is ubiquitous and I know its fans are loyal, I don’t really see its appeal. I want my mac and cheese baked; Annie’s consistency always feels loose and soupy to me. But when you’re making mac and cheese for one, a box of Annie’s or Stouffer’s is the way to go. Mac and cheese isn’t expensive (though getting good quality cheese makes it a little less cheap than you’d think), but it is a Goliath of a dish. Meaning, the perfect potluck dinner party option. (more…)

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img_0383Taking advantage of some excellent fare from the market that runs daily in Cambridge’s (UK) city center and a budget for an event I ran for the University to splurge on said fare, I made a shockingly satisfying meal out of outreach activity leftovers. This is less of a recipe than a suggested menu for simple refreshments while entertaining, and a strategy for “upcycling” leftovers from the entertainment.


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enchiladas-finishedThings I learned while making enchiladas last night, on the eve of inauguration:

1. Enchiladas will never look that good in a photograph.

2. Enchiladas take at least 3-4 times as long to make as the recipe indicates.

3. Enchiladas are Barack Obama’s favorite food.

Okay, so number three isn’t really true, but who knows — it could be. After all, enchiladas are delicious, and particularly these enchiladas, from the Pink Adobe Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I grew up going every summer. This is another one of my mom’s standbys, and it is certainly worth all the time and effort involved. The end result are incredibly creamy chicken enchiladas that — thanks to the abundant sour cream and cheddar cheese — literally do melt in your mouth. A homemade green chile (the cookbook spells it “chile,” so who am I to argue?) sauce lends a touch of pep and acidity. The whole thing is a dish to be proud of. (more…)

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Boot Camp: Quesadillas

100_1629Boot Camp is a back-to-basics series focusing on some classic easy-cooking staples. If you would describe your cooking ability as “my-easy mac-is-on-fire,” then this is a great place to start, and if you’re more of a veteran, we hope you’ll pick up on some new ideas and add advice of your own as a comment. If you’re only interested in how to sous vide heirloom romanesco, you might want to move on.

Quesadillas. What can I say? A great quesadilla is revelatory, while a bad one is like a cold knife to the heart.

Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but I remember college dining hall quesadillas that dripped with grease and were filled with uncooked onions and unmelted cheese product. I’ve had quesadillas served to me in restaurants that were less like quesadillas and more like two-pound chicken breast wearing a tortilla as a hat. And, as I’ve played around with technique, I’ve made some godawful quesadillas myself.

Point being, there are a lot of bad quesadillas out there, and bad quesadillas make me sad. So after the jump you’ll find my tips for avoiding some of the most common quesadilla mishaps.


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This is an original Food Junta recipe, with no inspiration from anywhere other than my own imagination. Carbonara is typically pasta — usually spaghetti — with eggs, cheese, pork, and black pepper. You add the raw eggs directly to the pasta after it’s done cooking, and the heat of the pasta cooks the egg and makes it into a kind of sauce (though most recipes have you throw the whole thing into a skillet for a minute, just to be safe).

Mine is not technically a carbonara, nor is it even really following the exact method of making a carbonara. I just add the eggs on in here, and use the whole egg, not just the egg yolk, because what am I really going to do with a bunch of extra egg whites? But it is in the spirit of a carbonara, and the idea of a carbonara is what made me think of my last minute innovation to add the eggs (because I already had pasta, bacon, cheese, and black pepper…I felt like something was missing, and there was only one thing that could be). (more…)

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