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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Farmers Cheese, Lilac, and (giggle) Kumquat

Farmers cheese is super simple (I say very too much, super seems appropriate here). You can make it with both cow and goat, skim or whole, but not with pasteurized milk. But I do have a trick for those of you that can't get raw milk.

If using store bought milk, heat it to 75F and add 1 cup cultured buttermilk (from the store) and it will help if you add 1/2 tablet of rennet to every 1 gallon of milk.

If using goats milk, you might want to think about doing half goat half cow, as it takes up to 5 days for goats milk to sour enough.

What we are actually going to do is make cottage cheese, then do something a little different to make it farmers cheese. Here we go.

1 quart of milk will make 1 cup of cheese. You can use as much as you want since we are not adding any other ingredients to this besides some optional salting at the end, and that is to taste. Pour your milk into a iron kettle or pot, or even a stainless steel bowl. Do not use aluminum. This container will be used through out the process. Place you milk and container in an area that you use to allow your yeast breads to rise. Not too cold and not too hot. Leave it to clabber for a few hours to a few days, depending on the temperature and your good bacteria count. (and if you are using goats milk).

When the milk is set, it will be jelly like. The solids will have formed one large curd and will be floating on the whey. Using a long knife, cut the curd, creating squares that are 1/2 inch to 1 inch squared. Gently stir, you do not want to break up the curds more, merely keep them from clumping back together. Now you have to slowly heat up you curd on a stove.

The temperature at which you stop heating determines the type of cheese you will get. A low heat will get you a soft cottage cheese, 110F or less. For Farmers cheese we need to slowly get the temperature up to 120F. You need to take 30 minute to slowly get you curds up to the temperature. Increase your heat a little every 5 minutes. Hold it until it reaches you desired firmness. To test, pinch the curd, if it remains in a ball your done.

Drain your whey, reserve for your chickens. If the curd is very sour, go ahead and rinse it carefully in cold water. Press the cheese into a dish. it will keep for up to 10 days, if covered and refrigerated. Crumble on top of your pizza or into your salads.

Lilacs. Yes, you can eat the blossoms.

Just like my warning with the roses, don't just go picking any one's lilacs. You need to know what has been sprayed on them. Do not eat any of the green parts of a lilac please.

Lilacs are great if you use them as a simple syrup. Use my strawberry simple syrup recipe replacing the strawberries with lilac (strain flowers out before storing)

Lilac Sugar

Fill a pint canning jar 1/2 way with plain sugar. Sprinkle the lilac over the top, then cover with more sugar. The jar should be 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle on more lilacs, then more sugar, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Place the lid on tightly, shake the jar and hide it away in a cool dark place. It is ready to use in 2-3 weeks. The longer it stands to more fragrant it becomes. Replace the sugar that you use, shake and store again. This is great for your baked desserts.

Lilac Muffins (makes 2 dozen)
2 cups lilac buds and blossoms (no green part of flower)
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Rinse lilac buds in water and allow them soak. Beat eggs. Stir in oil, sugar and vanilla. Blend in the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Pour excess water off lilacs. Add to the batter. Pour in prepared muffin tin. Bake at 325F for 30 to 40 minutes.

Lilac Jelly

4 cups lilac flowers
2 cups boiling water
steep flowers, by covering and
allowing to sit for 24 hours
For each 2 cups of liquid add
juice of one lemon,
1 pkg pectin
add 1 cup sugar
allow to boil for 5 minutes
Place in 1/2 pint hot jelly jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

I was asked about rosemary as well. Rosemary is indeed a very strong herb, use it sparingly in most recipes. I use rosemary with my meats, as Mrs. Fuzzy stated in her reply yesterday about Sage, rub the meat with it, then dispose of it. One of the great things you can also do with rosemary is make a bread.

Rosemary Bread
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary (less for taste and if using fresh)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

For a bread machine, set this at white bread, and go. If not, mix together all the dry ingredients. Using a separate bowl, mix together the wet. Blend both bowls together, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until the dough is silky smooth (5-10 minutes) do not over knead, and try not to add too much flour to the mix) Place in a grease bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until double in size, 2 hours. Punch down, and gently knead out air bubbles. Place into a greased pan and allow to rise again, 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F and bake until golden brown on top and hollow sounding when you knock on it. Because ovens vary so much, check the bread after 40 minutes.

Kumquats are a wonderful fruit. I have an article about them over here, and it does include three recipes. (including making your own pectin)

3 cups chopped kumquats
1 cup water
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 pkg pectin
Prepare the kumquats, half the fruit and remove seeds, chop coarsely or slice thinly

Combine the chopped kumquats, with water, and pectin. Add the sugar and bring to a hard boil (cannot be stirred down). Boil for one minute. Pour into sterile jars and seal, process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.

Glaze (for a pound cake)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup chopped kumquats (pureed)
4 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp lemon Jello gelatin

Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, Jello and water. Cook over a medium heat until thickened. Stir in the chopped kumquats. Pour over a slice of pound garnish with whipped cream.

Kumquat Citrus Butter
1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
4 de-seeded kumquats with rinds, minced until pulpy
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix with your fingertips, ensuring that the fruit and seasonings are incorporated into the butter.Store in an air tight container. (great on fish)

As for you Cygnus. You can use any browny recipe with your herb, just make sure you use real butter. Animal fat is the catalyst. Oh jeez, I just told on myself. (giggle) But of course most of you know about my naughty little past.


owlfan said...

I like rosemary bread a lot, but our recipe uses a LOT more rosemary - like 1/4 cup of dried (and then ground in a mortar and pestle) rosemary to 3 cups of flour. It is very rosemary - we were trying to replicate the bread at Macaroni Grill - don't know if they still serve the same bread, but this was 10 years ago.

The Thinker said...

YUM on that bread! Got to try that. And awesome idea about rubbing rosemary on meat then cooking it. Seems the perfect way to get the essence without being overpowered.

Albert A Rasch said...

I am pleased to find some Kumquat marmalade ideas. I fill a large jar with them and salt them with rock salt. After a few months they are a great garnish for bloody marys, pork, and I bet they would go pretty good with goat and lamb.

I'll have to try that marmalade next!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

Gizmo said...

This is a very versatile cheese, and takes various seasonings well - perfect for first time cheesemakers! Another tip for seasoning your cheeses - add garlic and chives (I use 1 TBSP per pound/gallon) just before molding. A slice added to a grilled cheese sandwich is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

FancyHorse said...

I have a recipe for Kumquat Pie. It uses processed stuff from the grocery store, but I like it:

14 oz fat-free sweetened condensed milk
8 oz Cool Whip Free Whipped Topping
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 oz. Kumquats, pureed
1 fat free Keebler graham cracker crust pie shell

Beat condensed milk and Cool Whip together. Add lemon juice and beat until thick. Add pureed kumquats and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Chill a few hours or freeze. If frozen, thaw slightly before serving.

ChristyACB said...

I adore rosemary bread! I'm going to try cheese again. My problem is that the cat keeps trying really hard to get to it. Can I keep it in the pantry, which is totally enclosed, to do the setting portion?

Judy T said...

oh my. I have an entire hedge of lilacs and never thought of jelly. Now, if I just had time....

Vinelady said...

You can also make Violet jelly. I like to lilac sugar idea. I will be giving that a try.

Phelan said...

ChristyACB, I place mine in the cabinet over my oven. It seems to be warmer there than in my pantry. If you can keep it warm, then by all means, go for it.

Phelan said...

Kathrine, this is very similar to the MG's bread.

The Thinker, I do that with alot of my herbs, I also do it with my breads, like garlic.

Albert, I forgot about the candy. Thank you for reminding me.

Gizmo, you are spot on.

Fancy Horse, that sounds good!

Fullfreezer, read your post, guess you found time ;)

Vinelady, violet jelly is good,I like to candy mine as well.Violets will be a future post.

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