Yesterday afternoon the kids and I went to my sister’s house. I was helping Natalie with a cooking project for school, and after we did that, I showed her how to make mozzarella!
I don’t have pictures from any of the cooking, unfortunately. I think she might, on her phone, so maybe she’ll send them to me and I can post them.
It’s always really fun to do things like this with Natalie. She loves to cook and bake, and she’s got a fabulous sense of humor. She and I are the same zodiac sign, you see, and in some ways we are pretty similar. In good, compatible ways, not in clashing ways. So we work well together AND there’s the added bonus of both of us driving my sister crazy in almost exactly the same ways! It’s funny – when Natalie was very small, she was a bit over-sensitive and a bit over-dramatic, and my sister, during one of these sensitive/dramatic moments, would roll her eyes and say to me “I’ve given birth to YOU!” And I would laugh, and laugh, and laugh.
Anyway, the mozzarella Natalie and I made turned out perfectly, and I’m sure it was all gone last night. Yay! Next time I order cheese supplies, I’m ordering some for Natalie so she can be the cheese maker in her house.
I’m thinking it would be fun to have a cheesemaking party some time…make a few easy things like the mozzarella, and have some other cheeses on hand…and some other foods that go well with cheese…like…other cheese. Anyway, something to do this summer, maybe.
I also made a batch of mozzarella on Sunday morning.
I always feel a little thrill when the curds and whey separate, no matter what kind of cheese I’m making.
Now, one of the simplest and yummiest ways to eat fresh mozzarella is a Caprese salad – fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and fresh slices of tomato.
We don’t have any tomatoes yet, but we do have basil.
And I was thinking…rather than do all the slicing and layering…why not just put the basil right in the cheese?
So I ran outside and picked some basil. We have two colors – green and purple. I think the purple one is called “Red Robin” or something like that. Why are people who name plants so reluctant to call something by its real color? Our "Blue Podded Blauwschokkers” were really purple, not blue, and this “Red Robin” basil is really purple, not red.
Why can’t they just say purple?
Anyway, I rinsed off the leaves, dried them well, and chopped them up.
And then, after I’d gone through the first two heating and kneading steps with the curds, I added a little salt, the chopped basil, and then I did my final heating, kneading step.
And – ta-da! Fresh mozzarella with fresh basil!
Here’s a closer look –
Pretty cool, huh? And yes, it was incredibly yummy.
I’m thinking next I might try chopping up a sun-dried tomato into equally small bits and incorporating that, too.
Other herbs would work nicely, too, I’m sure. Oregano comes to mind, especially for pizza-making.
Or – ooh – maybe some dried hot pepper flakes? That would be kind of cool, too!
Guess I’ve got my work cut out for me, huh?
I’ll let you know how it goes!
In the meantime, if you make cheese, what sorts of fun experimental things have you tried?