Fresh Ricotta Cheese

© Katherine Stetson

For about two cups of cheese:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)

Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place over a bowl.  Set aside.

In a two-quart saucepan, heat milk, cream and salt slowly to a boil, stirring to prevent the bottom from scorching.  Add the lemon juice and stir gently until curds form.  Remove from the heat and pour through the cheesecloth.  Let drain until cool enough to handle and then gently squeeze excess whey from the cheese.

Place the bundle on an inverted small plate and cover with another plate.  Place about 5-8 pounds of weight on the top plate.  Iron skillets and assorted heavy cans work well!  Allow to drain in a cool place for several hours.  Remove cheesecloth and wrap the ricotta in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

Swiss Fondue

© Katherine Stetson

The best way to warm up on a cold day!

Serves four:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces Emmantal cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch or cognac
  • 4-6 cups cubed firm bread, such as French Baguettes

Side Dish Suggestions:

  • Two types of olives, pitted
  • Two types of pickles, one sweet, one sour
  • Marinated or sautéed mushrooms
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Smoked sausage links, grilled and sliced

Have the table prepared with the fondue stand, cubed bread and side dishes.

Toss flour with the cheeses and set aside.  Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove.  Add the wine to the pot and bring to a gentle simmer on top of the stove.  Add cheese by small handfuls and stir each handful until completely melted.  Stir in the kirsch or cognac.  Move pot to fondue stand and adjust heat to a medium level, stirring occasionally.

Fresh Paneer

© Katherine Stetson

For about a cup of cheese:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt

Line a small sieve with cheesecloth and place over a bowl.  Set aside.

In a two-quart saucepan, heat milk slowly to a boil, stirring to prevent the bottom from scorching.  Add the yogurt and stir gently until curds form.  Remove from the heat and pour through the cheesecloth.  Let drain until cool enough to handle and then gently squeeze excess whey from the cheese.

Place the bundle on an inverted small plate and cover with another plate.  Place about 5-8 pounds of weight on the top plate.  Iron skillets and assorted heavy cans work well!  Allow to drain in a cool place for several hours.  Remove cheesecloth and wrap paneer in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.

Saag Paneer

© Katherine Stetson

A great side dish to roasted or grilled meats and fish, or served by itself with basmati rice as an entrée.

For four side dishes or two entrees:

For the seasoning base:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or unsalted butter)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • ½ inch cinnamon bark
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper 

For the paneer:

  • 1 cup paneer, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or unsalted butter)

For the saag: 

  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach, stemmed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • sliced scallion, as garnish (optional)

Make the seasoning base:

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil and ghee with the onion and cook until onion is translucent.  Stir in remaining ingredients and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 6-10 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and cinnamon bark.

Brown the paneer:

In a small nonstick skillet, melt ghee and add the paneer.  Cook over medium heat, shaking occasionally, until paneer is a golden brown.

Finish the dish:

Add spinach and cream to seasoning base and cook over medium-high heat until spinach is wilted and tender.  Transfer mixture to a warm serving dish and top with the paneer, cilantro and scallion.

Raclette

© Katherine Stetson

One of the most fun meals you’ll ever enjoy, either as a romantic dinner for two or a grand party for eight!

This is less a recipe and more an ingredient list, the amounts of which are subject to the number of diners.  Select one or more cheeses, one or more meats, several vegetables and fruits, several pickles, relishes and condiments, and a good quality bread.  Provide a cruet of olive oil for drizzling on the grill.

Pre-slice or cube ingredients for ease of cooking and arrange on platters and in small dishes.

You will need a raclette grill for this recipe.

Cheese Suggestions:

  • Raclette
  • Fontina
  • Gouda
  • Kasseri
  • Aged Jack

Meat Suggestions:

  • Smoked sausage
  • Kielbasa
  • Chorizo
  • Salami
  • Capicola

Vegetable Suggestions:

  • Small potatoes, pre- boiled
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Sweet or hot pepper
  • Asparagus, thin
  • Artichoke hearts

Fruit suggestions:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Cantaloupe
  • Red grapes

Extras:

  • Tiny gherkins
  • Sour dill spears
  • Olives
  • Mustards
  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce

Breads:

  • French Baguettes
  • Caraway Rye
  • Onion Thyme Buttermilk Rye

 

Liptauer Cheese

© Katherine Stetson
    This flavorful cheese spread is famous in Hungary and Austria and usually served with fresh white wine and a simple country bread.
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup country style cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 small shallot, quartered
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teas green peppercorns (in brine)
  • ½ teas sea salt

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine all ingredients and process until smooth.  Pack into crock or decorative bowl and store in the refrigerator.

Savory Greek Cheese Cazuelas

© Katherine Stetson

This recipe is cooked and served in the same dish; an authentic 4.5 inch cazuela.

For each cazuela:

  • 3 finger-sized logs of Kasseri cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cognac
  • 1 teaspoon nonpareil capers
  • 1 garlic clove, minced, optional but recommended
  • generous grindings of black pepper
  • freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
  • lemon weges, for garnish
  • toasted baguette slices, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place all ingredients into each cazuela and bake for 6-8 minutes or until bubbling.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Serve immediately on an underliner with lemon wedge and toasted baguette slices. Be sure to caution your guests that the cazuela is very hot.

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.