Friday, 30 December 2011

Will Run For Farmer Cheese

farmer cheese and focaccia
"When there is a will there is a whey", declared farmer!   She thinks that she's really funny. Who am I to argue especially when there is focaccia & soft cheese at stake. 

After essentially inviting ourselves over to our friend J's for snacks & boardgames we had to come up with something that could compete with a 33 layer cake that serves 72 made with sugar cookies, creme de menthe & bittersweet chocolate, lattes with foam thicker than a DQ blizzard, jalapeno cheese coins, etc.  As you might have guessed J makes the best snacks.
Lucky for J (and us) it just so happens that Farmer has been busy catching up on her cheese making videos over the holidays (does that sound a little odd to anyone but me?).

heat 4 C of whole milk until it reaches 160F

add 1 C buttermilk and  2 tsp lemon juice

let stand for 30 minutes in yogurt strainer

add focaccia


Fromage Blanc
4 cups fresh, local whole milk (3% homogenized milk will work as well)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice or more if needed
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp fresh rosemary

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, over medium low/medium heat warm whole milk until it reaches approximately 160 F.  This is just before the milk begins to boil.   Stir constantly (unless you don't mind a thick skin or even better burnt milk).

Remove from heat.  Add 1 C of buttermilk and  2 tsp of lemon juice.  Give a courtesy stir.  It should start to curdle immediately.  If it hasn't curdled within 30 seconds add an additional teaspoon of lemon juice.

Let stand for 10 minutes.

Ladle curds into a yogurt strainer (or cheesecloth pulled taught over a large bowl).  Let stand for 30 minutes.  This will allow the whey to separate from the cheese.

Remove cheese from yogurt strainer (or cheesecloth).  Add salt and rosemary (or other herbs).  Stir until well combined.

Place in silicone mould.  Allow to sit for several hours in the refrigerator to allow flavours to meld.

Enjoy with your favourite focaccia. 

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Will Run For Cranberry Sauce

You may already have had your fill of cranberry sauce this season (my apologies if it jiggled and came out of a can) but have you had your fill of port?  It isn't uncommon to see someone drinking port out of a measuring cup early Christmas morning (why exactly Farmer tries to be inconspicuous I'm not quite sure).

If you are looking for a quick and easy recipe for your next cranberry sauce & gravy themed dinner party this just might be it (more about that another time).

Cranberry Sauce

1 C Ruby Port (drink remainder in glass measuring cup in order to remain inconspicuous) 
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 C dried Johnson's cranberries
1 medium cortland apple, peeled & roughly chopped (or other sweet apple such as Macintosh) 
2 1/2 C of frozen or fresh  Johnson's cranberries
3/4 C water
1/4 C brown sugar 

Bring port and broken cinnamon sticks to boil in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat immediately and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.

Add dried cranberries to the saucepan and simmer for approximately 5 more minutes until the cranberries are soft.  

Add fresh cranberries, chopped apple, 3/4 cup of water, and sugar.  Bring to a boil stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Reduce heat to low, simmer until cranberries and apples breakdown stirring regularly until sauce has thickened to desired consistency (approximately 20 minutes).

Discard cinnamon sticks (unless you have a relative that you aren't too crazy about).

Cool and enjoy.

* Leftovers are great in oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Will Run For Not Quite Nanaimo

In celebration of surviving our elementary school Christmas concert (why is it that it feels like my students'  performance at the Christmas concert is as a direct reflection of my teaching ability or lack there of?), baking two hundred cookies with 23 seven year olds (I probably wouldn't eat them, I'm not going to lie), and a workout that made muscles that I didn't know I had SCREAM (sorry PB you may have to pull me in a sleigh tomorrow) I thought  that it was time for Nanaimo bars or macaroons or maybe both.

* When did it become okay in my mind to wear spandex in public in a small space with strangers?



* 1/4 C date paste 
3 Tbsp ground cocoa nibs (you can find the nibs at the Bulk Barn)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 C unsweetened coconut
3/4 C rolled oats
1/4 C chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

* You can make date paste by soaking 1 cup dried dates in water for an hour or so, save 3 Tbsp of the water that they were soaking in and microwave them with reserved date water for 1-2 minutes and then blend into a smooth paste.  

Add cocoa, vanilla bean paste and melted coconut oil to date paste.

Add coconut, walnuts and rolled oats.

Divide and press into 6 silicone muffin cups.  Place in the freezer until you are finished with the middle layer.

Not Your Mother's Macaroons + ground cocoa nibs + walnuts



Cream 2 TBSP Earth Balance (or butter
1 TBSP brewed coffee
1.5 Tsp instant coffee
1 Tbsp vanilla Custard Pudding Powder (I used Birds)  
1 Cups Icing Sugar, sifted

* it's very possible that you will have filling left over.  I won't judge if you decide to eat it straight from the bowl.

Cream earth balance, then add brewed coffee, instant coffee and pudding powder.  Mix well ensuring that the instant coffee has dissolved.  Mix n the sifted icing sugar.  Spread over the base layer.  Freeze for 5-10 minutes.

is it wrong to eat just the filling?



1.5 ounces of dark chocolate
1 1/2 tsp earth balance (or butter)

* double if you prefer a thicker chocolate topping.

Melt the chocolate squares and butter together in a bowl.

You can do this in the microwave, 20 seconds ... stir...20 seconds stir....etc.  Alternatively, place the smaller bowl of chocolate and earth balance into a larger bowl with just boiled water.

Pour and spread evenly over the top of the other layers.  Freeze.

Personally I like to eat these directly out of the freezer.  They are fairly large so you may want to cut them in half and share with a friend (or not).

If you are looking for a traditional Nanaimo square you can use the following for the base:

1/2 C butter
5 Tbsp cocoa
1 C coconut
1/2 C chopped walnuts
5 Tbsp sugar
2 C graham cracker crumbs
1 egg (or flax egg)
1/2 tsp vanilla 

Press into a 9" square pan.

Double the filling recipe. 

Double the chocolate topping.

the help was less than helpful but he's cute.