Third Time’s a (sorta) Charm

I really love cheese. I am definitely one of those people who believes everything is better if there’s cheese on it, and if there already is cheese on something it would be better with more.

Given my success with making paneer for my palak paneer recipe, I started looking at other types of cheese that I could possibly make myself, and I got instantly excited to see that goat cheese was one I could make at home without buying rennet or anything fancy that I couldn’t get at the grocery store. YAY, because goat cheese is probably my favorite.

So, off to the store I went. Goat’s milk, lemons, cheesecloth, thermometer (oh, and I am now the proud owner of THREE potholders. Movin’ up in the world.) That’s it. Upon coming home and reading more into things (I like to jump the gun) I found that all but ONE blog/recipe I read said to NOT use ultra-pasteurized milk. Which was all Wegmans had. Being that according to at least once place it would still work, I went ahead and started heating up the milk, which took me forever being that I was scared of it curdling so I had the heat really low for a long period. Finally when it got to 180 degrees I dumped my fresh-squeezed lemon juice in expecting to see the fabulous miracle of curds separating from the whey. Nothing. I did read that the curds would be very small though, so thought perhaps after dumping it into a colander lined with cheesecloth (many layers – at least five) that it would catch and I would have cheese after all.

Nope. Well, I shouldn’t say that. There WAS cheese, but maybe enough to put on one cracker. And not even a good cheese-to-cracker ratio.

I had an extra quart of goat milk that I had bought, and decided that despite the OVERWHELMING evidence, that the problem was not having ultra -pasteurized goat milk, but that my cheesecloth was too loose to hold the curds and too may escaped. Yes, that must be it. I have no clue why I was being so stubborn about this. Maybe because it was my first real cooking failure. Or I just really, really wanted goat cheese. So the next day I tried the whole process again, but this time using a dishcloth instead of the layers cheesecloth, which gave me the exact same result of no cheese. Fail.

I wasn’t going to let this rest. You see, I had big plans for this homemade goat cheese. I was going to turn it into potentially delicious goat cheese truffles. When I first came across the recipe I KNEW it was something that HAD to be done, and not with any store-bought goat cheese. Goat cheese on its own is amazing, and chocolate on its own is amazing, so together they would be a force to be reckoned with. And by “reckoned with” I mean for me to shove in my face. I had said earlier when I started blogging that baking is not cooking, but given that the cheese was homemade I am making a small exception!

Off to the store I went again. The Lexington Co-op in Buffalo had pasteurized goat’s milk and I snatched a quart of it, along with a cotton t-shirt to use instead of cheesecloth. YES, this was definitely going to (maybe) happen. My boyfriend came over and it was cheese time. Same thing; heat the milk to 180 degrees, stir in lemon juice, wait for the miracle. I held my breath dumping the lemon juice in, and YES, sweet delicious little curds started to form. SUCCESS! We ladeled it into a the t-shirt and hung it up for an hour and a half, two hours, for it to drip out.

The end result was…. okay. It wasn’t what I was expecting as far as creamy goat cheese that I am used to buying in the store (and further internet research has given me finally the know-how to make the goat cheese I’m craving, but I will save that for another post – it will be done!) but it was still not bad tasting. I decided to give the truffles a go anyway, despite my cheese being sort of runny-ish, since I had everything for the truffles just sitting around already. Must be that stubborn thing again.

Oooooh, swirly.

Melted bittersweet chocolate on the stove top on very low heat. Combined powdered sugar, goat cheese, lemon extract and vanilla extract and whipped it together, then whipped in the slightly cooled chocolate, chilled it for an hour – after tasting it, of course. Even if the truffles didn’t turn out, this concoction tasted really delicious. It was just a matter of seeing if it firmed up enough in the fridge to make little balls out of. Which after about an hour, I knew the answer was yes. Woohoo, one step closer to chocolatey cheesy utopia. I rolled them into little balls and then rolled them into Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder and then put them back into the fridge for an hour.

After the sting of cuts on my hands I didn’t know I had squeezing lemons, waiting forever for the milk to get to the perfect temperature making me probably spend an hour just standing by my stove, and two batches of failed goat cheese – yes, all worth it. These are simply AMAZING. I don’t even know if they will make it through the night. They taste more chocolate than cheese, and the unsweetened cocoa with the lemon extract just leaves this awesome lemon aftertaste.  Fabulous. Totally worth the trouble.

Oh, and I PROMISE that I am going to work on my food photography – both quality of photographs, getting nicer dishes to take photos on (aka not flowered plates stolen from my mom) as well as taking more pictures when I’m actually in the cooking process! I am sure my photographer boyfriend is secretly appalled, but for now it will have to do!

2 Responses to “Third Time’s a (sorta) Charm”
  1. Kim Kokoszka says:

    Those look so yummy! I swear I didn’t know that truffles were made with cheese (Please don’t judge me, I lead a sheltered life). Also, I like your Mom’s hand-me-down floral pattern, don’t go getting all fancy just to please the masses.

    • 29andhungry says:

      I *believe* they’re usually made with chocolate and cream rather than cheese! I just figured that if truffles are usually so good (which they are) adding cheese would make them a zillion times better!

      It’s funny… Whenever i see this plate I think “Mom must have gave me brownies or something on this and I never gave the plate back to her!” ha ha. I DID steal a bowl from her on purpose though, being that set has the perfect bowls for cereal, ha ha.

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