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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Complete Meal: Vanilla Buttermilk Fresh Cheese

Recently, the wonderful and always brilliant Cath over at A Blithe Palate emailed and asked if I would like to participate in a new occasional event she was putting together. The idea was to take a cookbook and review several sections in the book that would basically put together an entire dinner from start to finish - appetizers, soups, entrees, sides, desserts, and so forth - effectively and simply, Cath is calling the event The Complete Meal. I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea and couldn't wait to jump on board.

The first book we are reviewing is the fairly new (it was only released at the beginning of November) The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor. The book really delivers too! There are lots and lots of fabulous and incredibly appetizing photos of the different dishes, steps, ideas, tips and southern life all throughout the book. I felt a bit like I was getting a southern vacation and just wanted to kick back and read their stories, memories and recipes. All in all I thought the book is very well done and has lots of great ideas.

Since I am kicking off the event this week, my course was to make an appetizer of some kind from the book. While there were several shrimp dishes that sounded delicious, while trying to decide what I was going to make there was one idea that I just couldn't get past - a section on Buttermilk Fresh Cheese and several (11 I think) ideas of what you could do with it.

An unknown fact about me is that for the past year or so I've had this burgeoning curiosity about cheese making. As in, I reeeaaallly wanted to try it. I did try to make some mascarpone a few months ago - which failed miserably (I'm still not sure why - probably impatience on my part).

Anyway, I just kept coming back to the cheese recipe! The directions were simple. The ingredients were simple - just milk, buttermilk and flavoring - in my case the vanilla version with a little sugar added in. Mix and heat in a pot for a few minutes until it separates, strain into some cheese cloth, wring out the whey and within a few minutes - literally about 20 minutes start to finish - I had CHEESE! Crumbly, tender, flavorful and beautiful homemade fresh cheese! Seriously! Now, I don't know about you, but for me, it just doesn't get much cooler than that! I decided to use my cheese just like they suggest in the book, crumbled over some fruit. I would also like to try making it into a completely homemade cheeseball some time, which I think would really be a great treat.

Due to copyright I can't print the recipe here, but let me tell you, you need this book if you like simple fresh ideas, seafood, and Southern hospitality at all! I couldn't even share all the great versions and ideas they had for this cheese and I'm sure you could come up with dozens of more ideas on your own too.

Thanks again to Cath for putting together such a fun event! Be sure to head over to Peabody's blog for next week's course at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. There will be a course posted each Sunday from now through each section till The Complete Meal is achieved!


Ozoz said...

How cool...the idea of vanilla cheese ...perfect for fruit salads, pancake buffets, cheesecakes and

Cristie said...

Cheese is something I've never made, so impressed with anyone that has. It looks delicious. Thanks for yesterday, it was wonderful!

The Double Dipped Life said...

Vanilla cheese sounds wonderful! I've been thinking about trying to make cheese as well, but am a little nervous!

Becky said...

that cheese sounds {and looks} delicious. i have always wanted to make my own cheese! I should check out that cookbook! looks great!

Peabody said...

How awesome that you made your own cheese! Very cool. Good choice.

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