Will Work for Food: Fresh Cheese

With the threat of nuclear war looming over us once again, it might be a good time to learn some new skills and become more self sufficient. Learning how to scavenge food and collect potable water are obviously important, sure; but knowing how to produce luxury goods is also important. While hunkered down in the sewers at night, between your day trips to the surface-world to scavenge for canned goods and “fresh” meat, wouldn’t it just be nice to settle in with a canteen full of toilet wine? Well, what good is toilet wine without my favorite luxury item – cheese.

I get all kinds of disgusting with cheese, which you may already know if you caught my beer cheese recipe in a prior issue. While the cheese I’m going to explain how to make, a simple ricotta, shouldn’t really be your first choice when it comes to making a sauce or fondu, it’s a great starting point for an aspiring caseiculturist.

Ricotta is what is known as a fresh cheese, as in, “you can eat it fresh without having to wait for it to age like a plebe.” It has a light, fluffy texture, and a mild, adaptable taste. It’s great for salads or whatever post-apocalyptic version of the salad will exist by the time 2020 rolls around. It is also often used in lasagna recipes.
What you’ll need:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 2 lemons
  • honey

You will also need a clean (preferably never before used) dishcloth, or if you are some kind of fancy lad a cheesecloth made specifically for this kind of thing.

Prepare your lemons in advance by juicing 1 ½ of them into a bowl. I know I said above that you will need 2 lemons, but you can’t buy ½ a lemon.

Begin by adding the milk, heavy cream, and salt to a pot over high heat. Stir it constantly, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot with your spoon, until the mixture begins to boil (it will look kind of like marshmallow fluff, or something else that looks like marshmallow fluff). Once that happens, bring the temperature down to low (if you are using an electric stovetop you might want to switch burners) and stir in the lemon juice that you were smart enough to prepare in advance so that you didn’t have to stop stirring. Keep stirring until it looks kind of like grits in yellow water, or baby spit-up, then remove it from the heat.

Place a strainer over a large bowl, and line it with the dishcloth (or a cheesecloth if, again, you are a fancy lad). Slowly pour the contents of your pot onto the cloth. Make sure you get all of the curds out of there with your spoon. Let it sit and drain for a while before gently folding the cloth over and pressing down very, very lightly. The goal here is to get out all the liquid without upsetting the poor cheese. If you are clever, like I am, and you have a health conscious roommate, like I do, you might be able to convince them to save the whey that has drained into the bowl below your cheese for future protein smoothies or whatever. Upcycle your runoff and all that for environmental reasons.

That’s pretty much it. Transfer the contents from your cloth into a serving bowl, mix in honey and more salt to taste. If you want to get real crazy, add some nuts or something.

We served our cheese over some fresh bread that my girlfriend made, some sliced peaches, and then drizzled it with more honey.

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