Two thoughts have crossed my mind since our recent New England blizzard passed through:
- I undeniably, unquestionably, irrevocably detest snow (my years in Florida have spoiled me).
- In its purest state—before time takes its toll—snow reminds me of cream cheese.
Curling up with hot cocoa and some crackers or a toasted bagel with a tart, creamy spread by a warm fire (or apartment radiator) and a good book—or movie*—is the perfect way to spend your time if you’re snowed-in. At least, that was my weekend.
And for DIY cream cheese all you need are three ingredients—THREE ingredients! Are you sold on this idea yet? And imagine the possibilities for other recipes: carrot cake frosting; a cheesecake base; cheesecake ice cream…In case you haven’t guessed I’m a sugar-holic.
DIY CREAM CHEESE
Sharmilee of the blog Sharmis Passions created this recipe minus the “techie things.” This cream cheese takes a couple hours to drain, and patience is not one of my virtues, but it’s worth the wait. Why not catch up on online videos; “Buttermilk the Goat,” anyone?
Makes ¾ to 1 cup cream cheese
- 1 liter (just over 4 cups) milk
- 1 tablespoon curd (yogurt)
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice OR 2 tablespoons vinegar
- ¼ cup cream (optional)
- Stainless steel, glass or enamel-coated pot (not aluminum or cast-iron
Step 1: Boil and Acidify
Boil milk, add lemon juice/vinegar and stir continuously. When whey water and cheese separates turn heat off.
Step 2: Strain
Pour cheese into cheesecloth. Wash in cold water twice and let sit over container for 15 minutes to drain.
Step 3: Make Smooth
Add curd/yogurt and mix well. Transfer to mixer and grind into smooth paste. If you don’t have a mixer, use a wooden paddle or spoon..
Step 4: Drain and Thicken
Transfer paste to cheesecloth. Hang cheesecloth from cabinet handle for 5 to 6 hours over sink or bowl, allowing liquid to drain. Store cream cheese in container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Step 5: Enjoy
Spread it on crackers. Spread it on bagels with lox and capers. Or add it to a shell of graham cracker crust with eggs, flour and sugar (lots of sugar) and a layer of cherries. Can’t share cheesecake because the street wasn’t plowed? Oh well. More cake for me.
*My picks for best cheese reels:
- I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With - Depressed improv actor James is dumped by his girlfriend and his agent. He meets kooky Beth who works at an ice cream parlor who takes him on a wild adventure where he discovers what he really wants to do is eat cheese. Just kidding! He wants to eat cheese with someone he loves. Don’t we all want that?
- A Goofy Movie - It’s Disney. It’s cheesy. Goofy and his son Max go on vacation when all Max wants to do is stay home and woo his high school crush, Roxanne. But through his father’s shenanigans, both of them go on the trip of a lifetime. And check out Max’s friend with an extreme fetish for “cheddar!”
- Shirley Temple in Heidi - Come on, it’s a classic! Little curly top is an orphan who goes to stay with her grumpy gramps in the mountains. She warms the old man’s heart with her cheeriness and goat-milking. When she gets uprooted to stay in the city the little dear is so overwhelmed, do you know what she asks for? Cheese!
Recipe and Photos by Sharmilee of Sharmis Passions