cheesecloth is fun



I have fancy new gadgets that I received for Christmas presents yet all I want to do is play with cheesecloth. I feel a bit like a kid with a big cardboard box.

I think the recipe was calling for a “round” ricotta meaning some sort of drained and pressed ricotta which I did not find. So I drained and pressed my own. I’m getting rather proficient with the cheese thing if I do say so myself…and I do. At first I didn’t brush on any olive oil and it wasn’t getting browned. Once I added the olive oil it did.

I had preserved lemons, fresh lemon juice, garlic, parsley, garlic and cilantro for the relish but I didn’t find plain semi-dried tomatoes so these were some marinated ones I I found in the grocery store olive bar… it was all the more super flavorful, but delicious. Good crusty bread is obviously required for success, so I bought the bread. This is really more of an appetizer, but if you eat enough of it with a salad, as I did,  it can be dinner. I can’t really find a comparable recipe online for you so here it is:


ricotta (as I mentioned I bought some fresh hand dipped)
some olive oil

I wrapped the ricotta tightly in a doubled section of cheese cloth, put it in a strainer over a bowl with a saucer and a big heavy can in the fridge for most of the day. Then heated the oven up, not sure what temp, put the drained cheese in a casserole and put it in the oven, at some point I brushed on the olive oil. The recipe says to heat the oven to 500F, brush with olive oil right away and bake for 20-30 minutes. You should probably use those directions rather than mine.


2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, pith and flesh removed an cut into strips (this always seems like such a waste but you will just want the rind)
5 oz semi-dried tomatoes (this seems like a European/Australian thing so you may have to be a little flexible and creative if you live in the US or order them online)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

I smashed my garlic in a mortar and pestle and then put the rest together in a bowl.



I toasted the bread, cut out some of the baked ricotta and put on top, spooned on some of the relish.

the best toasted cheese I ever ate

Get some good bread, toast, spread with poached garlic butter and top with slices of Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese put back in the oven to melt the cheese. Assemble sandwich and top with the tomato relish…best ever

What is the secret? I don’t know. The poached garlic butter? The Bulgarian cheese? The rustic and toothsome white bread? The sweet and tangy tomato relish? It was a spontaneous concoction, yet it turned out to be pure deliciousness.

how to make Tomato Relish

14oz can of diced tomatoes, 2/3 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 clove garlic finely chopped, 2 spring onions finely chopped, handful of sun-dried tomatoes finely chopped, dried red pepper flakes to taste

Heat the vinegar and sugar in pan over heat and stir until dissolved, then boil for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chopped garlic, chopped spring onions, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and dried red pepper flakes. Bring back to a boil then reduce to simmer for 35 minutes. Cool.

grilling cheese

This was my first attempt to grill cheese. Apparently this is special skill of this cheese called Halloumi, that it can be grilled.  It doesn’t just melt through the grill grate. It does get kind of spongy. Of course I didn’t leave it on there very long.

And the tomato relish was delicious, sweet, but delicious. I just don’t understand how you eat it on corn…. It was really good on a leftover hamburger the next day. (shrug)

xmas presents in action part 5 – GGma’s Rolling Pin

piece of cheese flamicheI made flamiche with stinky French cheese. Flamiche is a kind of a bready tart or quiche.  It can also be made with leeks… but I could not find any leeks that week.

I used the rolling pin my aunt gave me for xmas, that had been my great grandmother’s rolling pin. Flamiche is common in northern France and Belgium. So I pretend that this is not the first flamiche this rolling pin has made. That great grandma Rose, whose family was Luxembourger, really the same group of people… there where the border moved and meant little to nothing…so I pretend that her mother Anna who was born in Belgium a few miles from the modern Luxembourg and French borders once taught my great grandmother Rose to make the same or a very similar recipe in a kitchen somewhere in New Belgium, Wisconsin. It may have been difficult though, because I have never seen stinky French-style cheese, or leeks or anything like flamiche in Wisconsin. I pretend anyway.

cover recipes

marinated goat cheese toast…designed to visually represent one’s glaring inadequacies. Kind of the way a chart, table or info-graphic of your love life would.

Rationalizations (for the cover recipe, not my love life):

  • “I don’t think the goat cheese that I found at whole foods was quite the right kind. I need to go to France”
  •  “I marinated it in all walnut oil. It is expensive and was not worth it. I should have used olive oil.”
  • “My under-the-stove apartment broiler is crap.”
  • “I used whole wheat bread for the croute which is per the recipe but what was I thinking? French people don’t eat whole wheat bread!”
  • “That frisee on the plate is much prettier than my laziness-baby spinach out of a bag.”

Recipe for Salade de Fromage de Chèvre Mariné