While visiting some friends this weekend, we decided to cook dinner at home instead of going out. Considering that they have a swank garden where they're growing their own Basil, Rosemary, Sage, and Oregano, I simply had to whip up a batch of fresh cheese. Not having any of my supplies with me (no rennet or citric acid on hand!), I figured that a lemon cheese would be in order. (Any acid will do, but I find the lemon juice is much tastier than vinegar).
We picked up a half-gallon of whole milk and a few lemons. While I heated the milk to 170F in a makeshift double-boiler, my friend Drew squeezed the lemons. Adding the lemon juice curdled the milk instantly. I let it set for about 15 minutes, and then strained it into a cheesecloth-lined colander.
After draining for about 15 minutes (and encouraging the draining by gathering the corners and squeezing a bit), we were left with about two cups of soft cheese. It felt similar to a fresh ricotta. Mixed in some fresh-chopped herbs and salt. Piece o' cake!
I put it in the fridge and let it sit overnight. It firmed up nicely, and was quite spreadable. It definitely had a distinct lemon flavor, but it wasn't overpowering. Perfect on toast in the morning, along with a couple of poached eggs and a cup of green tea. Does it get any better than this? 1/2 gal. Organic Whole Milk 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (approx.) 1 tbs. chopped basil (approx.) 1 tbs. chopped rosemary (approx.) 2 tbs. chopped sage (approx.) 1 tsp. chopped oregano (approx.)