Cheese Production – Made Simple

One of the classes we attended at the Mother Earth News Fair was taught by Gianaclis Caldwell on making quick and simple cheese. We took careful notes and went home to make cottage cheese. We learned the importance of making sure everything is very clean. The longer you plan to cure cheese the more sterile your working conditions need to be. Listeria contamination can a big problem. We assembled a clean steel pan, thermometer, colander and cheese cloth. Ingredients were milk and lemon juice, although you may use any edible acid.

Cheese making

We gently heated 1/2 gallon of milk while stirring until it reached a temperature between 175 -185º F. We removed the heat and added 8 ounces of fresh lemon juice, stirring as the protein clumped together into “curds.” The milk was covered and allowed to cool; then it was strained through several layers of cheese cloth to separate the protein “curds” from the remaining liquid whey. Curds were rinsed in non-chlorinated water, squeezed dry and refrigerated until chilled. Season with salt or add herbs to taste.

Cheese Making

We were amazed at the amount of cheese we recovered. As we examined it, we said, “This looks like more ricotta or farmer’s cheese than cottage cheese.” We immediately knew what to do with it – make lasagna! Alternate layers of homemade sauce, noodles and cheese, ending with cheese. Bake at 350º F in any available oven until hot thorough and cheese melts (about 1 hour). Try not to eat it all in one meal.Lasagna

Photos by: RustyBuggyEnterprises, Inc.

References: Gianaclis Caldwell and Jack Schmidling

 

Additional Articles in this month’s issue:

Billie Nicholson, Editor
May 2014

July’s Solar Cooking Recipe: Solar Pesto Lasagna

 

This lasagna can be as easy or as labor intensive as you want it to be. The pesto and tomato sauce can be purchased or homemade. I like using my solar roasted tomatoes (click here for recipe) but a chunky store-bought sauce works just fine. I much prefer homemade pesto to the commercial kind, but again, if pressed for time, go with high-quality store-bought. 

Ingredients:

3 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese   Solar Lasagna

1 lage egg, beaten

2 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

1 7-0z package prepared, or 3/4 cup homemade

4 cups purchased chunky tomato sauce or chopped

solar roasted tomatoes (from about 3 pounds fresh tomatoes)

12 no-boil whole-wheat lasagna noodles

1 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation: 

 

Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat

 

Mix together ricotta, parmesan, egg in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir spinach and pesto into the cheese mixture. Spread 3/4 cup of the the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking dish. Arrange three lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Top noodles with more tomato sauce then the cheese and spinach mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top last layer of noodles with tomato sauce. Place baking dish in a large oven bag and bake in GSO until noodles are soft, about 1 hour. Cut bag open and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of lasagna. Continue baking until the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Let lasagna rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

July, 2011 Every Needful Thing

Solar Squash Lasagne

Get a head start on this by prepping the squash the night before. The filling and sauce can also be prepared a day in advance. Don’t let all the steps scare you, it sounds like a lot more work than it actually is.

Sun Oven Squash and Hazelnut Lasagne

(Adapted for the Sun Oven from Gourmet magazine)

Ingredients

For Squash Filling

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 large onion, chopped

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

Read more »

Solar Baked Lasagna with Asparagus

This is another recipe from Weight Watchers. The lightened up béchamel sauce uses cornstarch to add body without adding as much fat. It’s an acceptable substitution (not to mention that it’s much easier to make) if you want to cut back on calories. If not go ahead and use the real thing; butter and all.

Sun Oven Asparagus Lasagna

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 cups low-fat milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Read more »

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

As good as last Sunday’s pasta was, I still prefer that particular dish when it’s prepared the traditional way, so I spent the next few days searching for recipes that used similar ingredients but were more adaptable to solar cooking. I found one on epicurious.com, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta, that consisted of layers of crespelle (an Italian version of  crepes), bechamel sauce, rapini, and sausage.

The crespelle were way too much work and I didn’t like the idea of a butter based sauce (bechamel) combined with the other ingredients. I decided to make up something of my own. I used no-boil, whole-wheat lasagna noodles and made an olive oil based bechamel.

I think I’m on the right track, but as you can see in the picture I was a little short on sauce. The top noodles were too dry and I had to throw them away.

Once I get the quantities right this will probably be put on our dinner rotation. It makes a satisfying one dish meal and the leftovers are good for an easy to reheat lunch. And, of course, when I have those quantities I’ll post the recipe here.

Solar Pesto Lasagna

This lasagna can be as easy or as labor intensive as you want it to be. The pesto and tomato sauce can be purchased or homemade. I like using my solar roasted tomatoes (click here for recipe) but a chunky store-bought sauce works just fine. I much prefer homemade pesto to the commercial kind, but again, if pressed for time, go with high-quality store-bought.

Ingredients

3 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 lage egg, beaten

2 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

1 7-0z package prepared, or 3/4 cup homemade

4 cups purchased chunky tomato sauce or chopped solar roasted tomatoes (from about 3 pounds fresh tomatoes)

Read more »

corin