Sometimes I get to do really cool things like meet Martha Stewart and attend events where Bobby Flay gets his culinary butt whooped by a local chef. Other times I get to review books, which is sometimes even more fun for me because a cookbook is like a gift that keeps on giving. There’s no way you can make all the recipes in a few days, weeks, or months. Yes, Julia did cook all of the recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but that took her an entire year! I know I’m remaking some of my favorite dishes in a cookbook before I make every single recipe.
Anyway, back to my original point. I get to do cool stuff and the most recent project I was invited to contribute to was testing out Claudia Lucero’s book One-Hour Cheese: Ricotta, mozzarella, chevre, paneer – even burrata. Fresh and simple cheeses you can make in an hour or less.
Now, when I first heard about this book I was a little skeptical as I had made some goat cheese before with horrible results. My ricotta was decent and my mozzarella alright. Let’s just say my cheese didn’t stop me from buying cheeses elsewhere. Maybe it was because I fidgeted over it too much or because after 30 minutes of not actively doing anything I had to do something. So, when I saw this book that promises foolproof results with cheeses that I can make in an hour or less, I had to try it.
First things first, I have to pick what cheese I’m going to attempt to make. Since I just got home from an amazing trip to Paris, I decided on the Fromage Facile or “easy cheese” in French (perfect for me!) which Lucero notes is a “mild, creamy, multiuse cheese that is simply great to have on hand.” Made of buttermilk and whole milk, the cheese is labeled as “easiest” and is ready to eat in 30 minutes. Seriously, this cheese was made for me.
After a run to the store to pick up some fine cheese cloth, whole milk, buttermilk, lemons, and a thermometer, I was all set. Lucero’s instructions even let you know what will be your biggest obstacle during the process with her “How Easy Is It?” bar. For Fromage Facile it was squeezing and straining fresh lemon juice (can you see why I picked this cheese first?) The instructions are simple and come with pictures for every step so you can easily follow along. It even comes with suggestions for variations such as rolling it in fresh herbs or pickled jalapenos to make a bagel spread (delicious) and a recipe for each cheese.
After tasty success with the Fromage Facile, I’m ready to try making Paneer (page 67), a farmer’s cheese used extensively in Indian cuisine) and when I feel really brave the Chipolte-Lime Oaxaca (page 161.) The best part of this book is that not all of the cheeses require you to use vegetable rennet, which allows you to play around with ingredients found in your house already. Really, this book just showcases how easy and enjoyable (really, I promise) making your own cheese can be whether you’re a beginner cook or a seasoned pro.
If you’re like me, then you are probably hoping to get your hands on a copy of this book. Well, you’re in luck because my friends at Workman Publishing are giving away One-Hour Cheese and also The 12 Bottle Bar book which my husband has been hoarding since he’s the bartender of the house. In addition to the book giveaways, the DIY Cocktail Hour Sweepstakes will be awarding one lucky winner with a $500 shopping spree from Villeroy & Boch for all your barware and tableware needs and an Urban Cheesecraft DIY cheese kit.
Enter at DIY Cocktail Hour Sweepstakes before it’s too late! And if you win, you owe me a cocktail and some cheese.