You Can't Have Lasagne Without Cottage Cheese
This weekend was a cooking weekend. I wanted to make some meals for work, school and for suppers; something easy that Darrin or Emily can throw in the oven when they get home. One thing I wanted to make was Lasagne.
I love Lasagne. It was my favourite meal as a kid, and like Garfield, I have never met a Lasagne I didn't like. The best part of Lasagne is the cheese. We like the top crispy and the inside gooey, with lots of cottage cheese.
I picked up some mozzarella and cheddar on Friday after work, I already had some Monterey Jack and Parmesan at home, but I forgotten the cottage cheese. So, what is a good homesteader to do? Make my own cottage cheese!
I found a very simple recipe online, only three ingredients; 8 cups plus 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/8 tsp of salt. And it promised to be ready within an hour and yield about 2 cups of finished cheese.
First, I went to the fridge to see what we had for goat milk. We only had less than a litre; a half recipe it is then. I put the milk I had in a 2 litre pan and brought it up to 120°F, stirring often.
After reaching the desired temperature, I removed the milk from the heat and added the vinegar, stirring gently to mix through. It congealed instantly. I covered the pan and allowed it to cool and the curds firm up.
I prepared a bowl and colander lined with a light muslin cloth and then strained the curds and whey. The whey can be used for smoothies, soup, baking or fed to other animals on the farm; our chickens and turkeys love it.
When all the whey drained off, I carefully rinsed the curds with cold water, in the cloth and colander, to get rid of any remaining vinegar flavour. I gathered all the ends of the cloth and squeezed the water out of the curds. At this point, it already tasted great.
I crumbled the cheese into a bowl and this is when you can add the extra milk
I would have like to have had more cottage cheese for my Lasagne, but it really tasted great and you wouldn't have known it was not bought at the store. It may not have been traditional cottage cheese, which is made with rennet, milk and cream, and takes about 5 or 6 hrs to make.
The Lasagne turned out amazing. I made the noodles myself, the sauce and now the cottage cheese made from the milk of our own goat, hand-milked. And it was baked in the wood stove oven. It really feels great to make something from scratch, to say that I really made it all myself. That is what the homesteading life is all about.