Seasoning of choice: olive oil, lemon zest, fresh herbs
Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add salt and stir occasionally to avoid burning the milk. As soon as the milk starts to simmer (about 180-190 degrees), pour in the lemon juice and vinegar and stir. The milk should begin to curdle – if not, add in a little more lemon juice or vinegar. Turn off the heat and let the milk rest for about 10 minutes. Line a colander with at least two layers of cheesecloth. Pour curdled milk into the cheesecloth, tie cloth and hang over a bowl for a 1/2 hour – hour to ensure all the whey has drained (be careful not to let it hang too long, as the result will be too dry).
Once drained, open cheesecloth and either refrigerate cheese immediately or transfer to a plate to serve. If serving immediately, season with your favorite items: olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and/or favorite fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and oregano.
This mild cheese is great on crackers or on your favorite crostini. I recently served it up over a crostini topped by tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
For Christmas my Father surprise us with a Traeger smoker for our new home and we couldn’t have been more excited. We immediately set it up and started smoking – tri tip, steaks, veggies, you name it. Recently, I had some beautiful salmon fillets left over and decided to throw it on the smoker for about 25 minutes for these easy-to-make smoked salmon cakes.
2 small salmon fillets
1 cup panko plus extra for coating
2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (or any other herbs you prefer)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper
If you’re using a Traeger, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 325 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10-15 minutes. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place the salmon directly on the grill grate and cook for 25 minutes. Remove fish from the grill and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. (alternatively, you can grill, bake or pan fry the salmon).
Once the salmon has slightly cooled, lightly pull the salmon into chunks. In a bowl, beat the eggs then mix together the salmon, panko, onions, herbs, cheese, lemon salt and pepper. Divide the mixture and shape into medium sized patties.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Dip the patties into the extra bowl of panko and evenly coat both sides. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve warm with a lemon aioli (mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper).
I recently whipped up a batch of heart-shaped Rice Krispies treats for my friends “Bridesmaids Meet & Greet” party and they were such a hit! These festive desserts are so easy-to-make, delicious and the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.
1 bag of large marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispies® cereal
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melting wafers (strawberry, vanilla or chocolate)
Heart shaped cookie cutter
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add the vanilla to the marshmallows and stir. Add Rice Krispies a few cups at a time and stir to coat.
Using a buttered spatula, press 1/2 of the Rice Krispies mixture in a buttered 8″ x 8″ pan. Turn pan over onto a cutting board. Mixture should release easily from pan. Using the cookie cutter, press into mixture to cut out the heart shapes. Repeat this step until you have run out of space, reform the mixture and continue to cut out hearts using the cookie cutter. Repeat same process with the remaining 1/2 of the Rice Krispies mixture.
In a separate bowl, heat melting wafers per the direction. If using vanilla wafers, add coloring if desired. Dip the corners of the hearts in the melted chocolate and let cool on a piece of wax paper.