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The principles of cheesemaking

The Principles of Cheesemaking

Milk is the starting point for cheesemaking and using fresh, pure milk is critical. Unpasteurized milk is widely believed to produce the best tasting cheeses.  The pasteurization process, which involves heating the milk to kill germs, can sometimes affect the delicate enzymes in the milk.  Pasteurization may inhibit the formation of cheese curds and affect the taste of the final product.   Unpasteurized milk can be purchased from family farms that raise goats, sheep or cows.  If that isn‘t feasible, any type of  whole, 2% or skim milk may be used.
In cheese making, caseins (also known as milk proteins) are transformed by a starter culture into curds, forming the basis of cheese.  In this process, the lactose in milk is changed to lactic acid.   This can be loosely compared to functioning of yeast in beer making.   Several types of starters are used in cheese making and are chosen based on the type of cheese.   For example, some are better for making mozzarella, others for feta or camembert. Starter cultures help shape the taste, feel and scent of the finished cheese.
At the next step in the process, when the pH reaches the right level, rennet is added to the mixture.  Rennet helps the starter culture to create the curds.  Basically, it’s the «curdling» of the milk.  Next, the curds are processed depending on the desired final product.  Some cheeses such as cheddar are pressed into a mold.  Others are salted and aged.  Cheeses like Swiss require additional cooking of the curds.   Some only require salting.   Fresh cheeses such as ricotta can be eaten at this time as they are not aged.  
Aging and ripening yields a firmer cheese.  Time, temperature, humidity, bacteria and salt all affect the ripening process.  At this point, molds may develop which also contribute to the flavor of the cheese. 
As you can see, milk, the choice of starter cultures, rennet and the concentration and aging processes all help determine the finished cheese.  While creating a good cheese is a series of trial and error, they are many general concepts that will help you get started. Your patience and attention to detail will be rewarded with delicious homemade cheeses to share with family and friends.

Discover easy ways to decorate your christmas cake

Discover Easy Ways To Decorate Your Christmas Cake

For many people Christmas time is a hectic round of shopping, cooking, writing cards and wrapping presents. And very often decorating the Christmas cake is left to the last minute, so here are some tips to help you along the way.
One of the quickest designs is a pattern using any of the following: semi-dried fruits, glace fruits, angelica, cherries and different types of nuts. But keep to three or four varieties, otherwise the design becomes too cluttered. If the top of the cake is rounded, cut off, and upturn the cake so the base becomes the top surface. Boil half a jar of apricot jam and press through a sieve. Brush the top surface of the cake with the jam, and cover with a design of fruit and nuts — a circular design for a round cake and straight lines for a square cake. To give the decoration an attractive shine (and to hold the fruit and nuts in place) brush over with jam, and lastly, tie a wide, red or green ribbon around the cake. A similar decoration can be made with marzipan fruits.
If you wish to spend slightly more time, decorate the top of the cake with soft icing, and as before, use ribbon, a cake frill, or a strip of Christmas paper to place around the sides. Again use the base of the cake as the top surface. Roll out sugarpaste (rollout icing) or marzipan, until it is slightly larger than the top of the cake — make sure the paste moves freely. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam then upturn the cake onto the sugarpaste, and cut away the surplus paste. Place the cake on a cake board. Roll out a length of paste, approximately half inch deep, and cut a strip the same size. Moisten the paste around the edge of the cake and carefully position the strip on the moist surface. Make a design on this edging with cake crimpers — if you have them. Failing that, press the decorated handle of a spoon into the paste. Make an unusual decoration for the centre of the cake by colouring some marzipan red and modelling it into a candle shape. Use a flaked almond for a flame, and then surprise everyone by lighting the almond on Christmas Day — as nuts contain oil the almond will flame for a few moments!
Make Christmas trees from a cone-shaped piece of green marzipan. Use sharp scissors and beginning at the top, make small snips all around the tree. Make snowballs from balls of sugarpaste, very slightly moistened and covered in castor, or granulated sugar. To make holly leaves, roll out the paste and cut into a diamond shape. The sharp points are made by cutting out sections from around the edge of the leaf, with either an icing nozzle or the tip/handle of a small spoon. Mark veins on the leaf with the back of a knife.
For those who wish to venture into the field of royal icing, a quick way to use this icing is by making a ‘snow scene’. First, apply a layer of marzipan to the cake and leave to dry for two days. The traditional way of making royal icing is with egg white and icing sugar, but icing sugar is now available which already contains the correct quantity of dried egg white — however, the icing still needs a good beating!
Test the icing before applying to the cake. Using a palette, or table knife, apply the icing about half an inch deep to the cake. Then, using the flat surface of the knife makes a slow ‘bouncing’ movement on the icing. The icing will stand in peaks if it is the correct consistency. Leave until firm and sprinkle with edible glitter for a sparkling cake. HAPPY Christmas

You can cooking live lobster right

You Can Cooking Live Lobster Right

There is nothing more exciting than having a live lobster delivered to your doorstep. Especially when this lobster is alive and kicking! For starters you may be wondering if this is even possible, unless of course you live in the New England area. Well, it definitely is. With both Fedex and UPS offering overnight services you can receive live New England and Maine Lobsters at your doorstep within the continental US.
 
So what do you do with this lobster once it arrives, after all it needs to prepare for the dinner table? For starters the best thing to do is leave it in the package that it arrived in.
For more details go to: www.cajuns-recipes.com most likely it is an insulated foam box that also has frozen gel packs. This serves one primary purpose which is to keep your precious lobster cool and comfy during transit. Whatever you do, don’t put it in fresh water, this will actually kill the lobster and we definitely do not want that to happen, at least not yet!

Lobster is best cooked alive, however if it doesn’t arrive alive as long as it was kept cool it will still be okay to cook and to eat. The next thing to do is prepare the cooking area for you freshly delivered live Maine lobster.

Let’s move forward with the preparation which will ensure you are cooking your live lobster correctly.

Prepare a large stock pot by adding water and bringing this to a boil. It is also important to know what size the lobsters are in order to ensure the proper cooking time. Generally speaking an invoice will be included that lists the contents and will specify the size of the lobsters. Also, if you ordered the lobsters online then just make a mental note of the size when ordering. Lobsters are measured in pounds vs. inches or some other measurement. The following chart lists the different weights and the accompanying cook times for each weight range:

1 lb. to 1-1/4 lbs. 15 minutes
1-1/2 lbs. to 2 lbs. 17-20 minutes
2 lbs. to 3 lbs. 20-minutes
3 to 6 lbs. 24-28 minutes
6 to 7 lbs. 28-30 minutes
8 lbs. & up. 4 minutes per pound

Once the stock pot has come to a boil it is now time to cook the lobster! Make note of the time for cooking and either set a timer or mark the time when cooking was started as well as when the lobster will be done.

Grab the lobster firmly around the body, behind the two main lobster claws. Put the lobster head first into the boiling water. To make sure you don’t burn yourself you can simply release the lobster as it is entering the water. Their is the possibility that the lobster will kick a little so make sure that the lid to the lobster stock pot is put on immediately. For help visit: www.atkins-diets-recipes.com the lobster is cold and will most likely stop the water from boiling as the temperature adjusts. This is normal and the water will begin to boil again momentarily. Leaving the lid on the stock pot helps to get the water boiling again quickly and ensures proper cooking throughout your fresh lobster.

Once the timer has gone off it is time to remove your cooked lobster. Use heavy duty utensils to remove your cooked lobster. They can sometimes be heavy so simple salad tongs most likely will not be sufficient. Once removed be careful not to grab or touch the lobster with your hands, they are extremely hot and will burn your skin. Let the lobster cool a little and then place it on the serving tray for presentation.

If the detailed directions are followed properly then there is no question that you will have cooked your live lobster properly. It is not a difficult process and anyone can pull this off with ease. Even if this is the first time you have ever cooked a live lobster is confident that armed with the correct information you can cook your lobster like a master chef.

What must you know about vegetarian sandwiches and the recipes before consuming

What Must You Know About Vegetarian Sandwiches And The Recipes Before Consuming?

Some vegetables can be prepared together with bread and butter to make appetizing sandwiches.These vegetables are often used for this purpose. For example: lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and onions.

Sometimes, when they are consumed to fill the sandwiches, they must be prepared just before serving. The reason is that they become moist and they don’t stand long.

That’s the reason! Everything has a good and bad advantage…..often told by my mother….

Except……..Celery sandwiches are made in the form of rolls and which must stand piled close together for some time in order for the butter to become hard enough to stick them together.

These are 4 kinds of Easy Vegetable Sandwich Recipes that you can prepare at home

1. Lettuce Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

White bread slices, 1/4 inch thick

Butter

Tender lettuce leaves

Thick salad dressing

Directions:

Spread some butter over one slice of sandwich. Add the tender lettuce leaves, one or two, and then,add the salad dressing. Top with another slice of sandwich and serve.

2. Tomato Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

White bread slices, 1/4 inch thick

Butter

Red tomatoes, cut into thin slices

Salad dressing, thick

Lettuce Leaves

Directions:

Spread some butter over one slice of sandwich. Peel firmly the red tomatoes and cut them into thin slices.

Add the tomatoes over the buttered sandwich and top with thick salad dressing. Add one lettuce leaf if desired. Cover with another slice of sandwich and serve.

3. Cucumber Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

White bread slices, 1/4 inch thick

Butter

Cucumber

Salad dressing, thick

Lettuce Leaves

Directions:

Slice the cucumber into thin slices and place in very cold water to make them crisp. Apply some butter on a slice of sandwich and then the cucumber slices. Then, add the thick salad dressing and top with 2 lettuce leaves. Cover with another slice of sandwich and serve

4. Onion and Pepper Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

White bread slices, 1/4 inch thick

Butter

Cucumber

Salad dressing, thick

Lettuce Leaves

Spanish Or Bermuda Onions

Salt to taste

Green pepper

Directions:

Apply some butter on the sandwich slice. Cut the onions into small slices .

Chop a green pepper into thin rings. Then place one slice of onion on the buttered sandwich and add 2 or 3 pepper rings. You may add some salad dressing or season with onion with salt and pepper.Top with another slice of bread and serve.

Enjoy and Bon appetit!

Plastic colander a tool everyone needs in the kitchen

Plastic Colander — A Tool Everyone Needs In The Kitchen

Plastic colander is useful and essential in every kitchen. You need it for various purposes while preparing a sumptuous dinner for your family and friends. The plastic colander is similar to any other colanders, it is a bowl shaped container which has many holes on it, to allow water to flow out while keeping the solids within the bowl. The only difference is that it is made of plastics, which is a very light weight material. In addition, there are many different colors for you to choose from.
The basic functions of a plastic colander is to separate the liquids from the solids. Here are some situations when a colander will come in handy:
1)The kitchen colander can be used to hold the potatoes in place while you separate it from the boiling water.
2)You can also use it to sieve out the cooked spaghetti from the boiling water.
3)While rinsing lentils, you can use the plastic colander to keep the beans in the bowl, instead of letting it fall over the sink.
So with a good colander, it can provide you with a firm grip so that you can hold onto it tightly or maneuver it easily without slipping off your hands. And of course, the holes on the colander will be big enough for water to seep through quickly while keeping the solids safely in the bowl. And with a stand at the bottom of it, you can leave it standing in the basin, and not allow the ingredients to be in contact with any contamination.

Creative ways to use ice cube trays

10 Creative Ways To Use Ice Cube Trays

Are you one of those people who ‘think’ that ice cube trays are just for making ice? What I have learned over the years is…those plastic trays are much more valuable if you use them for other things.
Here are some ideas that I would like to share with you.
1. Fudge — Mix up your favorite fudge recipe. While it’s still hot (but not boiling), pour mixture into ice cube trays. Refrigerate until firm. If you find sticking a problem, run a butter knife under hot tap water, then around each fudge square to loosen them.
2. Fruit Flavored Ice Cubes — Pour your favorite fruit flavored drink into the tray. Freeze until firm. Use the flavored cubes in your favorite beverages. Example: I freeze lemonade in ice cube trays and then use in our ice tea.
3. Popsicles — Purchase popsicle sticks and cut them in half. Pour your favorite fruit juice into the ice cube trays. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Remove and insert sticks; place back into the freezer until firm.
4. Chocolate Lollipops — Purchase some chocolate squares. Follow package directions for melting the squares in the microwave. Pour into trays. Insert lollipop sticks when chocolate is semi-firm. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes until firm.
5. Gelatin Jigglers — Make your favorite gelatin (jello) jigglers recipe. Pour gelatin into trays and refrigerate until firm. To loosen squares from tray, run a butter knife under hot tap water.
6. Freezer Pudding Pops — Make your favorite box of instant pudding. Pour into trays, refrigerate for 30-45 minutes until semi-firm. Remove from refrigerator and insert popsicle or lollipop sticks. Place in freezer for 2 hours until firm.
7. Broth Cubes — Freeze your left-over chicken or beef broth in your ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop them out and place into zipper closure bags. Label the bags and freeze. When you need broth for your recipes, easily remove the amount of broth cubes that you need.
8. Gravy Blocks — Freeze left-over gravy. Once firm, remove from the trays and place in a zipper closure bag. When you need gravy for your recipes, thaw just what you need.
9. Cereal Snacks — Make your favorite snack bar recipe that uses cereal. Lightly coat the trays with non-stick cooking spray. Press the cereal mixture into the cavities. Once firm, remove the cubes from the tray for the perfect little snacking blocks.
10. Iced Coffee Cubes — Do you like drinking iced coffees but hate the watery taste when you use conventional ice? Freeze some left-over coffee in your trays. When you are ready for an iced coffee, pop out 2-3 cubes.

Know your eggplant nutritional value

Know Your Eggplant: Nutritional Value

While eggplant may not be the most exciting vegetable in the universe, it can be quite delightful when prepared well. Learning how to choose the right eggplant and how to cook it properly will ensure appreciation of these beautiful purple vegetables. Eggplant nutritional value is quite high, so it’s well worth learning how to prepare it for your family.
Just why is this veggie so good for you? Let’s take a look at eggplant nutritional values and see what a prize it is. These oft-maligned vegetables contain:
Fiber. This is essential for keeping your bowels healthy and preventing diseases like diabetes and cancer. Eggplants contain quite a bit, up to 10% of the daily recommended amount in just one cup.
Potassium. Useful in keeping the heart regulated and preventing those annoying little tics that result from the lack of this nutrient, potassium is found in decent levels within the eggplant. Nutritional value? 3% of the daily recommended amount per one cup serving.
Phytonutrients. These include a range of nutrients, including flavonoids that are antioxidents. These help prevent cancer, slow the aging process and work to protect the brain from deterioration.
Vitamins. While eggplants aren’t a huge source of vitamins, they do contain a wide variety, including Vitamin A, C, B6, copper and niacin, among others. Eggplant nutritional value can be boosted by combining it with other vegetables, in stir fry, salad or any number of other dishes. The trick here is variety and these interesting vegetables definitely provide that!
Another big advantage of eggplants is that they are low in fat and in calories, making them an excellent diet food if you don’t combine them with oil, as many recipe do. Used in salad, they can be an excellent way to fill up (the dietary fiber sees to that) without giving you a super calorie boost. In fact, they can be an extremely healthy way to snack and increase the amount of antioxidants in your bloodstream.
If you’ve been avoiding these colorful vegetables, you might want to learn how to cook them. Choose smaller, firmer eggplants for the best flavor and don’t overcook eggplant. Nutritional value goes down the more you cook them, so keep it light. There are literally hundreds of delicious recipes out there that call for eggplant, it’s merely a question of finding the ones that you enjoy. Feed them to your family in disguise . . . as eggplant sticks or a dip and share the nutrition!