February 18, 2007

Eating Her Curds? Is There a Way?

At the farmer's market, the the cheese lady sold me some aged gouda, which I knew I wanted when I approached.

She was also selling curds.

During 3L, I tasted curds near Portland at the the Tillamook cheese factory. I loved them. They reminded me of Paneer, one of my favorite Indian foods. So, today, when I saw she was selling them, I bought them, confident I could find a way to use them. I often buy ingredients I don't know much about and enjoy the process of researching and learning how to use them.

But Curds? Well, I'm stumped. I've consulted all of my stand-by cooking resources.

The New Food Lover's Companion (a gift from E2), confirmed that curds are the semi-solid portion of the milk when it curdles, from which cheese is made. I think I more-or-less suspected that, but I hadn't really thought it all the way through.

Curds, it would seem, are a pre-ingredient. And thus, I may be learning to make the ingredient (cheese) as a result of this purchase.

To see if there were any easier preparations, I read the entire Cheese cookbook in my women's day encyclopedia (how much do I love a day off at home???). Thirteen pages and pictures of cheese. I know much more about cheese than I did this morning. I have several more recipes to make. I agree with the encyclopedia article writer who wrote, "[Cheese] is a nearly perfect food with a great many of the essential food elements the body needs, such as proteins, fats, and vitamins, with the excellent taste and enormous variety to make it appealing to all." However, the mention of curds was less than helpful, "Generally it is the curd which is pressed, treated, and ripened into a great variety of cheeses."

The internet has also been less than helpful. The only useful option I have found is to go the Wisconsonian route and make deep fried cheese curds. I'm tempted. But it doesn't really fit into this week's menu. I was kind of hoping for a slightly more healthy option...

Also, I'm wondering how long they keep in the fridge. So, I'm back to my typical quandry... worried that food in the fridge will go bad.

So, does anyone have any knowledge or suggestions for curd recipes? Or am I really going to be forced to decide between a foray into the world of cheese-making or a dinner of fried? Don't get me wrong, both sound like lovely options. But my 3-day weekend is almost over and dinner of fried during the week is a bit much, don't you think? Perhaps I'll just have E invite all the boys...

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