Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fresh Mozzarella

My tomato plants have gone apeshit.

One of my top ten favorite words and what pray tell is its origin?   Crazy yes, but how it was derived from its compound pieces is beyond me. All I know is it’s so fitting for my 13 plants.  A couple weeks ago they seemed to be suffering from the onslaught of rain this past couple months, and then a week of sultry hot summer days and then BOOM! Insanity reigns.

The yellow cherries are climbing to a hanging branch from the Sugar Maple (Sistine Chapel like), the Roma is bum rushing the purple basil, the green zebras refuses to obey the rules of the tomato cage as it runs along the ground invading the onions, and the big boy has the lone sunflower in what seems to be a garden version of a full nelson. It’s out of control.

 Then there are two rogue fellas, one in the strawberry beds compliments of a shovel or two of compost , while the other sits anonymously on the edge of the perennial flower garden, 40 paces from the others acting like a  C model at an LA cocktail party ( can I get my cage now?)  God only knows where this bitch came from.

All this madness means we’re eating a lot of Caprese salads these days and that’s a good thing.  With the surviving basil, we need only fresh mozzarella, which is our little lesson for the day. Store bought “fresh” mozzarella is anything but its name.   Let’s face it. It is made somewhere, trucked to somewhere and then sitting somewhere until you buy its somewhere.

Folks, let’s cut out the middle people. We just need to score some curd.  Word has it Whole Foods sells it. It looks like this
One of the things I like about making my own mozzarella is that I control the salinity.  I like mine a bit salty, you might not.  So, in a sauce pan, heat enough water to cover the curd.  Add salt to your taste.  Again, mine is going to be close to brackish. 
Then cut your curd into large dice
Now place the curd into a bowl.
Just as your salted water comes to a simmer, pour it over the curd.
Now with a spoon stir the curd around in the hot water. Keep stirring and it will begin to look like this 
Once it really begins to take shape, pour it all in to a strainer to lose the water.  It should look like taffy
Get your self an ice bath.  To shape the curd, pull of quarter of what you see in the picture.  Roll it in your hand while poking at the bottom with one of your fingers
This takes a little practice but you can quickly get the hang of it.  See my middle finger on my left hand. It's doing the poking.  The rest of the gang is smoothing the curd into a ball.  When you are done, drop this in your ice bath to cool.

Repeat this for the rest of the curd.  When you are finished, slice the fresh mozzarella

Grab your bounty from the garden and do the same.
Arrange on a platter, and reap the benefits of summer.
And if this seems like too much hassle, check yourself at Bizou, they make it fresh every afternoon.


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