Sunday, April 13, 2008
Kefir Cheese and Dates
I had to leave for a few days to V.'s French kitchen, and so I cleverly stashed my latest batch of kefir in the fridge, hoping the chill would retard the fermenting action of the kefir grains. Unfortunately, there is no stopping the kefir once it gets going, and when I returned home and went to strain out my precious kefir grains, I was left with curds and whey -- the kefir grains, of course, firmly embedded in the curd.
Unfazed, I removed a good bit of curd/grain mixture, wrapped it in cheesecloth, and rinsed it well. I refrigerated the grains in a little glass jar filled with water, and turned to my remaining kefir cheese. I had about a cup of it -- an average cheese yield for a quart of raw milk. I sprinkled it with sea salt, stirred it well, and let it sit. The salt absorbs slowly, so it's good to be cautious. (Ordinarily, kefir is of a creamy, slightly frothy consistency, not much thicker than light cream).
At the Civic Center farmer's market today I bought a pound of honey dates ($2/lb), as well as some on-the-twig fresh dates ($2.50/lb). Fresh dates are crisper than the gooey self-preserved things we find in grocery stores, and taste something like a fuyu persimmon. Sometimes they even have an orange luster to them. For a lovely midafternoon snack, split and pit a large date, dab it with kefir cheese, and pop it in your mouth. The contrasting fibrous sweet goo and creamy salty cheese are rather too addictive.