Adventures in {CHEESE}.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How do I love cheese? Let me count the ways - or, rather, the varieties. Soft, hard, old, young, mild, wild, stinky, raw; you name it, chances are I've tried it and loved it. But, as I realized recently, even though my passion for cheese borders on obsession, I really don't know much about it. So I decided to learn more and share the experience here. What better way to kick off my brand-new adventure series, I figured, than an exploration into all things cheese? 

First step: with the help of a brilliant new website called Course Horse, I enrolled in Cheese 101, an introductory course held at Manhattan's famed Murray's Cheese Shop (New Yorkers, I highly recommend Course Horse - it makes signing up for classes in the city so easy and convenient. You can search by interest, location, price, age - it's really fantastic).


I recruited my friends, Stephania and Davey, (pictured below) as partners-in-crime, and on a brisk Sunday afternoon, we joined a handful of fellow dairy connoisseurs for ninety minutes of cheese-filled fun.


Upstairs at Murray's West Village headquarters, each student was given a board loaded with an eclectic array of of cheeses, a pamphlet for note-taking, and a seemingly bottomless wine glass. Under the guidance of our very knowledgeable teacher, Sydney, we tasted, touched, and sniffed our way through the basics of cheese. It was a lovely way to spend an evening - and I can't wait to try this class next.


A few days later, inspired by my newfound knowledge, I decided to take a stab at making cheese from scratch, and chose this ricotta recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I assumed the process would be complicated. In reality, it was nearly foolproof. What's more, I splurged on top-quality milk and cream, and still, the ingredients set me back less than $10 (the cheesecloth was given to me for free by my local butcher). 


The process was a quick one, too. I put the ingredients on to boil at noon, and by two o'clock, I had a warm, gorgeous-smelling bowl of fluffy, decadent ricotta. 


Cheese lover that I am, I wondered, what's taken me so long to try this?


Voila! Success. Looking forward to the next adventure...

First photo via Brooklyn Brewery. (Know who took it? Please let me know so I can give proper credit!) The rest by me.

32 comments:

megan said...

homemade ricotta is so wonderful, isn't it? it's exceptionally comforting, i find. :)

yay for cheese! and yay for your adventure series!

Chelsea C. said...

Shoquito!!! I love that last photo of you! What a cutie patootie.

Vanessa said...

I've never made cheese from scratch, either, I definitely need to try this!

Thanks for the Course Horse recommendation!

natasha said...

i LOVE making ricotta! once you make your own, it's so hard to go back.

RaquelDoesLife said...

Ugh, cheese, get in my belly. This is on my bucket list!

la vie quotidienne said...

OMG! I can't wait to try it! looks delicious!!


xoxo from M√ľnchen
La Vie Quotidienne
www.laviequo.com

Amy Turman said...

Oh my I love this (and I love CHEESE!). Thanks for posting your version of Smitten Kitchen's ricotta - I really want to make it and try it with fresh pasta. I have some awesome cheese pairings too if you're interested in taking a peek.

xoxo,
mon amy

PS: love your blog, I read it daily!

Shoko said...

Thanks, guys!

Vanessa, definitely try Course Horse - I loved it!

And Amy, your cheese pairings are fantastic! Thanks so much for pointing them out to me - and for being such a loyal reader! That makes my day.

Kate! said...

Haha, awesome! What a great start to your new adventures :)

Taylor said...

Ooh, taking interesting and sometimes odd classes is so much fun! Now I have to look up some classes in my area.

angela said...

I love cheese too! That ricotta looks amazing!

sarah said...

yay shoko! 90 minutes of cheese sounds amazing, and a bowl of fresh homemade ricotta even more so! what did you make with it? (no shame if you just ate it by the spoonful) :)

Akiko said...

I love cheese! and I don't really know about it too.. I just know I love the taste. This is such a great idea to take a class and even make it yourself! p.s. Your adventure post made me go to the gym to walk. It's not adventure nor new thing, but it's been a while. So it was great! xo akiko
Style Imported

Melissa said...

Oh my! This looks so fun and yummy! I never knew something as amazing as Course Horse existed and I can't wait to try it. 90 minutes of wine and cheese doesn't seem like a bad place to start. Loving the adventure series so far!!

Hilary said...

AH I LOVE the SK recipe for homemade ricotta. It's become an almost weekly tradition in my kitchen. It's especially great for pizza! Try vegan chorizo, kale, ricotta, and a fried egg on top. Divine.

Hilary

Shoko said...

Sarah, four ingredients: heavy cream, whole milk, lemon juice, and salt. It's a snap! And yes, i did eat it by the spoonful :)

Akiko, so glad to hear that - that's awesome!

Melissa, thank you! Definitely try it and let me know what you think!

Hilary, great tips! Thank you so much! That pizza sounds divine.

Lisa said...

Shoko, I just love your new adventure series! It was so much fun seeing the pictures and reading about your cheese 101 experience! I think I will need to try out the Ricotta recipe - who knew it would be that easy?!

Hannah Brandt said...

This looks like so much fun! I will have to try making my own ricotta one of these days, yum :)

max said...

you are the opposite of cheesy!

the southern hostess said...

I've long thought about taking a class at Murray's, now I'm sold! This adventure series is going to be fun!

Rebecca - A Daily Something said...

Mmmm I wanna make my own cheeses now!

Megan said...

This looks like so much fun! And I'm in love with your modern tie-dye tank top - mind telling us where it's from? haha. You should do an outfit series like Darling Dexter! You have such a cute, effortless style.

yocheved zivar said...

yum.

Kimia Kline said...

haha this is awesome!! i ignorantly had no *idea* homemade cheese was even doable.

lucy pachia said...

you're soo pretty! :)

Shoko said...

Rebecca, Hannah, and Lisa, the recipe couldn't be easier - I totally recommend giving it a shot!

Megan, thank you! What a compliment! I'd love to do a style series one day. What you see in the photo is actually a dress, and it's from Steven Alan. It's one of my regulars!

Lucy, thank you so much!

{Liana} said...

Wow, I'm definitely making my own ricotta soon:)

Emily said...

Shoko this looks like so much fun!! That sounds like a perfect outing with friends, and with a fun skill to takeaway. I've been dying to go to the Mystery of the Caves forever, but alas it's ALWAYS sold out when I try!

Patricia said...

This is so funny! Took the same class - blonde short haired right next to the teacher. I read your blog for a longtime and didn`t realize you were there : ) I would have loved to say hi.
Maybe next time!
Patricia

Shoko said...

Patricia, how funny! I wish I could have met you! Thanks so much for being a longtime reader. I am planning on taking the "Mystery of the Caves" class at Murray's soon - you should do it, too! :)

Patricia Becus said...

Definitely! I`m moving to NYC this June and I would love to take that class :) It would be so fun to meet and marvel at aging cheeses:))

Shoko said...

Yes! Let's do it!

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