A thermometer is essential for the success of this easy condiment. Stir the milk mixture gently and only occasionally up to 170°. Stirring too vigorously or frequently (more than every few minutes) will inhibit curd formation. After the juice has been added and the milk mixture reaches 170°, do not stir or the curds won't separate from the whey, and you'll have a grainy and thin mixture. This herby, tangy cheese is the cooling counterpoint to zesty sauces and incendiary chiles in Ethiopian cuisine. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. This dish is also frequently employed as an appetizer.
Cooking Light DECEMBER 2008
1. Line a large colander or sieve with 5 layers of dampened cheesecloth, allowing the cheesecloth to extend over outside edges of colander; place colander in a large bowl.
2. Heat buttermilk in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Attach a candy thermometer to edge of pan so that thermometer extends at least 2 inches into buttermilk. Cook until candy thermometer registers 170° (about 20 minutes), gently stirring occasionally. Stir in juice. As soon as buttermilk mixture reaches 170° again, stop stirring (whey and curds will begin separating at this point). Continue to cook, without stirring, until thermometer registers 190°. (Do not stir, or curds that have formed will break apart.) Immediately remove pan from heat. (Bottom of pan may be slightly scorched.) Using a slotted spoon, gently spoon curds into cheesecloth-lined colander; discard whey, or reserve for another use. Return colander to bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
3. Scrape cheese into a bowl. Add chives, cilantro, parsley, salt, and freshly ground black pepper; toss gently with a fork to combine.
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