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Homemade Mozzarella

No I didn't forget about you. It's just poor planning got me.  I don't know what I was thinking when I booked a trip to Aruba with two days home before leaving for a conference in Chicago!

So let's talk mozzarella. When we got back from Aruba there was a few ripe tomatoes. They seemed a little early but I wasn't going to complain.  Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. It doesn't get any better than that.  All I needed was the fresh mozzarella.  And I mean FRESH.  Once you realize how easy it is to make fresh mozzarella you WILL NOT buy that stuff in the stores any more at exorbitant prices like $8.99 a pound!  The curd is fairly cheap - I bought it for $4.99 a pound (Do the math - it's half the price!).  I bought 3lbs and that will give me a little less than 3lbs of cheese. You can make your own curd but the store bought stuff is pretty good. I have to ask for it at my local Italian store. They do not have it out on display anywhere.  I think because if people knew how easy it was to make themselves, they would lose a lot of business at a 50% mark up! I crack up every time when I ask for it.  I'm sure they're thinking how does this blue eyed, blonde, non-Italian know how to make mozzarella??!!

Store bought curd
First you need to boil some water - see I told you it was easy.  I usually bring two pots to boil so that when I deplete the one pot, I can add more water to bring it back to the boil and use the other boiling pot.  Salt the water like you were making pasta (like sea water).

Salt the water
While the water is boiling, cut the curd into cubes.  About the size of an ice cube. Salt the cubes with kosher salt (as much as is on a pretzel). Toss to coat well.
Next pour some of the boiling salted water over the curd. Enough to cover it.
Patience is needed here.  DO NOT poke, prod, or mess around with it at all. Just let it sit there for a minute or two.  Drain the water, and cover with water again.  Let it sit for a minute or two and drain.  It will look like this:
I usually dump it right onto plastic wrap.  Now you just need to sort of fold it over itself until a ball forms.  DO NOT overwork it or it will be tough, which in my opinion a lot of places overwork the cheese.

Now you are ready to wrap it up in the plastic wrap. I sort of spin it in the wrap and knot it.
Have a bowl of ice water ready and place the cheese in the bowl.

Continue to make the mozzarella with the remaining curd.
Now you might be thinking this looks like an awful lot of mozzarella.  Well it freezes so well, it's worth making big batches such as this.  All I do is drain it from the bowl and wrap it again in another layer of plastic wrap.  It is so nice to have mozzarella just waiting to be defrosted.

Then when you have your tomatoes and basil at the ready, you can do this:
A drizzle of olive oil and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar - YUM!


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