Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons... Make Quark!

The other day I made a fresh batch of yogurt and I let it culture a little longer than usual in an attempt to make it more of a custard style yogurt, but, for some reason, the longer I let it sit the thinner it got.  I wasn't happy with it, so I decided to turn it into 'farmers cheese', also known overseas as 'quark'.  This kind of cheese has lots of different uses.  First off, here's how the cheese came out:

The first way I used it couldn't be more simple... just spread it on bread of any kind!

After we all tried it on bread, Racey and I agreed it might be really good in a pasta-bake style dish, sort of in place of ricotta since it has a bit of a 'dry crumble' type of texture to it.  So tonight I whipped up a simple dish of penne pasta, spaghetti sauce (all couponed of course), tossed in a pound of browned ground beef, three cloves of minced fresh garlic, a few dashes of garlic salt, and mixed in 3/4 of the ball of farmer cheese until it melted and was spread through the whole mixture.   I dumped it all into a 9x13 casserole dish and baked it for about 15 minutes until the sauce was bubbling hot and then sprinkled the top with about 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella.  I let that bake another few minutes until the cheese was melted and slightly browned on top and served it up.

The lesson for today?  Just because something doesn't come out quite right or may even seem ruined, it can probably be saved somehow.  Racey is quite fond of telling people how I once flopped six loaves of bread and now we have more bread crumbs than we could use in two years!

Tomorrow I'll post a quick little how-to on making the farmer cheese so you don't feel too disheartened if you try the yogurt how-to and it doesn't come out quite right.  So when life gives you lemons... make quark!

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