Day 89: Braised Lamb Shanks, Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots, roasted asparagus, Spanikopita triangles, Pavlova with berries and cream, and Crème Brulée

Lethbridge+Dinner

In Lethbridge, in the dark to honour Earth Hour.

It was fantastic. I was in Lethbridge to cook and eat with the wonderful folks who were the highest bidders on a private dinner/cooking class with me that was auctioned off for the CBC Petro-Canada Food Bank Drive at Christmas. I asked what they would like to make and they were interested in learning to make fresh mozzarella – something I hadn’t done before. The process was simple but we tiptoed through it, skeptical that it was actually going to turn into cheese in the end, and it did! Although we were shocked at how little 2 L of milk produced; one handful-sized ball, which we managed to squeeze enough slices out of to make this salad layered with tomatoes and fresh basil:

Here’s how you do it:

Dissolve 1 tsp. citric acid into 2 L of cold milk (we used homo), briskly stirring it with a whisk in a largish pot. Set it over medium-low heat and warm until it reaches 100F, or just slightly warmer than body temperature. Remove from heat.

Crush 1/8 of a rennet tablet and dissolve into 2 Tbsp. cool water. Add this in a thin stream, whisking constantly, to the warmed milk. Stir for about a minute, then stop. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds into a small microwave-safe bowl, pressing out as much of the whey as you can.

Microwave for 1 minute (this will coax out a little more whey; just pour it off) and then plop it out onto a clean countertop and start to fold and stretch it. It will be almost too hot to handle, but will cool to warm quickly. Pull and stretch it until it’s smooth, then shape into a ball and put in a bowl of cold water until firm.

The drive home was longer than I anticipated, having blithely missed some turn at Fort McLeod and not realized it until I reached Pincher Creek. After turning around, driving back to F.M. and then finding highway #2 North, a snowstorm hit that lasted the entire drive back (almost 2 hours) to Calgary – it was one of those storms that makes you feel like you’re driving through an asteroid field, making it impossible to tell how fast you’re going or how far away that rig is in front of you.

But totally worth it.

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3 comments on “Day 89: Braised Lamb Shanks, Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots, roasted asparagus, Spanikopita triangles, Pavlova with berries and cream, and Crème Brulée

  1. twomittens
    April 13, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    What a fantastic meal!
    I’ve been wanting to make Pavlova for a while now. And I might even tackle a Creme Brulee…6 whites for one, and 6 yolks for the other…perfect.

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