happy eaters

Last night Jesse cooked an incredible vegetable dish of roasted portabello
caps and rutabaga with a fresh orange basil salsa. These went with a batch
of fresh gluten-free buttermilk biscuits for a darn tasty summer meal (These
biscuits split in half, you won't even need a knife! I'm totally thrilled with this
recipe. See below).

The buttermilk was lying around because I tried my first batch of cheese
yesterday! According to this awesome cheesemaking for beginners tutorial,
neufchatel cheese is the first step after making yogurt (we go through a
gallon a week of the stuff, so I'm getting pretty good at it). So off I went to
buy 1/4 cup of cultured buttermilk, and (of course) now I have a whole quart.

To make the cheese: heat 1 gal whole milk plus 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
to 65 degrees F (only about 25 degrees warmer than refrigeration temperature).
I heated it in a double boiler to make sure I heated it somewhat evenly. When
my thermometer read 65 (the thermometer was 12 bucks, and worth every
penny), I turned off the flame. I added 2 drops of liquid vegetable rennet
(labelled organic and gluten free!) to 1/4 c cool water and stirred it into the
milk, covered my bowl, and put it away on a shelf to rest for the next 16 hours.

At that time, the curd had started to set (I think I jumped the gun a little,
but whatever happens promises to be tasty), so I boiled some dish towels
to sterilize them, and spooned the curds into them to start the long straining
process. The towels are now hanging happily in my packed refrigerator
turning from a sweet yogurt into a hard cream cheese.

In under an hour, I've already collected almost 2 quarts of whey (half the
volume of the mix, by my count), which means 23 hours from now, the
cheese will be mighty fine. If anyone has suggestions for how I should use
all this whey, please pass them along!

Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits (makes about 12)

preheat oven to 450 degrees, and oil a baking sheet.

combine in a large mixing bowl:

1 c tapioca starch
1/2 c fava bean flour (garfava could work here too)
1/4 c brown rice flour
2 T sweet rice flour
2 T flax seed meal
1 t coconut sugar (regular sugar also great)
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda

cut into small pieces and mix in (ideally with a pastry blender, but I used
my fingers):

1 stick (8 T) very cold butter

finally, add 3/4 c buttermilk, and stir until doughy. you may need to add a
little bit more starch until the dough is not sticky.

on a cutting board or clean countertop, spread some starch or flour of your
choice. pat the dough down until it is 1/2 - 3/4 " thick, and use a glass or
round cookie cutter to cut out your biscuits. arrange on your baking tray and
stick them in the oven until they puff up and brown, about 15 minutes. (I didn't
keep a close eye on the time, so you may want to check after 10). Serve warm.

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