Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cheese Blogging Thursday!!!

Milking a yak is no picnic, but once you pick out all the hairs it's very nutritious.
--Yeti, Monsters, Inc.

This week we stay in Asia but travel north into the mysterious Himalayas and Tibet.

Tibetan Yak Cheese




yak milk



Making Yak Cheese: (From The Tibetan Cheese Project)

Each morning the yaks' milk arrives at the factories by motorcycle, horse, or yak. The equipment in the factories are scalded and the entire building is washed with sour whey (to kill bad bacteria and cultivate the good). After being analyzed for purity, the milk is heat-treated in a large copper vat, then cultured, curdled and formed into cheese. The Foundation has brought in different cheese specialists from the United States and Nepal to ensure the highest hygiene standards are met and to maintain the unique flavors of the cheese.

The cheese is dry-cured in a locally mined red salt called the "Tears of Droma" . The course texture of this raw salt (a sea salt and a vestige of the time when Tibet lay below the ocean) keeps it on the outside of the cheese where it forms the rind. After salting, the cheese dries quickly in the thin, dry air at 14,000 ft above sea level. The air-dried cheese is then aged in a curing room to achieve the desired intensity of flavor.

"At first taste, the cheese is disarmingly mild, with a clean, delicate milky flavor, which is totally different from sheep, cow, goat or mares' milk cheeses. After about 30 seconds on the palate, the taster becomes aware of a growing complex of herbal notes, with the flavor continuing to develop and building to a crescendo in about 120 seconds. The after-notes are a clean, pleasant, fading collection of milky, herbal and sharp-sweet." (Jonathan White)

Yak Cheese Recipes

Salad of Himalayan Truffle, Yak Cheese, Roasted Beets and Wild Watercress with Ramp Vinaigrettte

1 pc black Himalayan Truffle, sliced
¼ lb yak cheese, shaved
1 lb red, golden chiogga beets, roasted and quartered
1 lb wild or cultivated watercress, cleaned and trimmed
¼ lbs ramps, sliced thin
½ cup champagne vinegar
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

For vinaigrette:

Add sliced ramps, Dijon, and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Whisk the olive oil into mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For salad:

Toss truffle slices, watercress with vinaigrette and place on plate. Toss beets separately to avoid bleeding and arrange with salad. Shave the yak cheese and scatter over the salad.

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