AAAAARGH. CANNOT USE VISUAL MODE IN WORDPRESS. INTERNET FAIL. Good thing I know some HTML, right? ANYWAY. I got all ambitious over the weekend, and tackled the SabjiMata palak paneer recipe. I know, I know, I could’ve made some great palak paneer with panner somebody else made already. Why make it myself? Well, two reasons. One, her recipe includes the whey from the cheesemaking process to be used in the spinach portion of the dish, and since I rarely cook with whey, I had no idea what leaving it out would do. Two, I tried making it once before with store-bought paneer, and it was a total disaster. I’m willing to try something different. So, armed with a gallon of whole milk (did I mention that I’m lactose intolerant?) I set about to cook. I started at 7, which I’ll do differently next time. I had no idea how crazily long it takes to bring a gallon of milk to a boil. See? Lots and lots of milk:
Notice that the clock now says 7:56. Thirty minutes after that, the milk boiled, mostly because I turned it up. I don’t think I burned it too much. I am impatient.
So then, you take some lemon juice and mix it in, and it turns into a really unappetizing-looking sort of cheesy mush, like a curdly porridge. And then you let it sit for a bit.
Once you’ve let it sit and congeal a bit (trust me, the end product totally makes up for all this), you drain it into a cheesecloth-lined colander, collect the whey, and press out all the extra whey. I used a kitchen towel, a cutting board, and some really heavy books:
Actually, that’s a pot full of water under three generic art books, on top of a cutting board.
Once you’ve pressed out all the liquid, you can unwrap the cheese:
A lot more appetizing than the uniformly rectangular blocks you get wrapped in plastic at the grocery. Less tooth-squeaky, too.
It cut into cubes beautifully:
And then from there it was pretty easy. Fry up spices, cut up too many hot peppers, rub some in your nostril (you know, like you do), cook spinach, add whey and a little yogurt, grill up the delicious fresh paneer and mix in. Then, take the most unappetizing photographs using your iPhone and the Hipstamatic app:
I suppose if I was on the Starship Enterprise, and Guinan were serving me some crazy food in Ten Forward, it would look like this and it would be delicious.
The actual food was delicious but looked like real palak paneer. And it tasted like real palak paneer. Or “real” palak paneer, like we’re all accustomed to getting in restaurants.