I have to tell you that smoked paprika is top-of-the-charts-almost-aphrodisiac in my life right now. And I have the photo to prove it. Noooo, it’s not that kind of photo. But it sums up my feelings quite clearly. Behind the camera here, I am bursting into song about my love of this homemade, smoked paprika swirled goat cheese.The golden sun shimmering like a dream over all.
Have you tasted smoked paprika?? Surely so. It lends an elusive, earthy, well — smoky — richness and depth to whatever you’re creating. I first bought some in a funky, beautiful little shop in Telluride, Colorado called Over the Moon. This opened my world to Hot, Mild, and Sweet Smoked Paprika. Wow. But as that ran out, I was mad to find more. When I discovered the 1/3 pound bag at Natural Grocers I gleefully chortled, squeezing and hefting my score into the air. What’s more, there was an entire ROW of these bags of smoked paprika, stacked behind mine. My …. precious.
Anyway, I made it through the checkout aisle, the gorgeous drive home (from Montrose, Colorado to Paonia) —
then even probably a day or two passed before I carefully cut into the bag. Now, you’ll find a couple of little jars glowing in my kitchen, (and the rest in my overnight case!)
It’s just as much a treasure to be making homemade fresh goat cheese out of raw milk from my local Paonia friends’ farm. Their “girls.” If you’ve followed this blog awhile you might remember the adorable kids?
Well, they’re all grown up now – still sweet hearts. And giving milk!
The cheese I created here is the same delicious recipe I have shared before. The only exception is folding in a teaspoon (or to taste) smoked paprika and a shower of freshly cracked black peppercorns as the whey separates, rather than simmering seasonings along with the milk as I do with the fresh herbs in that recipe. It’s so wonderfully good – and so easy. Lemon juice curdles the hot milk and creates the separation of curds and whey. The last two batches, I haven’t pressed the whey out from the curds as they separate themselves through the cheesecloth lined strainer. As a result, from patiently waiting for the dripping to complete on it’s own, this cheese is spreadable and very creamy. And also moldable – I pressed a scant half cup into my heart shaped cast iron baking pan, then turned the pan over, rapping it sharply against a wooden cutting board to unmold. You could line a mold with plastic wrap too, of course, then have an easy way to finish wrapping and store your cheese.
You could also soften a log of goat cheese in a bowl, folding the seasonings in then molding the cheese. If you do use purchased goat cheese (chevre), I really do recommend the plastic wrap for your mold. This recipe, though creamy, does not have the absolutely silken texture that goat cheese made with rennet possesses.You could press the cheese into plastic wrap lined heart cookie cutters as well.
It’ll be perfect for your Valentine. ❤
Irresistible in fact.