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Making Yogurt cheese...and then making sandwiches...and then making mmmmmmm noises.

I'm a simple girl.  I like simple things.  Like sandwiches.  I like all the components separately...but I like 'em all put together, too.  There's really  nothing like sitting down with a fresh baked loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, maybe some good meat or veg or fruit.  And a bottle of wine.  I'm pretty sure I was meant to live in a different part of the world.  Yes, of course I can...and like that right here.  But I feel like I should be sitting in my Tuscan Villa...or my Mexican Hacienda...or my French Farmhouse...or behind my Irish Pub...or my english Cottage...while doing so.  Some day. 

One beyond-super-easy cheese you can make all on your own to eat with said bread, wine, and other accompaniments is Yogurt cheese.  Plus, it just happens to be one of our current challenges over at Forging Fromage (along with gouda and cloth-banded cheddar).  It's seriously the simplest cheese I've ever made...and a great starting point for anybody who wants to get their toes wet in the world of home cheesemaking! It's made by draining the liquid (whey) from the yogurt by hanging it for at least 8 hours.  The result is basically like cream cheese...only with a snappy tang to it!

Yogurt Cheese
from jam it, pickle it, cure it by Karen Solomon

32 ounces plain yogurt

Line a large bowl with a clean, thin cotton or linen towel I used butter muslin, positioning the middle in the bottom of the bowl. Pour the yogurt into its center.  Gather the for corners of the cloth and tie to form a bag.  The whey should be leaking from the bottom.  Tie over a large bowl or over the sink...either from a kitchen cabinet or rig it up in the fridge like I did here...and let it hang, undisturbed, overnight or for at least 8 hours.  I think I actually ended up forgetting about was in the fridge in it hung for a good couple of days or so.  But the extra hang-time didn't hurt it one bit.  It was creamy, tangy, and mighty tasty.  Oh, and did I say way too simple!?  At this point you can use it as-is to do anything from shmearing on bagels to baking a cheesecake...or you can stir in fresh herbs and/or lemon juice, scallions, olives, sun-dried tomatoes or drizzle it with a little infused olive oil...the possibilities are endless. 

I used some of it for activity I love doing...and saying.  Shmear.  I combined it with some freshly baked sourdough bread whose scent wafted in one of those cartoon-like drifts straight up my nose...beckoning me from a local bakery early this morning.  The garden still has plenty of kale.  I was craving prosciutto.  And somehow a jar of pungeantly sweet sundried tomatoes ended up in my pantry suspicious.  This simple sammie to satisfy this simple girl was inspired by one I've been wanting to make from MB's Kitchen Express.

Kale & Prosciutto Sandwich with Yogurt Cheese

Grab a huge handful of washed Kale and slice it into 1/2" ribbons.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan, add kale and cook until just wilted & soft.  Season with the juice of half a lemon, some crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Toast up some slices of sourdough bread and spread them with a thick layer of fresh Yogurt Cheese.  Then top with the kale, a couple of sliced sundried tomatoes in olive oil, and a few slices of thin prosciutto

Wash it down with a glass of cool white wine on a hot sunny day!
REAL, good, simple, everyday food.

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Culinary Smackdown...Battle: Sandwich!