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Mizithra, Crackers, & Habañero Honey

If you've been hanging around for a while, you know my penchant for a meal of cheese, bread, wine...perhaps some fruit and/or salume thrown in.  Well, I went for a little spin on that this time.  I made some Mizithra cheese and was wondering what to do with as usual, I started out by just eating it.  Straight up.  And some people may think me strange, but I loved the straight-up, creamy, milky taste of Mizithra.  I mean, solid milk?  Nice.  There was just something so pure about it.  A big hunk of dreamy dairy...that just makes my day.  I knew I wanted to eat up a few of the little  hand pears that my mom sent home with us a few days prior...and I wanted to drizzle them with some mind-blowing habañero honey...but I didn't have any bread...or the time to bake any.  I wanted to eat "now"!  So, I decided to go with the quicker option and bake some crackers.  Good in a pinch...but fresh, warm, crusty bread they are not.  Still tasty, though.
Greek Island Mizithra
adapted from 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes

3 quarts whole milk
1 Tbs. kosher salt
½ tsp. liquid rennet

Sterilize all equipment.
In a large stainless steel pot, heat milk gently to 90°F, stirring gently to prevent scorching.
Remove from heat and stir in salt.

Dilute rennet in ¼ cup cool water. Add to milk and, using an up-and-down motion, draw rennet down into milk until well blended. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes, or until a firm curd has formed.

Using a whisk, gently break up curd, stirring until curd pieces are approximately ½" in size. Let stand for 2-3 minutes.

Gently pour curd into a cloth-lined colander and let drain for 1 hour. Scrape cheese into center of cloth. Gather the four corners of the cloth together and tie to create a bag. Hang the bag and let drain over a bowl or the sink for another 5 hours at room temperature. Place a colander in a bowl; place bag in the colander and let drain in the refirgerator for another 12 hours. Twist the cloth tighter from time to time to aid draining.  Instead of hanging the bag, I pressed the curd into a cheese mold at this point, added a big of weight to press it, and put it in the fridge for 2 days.

Remove cheese from cloth or mold and place in a bowl or onto a plate. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The crackers and the cheese weren't the best "together", but separately they were just awesome.  I'm thinking thin, crisp crackers would've complimented the cheese better...
Mostly Whole Wheat Crackers
slightly adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
yield: ~15 large rectangular crackers (double that for squares...or even more if you roll it thinner)

¼ c. all purpose flour, plus a bit more as needed
¾ c. whole wheat flour
½ tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. olive oil  garlic & thyme-infused olive oil
Hawaiian Red Sea Salt, pepper, freshly grated parmesan, sesame seeds, or whatever you else you like for sprinkling on top

Heat the oven to 400° F.  Line a baking sheet w/ parchment paper.  Put the flours, salt, butter, and oil in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Add  ¼ c. water and let the machine run for a bit; continue to add more water 1 tsp. at a time until mixture holds together, but is not sticky.

Dust a work surface with a bit of the extra ap flour and roll out the dough ~ ¼" thick, or even thinner, adding flour as needed.  Drape the sheet of dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.  Score the top lightly with a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or pastry wheel if you want to break the crackers into squares or rectangles later on.  I also added some decorative fork-tine pocks.  Sprinkle w/ optional toppings.

Bake until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature or store in a tin for a few days.

These are fantastic and buttery and very reminiscent of shortbread.  Compare to a "Club"-type cracker.  Only way better.  Way.

Habañero Honey
inspired by my pal Butter from Hunger and Thirst

Okay, not really rocket science...

Cut up a bunch of fresh, fruity, fiery habañeros...with gloves, unless you're trying to punish yourself.

Put them all into a jar.  Pour honey over to cover.  Let sit in the sun.   Or slightly warm the honey before pouring over.  Either way.  You choose.

Use at your own risk.  It's so deceptively hot.  I constantly stick my finger in for a lick...and am amazed at how hot it is.  Each time.  I'll be roasting a pork loin in some later on in the week...can't wait!!!

The soft, sweet flesh of the hand pear was the perfect cooling agent in this combo.  With a cracking of some fresh black pepper...I was happy with my impromptu lunch!

*This post is linked to:
forgingfromagebutton2 #cheeseslut