the ark of taste: creole cream cheese

meatless monday
notes from maggie's farm


©2012 from maggie's farm
slow foods ark of taste
creole cream cheese
Whether eaten as a part of a meal savory or sweet, Creole Cream Cheese is a celebrated part of the New Orleans culinary tradition that dates back 150 years to the region’s first French settlers. This cheese is similar to Neufchatel and other fresh farmhouse style cheeses with a taste somewhere between ricotta and crème fraiche, and with an underlying hint of buttermilk. Creole Cream Cheese is customarily served with a sprinkle of sugar, drizzle of syrup, or mixed with fresh fruit, as well as eaten spread on bread or crackers.
With the establishment of state dairy regulations, Creole Cream Cheese began to disappear along with its small dairy producers, as they could not afford the investment required to meet these new regulations. Traditionally-made Creole Cream Cheese was relegated to the collective food memory past of New Orleans, until John Folse of Gonzales, Louisiana and Kenny Mauthe of Mauthe’s Dairy began producing and marketing this local favorite.-- Slow Food U.S.A., Ark of Taste

©2012 from maggie's farm

Homemade Creole Cream Cheese
Recipe courtesy Original Gold Seal Creamery, 
via Emeril Lagasse for Food Network

Ingredients
1 gallon skim milk, at room temperature (between 70 and 80 degrees F)
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon rennet (6 to 8 drops)
6 to 7 cream cheese molds (2 cups each)
Cheesecloth


Directions


In a large enameled saucepan, glass, or plastic bowl, combine milk, buttermilk, and rennet and stir constantly for one minute. Cover the container with plastic wrap or cheesecloth and allow to stand at room temperature (between 70 and 80 degrees F) for 16 to 24 hours. Do not stir again, or you will break the curds. The longer the mixture sits, the firmer the cheese will be.


©2012 from maggie's farm

Carefully ladle the curds into cheese molds lined with cheesecloth. (These could be plastic containers with holes punched in the sides and bottoms if you have no cheese molds.) Place molds inside a baking pan to catch the excess whey that will drain off of the cheeses. Place molds in the refrigerator for at least 6 to 8 hours, longer is fine (cheese will become firmer as more liquid drains). The cheese is now ready to eat and will keep, refrigerated, for at least two weeks.

©2012 from maggie's farm


Traditionally served with sugar, cream, and berries for breakfast, creole cream cheese can also be used as is for a tangy treat with the addition of chopped fresh vegetables and a sprinkle of your favorite savory seasonings, or used in much the same way you'd use yogurt or cottage cheese.


Just a little nosing around on this blog will unearth a few themes that run throughout. Most frequently among them--Nostalgia and tastes.  And nostalgic tastes.

As one discovers that not all tomatoes taste as heavenly as the favorite your grandfather grew in his backyard, or that the average grocery store offering can't hold a candle to your favorite variety of apple from childhood.  As so many conversations around people's cherished tastes of the past begin with 'remember that...' or, 'whatever happened to...', or 'can you still get...', or 'how can I find...'.  Or as a whole vibrant culture's culinary traditions threaten to be washed away in a flood of epic proportions, we can see the need for a way to preserve those often fragile and tenuous ties we have to many of the foods of our past.

So, naturally, Slow Food's Ark of Taste, and it's catalog of 'endangered foods' is a project which , I can, um, really sink my teeth into.

US Ark of Taste

Saving Cherished Foods, One Product at a Time

US Ark of Taste

The US Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. By promoting and eating Ark products we help ensure they remain in production and on our plates.


Now, I'm a woman on a mission-- tick off, one by one, by hunting down, unearthing, producing, or locating as many of these endangered foods as I can find.  You, too, can find the foods 'endangered' in your particular region, or food broken down by product groups as well.

In the Gulf Coast Region, from which today's recipe comes, we've eaten the french bread, the oysters, catfish and shrimp, the persimmon, satsuma, and strawberries, handmade file, and their endangered meat and cattle.  We've made daube glace', and hogshead cheese, enjoyed tasso and taffy, the datil pepper, and sweetened our bites, occasionally, with cane and sorghum syrups, and the revered Tupelo honey.

©2012 from maggie's farm
Today, save for the two producers mentioned by Slow Foods, the creole cream cheese once peddled from carts on the city's streets is a rare commodity even in New Orleans-area markets.  It was on my second trip (lucky me! lucky me!) to the city this year that I found it, produced by Chef John Folse, in the locally-owned chain, Rouse's.  Outside of the state, I haven't found it anywhere, so I've taken to making a batch of my own.  You can, too, with the simple recipe above.  Rennet and butter muslin/cheesecloth can be found in cheese supply, or often beer-making supply stores. I purchase mine when I visit Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott, Texas, but it might be most convenient for you to order online, and New England Cheesemaking Supply is a great mail-order source.

©2012 from maggie's farm


Now, be proud and tick one more 'I Can Make This Myself' item off your checklist--you've made more cheese!


Along with the articles linked in the post above, you may be interested in reading further: 


The Art and Craft of Home: Making Cheese
You Are a Cheesemaker!

9 comments:

  1. What a fantastic, fantastic post! I completely agree with you, though my determination has been to keep alive the old timey recipes/foods that have been part of my family's tradition.
    I love cheese-making and look forward to trying this.

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  2. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for dropping by! I'd love to get my hands on some of those old timey recipes/foods that have been part of your family's traditions. I just love to hear stories and food memories like that--I think of it as the most pleasant anthropology study we can do.

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  3. WOw! Very informative post. I have never heard of Creole Cream Cheese. I have the ingredients so I'm going to try this one. Also I have never heard of US ark of taste. Lots of golden nuggets of info coming out of your post today. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hey there, so glad you found this interesting and are going to try the creole cream cheese. Let me know what you think and how it works for you. Have fun tonight at Justine's!!

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    2. Kristina, Most of what I eat on a daily basis are things that I never heard of before meeting Maggie. I'm so glad that she has changed my culinary ways. lol

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    3. Tom, I get that-Bob seems to share you're sentiments and he has been at it for a long time lol! The good news is, it's not a terrible journey just one to sit back and hold on too and enjoy right? . :)

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  4. Hi! I am so so so glad I found your post! I am from New Orleans and now live in Billings Montana. One of the things I miss the most (besides my family, of course) is the food. When I come to visit one of my first stops is Dorignac's for some Creole Cream Cheese. I miss it terribly! ;) Now I wont have to! Right now my first batch is sitting on the counter, coming to room temperature. Thank for you bringing this yummy delight to my Montana home! Liz

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    1. Liz, I am so happy to get your comment! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. How did it turn out? Is it like a little taste of home? I hope it brought back happy, delicious memories!

      My best,
      Maggie

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  5. Thank you for your creole cream cheese recipe. It was delicious. Tastes like childhood.
    Can you tell me about that fabulous old serving bowl with cream and sugar wells in your photo? Where did you find it and what is it called? Charming.
    Thanks! Elise

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