Dry-curd cottage cheese can be sold as farmer's cheese or baker's cheese, but not all farmer's cheese is dry-curd cottage cheese. Several different cheeses use the label farmer's or farmers cheese.
According to Cultures for Health: "Dry-curd cottage cheese is the solid portion or curds that remain after milk has been cultured and slowly heated. The heating process forces the liquid whey to separate from the milk solids. As the solid portion bathes in the warm whey, aided by gentle stirring, the curds become smaller and firmer. The curds are then drained, rinsed in cold water, and allowed to hang until nearly dry. This can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour."
George Staudt of Bradenton knows what dry-curd cheese is, he just cannot find it in stores. I thought maybe other readers may not be as familiar with dry-curd cheese, so I shared what it is.
"I discovered one of my grandmother's Hungarian recipes for crepe Suzettes that features a magnificent dry cottage cheese filling," he said. "Sadly, none of the retail grocery stores in Bradenton provide the product, only wet cottage cheese, which, of course, is unacceptable.
"Where in the world may I purchase dry cottage cheese? Your help is most appreciated," he said.
Unfortunately, Staudt is right. The dry cheese is hard to find in supermarkets. Cultures for Health experts say it is easy to make and have included a recipe on culturesforhealth.com.
For those lactose intolerant, dry cottage cheese works well. In the process, the curds are separated from the whey, so they contain minimal lactose. Unlike regular cottage
cheese, no milk is added to the dry cheese. Staudt is correct that regular cottage cheese will not work in dry cottage cheese recipes. He might want to try a queso fresca, which is a farmer's cheese and may have the texture of the dry cottage cheese, according tochowhound.chow.com. Also paneer, an Indian cheese, could be used, but I would suggest tasting both of these cheeses before using in a recipe.
It is not surprising that Staudt's recipe is of Hungarian origin. Dry cottage cheese is used in German, Hungarian and Russian recipes. It is also used in vegetarian patés and low-fat cooking.
Ricotta cheese drained in a cheesecloth can be substituted for dry cottage cheese in some recipes.
Westby Cooperative Creamery sells dry-curd cottage cheese online at westbycreamery.com or by calling 800-492-9282, ext. 4. Four pounds of the cheese sells for $11.55 or $2.55 for 12 ounces, but Florida residents need to have the dry cheese sent by next-day air, since the cheese is perishable.
I also found out that possibly some Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarkets in Florida carry dry cottage cheese under the Friendship brand.
Readers, this is where you can help. Please check your supermarkets, specialty food stores and even Whole Foods or Fresh Market stores for the dry-curd cottage cheese. Let me know what you find for Staudt. Even Mississippi readers can help search for this cheese.
Pear cakes, please
Dawn Adams is looking for a good pear cake recipe. She lost her favorite one in Hurricane Katrina, and I know that some readers also experienced that loss, too. I spoke with one reader at a luncheon on Wednesday, and she said she had a pear cake recipe that she would send. I am still looking for more recipes so Adams can find the one closest to what she lost.
I have one that I think is really good. It comes from a tattered, favorite cookbook of mine, "Hush Puppies and Other Gourmet Delights," compiled by the Corpus Christi, Texas, Republican Women's Club. This is an easy cake, and who can't use easy?
Also, "Cakes To Die For," by Bev Shaffer, has a good pear-filled coffeecake.
FRESH PEAR CAKE WITH GLAZE
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten well
1- 1/2 cups salad oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups thinly sliced pears
Cream sugar, oil and eggs. Combine flour, soda and salt; add to sugar mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and pears.
Bake in well-greased 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Top with glaze.
1-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Combine and blend until smooth.
-- Recipe from "Hush Puppies and Other Gourmet Delights."
PEAR-FILLED STREUSEL COFFEECAKE
1- 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
2-1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1- 1/2 cups peeled, thinly sliced pears
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch baking pan, tapping out excess flour.
Streusel: In a food processor, pulse to chop and combine the pecans, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse on and off just until coarse crumbs form. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
For the coffeecake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and milk.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.
With mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture to the butter mixture until blended. Scrape bowl.
Using half of the batter, drop spoonfuls into prepared pan (batter will be thick). Sprinkle half of the streusel atop batter in pan. Cover with pear slices.
Spoon remaining batter over, and sprinkle with remaining streusel. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serves 12 to 16.
-- Recipe from Bev Shaffer in "Cakes to Die For"
Slow cooker recipes
Now that school is back in session, the slow cooker is even a more important part of family meals. Plop the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on, go to work, come home and enjoy a healthy, hot meal.
Remember to send me your favorite slow-cooker recipes to share with fellow readers who also are in a time crunch.
Need recipe, kitchen help?
Readers, email or write me if you have lost a favorite recipe or would like to have your favorite restaurant's recipe or need help finding ingredients.
Andrea Yeager, can be reached at email@example.com and takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.