Tomato and Herb Salad with Fresh Chive Cheese
2 lbs. vine-ripened tomatoes
12 to 14 slices Fresh Chive Cheese (see following recipe) or fresh mozzarella
About 1 tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. honey
1½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 or 3 sprigs marjoram, plus flowers if any
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, plus flowers if any
1. Slice large tomatoes; leave small tomatoes whole, or cut into wedges or halves. Arrange on a platter with cheese.
2. Whisk together salt, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl until salt has dissolved; whisk in oil. Spoon dressing over tomatoes and cheese.
3. Strip leaves and flowers from marjoram sprigs onto salad. With kitchen scissors, snip basil leaves and flowers onto salad. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Grilled Summer Succotash
SERVES 4 to 6
4 large ears corn
About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
About ¾ tsp. fine sea salt
3 poblano chiles
1 cup shelled fresh or frozen edamame (soybeans)
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1½ cups ‘Sweet Million’ or other red cherry tomatoes, halved
About ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
1. Heat grill to medium-high (350° to 450°). Strip husks and silk from corn, brush ears with oil, and sprinkle with salt.
2. Arrange corn and chiles on cooking grate. Grill corn, turning often, until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Grill chiles, turning as needed, until completely blackened on all sides, about the same amount of time.
3. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil meanwhile. Add edamame, bring back to a boil, and cook for 2½ minutes if fresh, 4 minutes if frozen. Drain and set aside.
4. Mince garlic, sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon salt, and mash to a paste with flat side of a chef’s knife. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, lemon juice, and ¼ cup olive oil to make a dressing.
5. Cool corn and chiles. Stand 1 ear on end in a deep, wide bowl and, slicing downward, cut off kernels. Repeat with remaining ears. You should have about 3 cups kernels.
6. Peel blackened skin from chiles. Holding each chile over bowl of corn kernels, slit and let juices drain into bowl. On a work surface, stem and seed chiles and cut into ½-inch dice. Add to corn.
6. Add tomatoes and edamame to corn and chiles. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to coat evenly. Eat drizzled with cream if you like.
Fresh Chive Cheese
MAKES 1 7-IN. LOG
1 gal. whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 to 5 large lemons)
¾ tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped chives
1. Heat milk over medium-high heat in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring often to prevent scorching, about 30 minutes. As soon as milk boils, remove from heat and drizzle in lemon juice, stirring slowly and gently. Keep stirring until solid white curds separate from greenish white, translucent liquid whey. (If whey is still milky instead of clear, return to heat until whey is clear.) Let sit until curds have settled below whey, about 15 minutes.
2. Line a large colander with cheesecloth, meanwhile, and set in sink. Pour curds into colander and rinse gently with lukewarm water, 5 seconds. Gather cheesecloth up over curds and gently twist to squeeze out excess liquid (it will still be dripping).
3. Top cheesecloth-wrapped curds with a plate and a 5lb. weight. Let drain 45 minutes. (At this point, it may still be dripping a bit; this is okay.)
4. Unwrap cheese and put in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook; add salt and chives. (You can also knead it by hand.) Beat cheese on medium-low speed or knead until silky looking and no longer grainy (similar to cream cheese), 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Roll cheese into a 2-in.-thick log and wrap in waxed paper and then plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.