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Dipping into Spring

Mar 23, 2021

The calendar says it’s spring in South Dakota, and I’m seeing signs that it might even be true. Baby goats are cavorting on my brother’s farm, there’s been a distinct increase in birdsong and I recently ate the first nibble of something fresh and green from my garden — a snippet of chives. 

I love growing herbs, but other than sprinkling chopped chives into scrambled eggs and the unholy amount of pesto I consume once the basil gets going, I’m more apt to eat leaves straight off the plant than use them in dishes. Then I remembered my conversation with Rapid City cheesemaker Spencer Crawford for the March/April 2021 story “Our Goat Renaissance.” Crawford makes aged, washed-rind goat cheeses with milk from his small herd of Alpine dairy goats. He reminded me of a quick method for making a very basic cheese at home — one that pairs well with the bright flavors of herbs.

Take a jug of whole or 2 percent milk that’s nearing its expiration date, pour it into a heavy pan and heat to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, throw in something acidic (lemon juice, buttermilk or a glug of white vinegar) and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The milk should separate into small, fluffy curds and yellowish whey. If you’re Miss Muffet, you can enjoy that as is, but I empty the pot into a colander lined with coffee filters to let the whey drain out. Sometimes I weigh it down to expel more whey and create a firmer cheese that works well in curry. Unweighed, the cheese is similar to ricotta. It makes a great addition to pizza or pasta or you can whirl it into a smooth, herb-rich dip.


A simple homemade cheese and a snip of the garden's first greens make a wonderfully fresh dip.

Green Goddess Dip

Adapted from Abra’s Kitchen

1–1 1/2 cups fresh cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh herbs (chives, parsley, dill, tarragon and/or basil) or more, to taste

Roughly chop herbs. Use a hand blender or food processor to mix ingredients together until the dip is smooth and creamy, adding more olive oil if needed. Serve with crackers, fresh vegetables or whatever sounds good.


03:19 pm - Mon, April 5 2021
C Uhing said:
Cannot wait to try. As a now single lady I am always looking to use up milk!

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