Homemade cottage cheese is less creamy and has smaller curds than most store-bought varieties, and its incomparable flavor is a real treat. Many Southerners serve cottage cheese as a side dish, either solo or as part of a fruit or vegetable plate, or with a salad alongside, as I do here. I remember my grandmother making cottage cheese—she would have been awestruck to see a multicooker turn out a perfect version with little more than the press of a button. This recipe requires a multicooker with a yogurt setting.
- For the cottage cheese: Line a large, fine-mesh sieve with a double thickness of dampened cheesecloth and set aside.
- Pour the milk into the pot. Cover, select the yogurt function, and adjust to the boil setting. When the cooking time is complete (usually 45 to 60 minutes), turn off the pot. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour.
- Add the vinegar in a slow, steady stream while stirring gently. Let stand 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through the prepared sieve. Gently rinse the cottage cheese curds under cold running water. Transfer it to a bowl and stir in the half-and-half and salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or for up to 4 days. Taste and adjust the salt, if desired.
- For the salad: Whisk together the mayonnaise, onion, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the cucumber and tomato and stir gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Just before serving, stir the salad gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.
- To serve, spoon the cottage cheese onto serving plates and top with the salad.
Reprinted with permission from Instantly Southern by Sheri Castle, copyright © 2018. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.