Cook’s Session II: Fresh Cheese with Chef Neal Brown

If you aren’t utilizing facebook events, start now. I’ve been working on a schedule of events to attend, film and write for Into Indy and found some fantastic events on fb. I was thrilled to come across this event!

What better way to start a Saturday off by making cheese? Ok, not the traditional pancakes and coffee – but so much better! 

Chef Neal Brown (Pizzology, Libertine) is one of Indianapolis’s best-known chefs. He has been nominated for several awards and he definitely knows the biz. I was thrilled to find the cook session featuring fresh cheese. If there is anyone I want to learn cheese from, it’s Pizzology. If you haven’t been to Pizzology, I highly recommend checking it out. They have two locations – one in Carmel and one on Mass Ave. 

Cook sessions are free (!!!) classes offered by Chef Brown. Today, we learned how to make fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese. 

We started with the ricotta. Chef Brown started by bring the milk to an almost simmer (around 200 degrees). He hammered home the fact that you do not want to burn the milk, essentially scorching it. Good, quality milk works best. This is not the time for skim milk! Save that for your Starbucks order, not your homemade cheese. 

While the milk was heating up, Chef Brown went over the basics of whey. From my understanding, the whey is produced by the coagulation from the heat and the acid. Chef Brown added lemon juice and vinegar, but also mentioned that you can add rennet. 

He switched over to prepping the mozzarella cheese, by breaking up the cheese curds. To be honest, this Indiana girl has only ever seen cheese curds at the Indiana State Fair. Deep fried squeaky goodness.  

While we waited for the mozz to heat up, we strained the ricotta, which was awesome to watch. You pour the curds into a strainer and let it sit overnight. He brought out the demo version that was created a day before to show us how it turns out. Creamy goodness… mmmmm.

Breaking or cutting the curd for the mozz allows for more drainage of the whey.  After salting the water (very very salty!), he added the cheese curds into the water. At 180, he started to stretch the cheese. For fresh cheese, you can stretch it and be done. It can be stored in the whey solution but should be eaten relatively soon. Fresh cheese is very perishable. To age the cheese, you can rack it.

After balling up the mozzarella and dipping it in the ice bath to set, he even treated us to learning how to make Buratta. Buratta is ricotta and a tiny bit of cream balled inside of a mozzarella ball. OMG. Drooling. It’s even better with some herbs and fried green tomatoes. This is something that grocery stores can charge a pretty penny for. If you are making both ricotta and mozzarella, why not try to make this as well?

I thought this 1-hour class was the perfect length and moved at a great pace. The turnout was awesome! Major vlogger fail – my gopro was completely dead. UGH! However, national cheese lovers day is coming up (1/20) so I will be attempting to make both ricotta and mozzarella how-to video for my you tube channel. FYI I have a history of many kitchen fails so this will be quiet the hilarious adventure.

I am very much looking forward to more classes offered by Chef Brown! Big thank-you to him and his staff for making this happen. Off to find some deliciously cheesy recipes!


What’s Kate Cooking? – Honey Sriracha Chicken

I feel like part of being a foodie is finding ways to make a dish your own. Sadly, I knew nothing about cooking until I moved to California about 2 years ago. I was broke and didn’t have a choice but to learn! Little did I realize how relaxing cooking can be. Completing a task and tasting the deliciousness of a recipe is quite the reward. I’ll be posting recipes weekly so let me know what you think!



I served mine over a bed of rice and steamed broccoli as a side. Do you have a go-to Asian cuisine recipe?



Friday Five – 10/15-10/16

5 things going on in Indy this weekend:

Barrels on Bonna – Irvington – $50/ticket 
This event looks awesome. I’m not big into beer, but I do love barrel aged beer.This festival provides unlimited tastings of the rare barrel aged beer, 20+ breweries, a small crowd (800 max) and live music. All of the profits from the event go to Friends of Irving Circle, a non-profit that works on urban beautification on the east side of Indianapolis. Tickets are available online here.

Apple Works – Trafalgar
A great day activity for the whole family! Travel down to Trafalgar and enjoy a pumpkin patch, apple picking, live music and more. The weather this weekend looks absolutely perfect to spend the entire day outside! More information on apple works here.

Covered Bridge Festival – Rockville – FREE
This is another day trip activity. It is Indiana’s largest festival! It lasts from October 14th-October 23rd. The covered bridges are BEAUTIFUL! Shop at the antique stores, admire the art at the covered bridge art gallery, or enjoy the world famous buried beef.

Homecoming – West Lafayette or Bloomington –
IU or Purdue Grad? I’m an IU Alum myself :). Both schools are celebrating homecoming this weekend. Purdue faces Iowa and IU will play Nebraska. If I didn’t have a wedding to attend, I would be down in Bloomington, enjoying a long island at Kilroy’s on Kirkwood for sure!

Conner Prairie Halloween Festival – $68/Family of 4 –

This event is lovingly known as “Conner Scairie”. Meet the citizens of Conner Scairie which includes Dr. Acula, Beautisha, Ed, Holly Ween and the Headless Horseman! With everything from movies, a marionette show, s’mores, scarecrows and even scary-o-ke! Here is the full schedule of events. Tickets can be purchased at Marsh and O’Malia’s.



Friday Five – 5 Things To Do This Weekend 10/8-10/9

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are the top 5 on my radar:

1.  Indy Mega Adoption Event – Indiana State Fair Grounds – FREE
I adopted my kitty (Albus Dumbledore) back in February and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. If you’re considering adoption, this is a wonderful event to attend. It features adoption groups such as FACE Low-Cost Animal ClinicThe Humane Society of Hamilton County, Southside Animal Shelter, and 23 others. They will also have vendors like groomers and pet hospitals. All you need to bring is the $30 adoption fee and $5 for parking. For more information, please see their website here.

2. WOOFSTOCK! – Nickle Plate Amphitheater – $5 for adults, free for kids under 10
Already have a furry friend? Are you wanting to get out and enjoy the weather? Woofstock is Hamilton County’s LARGEST pet and music festival featuring dozens of vendors, interactive activities for both your kids and canines, live bands all day on the Woofstock Stage, food trucks, beer garden and more! There will be the first Woofstock concert – presented by WZPL – featuring JoJo (classic), and Jordan Fischer. Fun for the whole family! Admission is $5 and kids 10 and under are FREE!


3.  GermanFest – the Athenaeum on 401 E. Michigan Street Indianapolis – $8 in advance, $10 at door
I stumbled upon this awesome event last year with a girlfriend while we were walking around downtown. Boy, did we luck out. The event has German music, dancing, food, beer, a YODELING contest, and most importantly, wiener dog races!! I have a dachshund of my own and these are the most fun to watch. They have the dog races on the top of every hour from 1-4. I will be doing a recap blog post on this event early next week. For more information including pre-sale tickets and events schedule:



4. The Monument Circle Art Festival – Monument Circle – FREE
This looks like a fun event! Monument circle will be shut down to automobiles and filled with artists! This event will include regional artists and musicians. This is the second year of this event. For more information:

5. Evening of Elegance – Winslow Aesthetic and Wellness Center, 2000 E. 116th St Carmel, IN – Free
October is breast cancer awareness month. Free food, drinks, massages, nail polish changes brow waxing etc all while supporting the Central Indiana Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation! You can schedule a microderm or micropeel for only $45 all day- with all proceeds donated to the Komen Foundation! Make sure to make an appointment. Dr. Winslow also offers special deals on juvederm, fillers and botox. The event is free, but registration is required: