The basil plants were threatening to flower so I trimmed them back and put the cuttings in a glass of water until I decided how I would use them. I used a few of the leaves to make a small batch of basil aioli which I promptly sampled as part of my light supper.
There are already at least three variations of basil pesto in the freezer so I used the rest of the basil to try making a flavored paneer since the milk was nearing its expiration date.
Since the milk needed to be brought to a boil I added the basil leaves to the milk, essentially making a decoction at the same time. I also added salt and a little sugar (since I didn’t intend to rinse the sourness of lemon juice out of the cheese curds later).
When the milk came to a boil I scooped out most of the basil leaves and squeezed what liquid I could out of them back into the milk before mixing in the juice of a lemon to make the milk curdle.
The whey was then strained and the cheese curds collected by pouring through a cheesecloth lined sieve.
The corners of the cheesecloth were brought together and the curds tied into a little bundle.
Next I placed the bundle of cheese curds into a container and set a like container on top of the bundle. Heavy items were placed into the top container to press moisture out of the cheese and form it into a solid mass.
After an hour or so I removed the weights and cheesecloth, wrapped the chunk of basil paneer and placed it in the refrigerator. It remains to be seen what type of dish it will be used in.