Turns out that like so many foods today, this aged icon of the fat-free diet movement has been getting the artisanal treatment by cheesemakers around the country, giving fresh life to a food most of us haven't thought about in decades. So we decided it was time to reimagine how we eat it and come up with recipes worthy of the new breed of high-quality cottage cheeses.
COTTAGE CHEESE PEPPER DIP
Start to finish: 15 minutes
16-ounce container cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more to garnish
1/2 cup chopped cherry peppers
1 tablespoon cherry pepper liquid (from the jar of cherry peppers)
1 tablespoon diced banana peppers
1/4 cup diced Kalamata olives
Chips, toasted baguette rounds, crackers or vegetables, to serve
In a medium bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cherry peppers, cherry pepper liquid, banana peppers and Kalamata olives. Spoon the mixture evenly into a casserole or other serving dish. Sprinkle with additional paprika. Serve with toasted chips, toasted baguette rounds, crackers or vegetables.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 50 calories; 10 calories from fat (20 per cent of total calories); 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 0 g fiber; 280 mg sodium.
COTTAGE CHEESE PIE
Start to finish: 1 hour
16-ounce container cottage cheese, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh berries, to serve
Heat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, the butter and a pinch of salt until well combined. Add the flour and beat just until incorporated.
Form the dough into a round and transfer to a lightly floured counter. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle, then fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim off most of the overhang, leaving about 1/2 inch. Crimp the edge with a decorative flute or fold the excess under itself and crimp with a fork. Set the pie pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar until smooth and slightly frothy. Stir in the orange and lime zests and juices, along with the heavy cream and remaining cottage cheese. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until just set in the middle.
Allow to cool to room temperature and serve topped with fresh berries. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 290 calories; 150 calories from fat (52 per cent of total calories); 17 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 140 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 11 g protein; 1 g fiber; 260 mg sodium.