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Recipe-wise, Kimberly said she wished to learn how to make basterma (no problem) and tvorog (a new one on me!). I sent her our link for making basterma, but had to research “tvorog”, basically a farmer's cheese. Thank goodness for Google!
I wondered if there was an Armenian word for tvorog, so I contacted Tom Merjanian to ask if he knew.
Here’s what he and his family came up with:
“Tut – is the compound form of tutu – SOUR
VA – makes it a conjunctive for the compound word.
Ser – is either Love – improbable – or CREAM – which makes sense.
Ergo, this may be a word referring to a cream that is soured. As for Farmer’s cheese, this is similar to cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is made by taking soured milk and pouring fresh milk over it through cheesecloth. This process enabled farmers not to lose milk that had soured. They could eat or sell the product as a form of cheese.”
A blog called “Yolinka Cooks” proved most helpful. Yolinka defined “Tvorog” as ”a Russian dairy product, known as farmer's cheese or curd cheese in the U.S. It's a cross between ricotta and cottage cheese, but doesn't really taste like either. Tvorog is immensely popular in Russia. It's eaten with jam and sour cream for breakfast, as a snack or as a light dinner, and is used in all sorts of sweet and savory baking. In America, you can sometimes buy tvorog in upscale or Eastern-European grocery stores, but it tends to be expensive.”
Yolinka's blog offers step-by-step photos in the preparation of tvorog.
What recipes can be made with Tvorog? Yolinka says, "It's eaten with jam and sour cream for breakfast, as a snack or as a light dinner, and is used in all sorts of sweet and savory baking."
Tvorog Update: Kimberly tried the tvorog recipe and sent me this comment: