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adventures in live blogging and cheese making – now edited with links and pictures

With all due respect to Chicory, who did this first and better.  Please, note this is so far from a How To Make Cheese Post.  Really, you’ll learn very little from reading this.  We used local whole unpasteurized, un-homogenized milk and a cheese kit from the Cheese Queen.  Ok, so we cheated a little with the milk – one half gallon of it was not local, but can from PA.

5:56 pm – meeting on Elsie’s back porch involving wine and planning (let’s just note that there was a *very* cute girl sighted on the way into Woolen Mills).  References to drooling and “shinny smooth cheese”and then we tried to make our own batteries because I forgot my stupid MF camera.

6:01pm – decision made to start with a batch of mozzarella.  Decisions questioned and the thought of making mozzarella and ricotta at the same time put forth.  Also, “don’t throw out that whey!”  Some claim it can be made into lemonade.  We all say ew.  LB points out that ricotta takes longer and so we think to make it first, so it can hang out and drain.  LB is smart, but a poor animal namer.

6:20 pm – 1 gallon of local milk heating on the stove, citric acid added, heating begun.  Snacking continued, highlighted by cho-girl’s contribution of cheeses brought from her trip to the lake.  Waiting.  Waiting some more….

6:24 pm – peach tasting for Elsie’s next peach tree.  Beekman wins, hands down.  Okra pickles opened and tried.  Fab.

6:43 pm – still waiting.  More wine.  Cho-girl takes over stirring duties.  LB reminds her to “tighten up” and threatens her with a finger.

6:45 pm – 175º F.  We are, as they say, “pulling into the home stretch.”  They being LB.  Directions read heat to 195º

****it seems that somebody else was writing here – cho-girl, maybe?*****

6:48 pm – Starrhill Girl adds more citric acid, LB stirring, this immediately turns the cheese “weird looking” AND “curdy”.

6:49 pm – stove off. Curds and whey at rest.

6:50 pm – SHG leaves to get better documentating equipment. The rest of us will nosh.

****look, me again*****

6:55 pm – clearly, I’m still here.  Time to scoop out Teh Curds.  Crap. The laptop battery is dying.  There is photo documentation happening, y’all.  I swear.  Live blogging is hard.  LB seems to think this would all be going better if we were all naked except for pasties.  Heh.  Or not.  Not Heh.  Elsie relates a story about her SB cooking bacon sans shirt.  Heh.

******* left to go get the power cord*******

From here on out there are pictures – for pictures of the previous section, you’ll have to rely on the good will of Elsie.  Let’s hope she’ll post the ones from her camera.

7:30 pm – cheese is draining. 

Pot got washed in my absence.  Cute girl was not in evidence.

7:34 pm – mozzarella begun. 

Differences between the processes of the 2 cheeses noted.

Vigorous stirring well executed by LB.

*scams begun while waiting for One Large Curd to form:  buy a cow, communal housing so milking of said cow could be shared, buying of The Hard Cheese Kit, Herb Wife to be invited to the next cheese making to guest blog, smallest cho to come live with me and so he can have a kitten.  More scams to come.*

Also, N.B.  everyone present is bossy.

8:05 pm – curd being cut by Elsie.

LB does not yet believe in this cheese.  Poor cheese.  Heat is brought on.  Chicory’s cheese making guide is consulted.  Not for the last time, I’m sure.  Thanks.  Elsie is also, simultaneously, making a fruit fly catcher with yeast.  And whey.  LB stirs curds. 

8:15 pm – work on ricotta (Cheese The First) continued by Elsie. 

Ricotta done. 

And done.  Meanwhile, LB folds the now curded mozzarella and cho-girl deals with even more whey.  Anyone need whey?  We’ve got some.

8:23 pm – curds compared to mercury.

8:25 pm – attempts made to access facebook for currently nameless pursuits.  Facebook seems to have bit it.  However, we are *this close* to having cheese!  Woo!  And Hoo!

*not me again*

8:35pm – Starrhillgirl is kneading teh cheese! 

It is stretchy, but we don’t know if it is stretchy enough?  We are putting it back in the whey bath….  stirring, stirring….  Is it ready now?  She is trying again…oh, yes, a whole different ball of wax.  Or cheese.  It is lovely and stretchy and glossy, just like they say.    We have decided we need a cow.  2 gallons of milk have provided about enough cheese for a sitting.  A gallon of milk provides enough mozz for a very nice large pizza.

8:38 pm – There are currently four balls of mozzarella. 4 egg-sized, pullet egg sized balls of cheese. That ain’t much, y’all.

The LB reports she is shit faced. But that is a lie, although, hardly any water has been consumed during this process. The snacks prolly made it less likely for the wine to go to our heads.

8:41pm – the LB is now reading many recipes. We really need that cow.

8:42pm The adorable teensy tiny balls of cheese are sitting submerged in their ice bath.

“Getting firm!”, Elsie reports.

Moved on to the pursuit of drowning fruit flies, what with the gorgeous 3! kinds of peaches to eat and scrutinize, it’s no wonder there are some extra critters keeping us company.

More conversation about bread making – little balls of cheese all but forgotten?! LB returns with canisters procured from SHG’s car – for carting extra whey home. Some whey deemed better than other. Saved buttery, yellow delicious-smelling whey. Plain Jane Whey flushed down the drain.

8:49 pm – SHG has drained rest of yummy looking whey to retrieve more cheese from the pot. Conservation, y’all.

8:50pm Elsie is cutting the mozzarella!! Out of it’s cooling bath, it is pretty and firm, the Scrapings Cheese-to-Be may not Be, jury’s still out.

8:52 pm Elsie picked a tomato from her front porch bunch, basil from the back, and is layering everything together in goodness. Out comes the pepper to garnish the top of our lovely evening’s pursuits. A leetle heavy handed on the balsamic? We’ll see. I doubt it can it go wrong at this point. 

8:54pm SHG still trying with the bottom of the pan cheese. Grainier. Not so pretty.

OK, time to sample? please?

9:05 pm – done.  Whew.  Pics to be added.  Editing to happen.

*me again.  Ok, so to sum it all up -cheese making is fun, but not particularly ecomonical.  It took us 2 gallons of milk (at around $4/half gallon – local raw milk cheese is expensive, yo) to get the cheese you see picutred above.   Also, live blogging is hard and I think I didn’t do it right.  Oh, well.


as if i’ve been doing it all the time

Look!  A food post!  Dinner on the internets.  Just for you.

Last night was the Thursday version of T Tuesday.  We ate at home, because it’s expensive to eat out all the time, yo.  Plus the bounty of produce is upon us like a plague of locusts.  Anyway.  T came and K came with her breast pump backpack and LB said she wasn’t coming because she needed to go home but lo and behold, a big van rolled up into Starrhill and there she was.  Changed her mind, I guess.  The lure of T and K is great and far reaching.  I got the LB’s boyfriend to eat, too.  He’ll do anything if you call him by his full name, he will.

Lord, there was a lot of food.  T came with tomatoes and cucumbers and sweet risotto with poached peaches and macaroni and cheese with tomatoes and beets and the biggest hunk of cheese you ever saw.  I’d made fingerling potatoes with salt and olive oil, empanadas (cabbage vehicle!), kholrabi pickles, steamed shrimp, and there was bread and cucumber water and toasted rice tea and wine.  Whew.  There was a picture, but WordPress makes pictures hard, so you’ll have to use your imaginations.

See just like NaBloPoJuly.  Only lamer.


excuses

See, here is the thing about blogging.  It is far more interesting/time sucking to read blogs than it is to write one.  For me, I mean.  So I’ll sit down to write *something*, just to keep you people satisfied, but then there are so many other interesting things to read and then suddenly it’s hours later and my neck hurts and the house is dirty and the fruit flies have colonized the kitchen and the lawn is over grown….

I need to go freeze some more peaches and salt down the sauerkraut.  Go read some more interesting blogs, y’all


iou

I do, really I do.

Forgive me, Readers, it has been a million days since my last blog post.  For penance, here’s a list of what to do with cabbage.

  • sauerkraut.  Yes, it works and yes, it’s good.  No, there are not yet pictures because I cannot get it together to take shit off my camera.  I used this recipe, because I had whey left from the cottage cheese adventure, not because I think Weston Price should run the world.  (Also, that recipe link is a little god-crazy for my tastes, just so you know.)
  • coleslaw.  I used to not like it.  Not like I hated it, but it just wasn’t on my faves list.  But recently, I’ve had several good versions and I was charged/volunteered to bring a vegetable to my cousin’s birthday dinner and these days vegetable = cabbage and it’s fucking hot so coleslaw it was.  And it was not bad.  I used the food processor to shred the cabbage (red and green) and the sweet (ish) onions.  Food processors win.  There was some basil (again with the “I have it so I’ll use it” theme) and some salt and pepper.  And mayonnaise and vinegar and off I went on my merry way to the birthday event.  I “forgot” the leftovers.  Oops.
  • summer rolls.  Nothing like J’s – nothing I tell you – but still pretty damn good.  Again, they were a cabbage vehicle.  There were rice paper wrappers and cellophane noodles in the pantry (such as it is) and I took my Current Morning Child Who Looks Like A Cupcake up to the fish store by my house and bought a half pound of shrimp for $4 and only used half of that to feed 2 people with these rolls.  (Note to self – eat more shrimp.)  So there were noodles and shrimp and cabbage and cucumbers and basil all rolled up, messily, in the pretty, pretty rice paper wrappers.  So fucking easy.  I swear, summer rolls are my new favorite hot weather dinner.  It didn’t hurt that I took them over to a friend’s house to eat and that friend has a pool.  Lessons learned from the summer rolls:  shrimp is cheaper than you might think if you get the small ones; using the rarely used mandoline for the cucumbers is great and may result in more use of the mandoline; swimming is a really good way to cool off.

And I still have 3 heads of cabbage in the fridge.  More sauerkraut tomorrow.  I’ve also been freezing peaches, corn, cooking greens and over processing yogurt (bah).

There is cheese making coming up, maybe.  Just ask anyone. Or somebody else.  Yes, this assumes many, many things, largest looming our collective ability to get it together, but I, for one, have faith.


gospel

Or, Good News, if you’d rather.

Check it out.

Yes, yes, it’s early.  Yes, there’s still the beta to be had and the million other hurdles to be jumped.  But JFC, I could not be any happier for you, Cali. Looks like you went and got yourself knocked up, girl.  Woo and hoo, as we like to say around here.  Woo and fucking hoo, babe.  I’d throw some exclamation points in there, but I’m a smidge weepy, because it is about fucking time.  Go throw her some love, y’all.