Mini Projects: back in the swing of things

After a forced hiatus of crafty activities, I’m back at it. This week I produced my first cheese in months. This was a simple fresh cheese, something like goat cheese, but made from cows milk.

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To finish, I served one round coated with salt and chopped fresh herbs. The second was bathed in honey and dotted with raspberries. We shared them with two new moms and in my hurry to feed sweet Keziah’s parents, I forgot to snap a picture. Use your imaginations, people.

Additionally, I’ve been on a galet kick. Apple, raspberries, and blackberries – Delish!!

20121013-142025.jpg These two were just about to bake.

And finally, dear readers, our cherry tomato plants pooped themselves out at the end of the season leaving us with a glut of multi colored beauties. Any ideas of what to make out of this pile of goodness?

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A popover offering to the insomnia gods

Waking up at 3:44a apparently yields popovers in our little haven.

I’ve never had great luck with popovers which I conveniently blamed on the pan or the oven. I turned to Bakers Illustrated and had far better results – apologies to the perfectly good kitchen items upon which I misplaced blame.

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Voila, perfect popovers. If you’re up and reading this, come on over. Bring a latte for the weary baker.

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English Muffins

Today we tried English muffins out. They are pretty easy and were only made difficult by the fact that we didn’t have 3″ metal rings. I fashioned rings out of newspaper and aluminum foil. Fresh English muffins are far tangier and moist than their store bought cousins. Well worth the hour of time that went in to them!

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So, of course we made these:
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But the best eats: grilled and buttered.

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Drunken Goat

New cheeses are under way here. This weekend’s creation was a pressed goat cheese soaked in red wine.

Most cheeses are made in shockingly similar ways with the same ingredients. Minor variations in time and temperature make a world of difference.

To start off, heat the milk and add cultures, any additives, and rennet.

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Once the curds begin to firm up, cut and stir them to separate curd from whey.

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Drain off the whey leaving only the curd, add salt.

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Press the cheese (usually overnight), then remove.

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Now the goat gets drunk in a bottle of red wine.

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The cheese will now age for six weeks. Cross your fingers and plan to visit!

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In other news, I will be heading up to Vermont for a three day advanced cheese making course. Updates to follow!

Quick Cheese

My first foray into cheese making was mozzarella. I follow Ricki Carroll’s 30 minute mozzarella recipe;┬áthe only difference being that I fold in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in the last round of kneading. My daughter, Aliza, helped me with the final stages. She watched me knead, stretch, shape, cut and taste it. She refused to try a bite. And then she asked for a cheese stick. Sigh.

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Post script
Then we made these:

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Good Morning Ginger Snaps

My mom sent me this recipe and a jar of ginger in syrup (found at Asian markets and sometimes Whole Foods). It’s one of our new favorites.

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Caerphilly

My boss has been asking me to bring in some cheese. I see him rarely, but meet with him tomorrow. To prepare, I opened up some cheeses.

In the past few months, my mold ripened cheeses tasted off. I thought I’d lost my moldy touch, but it just turns out my wine fridge I age them in died a slow death and took many cheeses with it.

But I had a few cheeses on the brink of readiness. I opened one Brie which was thankfully good. I also opened a Caerphilly.

Caerphilly is a Welch cheese I’ve never made before. It has a natural rind, meaning it has no mold cover, wax or other sealing method. To age this cheese, it must be kept at a moderate humidity level and cleaned of any other molds it catches naturally through its aging process (I simply wipe it down with salt water and vinegar if it starts to look funky).

I probably would have let this age a few weeks longer if not for the crushing pressure of my boss’ relentless demands (are you reading Brit?), but I bowed and cracked it open.

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The results were promising. The cheese is mild and light. It will probably peak in three weeks, but will do for my meeting tomorrow.