Thursday, October 28, 2010

An interesting discovery

Last night I was thinking about what cheeses I've made since Feb. I have the book "Home Cheese Making", by Ricki Carroll which has 75 cheese recipes and 11 "Other Dairy Products" (chapter 10). This has been my guide for almost all my cheese making so far and already shows the signs of being in an active cheese making zone. With margin notes and drip marks of whey from spoons and fingers, anyone looking at it would instantly know what a valuable resource it has been in our "make room" (the kitchen).

With the movie "Julie & Julia" being so popular, the thought runs through the mind to do something similar with this book as well. The geek went straight to the computer, opened an Excel spreadsheet and began listing all the recipes in the book, by category and page number and which ones I've already made. The tally was 15 of the 75 I've made at least once, and 3 of the 11 other dairy products. This doesn't count a few variations I did on my own, like smoke flavored gouda and mozzarella or the 0% cow milk with powdered goat milk feta. It doesn't include the numerous flavorings of mascarpone, yogurt cheese, honey yogurt, feta in basil infused olive oil, or a feta stuffed mozzarella heart (labor intensive to say the least). The key lime mascarpone in mini filo cups is a must do again. The finger sized baked potatoes with yogurt cheese with cheddar cheese, chives and bacon bits (mini baked potato) is a special occasion appetizer that needs a little tweaking. Of course, cheese cakes made with home made cream cheese or fomage blanc are decadent desserts for times when calories don't matter.

It has been very helpful having Chef Paula as my taster. Her palate and food knowledge has been invaluable as I have progressed and improved my techniques. We have spent a couple days together making cheese and have time during the week to talk and to bring her samples of my latest attempts at cheese making. Her husband has been spoiled by the constant flow of fresh yogurt to his house. It has been encouraging to have her ask me to make cheese for special events she is doing. The school is doing a Bistro as a fund-raising event in November, and my feta in basil infused olive oil will be on every table.

I enjoyed doing the cheese making party. I know Jean got inspired to make mozzarella as soon as she could. I received an excited voice mail on Monday morning saying she got up at 6:30, went out a got some milk and by 9AM had a pound of mozzarella (partially eaten). BTW Jean makes wonderful scones that are even better with strawberry preserves and fresh mascarpone.

I wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention my wonderful and understanding wife. It is not every wife who will allow her husband to take over part of the kitchen and half the kitchen table to make cheese. Our kitchen has had a small refrigerator and a chrome cart invade the one wall. Plastic containers, cheese cloth, molds, large pots, a heating pad, weights, and various utensils adorn "My corner" of the room. Thank you, Dear, I love you.

Okay, it's on to the next adventure. Haloumi is next on my make list. Fresh goat's milk will be here on the Nov 5th. and I'll post the results here as soon as I can. That will be number 16: only 59 to go.

The Cheesy Geek

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