Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cheese Gifts

For Christmas this year my wife and I joined forces to gift some family members with a decorative reusable grocery bags filled with goodies: Home made cookies,  Irish Soda Bread, Cheese Crackers, a wedge of Farmhouse Cheddar, and a jar of Feta in Basil infused olive oil.

I made Feta in basil infused olive oil in half pint decorative canning jars.  Using one gallon of 0% fat milk and 16 scoops of goat milk powder, and adding ¼ tsp of Lipase powder, I made one pound 13oz of feta using the recipe I posted earlier. It was aged 4 days before being “canned” with the olive oil.
The basil infused olive oil started out as 3 cups of extra virgin olive oil. Heated to 180F before adding a Tbs of dried basil, the oil takes on the taste of the basil and was allowed to cool.
I cut the feta to about 1/2” cubes and filled six 1/2pt jars. Filling the jars with the olive oil and putting the lids on, finishes these nice gift jars.
Joan made some labels with “Made by the Cheesy Geek” to put on each of them. 

This is the 4lb Farmhouse Cheddar that I made in October. I quartered it and waxed the exposed edges. (And, yes, I took the opportunity to taste it and it tastes like cheddar. (-: )

Overall, I am happy with these cheese gifts. I know that they are not perfect and I'd like the cheddar to be a bit more moist. I also did not compensate for the larger mold when adding the weights for pressing this cheese. I know better now.  There was some sediment in the Feta jars I'd like to eliminate next time. I'll probably have to rinse them off before putting them in the jars.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

the Cheesy Geek