Just started Cultures of Corruption
You can find it here.
Just started Cultures of Corruption
You can find it here.
No, I don’t mean politicians. I mean CHEESE!
About three weeks ago I was watching The Food Network and some fella was making fresh mozzarella. It look simple and delicious and one of my all time favorite things to eat is a caprese salad. So, being the foodie that I am, I starting looking into the science behind fresh pulled motz.
Here’s a recipe if you’re interested.
I actually made three batches and settled on the hot water cooking method over the microwave process. It made for a smoother, more uniform cheese. But try it and get the kids involved. My family devoured the end product within a few hours each time and my oldest took a pound home and used it for a Pizza Margareta – which I heard was “awesome.”
I’ve made a few pounds of neufchetel which disappears in about a day (a gallon of milk makes about 2 lbs.) I’ve mixed it with roasted garlic and chives, topped it with jalapeno jelly and mixed it with fresh berries. It’s so damn easy to make that I have a new batch brewing as we speak. But to make aged cheeses much more equipment and supplies are needed.
Anyhow, one thing led to another and I have been making more complicated cheeses and gathering equipment. The first thing I had to do was build a cheese press. Obviously I could have bought one but they start at about $100 and go way up from there. So I searched around and finally built this one mostly out of things I had around the house:
As you can see, I have cheese being pressed there. It was my first attempt at Farmhouse Cheddar.
Here’s the final product:
Now all there is to do is flip once or twice a week and it should be ready in about a month. Since then I found another recipe for the same style cheese and it’s drying and waiting to be waxed tonight.
I’m going to try my hand at making a Spanish Manchego infused with saffron tonight. It’s a brine cured and rubbed cheese so it’s a different aging process than waxing. It’s more complicated too insofar as I have to control both the temperature and the humidity through that aging process.
My son-in-law had an old refrigerator in his garage that, much to my wife’s chagrin, I’ve modified into a “cheese cave.” In order to control the temperature I had to get an external thermostat which, as luck would have it, a home beer making friend happened to have an extra.
Anyhow, I’ve go about $100 into the whole project to date (not including ingredients) and I’ve almost gotten everything I need. I made cheese molds out of things I found at the Goodwill store and I already have most of the cooking utensils (after all, I am a foodie.) I can make a pound of cheese for about $5.00 which, if you haven’t been paying attention, is about 30% less than what one pays for commercial crapola.
Anyhow, I’m planning on starting another blog just for cheese making. I find it a fascinating process and rather a mystical mix of science and alchemy. Too, the patience needed is quit Zen.
I also hope to find other local cheese makers and see if I can get a cheese club going here in town. If one already exists I can’t find it.
BTW, if you live in Missoula and you want to try your hand you can get supplies at Chapman Home Brew. The owner used to run the now defunct Lolo Peak Winery. Her supplies are limited but she has enough on hand to get started. I’m hopeful she can build the trade here so we have ready access to good ingredients locally as opposed to buying over the internet.
Anyhow, if you’re interested in making cheese – either as a beginner of an expert – drop me a line or leave me a note. I’d love to talk to you.
In a soup pot saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add broth, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, orzo, black pepper and bring to a simmer until pasta is cooked (aprox. 5 minutes.) Add beans and escarole. Simmer additional five minutes until beans are warm. Serve.
Makes four servings.
The 2-day Jewish Biblical Festival of Shavuot (shuh-VOO-oht) commemorates the day when G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) following Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai. This year, Shavuot will occur from sundown, Thursday, May 28 through sundown, Saturday, May 30 on the civil calendar.
Shavuot (Lev. 21:15-16, 21) occurs each year 7 weeks from the second Seder of the Jewish Biblical Festival of Passover. This explains the name “Shavuot” — which is Hebrew for weeks. If you count from one day earlier, from the first Seder of the Festival of Passover, there are 50 days, or as it’s known in Greek — Pentecost, meaning the fiftieth day. (Pentecost is what Christians call their celebration 50 days after Easter Sunday that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the followers of Jesus of Nazareth on that day. Pentecost is also called “Whitsun” or “WhitSunday” in the UK and other English-speaking areas.)
The Shavuot synagogue service includes the reading of the Book of Ruth and the “Akadamot”. The Book of Ruth is the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman, who voluntarily chose Judaism and because of her kindness, became the great-grandmother of King David (and for Christians, the ancestor of Jesus of Nazareth), and who is said to have been born on and died on Shavuot. The other book that is read is the “Akdamot”, written in Aramaic by Rabbi Meir ben Isaac of Worms, Germany in the eleventh century C.E., which describes what it will be like during the days of the “Moshiach” (Messiah).
The custom is to eat dairy foods on Shavuot because once the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) was given at Sinai, all methods of killing the animal, other than by “shechitah”, ritually-approved slaughter, were prohibited. Since animals could not be ritually slaughtered on Shabbat (Sabbath), and the Torah was given on Shabbat, on that day the Jews at Sinai had to eat dairy.
Ashkenazic (central and eastern European Jewry) fare includes a variety of dairy dishes including blintzes (fried, filled crepes), noodle or rice kugels (puddings), knishes (filled pastries), kreplach (filled pasta), priogen (filled pastry turnovers), vegetable salads with sour cream, kaesekuchen (cheesecake), strudel, schnecken (yeast pastries), rugelach (cream cheese cookies), kuchen (coffee cakes) and fluden (layered pastry).
Sephardim (Spanish, Portuguese, North African, Balkan, Greek and Turkish Jewry) serve such dishes as borekas (pastry turnovers), ojaldres (phyllo turnovers), calsones (filled pasta), esfongus (spinach-cheese nests), mengedarrah (lentils with rice) topped with yogurt, yogurt salads, sutlach (rice flour pudding), ruz ib assal (honey and milk rice pudding) and biscochos Har Sinai (mounded cookies representing Mt. Sinai).
A fairly newer custom begun in the U.S. by Reform Jewry, and adopted by Conservative Judaism as well, is to hold religious school graduation exercises on Shavuot. More traditional Orthodox communities begin a child’s formal Jewish education on Shavuot.
Chag Sameach (KHAG sah-MEHY-ahkh = A Joyous Holiday)!
For a Cheese Blintz & Montana Blintz recipe, click more Read the rest of this entry »
The 8-day (7 days in Israel) Jewish Biblical Festival of Pesach (PEH-sahkh, PAY-sahkh = Passover), named for the ‘passing over’ of the Angel of Death that slew the first born sons of the Egyptians, celebrates the liberation of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt and the beginning of the Israelite, now Jewish people, and has been continuously celebrated for more than 3,300 years. According to Biblical chronology, the Exodus from Egypt took place 890 years before the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 421 BCE, or in 1310 BCE, during the reign of the Pharaoh Adikam (not, as generally believed, and as portrayed in the movie “The Ten Commandments”, during the reign of Ramses II).
As commanded by the Almighty at Sinai (Ex. 12:14-20, 13:1-10 and Lev. 23:4-8), the 8-day Festival of Pesach begins on the 15th day of Nissan and ends on the 22nd day of Nissan (that’s the Babylonian ‘Nissan’, not the Japanese ‘Nissan’), which this year, this will be from sundown, Saturday, April 19 to sundown, Sunday, April 27 on the civil calendar.
As the only major Jewish celebration completely centered on the home and not in the synagogue, Passover is marked by special dietary restrictions, mainly the prohibition against using any grain or leavened product, other than matzoh (unleavened bread made from flour and water and baked for 18 minutes), and ritualized meals (Seders) that follow a specified order as written down in the Haggadah (huh-GAH-duh, the guide book for the Seder service that contains blessings, questions and answers, the story of the Exodus, and songs) on the first two evenings.
A favorite Passover breakfast treat is matzoh brei, French toast made with matzoh:
For Walter’s Pesach matzoh brei recipe, click more Read the rest of this entry »
The one-day rabbinic Jewish Festival of Purim (PU-rim, PAWR-im), a very merry celebration of the events in the Megillah (m’-GILL-uh) Hadassah (Book of Esther), begins at sundown on Thursday, March 20 on the civil calendar, and with its costumes, noisemakers, food baskets, hamantashen cookies, a festive meal and carnivals, Purim is a favorite Jewish holiday for children and adults alike, especially for those with a great thirst because Purim requires more alcohol consumption than does St. Paddy’s Day.
Ashkenazi (Central and Eastern European) Jews eat hamantaschen (HAH-men-TAH-shen), tri-cornered fruit-filled cookies in reminiscence that the Persian Prime Minister, the evil Haman, was supposed to have worn a tri-cornered hat.
For a Blue Ribbon hamantaschen recipe, click more Read the rest of this entry »
We recently returned from our annual trip to Zurich and Vaduz, Liechtenstein. That wonderful little principality tucked neatly between Switzerland and Austria with a population less than that of Missoula..including the damn chickens.
While in Vaduz my cousin Thersea cooked what she called a “traditional” dish that has no fancy name other than that found in her cooking notes…Fleischbällchen, so without further ado…Liechtensteiner Meatballs.
1.5 lbs ground pork
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons chopped capers
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cooked beets
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
Cauliflower Cheese Mashed Potatoes:
1 pound redskin potatoes, quartered and boiled or steamed
1/2 pound cauliflower florets, cooked
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces Gruyere, Emmentaler, or Jarlesburg Cheese, coarsely shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
* In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the ground meats and all the ingredients from the potato starch to the chopped beets. Combine well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Form the meat mixture into small patties or meatballs, approximately 1-inch circumference.
* Heat in a large non-stick saute pan over medium high heat. Saute the patties until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the patties to a plate lined with paper towels or a rack.
* In the same pan, over low heat, stir the flour into the drippings and gradually add the beef broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the liquid is slightly reduced. Stir in the cream and taste for seasoning. Return th cooked patties to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
* In the meantime, prepare the Cauliflower Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Coarsely crush the warm potatoes and cauliflower with a fork and season with the cream and allspice. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
* Serve the patties with the potatoes as an accompaniment.
Möge dir dein Weg leicht werden!
Chanukah (KHAH-nik-uh; KHAH-noo-kah) recalls the struggle for religious freedom and commemorates the Rededication of the Temple following the victory of the Jews over the Seleucid Greeks in the year 165 B.C.E. Chanukah means Rededication.
The 8-day rabbinic Jewish Festival of Chanukah always begins on the 25th day of Kislev and, depending on whether Kislev has 29 or 30 days, ends on either the 3rd or 2nd day of Tevet. This year, Kislev has 29 days and thus this year Chanukah will end on the 3rd day of Tevet. (On the civil calendar, this year Chanukah begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 4 and ends at sundown on Wednesday, December 12.)
According to tradition: a single portion of oil, used to light the 7-branch Temple Menorah (the symbol of the Jewish faith), that was to last only one night, lasted eight nights. In commemoration, the 8-branch Chanukah menorah is lit, increasing the number of candles lit each night, until on the eighth and last night, 8 candles are lit. In many American households, red, white and blue candles are set aside for use on the final night.
Continuing the theme of the “miracle” of the oil, the custom is to eat foods fried in oil on Chanukah. Latkes, fried potato pancakes, is typical to almost every American Jewish household of Ashkenazic (central and eastern European) descent. Jews of Sephardic (Spanish and Portuguese) descent favor sufganiyot, fried jelly doughnuts.
For the latkes and sufganiyot recipes, click MORE:
Read the rest of this entry »
Since no one else has been filling these pages lately I figured I would brag on my Thanksgiving turkey a bit. I usually put the bird in a brine and this year I made a brine that was from Alton Brown.
Combine 1 gal of water with all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. The night before you wish to cook your bird place the bird in a container large enough to hold both the turkey, the seasoned water and the second gallon of water. I use a 5 gal. bucket that I bought in the paint department at Ace Hardware. Allow to brine a minimum of 6 hours but 8 to 12 is better. Place container in a cool place. Since salt is so hostile to bacteria there is no need to refrigerate. I put mine in the garage to both keep it out of the way and take advantage of the cool space.
There are lots of differing opinions about how to cook a turkey. I put mine in a 475 degree oven for an hour and the reduce the heat to 350 after covering the breast with a triangular piece of tin foil – not a tent but a piece of foil that is folded to just cover the breast tightly. When the internal temp of the breast reaches 161 degrees remove from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes. The residual heat will cause the breast temp to increase to about 170 during the resting period.
A few years ago I got a probe thermometer that has a cord going to the digital readout that sits outside the oven I think it’s one of the best investments a cook can make. Every time one opens up the oven the temp drops about 20 degrees thereby increasing the cooking time. This gadget saves that and has an alarm on it for when your food reaches the desired temp. It may not mean much for a turkey that you get on sale for 49 cents a pound just before Thanksgiving, but it’s good insurance for the next time you put a $60 prime rib in the oven to make sure you get the end product you’re looking for.
Anyhow, the bird turned out excellently. It was moist, perfectly seasoned, and had all those wonderful background notes from the sugar and spices. It’s just a little more work but pays big dividends (and the leftovers stay moist as well.).
This brine works well with chicken and duck too.