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.
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 »
Slice the cheese in 1/3 to 1/2 thick slices. In a shallow bowl beat the egg with the milk. Dip the cheese in the egg mixture and then dredge well in the flour. Place the coated cheese in a preheated cast iron fry pan over medium heat and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and delicious. Flame the cheese with about 1 oz. of brandy (and for effect belt out “Opa!” – pronounced “oh pa” – while the cheese flames.) After the flame dies down squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and serve hot with a really crusty French, Greek, or Italian bread.