Archive | June, 2012

Cheesemaking venture

22 Jun

Well, here I am again off on something else.  Not exactly new, but something I haven’t done for a long time–leftovers I guess.  I agreed to milk some goats for some friends while the were on vacation.  I have had milk goats in the past, so I do know what I am doing–at least mostly.

i goat sat for these friends a couple of times last fall and made some wonderful baked custard and delicious ice cream.  I also made some acceptable feta and ricotta.

But it is summer now, so I don’t want to heat the oven for custard.  And I had just bought milk, so don’t need to use the goat milk for drinking or cooking.  For some reason I’m not really in the mood for ice cream.  So decided to experiment with making cheese.

Of course I couldn’t find the recipes from last fall.  I thought I had printed them off but. if so, where did I put them?  Well I would just have to use what I had.  After searching the internet, I found some recipes that sounded interesting.  Most called for yogurt or buttermilk starter which meant a trip to town.  One good thing-I do have rennet.  I had ordered several boxes from Amazon last fall.  Wanting to make some cheese right now, I looked some more.  Then i saw it.  Cheese made from lemon juice or vinegar!   Wow, I just had to try this!

I found the recipe at  www.saucygirlskitchen.com  (Hey, I just learned how to add a link–at least I hope so.)  I tried the Goat Cheese recipe using lemon juice.  I rolled the cheese in seasoned herbs.  I tried it after two days and it was really good.  Could have used a little more salt.  I didn’t add  any to the cheese cause my herb blend is salted.

Not wanting to limit myself to making only this cheese, I went and got the buttermilk and yogurt.  Now I could make real cheese.  I again made some Feta from the recipe on the rennet junket box.  Only this time, instead of water for the brine,  I used whey (after ripening a day) leftover from the goat cheese I had made.   I learned this from my internet search.  Interestingly, the whey brine can also be used to make sauerkraut.  I will have to try that next summer, when I hope to have a better garden.  The whey itself can be used as liquid in lots of recipes:  bread, soaking grain, stews, etc.

On another site ??  Now what??  I just did the link and now I can’t get the link button to work.  Ugh, technology!  I am using my laptop and it is so sensitive.  I probably bumped something.    Well I will just have to type in the link and you can cut and paste.  It is

<www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/making-cheese.html.  The title is “Making Cheese:  Homemade Cheese Making Recipe or Two for Homemade Cheese

This site has several recipes for ‘old world’ type cheeses.  I think it is always interesting to learn how people used to do things.  Some of these recipes are really something!

 One recipe, the Picking cheese, is made by setting it in the hot summer sun for a week.  Now this sounds like an adventure!  So I started to make the cheese, adding the rennet and starter.  I continued following the directions when it said  to leave the cheese  in the hot sun in day and bring in by night,  And  I waited, at bit impatiently.  I moved it from the east to the west side of the house daily.  The recipe didn’t say if it should be covered or not.  I didn’t the first day, but it seemed to be drying out and it smelled a bit when I brought it in that first night, so I covered it.  I had it in a snap on top stoneware bowl.   By day 5 this cheese was really smelly.  It was a good thing I had a tight fitting lid,  especially when it was inside for the night.  It was so smelly I was tempted just to throw it out, but couldn’t quite make myself do it.  I really wanted to see the end results.  Yesterday was day 7.  So this morning I bravely uncovered it, salted it and wrapped in a bandanna.  Since I don’t really have cheesemaking supplies, I improvise a lot.  I put it in a strainer type double boiler with a small plate on top.  For a weight I filled a gallon jug with water and put it on top of the plate  Since I don’t really like to waste anything, I decided I might as well make tea too, so in went some tea bags.  I’ll empty out the tea tonight when I turn the cheese and put in new water.  I wondered where I could now put it that it wouldn’t stink up the whole house?  I decided in my laundry room would be ok.  I lit a scented candle in there and also in the kitchen. (by the way, I ALWAYS use the candles in glass jars now.  Maybe I’ll remember to tell you about that at Xmas time.)   Funny thing though, after adding the salt the cheese didn’t smell quite as bad!   So even though the house smells a bit funny, it isn’t really a bad smell.  Now I have to wait again to see the result.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  I really would like to have it turn out good.

On my second batch of the Goat Cheese recipe I decided to use lime juice.  I had quite a bigger batch this time.  It is now curing in the fridge.  Maybe next time I can try vinegar.  I read from one website that vinegar, strangely enough, produced the best cheese.

I also made some ricotta, but the temp got too high, so it isn’t as good as I made last fall.  I tried some mozzarella, but again the temp got too high.  I had tried that in a crock pot cooker, got distracted and didn’t watch it as close as needed.  So I don’t have an elastic cheese.  Flavor is ok, but it is grainy.  I think it should have drained longer, too.  I followed the recipe time for the drain time, but guess I should have just followed my instincts, since it seemed kind of runny.  Anyway it tastes good.  I think I will use it as ricotta for making manicotti.

This morning I’m using the last of the milk to make the Cornish cheese from the ‘old world’ site.  That isn’t the name of the site, but since it has old world type recipes that is how I refer to it.    I found another site

<www.familesonline.co.uk.     Title:  “Wild Garlic Yarg:  Cornish Cheese

It calls the Cornish cheese Yarg (gray spelled backwards).  According to the site and also my internet search seemed to confirm this, the Gray family produces this cheese in the UK.  Often it is wrapped in nettle leaves.  On this familiesonline site wrapped it in wild garlic.  I don’t have either, so I’m going to use basil leaves.   I may try some ricotta again  with the Cornish whey.  I froze the other leftover whey.   I hope to add it to bread and stews later.

Oh, by the way, yesterday I found my recipes from last fall.  They were in a folder marked ‘cheese recipes’  In a pile of papers I needed to go through.  I still have lots of stuff to go through, but I’ll tell you about that another day.

Wish me luck on my current cheesemaking results.  Please check back.  I will really try to write every week if possible.  And send your comments.  In trying to find how to make the link button work I somehow brought up a page of my stats.  I have had 7 viewer today!  That is encouraging.  Someone is really reading this blog.  The regions are US mainland and Alaska.  Wonder who in Alaska is reading this?  I did post my blog site on FB so maybe they got it from there.  Guess it need to update my FB profile sometime and add by blog.  I’m sure that can be done.  Just something else to learn.  But if there is one thing I’m not afraid of, it is learning new stuff!

You all have a good day!

My changing interests

8 Jun

Life has a way of changing desires and plans.  So often things I have liked or been interested in briefly at one time, will resurface later-sometimes years later.

One of these interests that has returned is knitting. I learned to knit many years ago while in high school.  As is common with me, I wasn’t content to start out small so jumped right in and attempted to make a cardigan with cables.  It had a kind of bubble type stitching.  It wasn’t easy, to say the least!  But I finished it.  I didn’t know anything about blocking (or possibly I read about it and it seemed too much trouble?).  Anyway I had my completed yellow sweater.   I wore it at home and was proud of it, but didn’t really want to knit anymore.

But a few years ago my interested resurfaced.  At first it began as a pastime while waiting in doctor office, etc.  This time I had sense enough to start out small.   (One thing about me is that I do seem to learn from my blunders.)  My project was a one skein scarf kit with furry type yarn.  I was hooked!  I discovered so many, many different, marvelous kinds of yarn.  All I knew before was the old acrylic standby.  And needles!   Not just the old metal ones.  But wood, plastic, double pointed, and amazingly circular!  They looked so strange and I wondered how anyone could ever learn to use them.   But since I am not afraid to try new things-indeed I tend to thrive with new things-I decided to be brave and attempt it.   Needless to say it became my passion.  I now knit almost exclusively with circulars!   I recently was given a set of the plastic circular, and though I didn’t think I would like plastic, I have have enjoyed working with them. I have found I like differentkinds of needles with different yarn.

I have several young grandchildren.  They are so forgiving.  I can knit things for them even with mistakes and they love them!  I have experimented with different kinds of yarn.  I even learned how to unravel old sweaters for yarn.  I found one can quickly go overboard buying on eBay. I have a huge stash that I am slowly working through.

My most difficult and rewarding project was a fingerless glove with flip over part to make a mitten.  They took me much longer than I expected, but I learned so much.  I want to do another pair.  Guess I should start soon if I want them completed for this winter.

I have attempted socks, but just can’t quite get the hangs of it.  For now I’m content with making top, dresses and scarves for grand kids.  I just completed a skirt and working on another.   It seems I usually don’t follow the pattern exactly.  Sometimes I find a mistake and don’t want to redo all so I just change the pattern a little to make it work.  So all my pieces are originals!

Another thing that has resurfaced is my desire to learn Spanish.  I joined a small informal Spanish lesson group.  So if you see some of my text misspelled, don’t freak out!   It is just my attempts to learn the language.  If any of my viewers know Spanish, please jump in and help out.  I mostly know only the present tense Spanish.  And since I haven’t had formal training for over 10 years I have forgotten much.

Well, the day is calling,  so I’ll sign off for now.  I hope to get some response from these posts, but even if I don’t I enjoy writing them.  It seems to fulfillby need for expression!

My blog name

4 Jun

This blog is my spot where I can ramble on things in my life.   I wanted my blog name to be Listening, Learning and Leftovers.  But-as you can see-I’m new at blogging.  I found out I can’t use capital letters, spaces, or commas.   So I played around with it for awhile.  I tried llleftovers, but didn’t like that.  Then tried writing out the words with the letter ‘n’ between but that was way too long.  So finally come up with this.  Not very catchy perhaps.  But after all sometimes leftovers aren’t attractive, they’re just what’s left.

I love to learn new things!   Usually just hearing about some new and different thing captures my interest.  Sometimes, often really, I’m attracted by the slightly quirky things and ideas.  So much of this blog will be about new things I have heard of.  I will also include what I am learning.  I will relate the things that currently hold my attention as well as the things I am still trying to learn.  I usually have several different interests ongoing.

As I learn I listen to retain at least some of it.  Part of my listening is listening to my heart, my reaction to the things around me.  This blog is where I will share these reflections.  As I’m writing this I find my blog is really well named if I consider the first ‘l’ as Learning.  Learning to Leftovers.  I like that!  Probably if I would have taken a little more time I would have seen if the name  ‘learning2leftovers’ was available.  But I’m more a person who learns as I go.

Another thing I’m learning as I write this is that I am WAY to used to texting!  I am expecting my laptop to automatically fill in the words and correct my mistakes.  The corrections it shows me aren’t the ones I want.  Why does it highlight ‘texting’ when what I need is for it to capitalize ‘i’ and add the apostrophes!   It is forcing me slow down and pay more attention.  Something that doesn’t come naturally to me.

The thing I need to learn next is how to send this link to my family and friends.  I’m sure it is on here someplace.  Good thing I have the time this morning to play around with it.

Although I love to learn often my attention span isn’t very long till I’m attracted to something else.  Hence, there are always leftovers.  Leftover projects or ideas, still somehow part of my dreams, of things I want to do.  I will be including many of them.

I welcome your feedback.  I learn so much from sharing with others!  I want to know your thoughts on my ideas.  Are any of you as scattered as I am?

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