I wrote Sunday about working here in the kitchen on Sunday, both morning and afternoon after church. The fruits of my labor are sitting on the counter this morning, and the day has dawned clear, bright and chilly. Chilly after triple digits on Friday and Saturday!
Unfortunately, I awoke with a very sore throat, and our planned trip with my cousin and my sister has been cancelled. My sister, who is fighting cancer, has chemo this week, and cannot be exposed to my germs. She was disappointed, I could hear it in her voice... as she was looking forward to the trip. She was unable to go to Omaha, either, because her newest little baby granddaughter has pinkeye. I would not willingly take a chance at exposing her, since she is still so fragile. I am still going to go over to Independence a little later and walk around the festival, and buy a few things to start our Fall decorating.
Yesterday, for the first time, I made CHEVRE! There, let me say it again I MADE CHEESE! I had bought milk this summer, but never got myself together that time to actually DO it. I also let myself get totally confused by the steps... but I found a solution for that. Two weeks ago, I watched a You Tube video by the VolunteerGardener, called "Making Fresh Chevre". It is a three part series, and will take you about 30 minutes to watch all three. This, my friends, explained it as easily as could be, and you could WATCH it being done. I had read Suzanne McMinn's account at Chickens in the Road, and also bought Ricki Carroll's book from New England Cheesemaking Supply, but for the life of me, it still looked confusing. I did buy my rennet and starter from New England Cheesemaking Supply. Then I sat on it, dithering. So.... on YouTube one night, I entered "Making chevre" and found the VolunteerGardener series. Tammy Allgood, the host, invites Paula Butler of Standing Stone Nubians into her kitchen to show us how to make chevre. Ladies and Gentlemen, I followed this to a "T". It WORKS.
Now... I have to tell you I did not pasteurize the milk, and it was fresh from the farm at Screamin' Oaks Dairy yesterday morning. Roxanne, the owner, had left it in a cooler for me to pick up before she left for work. Suzanne's instruction are to pasteurize, but Paula's were not... and I chose to use the milk raw. I followed her advice except for using the butter muslin, which I had ordered from NECS (see above). I intend, however, to get a pair of pillowcases that I use for nothing but cheesemaking, so that I can continue on. It is EASY, and yes, with practice, will get down, I hope, to just a few minutes of preparation.
I felt chagrin when I opened my oven this morning, and peaked inside the pot. Where is my cheese???? It was there, under the whey!
This afternoon, after returning from Santa Cali Gon, I am going to add some herbs to the cheese, roll it into small rolls, and then Keith and I will have a tasting session. It seems to have the right consistency, and did not "harden up" on the sides as Paula talks about in her videos. I am very, very excited about preparing and trying it.
By the way, the vultures LOVED the whey. Next time, the chickens will get all of it. I poured some in some of my planters as a boost to the plants.
Finished Products: (the dogs loved the cheese scrapings off the parchment paper)
Those two little logs make a mighty big step for me!
Here are the other things I put up Sunday, along with 3 packages of green beans blanched and frozen tonight after dinner:
These are the first-ever tomato preserves I have ever canned. I had about a third of a jar left over, and enjoyed that with Ritz crackers last night, one of the few things I ate yesterday. I had picked up a jar at the market on Saturday and looked at it, and thought "Why couldn't I do that?".
Here they are the LAST of the pickles, because I told Keith if he brought one more cuke in, that would be it!
We have enough to last a year as it is. These are refrigerator bread and butter, and I STILL have not mastered the art of packing the pickle jar tightly!
I am typing this on Tuesday, as I was so sick yesterday I could not sit at the computer. I am still dazed and sick, and have been to the doctor, to be told I have "some kind of virus" and I need to drink lots of liquids and go to bed. They did do a culture on my throat, which hurts to touch or swallow. I am going to have some water and then lay down for a while with the pugs. I never made it to Santa Cali Gon this year, and slept most of Labor Day. Thank heavens for Keith, who helped with chores and made us a wonderful dinner last night, which I only partly was able to keep down. Excellent steaks, great potato casserole, and probably close the last of the fresh corn.
Back to bed!