Saturday, November 8, 2008

Chevre, Pasta & Hope

Well it has been quite a while since my last post and a lot has gone on. So I will be covering a couple different events.

I guess I'll go in order of occurrence...

A couple/few weeks ago I made my first batch of chevre. It turned out awesome and I couldn't believe how easy it was to make. The fact that I was finally able to find the proper type of goats milk was really exciting.

When making the cheese I first let the whole batch drain for about 6 hours, which created a nice slightly crumbly but spreadable cheese. Here's a couple pics:

Above is the crumbly cheese and below is what I made with it.
Chevre omelet w/ heirloom tomato & mache salad, served w/ homemade bagel and chevre spread.

This is what we had for Breakfast that day. I had made a batch of bagels a couple weeks earlier and thrown them in the freezer, they were great toasted w/ a light smear of this single process chevre. I threw just a touch of lemon zest in to the egg mixture, which added a nice dimension to the peppery chevre omelet.

Guava jam and single process chevre tart

For the tart I used a jar of guava jam given to Mike and I by some friends. I reduced down the jam in a saucepan and added a couple of beaten egg yolks for texture. The crust is a standard tart crust however for a bit of a kick I added some fresh ground pepper to the dough. It was a nice addition to the sweetness of the guava filling and creaminess of the chevre. I added droplets of the chevre to the tart once it was about half baked. This allowed it to remain creamy.

I molded the remaining chevre and allowed another six hours or so of draining. This gave the cheese a texture and shape similar to the logs you by in the store. Before wrapping I rolled the fully drained cheese in fresh ground pepper, chili flakes and thyme from the garden.

Check it out:


About a week after the Chevre experiment our friend Pete came for a visit from LA. As is the tradition when Pete comes to town we had a really nice dinner party. Drue and Ali came over and made some excellent dishes. Ali's pumpkin soup in particular was divine (sorry no pics of it). Of course we also drank some amazing wines...

My dish for this party was so yummy I had to post about it. Here's the pic:Truffle Pasta w/ Golden Chanterelle and Rapini.

I was able to get an excellent Italian black truffle from Far West Fungi at the ferry building, which was used in the creation of this dish.

The pasta was handmade and hand cut, I added finely grated truffle to the dough which was made w/ 3/4 type 001 flour and 1/4 fine ground semolina.

For the sauce I used a slightly modified version of Michael Mina's truffle sauce recipe (see link at sidebar). My main modification was that I swapped the preserved black truffle for the fresh. The recipe made a rather large batch so I was able to use the remaining sauce the next day in a very grown up baked Mac and Cheese.

Once we were just about ready for the pasta course I sauteed together the mushroom and rapini and tossed together w/ the pasta. I placed a small serving of the truffle sauce in the bottom of each bowl then twirled in the pasta and veggies. For an extra bit decadence I also broiled some fatted calf fois gras. I placed a couple little slices on top of each serving of pasta (except Mike's of course)and drizzled on the rendered fat. The left over black truffle was then finely grated onto the pasta, together w/ a bit of pecorino, and lastly another drizzle of the truffle sauce.


So as many of you who actually read this blog already know I just got back from Reno where I volunteered to be part of the Obama campaign's get out the vote operation.

It was an amazing time and I really felt like we helped turn Nevada Blue.

I was so busy during this time that I did not take many photos but will post the one's I have shortly, together with a more detailed post about my experiences and the great people I met.

Signing off for now.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

I've got peppers!

Back again, this time with pics of my pretty new peppers beginning to grow.

On the bell plant, so far I am looking at a single bell pepper but there are some new blossoms that look pretty promising. I think I'll let this one ripen on the plant till it becomes a red pepper as the green ones tend to give me a tummy ache..

Here's a pic of its early stages:

I also have a nice jalapeno starting, there are a couple very promising looking flowers in bloom right now on this plant. When I have a few on hand I think I have to try my hand at making a relish like the awesome one Diane made (Mike and I got to try it this summer in VT).

Check it out:

The Serrano and Anaheim pepper plants are showing some flowering blossoms, hopefully they will hold and soon peppers will be growing there too.

I also noticed this morning that my zucchini may be just about ready to bloom. I may soon have my first blossoms, here's some pics of what I think will soon be a blossom:


Everything else is going great the ants have stopped invading my lemon tree which is excellent! Although unfortunately the fruit-flys are still loving my whole garden but I guess in the bay area that is to be expected. You can actually see a bit of their handy work when you look at the leaves of the bell pepper plant. Luckily however the bit of soap burn (from the organic insect killing soap) on the leaves seems to be the only effect to date.

Made a batch of bagels for Mike and I this morning too which turned out very yummy, threw a bunch in the freezer so we would have easy breakfasts when we want. No pics of this but soon enough I'll make a nice gourmet dinner again and post some pics of that.

till then, luv ya.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Making Cheese

Well I am back after a short absence, the last couple weeks were really busy preventing me from posting but I purposefully made no plans today so that I could garden and cook, hooray.

So I recently made another batch of mozzarella using the recipe in Rikki Carrol's Home Cheese making book (there is a link on the side to her cheese making website). This batch came out really well, it seems gooeier and better melting than the first batch. This evening I'll be using it in a baked pasta dish. YUMM!

Here's some pics of the process and the finished product:

This first pic is how it all begins a big stock pot, a gallon of milk, a slotted spoon and thermometer... After it reaches 55 degrees you throw in some citric acid:

This is just after I added the rennet:

Once the curd has formed I spooned it in to a microwavable bowl, this is the curd pre-stretching, once you've got it like this you knead it kinda like a loaf of bread:

In order to stretch the mozzarella it has to be at least 145 degrees, hence the microwave, you throw it in for 30 seconds at a time and pull it out and stretch and stretch and stretch, this pic is post stretching, the cheese is a nice consistency and ready to be divvied up:

I divvied it up into to large mozz. balls and took the remainder and made little baby mozz. balls, for this I combined some of the olive oil from my bosses property in Sonoma mixed with parsley and rosemary from my garden, you can see both finished products below:

Using the leftover whey from making the mozzarella I made some whey ricotta too:

This morining I started a nice tomato sauce which will this evening be used in the baked pasta. It is looking good so far and smelling up the house quite nicely. Mike walked in saying it smells like my grandfather's house in here.

I made a slight modification to my standard sauce recipe this time by throwing in a couple anchovies after the onions were sweated. No pics of the sauce yet but I'll throw up a pic our two when I am getting the pasta together.

Till later...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Garden Pics

So Here are some pics of my Meyer Lemon tree and greenhouse -- I realized that as this blog continues hopefully I'll see my photography skills improve as well, which would be excellent cause they could definitely use a lot of improvement.

This first pics is a close up of one of the young Meyer Lemons, there will be lots of pics like this as I monitor their growth.

Here is another pic of the lemon tree, this one is a close up of what I believe may become a slew of new lemons, I have been using a cotton swab to pollinate the flowers since I am growing the tree indoors...

I am unfortunately have a bit of an insect problem at this time. Fruit fly's and ants are loving the bay area right now cause we've had no rain since March. I am however maintaining organic gardening practices so I have been using a sesame oil insecticide it seems to be working well but I have found myself spraying weekly.

For the lemon tree I have also been using an organic citrus food once a month.

The greenhouse is going great, I harvested my first small batch of Italian arugula yesterday and one of the Basque peppers. I'll be having these for dinner tonight on a pizza with my homemade mozzarella.

So far in the greenhouse I am growing Italian Arugula and Basque Piment d’ Espelette:

I am growing Jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, Anaheim peppers, and green and red bell peppers:

Zucchini, and Swiss Chard:

And an array of herbs like Basil, Peppermint, Cilantro, Flat Leaf Parsley, Golden Sage, Rosemary and Thai Basil:

Alright signing off for now in order to work on the pizza, if it looks good maybe i'll post the pics and recipe later today...

Monday, August 25, 2008

And it begins...

Caviar Three Ways,
2008 Wine Dinner

So here it begins...

I have decided that the time has come to begin recording my culinary adventures.

Wither it be recipes of my own creation as seen here (Caviar three ways) or amazing things others have created.

This page will also chronicle the developments of my new garden and document my travails as I try my hand at the fine arts of cheese making and meat curing.

In order to start off with a bang I will include a couple more pics here of our annual Dead President Wine and Food extravaganza, enjoy!

Tangerine Basil Sorbet 2008 Wine dinner

Ali's Fish course 2008 Wine Dinner
(those are fake eggs, made with mozzarella cheese and yellow tomatoes).

Hirsch Vineyards, 2004 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2008 Wine Dinner

1988 Opus One, 2007 Wine Dinner