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...