Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Year is a Circle...

     I don't make New Years Resolutions.  They have a "birthday wish" quality about them that I just don't respond well to.  I am more likely to make large life changing decisions in August or October or March or any other month based on something I've read or discovered on Netflix or heard through the grapevine.  I became a Vegetarian in a far distant April because I felt hypocritical wearing a shirt with a cow on it while eating a hamburger (I was a teenager, go figure).  I began really focusing on shopping at farmer's markets two years ago in March based on a book my husband's masseuse recommended for me (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver).  Again, go figure...  Started my food blog in a November after talking it over at length with my friend Matt.  Dedicated myself to taking really great food pictures (Matt, again) in a February (that's still a work in progress, obviously...)

     I get why resolutions are popular.  It's a new year.  Time to start anew or afresh or agog or awake or afloat or whatever.  It's an especially good time to detox after the whole November/December noshfest.  But I guess what I'm getting at is it doesn't just have to be New Years.  It can be any month.  Any time is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to something you are really interested in.  So start that diet now or start it next month.  Just start it.  Take that class.  Spend that time in meditation.  Whatever it is.  It doesn't matter when.  Just make it happen.  You can do it!

     And so, in the spirit of "you can do it" (or maybe, more accurately, in the spirit of "Get 'er done!") I'm embarking on something I've been trying to get around to since August of last year:  Cheese making.

     I love milk.  Sorry all you vegans out there.  I love it.  I love butter.  I love yogurt.  I love cheese.  I love ice cream, whipped cream, sour cream, cream cream.  Unless it's got blue mold growing on, around, or anywhere near it, I will eat the heck out of a milk product.  I make my own butter (except when I need, like, major tonnage say with a 12 day cookie project), I make my own yogurt, I make my own whipped cream.  And now I want to make my own cheese.  My husband bought me a cheese making kit for my birthday last year, but I haven't gotten around to actually making it. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll:  "The time has come," the Walrus said...

This here's my kit:

This is what's inside my kit:

(Milk thermometer, instruction manual, latex gloves, cheese salt, citric acid, and a rennet tablet.  Enough salt, acid, and rennet to make 4 one pound batches of mozzarella.)

 And this is the milk I like to use for all my milk-based hobby foods (and we drink it, too):

Twin Brook is a local dairy.  I like their milk because I know the cows are being properly raised and the milk is minimally processed.

      You may be asking yourself, "But what about that rennet tablet?  I thought she said she was a vegetarian?!"  This kit contains rennet tablets that look very much like the vegetarian ones sold here so I am hoping they are also vegetarian.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, rennet is an enzyme, used for centuries to curdle milk, that is made from the linings of calf stomachs.  Ew.  So unless you can be sure your cheese is made with vegetable or non-animal based rennet it's not vegetarian.  And I'll say right now, most artisanal and hard cheeses are not vegetarian.  Most mass-produced cheeses in your grocery are.

     Supposedly, this cheese makes up in 1 hour.  We'll see if I can manage to screw that time frame up royally.  I'm going to post this now, in the hopes that my boys and I can whip this stuff out tomorrow while there is enough light to photograph the process.  Wish me luck!

     And best of luck to you in all you endeavor to create/learn/explore/strive toward this year whether you even know you want to do it now or not!  There's no telling what you'll find to do tomorrow!

     (Sweet Biscuit Gravy, could I be any more optimistic?!  It's like double rainbows fly outta my hiney or something...)


  1. I'm feeling a bit jealous of this post right now. Have a slice in my honor. But in the light of motherlode attempts at food, I'm going to try to make homemade vegan butter...all because of you and this post!

  2. This I gotta see! Even if it doesn't make it onto your blog, keep me posted, please. I'm every interested in how vegan butter is going to work!


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