Tuesday, June 24, 2008

cheese is good food

We've done a lot of dairyish things around here recently. We're making kefir almost every day for Pinga, we made mozzarella on Friday for our pizza, and then on Saturday we went down to Salt Lake and did a cheesemaking demonstration for some friends of my sister-in-law and the supper club they have. They chose creme fraiche and mascarpone, which are the same thing, almost. Drain creme fraiche and you have mascarpone. I felt like a crook doing a demo that goes like this: Heat milk. Stir in culture. Let it sit overnight. You have cheese! Like, it's really not hard--at least these particular recipes aren't. But hopefully what we lost in complexity we gained in people feeling far more capable of making some cheese at home. Also, as with mozzarella, the stuff in the store is so ridiculously expensive, and the product you get at home is of far superior quality.

We were going to do a chevre demo as well, but since Finola has passed we are too short on milk for Pinga to be using any of it for cheese. So instead we stopped at Caputo's on our way down and bought some fun cheeses to taste. We chose a Quickes Cheddar; Leonora, which is a raw sheep's-milk cheese with a very assertive (for my tongue) rind; and my favorite, Testun al Foglie di Noce (or something like that), which is a cow-, goat- and sheep's milk cheese wrapped in walnut leaves. It was amazing. Here's something embarrassing: The first cheese I tried was the Quickes Cheddar, and when I put it in my mouth and mooshed it around with my tongue to taste it, I honest-to-Pete got some little tears in my eyes, it was so good. I love the terroir of food that has been made with attention and care, and this cheese really did taste different, like grass and asparagus.

You may have heard of my struggles with my second child, trying to get him to try foods with which he is unfamiliar. Well, the other day I got a slice of our mozzarella and came toward him, and this ridiculous person recoiled in disgust and PUT HIS HANDS OVER HIS MOUTH, as though I were trying to feed him honeyed anchovies with strawberry garlic sauce or some crazy thing. Sometimes the bad mother in me thinks that these people do not deserve the food I make them. John is very appreciative of my cooking, but so far the kids are underwhelmed.

Pictures of our foods:

This is our pizza dough. It's pretty good--I will post the recipe if there is any interest.

This is our mozzarella. It looks kind of nasty reclining in its whey, getting ready to be eaten, but it's yummy stuff.

This is the kefir. It also looks nasty, and I cannot tell a lie, it is definitely an acquired taste, but if you add some strawberry jam to it it tastes pretty much like yogurt. It's full of beneficial bacteria and is good for tummies. Our start is ginormous now and ready to split, if anyone is interested.

Eating good food makes me happy.


All8 said...

Green out here. With jealousy that is. Good Job, especially with everything else that you have going on.

Jenny said...

If only the Mariah Carey song were playing while you were tasting the would have been balling! It's good to know there are people who love and appreciate good food so much. I need to come up and taste all your wonderful creations. You know me- I'll eat anything...and probably love it!

highdeekay said...

I want the recipe! I'm in search of the world's best pizza dough.

Jill said...

Once are amazing! I would LOVE to make some cheese someday. Maybe you could come and teach me...that Mozzerella looks so good! I think it's adorable that you teared up at the taste of good cheese. :-)
PS..I think of you everytime that Mariah Carey song is on at Christmas. :-)

Nate, Claire & Norah said...

mmm. I bet that mozzarella was good. I wants some of it.