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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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

cleansing neither the inner nor the outer vessel

I don't know about you, but if I'm going to spend multiple thousands of dollars on my kitchen, it's not going to be on the floor. At least not yet. So I'm going to rush in, fool-fashion, where angels fear to tread, and paint my floor. Probably in green and white bee stripes, out of sheer cussedness. The one concession I'm making to the many people who've warned me against painting my floor is I'm not going to varnish it. That way if it gets nicked or scratched I can just repaint that spot, rather than refinish the whole thing. And the no-paint contingency screams silently "You moron! That's not what we meant at all!" But see above, re: cussedness. I'm a heedless sort, and I must take on projects of this nature.

I am deeply ashamed of our "garden" this year. I just let all the goat and bathroom and house problems get ahead of me, and now I have about 15 dead tomato plants--still in their pony packs--sitting on the side of my garage. Lettuce gone to seed, spinach totally eaten by the chickens, no peas, no carrots, swiss chard and collards growing in a sea of weeds, next to a row of I don't even know what, because the morning glory (wow, what an ironic name) has totally choked it out, and I can't for the life of me remember what I planted.

But John is taking Thursday off and it's Yard Day. We are GOING to till that spot behind the lilacs, we are GOING to cut down all the weeds along the irrigation ditch, we are GOING to spray weed killer where needed (while my conscience twinges me), we are GOING to weed the gardens, all of them if we can, and we are GOING to plant those tomatoes. I refuse to live without tomatoes in summer. I will rob Orvil and Patty if I must.

Meanwhile the bathroom moves steadily (see how I make the jokes?) along, and we have this:

The fixtures aren't in yet.

When the window is open it's like taking a shower in a forest, without all that pesky wildlife trying to get a "Captured On Film!" picture of the legendary Human Being to sell to one of their smutty animal-world tabloids.

I need to find a curtain to hang in front of what our neighbor calls "the turd-churner," then maybe buy a shelfy thing to store towels. We're going to epoxy the floor, I think. I will be very happy to wipe saliva, mucus, blood, vomit, urine and feces off of that floor, rather than off my bedroom floor. Even better? I will be very happy to put my boys in charge of cleaning that bathroom, since they will be the chief befoulers of same.

Friday, June 13, 2008

it was either do one thing well, or many things so terribly we should be institutionalized --guess which we chose?

bucks are de-bucked
lawn is hideous
garden is hideous
all vehicles except Big White do not run
baby kitten is chopped up in Charlie Tuna's motor
Dingus Squatford is the most annoying goat in the history of the world
weather is sublime
children have ceased barfing
kitchen floor causes rage fugue
house is so, so messy
laundry is not done
new bathroom is still not done
Pinga's birthday cake is cooking
no two people are not on fire
mommy needs to take a mental health day

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

they are a new hole ripping

I got the estimate back from the Ogden people who do Marmoleum, and it's not pretty. Like, I could get a Viking stove not pretty. I'm STILL waiting for those yahoos from Logan to call me.

Here are some more pictures of Why Carpet (Especially On Stairs) Is Gross. Enjoy!

Check out that groovy carpet pad.

This is the best shot I could get of the filth underneath the carpet pad.

In other news, it's almost time to take the baby goats to the White Package Factory. As well as Tilde, who must be destroyed. We still have to emasculate the bucks, and Tenacious D is so big now that I'll be thankful not to lose a tooth during the procedure.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

we had an agreement, the stair carpet and I

So says John. But! I had no such agreement with said stair carpet, so up it has come, at least partly. And can we talk for a minute about the mankyness that lies beneath? This is why I hate carpet, you guys. Detritus left from decades of ineffective vacuuming and carpet cleaning, moldy tack strip, rusty staples. Blech.

I have reached--nay, passed--the end of my tether with this kitchen floor, because I CAN. NOT. get up the tarpaper in the mud room. I moved the washer and dryer and found this:

I really, really cannot tell you how done with this floor I am. I can't scrape up the tarpaper because the wood underneath was unsanded, so I just scrape up all the wood along with the gunk. HATES IT PRECIOUS!

So yesterday, having reached the limits of my strength and sanity, I visited a business in Logan that carries Marmoleum, and arranged for an estimator to come and tell me how many years I will have to be a serf in order to pay them to take away my floor troubles. Which brings me to my advice-seeking. I am trying to decide what sort of pattern to put on the floor, because I don't want just all one color. Here are some options (pardon my Homo Erectus-level graphics, but it's all I've got):
checks of avocado green and cream

same basic design, but with a few dark red checks here and there

And I figure, we may as well just rip up the horrible (yes, John, it is horrible) stair carpet and get it linoleumed at the same time.

The stairs stretch before me, as does the backbreaking project of redoing them.

I want opinions from all of you, and I will probably put a poll with the choices. VOTE OR DIE. Or not. I'm breezy.