Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Farmers' Market and Homemade Cheese

On Saturday, I went to our local Farmers' Market, which I love to do. This week I went in search of pretty things for the home... flowers and greenery. I also bought some tomatoes and apples for good measure. The morning was cool, overcast and drizzly, which to me is a perfect enviroment - especially when beautifying the home for the snuggly winter months. I found some great items, but didn't spend much. I bought a bouquet for $5, some chives and oregano (which will be planted outdoors) for $3 each, a little whimsical hand made clay hanging pot with moss growing within for $8. Simple pleasures indeed - here they are:

I also found these cute little bottles/vases that stick to windows or mirrors and hold small groups of flowers. They are quite lovely I think!

Later that day, I went to the local health food store to get some TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) so I could make a pot of vegetarian chili. While there, I found some vegetarian rennet for cheese making. I had looked for vegetarian rennet earlier this summer without luck, and just gave up cheese all together since the cheeses made that way tend to be incredibly expensive. While in Italy on our honeymoon, I had no kitchen to cook my own food in. And, without a kitchen, and with a language barrier, I gave up my cheese-free ways until we returned to the USA. With rennet in hand, I purchased a gallon of organic vitamin D milk, and went in search of citric acid so I would have all the ingredients to make mozzarella. I did not find citric acid so had to make due with lemon juice. I also hadn't realized my candy thermometer didn't go low enough for me to measure temperatures under 100 degrees accurately. So, I used the juice (not predictable pH-wise like citric acid is), and I guessed at the temperature. I thought that the cheese would be an absolute failure since there were so many things I was doing incorrectly - even though I was using modified recipes for a psuedo mozzarella (I compared about 6 different sets of online instructions to figure out how to proceed). Real mozzarella takes a couple hours longer. All in all, my cheese tasted right, but turned out a little spongy and was not smooth because of that. I will definately try cheesemaking again!

Presenting the cheese:

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