Experimenting With Curds and Whey

Yesterday after doing all the running around and chores I had made a goal. It started with my husband suggesting that we attend an Asatru Blot this month. Something that was being asked of us was to bring a dish to pass around for the feast. I can do potluck like no has ever potlucked before. It’s a huge southern tradition to get together with friends and family and pass around dishes that make up a HUGE meal. Then I read, ‘dish that has been harvested from either your garden or farmers market. Or meat that you have hunted or fish that you’ve caught for this event. Homemade baked goods from scratch are also welcome.’ Well…shit!

I just did a small experimental garden and even though fruits and vegetables grew there weren’t nearly enough ingredients to make an entire dish. My husband doesn’t hunt or fish so that is out of the question. Then I had an idea and after a little research into what the Norsemen ate I decided on making cheese and bread from scratch then add herbs from my garden. I sought out a dairy and was pretty lucky to find one on the outskirts of my town that sold by the gallon at a decent price. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty intimidated by using raw milk. Am I going to make something that will poison us all? NOPE!

It’s starting to curdle! YAY!

I made sure and set up all my utensils and ingredients for the cheese. Then I got to work. Bring the milk to temperature, worrying about the milk scorching, stirring until I thought my elbow was going to break, and then WOW. Adding the lemon juice made me realize…I can do it! I was so proud that the pot of milk was doing what it was supposed to do. The recipe isn’t mine but what I found helped A LOT! I bounced between several how-to articles and decided on:

  • A gallon of Raw Milk
  • 2 TBSPs of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBSPs of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

Bring to temp and add acid. The method suggested was to turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. WRONG. REMOVE FROM HEAT COMPLETELY! I added salt at the end when it should have been done during the drying process. But the final product, in the end, was AMAZING.

What to do with Whey? The leftover product from straining the cheese from the milky water is actual whey. I can’t believe people spend so much money to purchase this stuff. I could have sold it but instead, I decided that making Whey Bread would be more beneficial to the blot that we are attending. I wanted to practice ahead of time so I don’t appear so new. I found a recipe and ran to the store while the whey was to warm. This is where I was again intimidated. I make quick breads all the time that doesn’t call for active yeast. I had a HORRIBLE disaster in my younger years making bread and I haven’t used yeast since then…until yesterday.

The recipe told me to add warm whey to the yeast. I panicked and added some whey from a smaller batch that was cooled making it warm. This worked and ta-dah! Happy yeast! Even though the cheese and the bread were high in points…I still counted and ENJOYED what I had made and baked.

The batch of both cheese and bread that I’m going to make I’m going to dried basil from my garden (it wasn’t dry enough yesterday but will be by next week). So I will have made homemade cheese from raw milk (which by the way is from grass-fed cows and Whey bread (not wasting anything) seasoning with basil that I grew in my experimental garden.

Any other ideas for easy homemade cheeses? Hmm…I could make butter.

Avocado Havoc

SO….I had an amazing dinner last night of Paprika Spiced Salmon with oven roasted potatoes and<a href='http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-guacamole-recipe_836599.htm'>Designed by Freepik</a> sauteed kale with almonds and Parmesan cheese. I again screwed up by opening and chopping the wrong knick knack bag for my salmon. It was an easy fix and I was able to salvage my dinner for last night, and keep all the ingredients for the dinner tonight. No, my screw up last night isn’t what had me in a tizzy. IT WAS THE AVOCADOS!!!

The office staff here where I work will rarely include the art room in on their little potluck meals. But we have a new guy working in the office and came through our art room and invited us to enjoy some of his nachos that he was bringing for Cinco De Mayo. I thought that was nice and I extended the gesture by offering to bring guacamole.

I was exhausted from a shitty day at work, almost fucked up dinner entirely (for not one but two meals), explaining that mommy needs to write to my son and that him and his friend need to play outside and not on the gaming system and asked my loving husband to run to the store for me to get the ingredients that were necessary for my famous guacamole. I fell asleep after having my 3rd cup of sleepy time tea (it was a multiple cup night) and wasn’t awake when he got home. I wished I had gone to the store with him.

I woke up early this morning preparing myself to make dip and seen these BRIGHT green avocados. ‘FUCK ME’ was immediately running through my head. I immediately went in to survival mode running out of the house and driving to the other end of town because that is where our only store is located to purchase anything food/grocery wise. I knew at 5:30 am that the store would be dead and the self checkouts open giving me the chance to not interact with the public. I had an hour to get the shopping done, dip made, coffee bought (already no time available to make my FAV Dublin breakfast tea or coffee), and to work with an updated iPod of podcasts. Got to the store all those damn little avocados were all green and hard a rock. I planned a chicken fajita queso dip in my head imagining all the ingredients and where to get them so I could quickly escape the store. With no recipe to follow, crock pot at home, I was able to get to work in time and the only effort I had to do was open a can, dice cheese, dump and RUN!

I made it to work, dip is warming up and the only added stress through the door is my art room partner called in a vacation day. So my work load has doubled.

 

RECIPE FOR (FUCK I NEED TO BRING SOMETHING) CHICKEN FAJITA QUESO:

  • 1 bag of frozen pre-made chicken fajita meat
  • 1 bag fiesta blend grated cheese
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 2 small boxes of queso blanco Velveeta cheese

    Throw EVERYTHING in the crock pot on warm and pray

 

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