Sunday, March 11, 2012

chevre...yum!

I never want to live without fresh goat chevre in my life!!!  The first batch is gone, I told everyone they better eat some before I eat it all.   From the first finger dipped into it, I closed my eyes and said yum, this is sooo good!  Why did I wait so long to get started making cheese!  Now that I'm addicted, I need more milk.  Once you have the goats milk, the possibilities with cheese are endless, this is the whole reason we end up needing more does in milk.  Over the last week as I milked Zolena, I told her about all the cheeses I'm making with her milk, how wonderful they are, and how thankful I am to her.  When you milk a goat everyday you create a special bond of love and respect.  Next year at this time hopefully she'll be getting ready to kid, because I'd love for her to have a doeling, so we can keep one to have another spirit like hers and another good milker like her. 

How did I eat the chevre, that was kind of like cream frache, or thick whipped cream.  I had it on a plate with strawberry preserves, eaten like dessert, on bread, on top of eggs, a dollop on top of chocolate pudding, and more with waffles and strawberry preserves.  I went to bed with a very full tummy and said, "Can I eat too much chevre?"

The mozzarella I made is delicious too, and the cottage cheese is good as well, I think I might have cooked the curds a little bit long, because they're kind of hard, but the overall taste and texture is wonderful.  I've been going onto other cheese sites and learning, so you will now get to hear all about my newest obsession... cheesemaking!!  Deep down inside I always knew I wanted to make cheese, and about 5 years ago I had a dream of me in another time, standing under a large old apple tree in a peasant dress with a child in my arms, and one at my feet.  Cows were in the distance grazing in lush pasture, and I had a milking parlor in the barn with an adjacent room that had shelves lined with huge wheels of cheese, cheeses that I had made. I have thought about this dream often as it always makes me feel good. 

An authentic cheese cave would be a dream come true!  Alas, the reality as my husband likes to point out is that we'll have to create an environment that duplicates the humidity and temperature and do it less expensively than excavating a hillside and lining it with rock and creating a thick wood slab door with big hinges... that will be down the road.  We're planning a root cellar, and are talking about the idea of creating an area that can double as a root cellar/ cheese cave.  We actually did have a back hoe out here last year and did phase one of the root cellar, excavating into the north side of a hill and placing all the extra large rocks that we find on our property whenever we dig deep, or do ground work.  It's amazing the size of the rocks underground, rocks are good building materials, and should always be put to use.

To create a temporary cheese cellar for aging cheeses many people use an old refrigerator, and place a pan of water in the bottom to keep the humidity up. The temperature needs to be kept around 55- 60 degrees, and I'll need a thermometer that gives both the temperature and the humidity.  So to proceed with aged cheeses I'm looking to get an old refrigerator...vintage, and will have to buy a special thermometer.  This will all come over the summer when we have more milk.  For now I'm happy to be learning all about making the simpler cheeses.  I need to get a few more starters from Hoegger's, one for feta, and another for stilton cheese.

Today, my husband who is always thinking ahead about what we need, went and picked up a sub zero refrigerator in perfect condition that he bought from a man who does remodels.  He had this refrigerator advertised on craigslist and it said make an offer, so he emailed him a low offer of a hundred dollars, as he did so he looked at me and said "you never know unless you ask".  They wanted it gone and said come and get it for one hundred fifty... so he went right away!!  He told me new these refrigerators are several thousand dollars, and as I cleaned it today I couldn't believe how nice it is, and how big it is compared to my other one.  We needed another refrigerator for the milk, cheese and eggs, and will use our old one for this, the new one we'll use for everyday food.  It's amazing to me the timing and blessing of it all, so now I'll have plenty of room to spread out with my food and to be able to see everything and not have it crowded.  I have both of them side by side.  Happiness!

On Wednesday and Thursday we had a couple of nice days with no rain, I pruned most of the berry bushes, all the espaliers, and most of the apple trees.  I'll be writing more about them soon.  It rained all day yesterday, and all night here, finally the snow is gone after many weeks on the ground for us. The robins arrived back on February 4th this year, so now mornings around here are filled with the beautiful sounds of them singing.  I love the sound of the robins singing in the Spring!

4 comments:

goatgirl said...

Try this...mix a little Montreal steak seasoning in the chevre. Delicious. That is my family and friends' favorite.
Also haloumi is an easy cheese to make and your family will be crazy over it. A little haloumi just off the grill is to die for.

Jewel said...

Thanks goatgirl, I will try both of these! I always appreciate great tips and family favorites.

rachel whetzel said...

Have you seen these? http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/93-Refrigerator-Thermostat.html They are a thermostat that can turn any fridge into a cheese fridge. Even newer ones that don't go "up" that high temp wise.

Jewel said...

Thanks so much for the tip Rachel. I'm going to go look and see what these thermostats are. I'd love to figure out how to make a cheese cave by this summer when I have an abundance of milk for cheese making