Monday, November 1, 2010

The Cheese Stands Alone

I have been busy beyond my wildest dreams. And I have had some really wild dreams lately. My dear sweet dragon and I wandered off to China to visit my son and to have a real escape for the first time since, well, ever. I want to really enjoy the empty nest while I have it. And I have been preparing for and recovering from that for a month. Then we had to do some sharing, and spinning, and then I got sick.
Now I will work the election, recover from that and start again on the cabinet doors (still in progress).
But in the meantime, I have been making cheese. I have started collecting goats milk and making goats milk cheese. This is a new culinary adventure for me, although, I had made yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, and yogurt cheese before. Then I did some mozzarella, yum. And ricotta, yum. And a Feta, which was better on the second try. This time, I am doing hard time. I have a Romano and a Cheddar aging.
I have to wait for 6 weeks before we have any idea if there is good cheese for January. As much as I would like to be organized enough to make these things for xmas presents, I just can't seem to make a cheese in August. Upon reflection though, it really doesn't matter if the cheese is ready for gifts in December, because the people I share cheese with will love it whenever it is ready. My family, on the other hand, gets See's candy.
This brings us to a discussion about Family and Holidays and Gifts, always a tricky subject. I can not send cheese to China, so Scott gets something else. My mom believes I am poisoning her, so no cheese there. My dad and step-mom prefer ingredient labels that say low sodium. My brothers would throw it away after a few months in the refrigerator, when the good intentions wear off. Eduard's mom would sample it but doesn't cook much now.
My daughter will get some cheese. And my friends. And they don't care if it is after Dec. 25. I even have a person who is willing to buy some (under the radar since I can't legally sell food). So that brings me to the question of how much cheese should I actually make for my personal consumption and home cooking use, gifts, friends? Is 10 pounds a year enough or too much? I think if it were just me, 6 pounds a year might be a bit skimpy as I really love to eat cheese, so some of the cheeses don't need aging, like Feta, so they don't have lots of planning involved. But 10 pounds is probably more than we could eat in a reasonable diet. Then I start remembering the ricotta in the lasagna and the spanakopita.... we really do eat a lot of cheese.
Well, it is really stretching my future planning to fantasize over my cheese skill when the first hard cheeses have dried for three days. Let's just slow this bus down and wait for the results. If I am really able to make some good, hard cheese- then we can talk about the future and how many pounds might be in it. But for the present- the cheese stands alone on the cheese board drying as I rub the salt on the rind and turning it every few hours.