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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Monday Menus

I used to have a colleague who would sign her emails with a catchy little alliterative phrase like, “Marvelous Monday,” or Terrific Tuesday.” I thought it was kind of cute and sweet, but some of my colleagues would just roll their eyes… So, at the risk of annoying any readers out there, I am launching a regular feature with an alliterative name…Monday Menus.

I notice lots of bloggers do it. I’ve seen Frugal Fridays, Wordless Wednesdays, Meatless Mondays… I thought it might encourage me to post more regularly. I didn’t want to steal anyone else’s idea and I have found that lots of people wonder what we eat since we are a vegetarian family (yes, even the Czech mate – he’s a rare one!). So, once a week I will post a menu selected from the week’s many meals.

I do actually plan out the week’s menus ahead of time, much to the Czech mate’s amusement (reference Czech film, Pelišky), partly to make the shopping list and partly so I don’t have to think about it every day when I come home from work. And when it’s in writing on the refrigerator door the girls seem to accept that it is not up for discussion and we can just get to work on making it.

Added interest – let’s see how much really is local, seasonal or grown ourselves.

Enough gabbing – what did we have for dinner tonight?

30 April – Greek Night

Vegetable plate of carrot sticks°, cucumber sticks and radishes°

Spring dip (tvaroh°, chives*, garlic, oregano*, salt, pepper)

Romaine lettuce, arugula* and mustard greens*

Cherry tomato salad

Chick peas, plain and with wild nettle* pesto

Bread°

Feta cheese (the excuse for calling it Greek night)

For dessert, rhubarb* streusel cake and ice cream.

°from farmer’s market

*from our garden

The girls would like to let you know that it was yummy .

What did you have for dinner tonight?

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Urban Farm Handbook March Challenge – Home Dairy

I really didn’t think we’d be able to make cheese. I thought we’d need some special ingredients that we wouldn’t be able to find here, even though it turns out that getting worms  was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be (last month’s challenge).

How wrong I was…The first part of the challenge required only milk and lemon juice, and yes, you can buy lemons in the Czech Republic. The milk had us a bit worried. It’s supposed to be milk that hasn’t been “ultrapasteruized.” We hoped that the organic milk we found wasn’t, though we couldn’t tell for sure. Turns out it was fine!

And it was so easy. Really, really easy. So easy I couldn’t believe it… Even without the thermometer they recommend you use. SO easy I think we’ll do it again soon. Here’s us following the directions:

Step 1: Heat up the milk, stir constantly.

We took turns…

Wine goes great with cheese.

After the milk reaches a certain temperature, about 80C, you add lemon juice. Without a thermometer we really don’t know if it reached that temperature, but we figured cheese was made way before people used thermometers to do it. We stopped heating the milk when it started getting that pre-boil frothy look on top.

Add lemon juice.

Sofie did the honors.

Never have we been so excited to see milk curdle!

You let it its for 15 minutes, then pour it into a cheesecloth-lined colander.

You can see the curds have separated from the whey.

Blessed are the cheese makers?

Make a bag out of the cheesecloth and hang it over the faucet.

...drip...drip...

We finished our dinner, drank more wine, talked…and after an hour…

CHEESE!

Full from dinner, but unable to wait, we sampled with only some added salt. Yummy!! So yummy that neighbor and partner in challenge, Andrea, might actually be re-evaluating her vegan diet.

The recipe says to add herbs, but so far I am just eating it plain.

Breakfast the day after cheese making.

As we marveled over how easy it was to make the cheese it occurred to me that this was all very sad in a way. We’ve become so far removed from the process of making our food that we need someone to show us how to do something that a couple of generations ago almost everyone knew how to do. It’s not so much the loss of knowledge, but the loss of power over our food choices that has me worried.

Making cheese makes me feel powerful again.  Making cheese is so simple (have I mentioned that?!) that I don’t need anyone to make it for me. So, if I don’t like what Big Ag and transnational food corporations are doing to food, and I don’t, I can opt out. Ditto for growing my own food, baking bread, making things. That’s really why I’m doing this (I know some of you have been hoping that it’s not just insanity on my part).

So, I’m feeling powerful and ready for Round 2 next week. Dairy gurus – bring it on!

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