Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wow - best play date ever

My friend Martha asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had every made cheese. She had read Animal, Miracle, Vegetable by Barbara Kingsolver and told me she made it sound so easy.  I had in fact read that book last year and purchased the whole kit from The New England CheeseMaking Supply Company.    My first attempt at mozzarella last year was not so successful but I was game to try it again.  So I ordered whole milk from South Mountain Creamery and invited Martha over today.  Not only did she come over, but she brought the ingredients to make fermented catsup. She had gone to her friends in Takoma Park for a fermentation festival and wanted to try this catsup  (she and I have a date to try and make Kombucha)

Anyway, Martha is my soul sister in all things homemade.  She brought over her knitting bag in which she was crocheting a yarmulke out of a plastic bag.  Her daughter's Bat Mitzvah is in Nov and she's decided to make a bunch for that event.  She has already made plans for us to attend the Flax Scutching Festival in Stahlstown, PA next year.

We popped in the cheesemaking video to review how it is done and then got started.

Martha, trying to open the glass bottle

Pouring a gallon of whole milk, into pot

Milk, heating to 88 degrees.  Citric acid has been added to this.

Stirring the rennet in.

Curds are formed

Curds are skimmed off and mashed together - more whey drained

Cheese is heated for 1 min in microwave and then kneaded together

Heat again for 35 seconds and then stretch like taffy

Martha is very excited that it's become real cheese!


We cut it into little chunks and also made some string cheese.  It's cooling in ice water

Yummy string cheese


There was a lot of leftover whey so we tried the recipe for ricotta cheese in the cheesemaking book - it didn't work so I am letting it all cool and will water the outside plants with it tomorrow.

Ok, cheese done, on to the fermented catsup.  It calls for mixing tomato paste with whey (from yogurt, draining here), maple syrup, cayenne, smashed garlic, fish sauce, salt.  Mix together, put in jar and let sit on counter for 2 days.

Here is the yogurt draining.  We will use the liquid for the whey

Fish sauce.  I'm sure Sean will be aghast at the brand but that's what Martha brought over

Tomato paste.  We made two batches, so there is 4 cans (24 oz) in each bowl.  No time or tomatoes to make homemade paste

Spooning mixture into the jars

Removing air bubbles

Beautiful catsup, ready to ferment

Remember the yogurt that was draining?  We added grated cucumber, minced garlic, chopped chives and lemon balm.  Delicious!

Before Martha left she asked me if I knew about No Knead Bread.  I said why no.  So we watched the video of Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey make this bread.  My bread starter is now fermenting on the counter and Martha will return tomorrow to gather her catsup and taste some baked bread.  Stay tuned.

 Here is the recipe for the fermented catsup.

Lynn's Organic Ketchup Recipe

3 cups canned, organic tomato paste
1/4 cup whey (liquid from plain yogurt)
1 tblsp sea salt (we used pickling salt)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup fish sauce

Just mix together in a wide mouth glass jar, leave at least an inch below the top and leave at room temperature for 2-3 days before putting in the refrigerator.

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