Tag Archives: Portland

Fall feast day is almost here!

This morning I found the garden, grass, fence, and my car covered in glittery ice. It makes me hopeful for snow!! Wouldn’t that be neat tomorrow when lots of people are off work and school? Whatever happens and how you spend it, I hope you have good company and a full belly.

As I dream about what I’ll be making for our feast, I thought I’d post my best wishes for you along with my menu ideas! I did get a turkey from our good friends at Terra Farma (same farm where we get our milk, eggs, chicken, pork) and lots of winter squash from our CSA farmers at Fiddlehead Farm.

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I like seasonal treats. Where I veer off is what I make with them. I am not a traditionalist when it comes to food. There are too many yummy dishes to try. The following links are to my inspiration recipes. I plan to tweak the recipes a bit as I tend to do.

I can’t help but bring in my Mexican roots so this year I think I’ll treat friends to turkey mole (not pronounced like hole or the bullfighting cheer- ole! Start saying molecular and stop after mole….then put the accent on the mo, not the le- confusing enough? Hey I’m not a language instructor). Mole is what many Mexican American households make with leftover turkey (or an easy turkey machaca) but since I always preferred it over turkey and gravy, why not start there? We’ll also have potato, paneer and delicata squash mole for the vegetarians. I was going to take the day off making cheese but the paneer sounds too good in the mole! We’ll keep it casual and make tacos with delicious Three Sisters masa and tortillas and if I can pull it off, some kind of pumpkin spice flan (or ice cream!). We’ll wash it all down with a chilled autumn fruit sangria.

Paneer

The paneer in a spicy stew (paneer doesn’t melt) is inspired by Indian curries of course- if you have my book, you know I like mixing cuisine styles. Sounds like a delicious menu to me- it’ll be fun to share. Hope you have a relaxing day (don’t stress out over perfection) and if you end up shopping during your food coma (does not get more American than that I’m afraid), here are some links to our new hexagon shaped Williams Sonoma kits, and our deluxe kit and book bundle featured on Portland Eater’s holiday gift guide for food lovers. Oh, if you like my ramblings (and photos of cheese), follow me on Instagram where I post almost daily! Cheers, Claudia

mozz hex ws

2011 Cheese Class Schedule- Feta and Cultured Chevre added!

feta cubes

Feta Cubes Curing in Salt

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’ve had some time to reflect on 2010 and dream about 2011 and beyond…if your dreams include learning to make cheese, check out the classes I will be leading this year by following the links below. I added some new ones as you’ll see; you can learn to make feta, cultured chevre and even easier cheeses.

Classes through the Urban Growth Bounty series– hosted by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
These are demos, so you will see the process and taste the results. 15 slots available per class. Beaumont Middle School

Mount Hood Community College Community Education– David Douglas High School
These are hands-on classes. Students are paired up and work in real Home Ec. kitchenettes! 12 slots available per class.

Lots of classes in 2010

You will make this and more!

Classes at Urban Farm Store and the City of Portland’s Urban Growth Bounty Program

Learn to make fresh, easy mozzarella at the Urban Farm Store– $40 per person, in-class samples & recipe/instructions included. Thursday, February 18, 2010- 6-7:30pm

Please RSVP with your phone number at UrbanFarmStore@gmail.com. You will receive a call for payment.

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I just signed on to teach a series of cheese making classes through the Urban Growth Bounty 2010 program presented by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Check out a little clip of our first class in local news!

They also offer neat classes in beekeeping, preserving produce, organic gardening and more.

Check out the schedule on my Classes page but register easily ONLINE. I hear the class on paneer sold out every time last year so don’t dilly dally, seats are limited. Hope to see you there!

cheese talk on the radio!

Hello cheesemakers! Just wanted to let you know something kind of funny, I’m going to be interviewed about cheese making and my cheese kits on a small Internet radio station this Thursday, May 21. It’ll be a show called Chocolate Covered Bacon through http://artisanshoppe.com/, 3pm Pacific Time, 6pm Eastern Time.

Click install or listen live depending on your set-up and you should be good. It won’t be riveting or anything but it’s kinda cool especially if any of you want to promote your handmade goods too. They’re all about artisans of all kinds. Tell them I sent you!

Also, I’d love to hear from those of you who have already received and tried your cheese kits. Please post on this blog or email me with questions, ideas, feedback, testimonials etc. Thanks and happy cheese making,

Are you a Cheese Nerd? The basic stages of making fresh cheese (in this case for easy microwave mozzarella)

The joy that these photos bring me makes me feel like such a cheese nerd. The milk, curds, the whey, the cutting, the ladling, the coagulation, the end result. Oooooh.

note: My apologies for the lack of photos between curds and finished mozzarella knot. I was alone in the kitchen and can’t exactly take photos while stretching and shaping hot mozzarella. I will enlist a photographer soon and add those photos but for now, know that yes, there are steps in between. Unless you have a special microwave oven, you’ll have to do some work before it turns into the finished product. These were just photos to nerd out on, not a full instructional. See my recipes soon though!

Meanwhile, buttermilk cheese is apparently a Jewish thing? Who knew?!

I’ve been curious about the fact that buttermilk used to be a home staple but somehow has fallen out of favor. I’ve decided to try using it in many ways…pancakes, biscuits, waffles and of course cheese!!

Much to my excitement, it turns out that cultured buttermilk can be used as a mesophilic starter in cheese-making. More info. on that later.

As I searched for recipes I ran across this simple recipe that calls for baking buttermilk for a unique cheese- it sounded intriguingly different so I had to try it! Soooo easy and delicious.

Buttermilk Cheese (Tvarog) (D, TNT)
Source: “MealLeaniYUMM!” by Norene Gilletz
Yield: Approximately 2 cups

2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk

Place 2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk in a large covered ovenproof casserole. (I use a Corning Ware casserole.) Place in a preheated 375ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes. It will separate into curds and whey.

Pour warm liquid into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie ends of cheesecloth and let drain for several hours. (Hang it over the faucet of the sink; put a bowl underneath to catch the whey, which can be used to replace sour milk or buttermilk in baking.) For a firmer cheese, squeeze out most of the liquid. Wrap well and refrigerate. It will keep about a week.

Here it is draining…
bag o curds

The cheese was super creamy and tangy, kind of like a mix between cream cheese and sour cream. Next time I will try to make a cheesecake out of it. The yield was great!

Messing with Mozzarella

Ever since I made my first easy microwave mozzarella my mad scientist little brain has been cooking up variations. Mozzarella is delicious and very useful as is but besides that I can never seem to leave well enough alone, it’s not really a savory, snacking cheese in my opinion. I did however see its potential, with some additions.

moz knot

moz knot

So today I made a gallon batch, split the results in two, added dried jalapeno flakes and red pepper flakes to one bowl (fresh and pungent, bought at Limbo Inc., sorry they don’t have a website but they are at SE 39th and Holgate in Portland, OR- HUGE selection of dried herbs, spices as well as some local produce) and I added mixed herbs to the other (I believe it’s tarragon, parsley, dill and basil; along with cheese salt of course) and both varieties turned out so yummy.

Now they’re dangerously snacky! Yum, I could really eat the entire pound and a half right now. So is it good or bad that I experimented? Oh boy. Must. Exercise. Control.

One motivation that helps me not eat the entire batch now is that I want to see how the flavors change/improve/intensify with some time to infuse the cheese thoroughly. moz ball

Here are the end results and a photo of my lunch. Try some crazy variations yourself, I won’t tell Italy if you don’t.

Mozzarella Tasting

Mozzarella Tasting

Forgot to tell you a have a fresh batch of Feta curing!

Lovely giant jar of February Feta

Lovely giant jar of February Feta


Unless I make some sort of fancy cheese schedule, I will just let you know about the cheeses I’m making and their different stages/developments like this. So, I made a huge batch of raw cow milk Feta in early Feb. (if you’re in Portland, I get it at Kookoolan Farms) It’s supposed to age 2-3 months in brine. So far so good. I do fear daily that I will open the fridge to find a jar of green sludge but luckily, it still just looks like feta in brine (water that has been saturated with salt). If all goes as planned, I’ll let you know more about it when I taste it in April and May. Here are some pics of the giant jar…it is so gratifying to see it in the fridge every day!
Creepy science project view of Feta

Creepy science project view of Feta

the tao of cheese

Feb. 15, 2009

A wise cheese maker recently said to me, never name your cheese until it’s done. Last week I found out why and I let her advice ease my mind.

Fresh raw milk

Fresh raw milk

It was supposed to be mozzarella but for some reason the curds never did what they were “supposed” to. I thought I was a pro at making this easy cheese by now but whether it was the temp of the water/rennet or the different brand of milk I used, this batch refused to be mozzarella. I’m proud of myself for not letting this bother me. It’s a Taoist approach to cheese making and I have to say, it rather suits me! The cheese was still delicious but it ended up like a really thick, tasty cream cheese, almost a goat cheese consistency so I treated it as such. I made pizza and just scooped some flat spoonfuls onto the crust, they melted deliciously and the pizza was creamy and good!

the come hither look

the come hither look

I also shaped some of this thick cheese into a small wheel and rolled it in freshly chopped parsley, chives and cracked peppercorns. I served this with crackers, it tasted fresh and delicious. I had so much cheese that I dropped spoonfuls into a jar along with some crushed garlic chunks, pepper flakes and covered it all in good quality extra virgin olive oil. I let it sit in the fridge for a day. The next evening, I took it to a potluck and we spread the delicious oily concoction onto toasted rustic baguette rounds- delicious again!! I didn’t end up with Mozzarella but I did end up with a cream cheese for pizza, an herbed appetizer cheese as well as potluck oily cheese balls. Not glamorous names but I wish you could’ve tasted them! So, my cheese tip of the week, go with the flow and enjoy the cheese that comes with it!