Monday, July 23, 2012

Kidless at home.

Today I woke up early with my crew and we high tailed it the short distance to our local Orthodox parish.

This week is Vacation Church School and this is a new experience for me!

They will be there 3.......LONG.........HOURS!!!! As a homeschool mom this almost never happens that all my kids are at the same event with out me!

Blessed are the women who made this happen. It is not in my genetic makeup to teach 40 children how to tie-dye t-shirts or to take them coning or play games with them or to teach them Bible stories. Nope, it is in my genetic makeup to pay the cash to our church that it costs to enroll them and enjoy my 3 blissfull hours.

However, I have been asked to be part of the filed trips this week the kids are taking. Tomorrow they come to our little goat farm and learn how to make cheese. I would like to send them home with recipe cards so I am online trying to find an actual recipe as I usually wing it and it usually works fine.

My blog happens to also be my personal journal. It keeps dates for me, it keeps my spelling mostly correct and it allows me to easily post pictures for myself. I can even click on the word "recipe" if I need to find out how I made something I love from last year and I am starting to write some of it down. Here's the recipe for next time I need it and for anyone else who stumbles across this and it's what the kids will be getting tomorrow:

Farmers Cheese
From Country Jane's Farm and many other farms.

1 gallon of milk
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt (use less if it's a smaller grain salt)

-Heat up milk to just a boil or just under, remove from heat.
-Mix vinegar slowly into hot milk. Let sit 10 minutes.
-You now have cheese to strain. Use a colander with a thin towel or linen or pillowcase or doubled over cheese cloth. Strain into a bucket and save for the pigs or chickens.
-Once most of the whey is drained add salt to taste. It should taste saltier than you like it to taste, the salt mellows as the cheese cools and sits.

At this point you can serve it like a spread on crackers, you can add fresh herbs (basil is good), you can hang your linen on string outside for the day or over a bowl to catch the liquid, you can use a press and press it overnight in the fridge (like we do).

Interesting other things:
-If your whey is still very white when you want to strain it, add ¼ cup more vinegar. This will help separate more of the curds from the whey.
-Paneer is Indian cheese. The only difference is that you would use 1/4 lemon juice instead of ¼ cup of vinegar.
-You can use any kind of vinegar to make farmers cheese.
-You can also use rennet to separate the curds and whey instead of vinegar, but not as many homes have this in their pantry.
-Farmers cheese made with an acid (vinegar or lemon juice) will not melt when heated; try frying a chuck in a pan.
-For a bigger batch, just double or triple this recipe.
-Different kinds of milk will produce more or less cheese, depending on how much fat (curds) are in that milk. One of our goats has much more butterfat than the other goats, so we get more cheese from her milk.
-Farmers cheese is not aged, so it will take on other flavors well. Try it with smoked salmon instead of cream cheese on a cracker, with some homemade sausages, in a salad, add some sugar and serve it with pancakes and syrup or just put honey on it for a morning snack.

So tomorrow I make this for the 40 children or so that will cram into my kitchen and they can each have some spread on a cracker. They can take home the recipe and make it with any milk they like, even store bought will work! Too bad we haven't harvested any honey yet this year or I'd give them honey on the cheese, yum.

Country Jane, time to go pick up the youngins

Lovely picture of someone elses basil paneer.