When a cook goes shopping…

February 12, 2011

It is just barely possible — BARELY, I say — that I may have overdone it.

I mean — $50 worth of cheese?

Now, which one(s) of those would YOU have put back?

But…but…they all looked so good! And how was I supposed to choose?

So I bought…ummmm… 9 different kinds. Plus my sheep’s milk cheese I’d gotten from Ed The PJF guy this morning at the Farmer’s Market. Plus tomorrow I’m going to try my hand at making cheese.

It may be that I need an intervention.

How it was, was, like this. I’d headed out early this morning, to stop by the Farmers Market about as soon as folks got there, so I could pick up my stuff, stash it in the fridge at my office, then head to Little Rock for a Civil War day-long program that I wanted to attend. (That’s my other avocation. And no, I don’t combine the two; no desire to try to make hardtack, or strain coffee through a sock, or cook freshly slaughtered beef on the point of a bayonet over a campfire. I just study.)

Well, actually, how it was, was, back a couple weekends ago, one of my Facebook friends, who makes wine, posted that he was about to try his hand at making cheese. I’ve contemplated trying same, myownself, for some time, and he kind of inspired me. So I figured, how better to make cheese than with that seriously-high-dairy-fat-content, unpasteurized, milk from PJF? And I’d had an urge for some farm-fresh eggs (the double-yolkers are excellent, and quite fresh, but there’s a different taste from an egg from a free-range chicken). So I ordered that, along with my meat order, to pick up today.

And I got down there, and they had homemade butter and cottage cheese. Sweet Baby Jesus. The last time I had homemade butter, along with farm-made country sausage, and fresh free-range eggs, it was when I was 10 years old and spending the weekend with my Uncle Andrew and Aunt Moline when they still had dairy cows. The next time will be tomorrow morning, when it will be a PJF breakfast (sausage, eggs, biscuits with their butter and honey). But I digress.

So I stashed my goodies, and headed on to the Rock, where I spent most of the day at the MacArthur Museum of Military History and learned a good deal. And I left there and went by Whole Foods, because I knew at Whole Foods I could get rennet and citric acid, two things I need to make cheese.

But then, Whole Foods HAS cheese. I have waxed eloquent about their selection of cheese before. It is still worthy of eloquence. And most of what I bought is hard cheese, so it will last indefinitely in my fridge. The haul — only one of which I’ve ever tasted before:

  • Tarentaise, a cow’s milk hard cheese
  • Pecorino Romano. I already had Asiago and Parmigiano in the fridge, so now I have me an Italian trinity, and will make a hellaciously fine pizza before long.
  • Kilaree Cheddar. No clue.
  • Roth Kase Gruyere Surchoix. I love me some Gruyere. Never tried this one.
  • Cave Aged Kaltback Emmenthaler. I love me some Emmenthaler. Never tried this one.
  • 1 year dry Jack Rumiano. No clue.
  • Raclette, a French melting cheese, which is pretty damn good just sliced and munched.
  • Capra Veltellina, an aged goat’s milk cheese.
  • No Woman Jerk Cheddar. Had to buy it.

And when I got home, I fixed myself a plate with the Tarentaise, the Capra Veltellina, and the Raclette, and had it with a glass of 14 Hands Hot To Trot blended red, in honor of the fact they finally got in a day of racing at Oaklawn.

(It occurred to me, given my fondness for cheese, that perhaps I was born in the Chinese Year of the Rat. I checked.  I was not. It was the Year of the Goat, which explains….several things. But I digress.)

Tarentaise, the Interwebs tells me, is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, in a copper vat, and the wheels rubbed with a French culture of some sort.  Capra valtellina is an aged goat’s milk cheese made in the Lombardy region of Italy, and somewhat resembles Parmigiano, but that it’s got more moisture to it and isn’t as crumbly. Both are very smooth and nutty cheese, and neither is tremendously strong.

Raclette is a semi-soft French cheese primarily used for melting. Traditionally, one prepares potatos, and assorted charcuterie, and then melts raclette over the top, serving with mustard and pickles. Sounds good to me. Although it was quite tasty just sliced.

The cheesemaking tomorrow is, potentially, going to be mozzarella and ricotta, unless I change my mind. I’m going to go through the recipes in the cheesemaking book I got today and contemplate that.

So, you and y’mama ‘n ’em enjoy your Saturday evening, while I go read about making cheese.

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4 Responses to “When a cook goes shopping…”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Loooooove your blogging. I am having a horrible time amaking friends with my host. I don’t kjnow html and get into a lot of trouble.. HOpefully it will smooth out.!! Save me some cheese!!!

  2. Len Cleavelin Says:

    It is just barely possible — BARELY, I say — that I may have overdone it.

    I mean — $50 worth of cheese?

    There is no such thing as too much cheese. 🙂

    And no, I don’t combine the two; no desire to try to make hardtack, or strain coffee through a sock, or cook freshly slaughtered beef on the point of a bayonet over a campfire. I just study.

    Wuss. I question your dedication to The Cause. 😉

    More seriously, I see I should have visited this weekend and tagged along to the LR event (I’ve still got the MacArthur Museum on my “to do” list along with the Clinton Library). That breakfast this morning sounds to die for; I’m sorry I wasn’t around to partake.

    I shall console myself with the Culinary District coffee that was my Xmas present from A Great And Good Friend. Very, very good. 🙂

  3. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    Ellen, WordPress is my only experience with a host, and while there are things I wish it would do that it won’t, all in all, I like it. I’ve finally learned to write my post, save the draft, and go back and put in photos. Seems to work better.

    Len, re: breakfast — PJF comes every Saturday. I believe something can be arranged. And I’ll most assuredly be happy to make a LR trip with you to see those sights.

  4. Kate Says:

    Oh, me. You know I rival Lucy Lu when it comes to lovin’ cheese. And, with some good, red wine. Gonna come visit soon. Work in some work, ponies, and I’ll sacrifice and let you experiment on me!!! LOL. Still can’t “do” lamb, though. It’s a mental thing. Or veal.


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