Monday, May 24, 2010

Lemon Cheese

Twice this year I've been treated to a cloud-like pouf of cheese that is made using citric acid as a coagulant. And twice it's etched a place in my memory, creating what I would start to call an obsession on my part. The first sample, from Cowgirl Creamery, was light and tangy, and perfect for our picnic in San Francisco. E and I drove up to Tomales Bay for oysters in January, then picked up some bread and cheese to enjoy on the way home. We ate all of it in one sitting; it was just that delicious.

The second sample was in Montana (of all places) at a restaurant called Q Cuisine. E was the "winemaster" for this event, and the chef paired his homemade lemon cheese with some of the Chardonnays. OUT. STAND. ING. I was lucky enough to solicit the recipe from him, and this weekend, I tested my own.

And it's beautiful! And clean tasting! And slightly lemony, without being overbearing! And it was one of the easiest cheeses I've ever, ever made. This one will become a house special.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Brie, Round 2:

Armed with sterilized equipment, a temper, and a better starter culture, I went for Brie once more. This time the curds behaved, and I was able to save the whey and beat it into ricotta submission later on. These two beautiful little rounds of brie were then put in the fridge with their white mold coats.

That part turned out lovely. The hard part, humidity, didn’t turn out so nice. My brie tasted like brie but dried up and hard. Oops.

This whole teaching yourself cheesemaking thing? Not. Easy.

Monday, May 3, 2010


E. was kind enough to get up at 6AM with me this past weekend to pick up my bees. He was pretty laid back about it, even tucking his jeans into his socks as I recommended, since he doesn't have any bee gear. We picked up the box while the bees were still sleeping; you never would have known that that thing had bees in it, honestly. It was bungeed down in the back of the car, but E. drove pretty carefully all the way to the vineyard. My instructor had warned me that if the top came off, we'd better GET OUT FAST!

We dropped off the bees, I peeked inside and saw only a handful of bees...not much action. Oh well.

Later in the day, though, I came back to add some syrup to the hive, and sure enough, they were buzzing all over! It was truly beautiful.

This morning, I rushed out to make a few little adjustments and add the second super (which is a the box on top of the main hive). I noticed some of my combs have fallen down a little bit, so the bees are building combs of very interesting shapes and designs. NOT what was planned, but I suppose it will still work. Each comb I pulled out was absolutely COVERED with bees.

The thing is, I thought I'd be nervous and rushed, afraid of the stings. But I'm not. I love being around them, and having them land all over me. They don't seem to mind when I poke and prod, and the buzzing is almost hypnotizing. I love being around them- in fact even right now I can't wait to go back out. I could spend hours with them, looking at the comb shapes and watching them work. They're truly amazing little animals, and I can't wait to get to know them better.