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I Poop Alot

First, if you're not familiar with Hyperbole and a Half, you need to go read about the Alot.

Then you can appreciate Emily's new diaper...


My new icon is full of win...

We were bad, bad people and fed the bebe a lime to distract her from teething pain... She didn't seem to enjoy the experience, but she kept going back for more tastes, and forgot all about those pesky teeth...



Well... My class at SUN went... OK.

We successfully made two kinds of cheese. Gouda and caciocavallo, but I need to work harder on the organization of the material for that class. I think I might have confused my students.

The trouble was that I had a two hour window to teach a 5 hour process. It was just lovely to be able to teach cheese as a hands on process for a change, but without the magic of Hollywood (You know, where the chef goes to put a raw turkey in the oven and then magically turns around with a fully browned and perfectly cooked bird in her hands...), it was very difficult to time everything so that the students got to see each step in the process at least once. And because lactobacilli wait for no man, we had to switch back and forth between the two cheeses and do certain steps out of order, and I'm not sure if I was clear enough on the steps that happened only for one cheese and not the other.

BUT, we did get to work with raw milk, which was lovely... Except that it was REALLY, REALLY raw... I fished a whole box-elder beetle out of the gouda milk before class started. :P I threw out the pressed gouda, as I was also sick and didn't want to keep buggy, germy, unpasteurized, not-aged-long-enough cheese.

As you can see, I took the caciocavallo home to age. We'll see what happens. The curds were kneaded at about 140 degrees, which should have killed off most of the icky pathogens, and it will need to age the FDA's minimum 60 days for raw milk cheeses anyway, so the rest of the pathogens should die off for lack of food or oxygen. I had a failed version of that cheese (made with pasteurized milk, and therefore all grainy and lumpy) aging in my toaster. I cut it open for a taste yesterday. It was quite good... So good that when I turned my back for a few minutes to take care of Miss Em, Maggie ate it... I didn't even get a good picture of it before it went to the dogs. Sadness.


SCA Romance Novel

Oh, sweet mother of God... This book is bad on so many levels, and not just the normal bad romance novel levels either. She's managed to find entirely NEW NICHES OF GODAWFUL into which she may descend... There are just... no words... At least rufinia is "enjoying" this experience with me. Misery loves company, and at least this company is quite good...

THERE IS A FUCKING CLOVEN FRUIT, and a bunch of people trying to speak forsoothly and not succeeding. Oh, the horror, the horror...



Judith Griggs totally deserves this... If you're interested in what actually happened, you can go read about it here. (I don't recommend doing so with anything in your mouth, lest your outrage/exasperation/laughter/WTF-splosion spray it all over your keyboard and screen. Don't say I didn't warn you.)


Everything I have taught you about Gouda and Columella? All wrong. *headdesk*

At least I can make a correction for SUN.


Is there such a thing as too much cheese?

Perhaps not, but I have too many cheesy-project ideas right now.

So the "sekanjabin cheese" recipe was a bust last time, but then I got to reading this:

"In the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily they make a sort of cheese which they
call Caseo di cavallo, i. e. Horse-cheese, for what reason I could not
learn. These cheeses they make up in several forms; some in the fashion of a
blown bladder, some in the fashion of a cylinder and some in other figures.
They are neither fat nor strong, yet well-tasted and acceptable to such as
have eaten of them awhile. The pulp or body of them lies in flakes and hath
as it were a grain one way like wood. They told us that they were made of
Buffles milk, but we believed them not, because we observed not many Buffles
in those Countries, where there is more of this cheese made than of other

-- John Ray (1627 - 1704/5), Observations Topographical, Moral, &
Physiological. London, Printed for J. Martyn, 1673.

And started wondering to myself... The author was from Italy. Italy had quite a few pasta filata (pulled curd type) cheeses, and I have mozzarella recipies that are acidified with vinegar or citric acid. I wonder if maybe that vinegar honey recipe was meant to be similar to a caciocavallo? Hmmmm....


The Great Norwegian Bait and Switch

So... I've been looking for something to do with my left-over cheese whey for a while now. I've read about pickling, tried making ricotta, and considerred making bread. So far the most common use for whey in my house is dog feeding... It seems to improve Maggie's skin problems, due to it's high vitamin content, and I'm happy that it helps her... Nonetheless, I do feel like the whey is getting wasted.

In my search for a solution to this problem, I stumbled across a recipe for "prim" or "brunost," which is a Norwegian/Swedish/Icelandic whey cheese and supposedly "a treat" that is tasty on crackers or as a spread.

Fine. I should have been suspicious, based on the pictures. But no, I gamely embarked on my adventure, anticipating an exotic Norse treat.

I spent 7 HOURS rendering the whey down until it carmelized, and I stirred constantly with the baby on my back so that the sugars wouldn't crystalize as it cooled, making it gritty....

Do you know what I ended up with?

FUCKING VELVEETA. The odd texture, the carmelish after-taste... It's all there except for the freaky orange color. Mine is a slightly more subdued shade of carmel, but the resemblance is UNMISTAKABLE. WHY HAS NO RECIPE OR FOOD CRITIC COMMENTED ON THIS??? It's a conspiracy, I tell you. OK, I understand that it is often made with goat milk whey (gjetost) in Norway, which would result in a flavor difference, but still... STILL.

It made pretty decent macaroni and cheez. I feel cheated...