Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Feta cheese

 By Melissa Souza

 
As a child I remember my Yiya having balls of curds draining around her kitchen. She was from “Greece’s Old Country” as she called it. Her homemade feta cheese was maybe the best thing I have ever tasted. We used to sneak big chunks of it as it was aging in her fridge. We lost Yiya a few years ago, but keeping her recipes alive for my own children has always been very important to me. In the Old Country they didn’t use things like calcium chloride, but since they are readily available, and make the process a bit easier, I have tweaked Yiya’s recipe a bit.

    1 gallon raw goat milk
    ½ tablet rennent
    1 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt
    1 tsp. calcium chloride
    6 Tbsp. pure fine seasalt (for a later step)

 

 
Heat milk on medium low heat (stirring) until it reaches 88°F. Remove from heat, and stir in one tablespoon greek yogurt (mix it with a tablespoon water so it’s easy to blend), and one teaspoon calcium chloride (this will make your cheese curds more firm). Cover and let sit for an hour. (1)

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Dissolve half a tablet of rennet in about four tablespoons of cold, unchlorinated water. Wisk gently into milk. Cover and let sit overnight or about 12 hours. (2)

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The next morning there will be a layer of whey on top of the pot, and the curds will have separated. Take a long, sharp knife and cut ½ inch slices into the curds. Turn the pot 90 degrees and cut ½ inch lines the other way. (3) Take your clean hand or large spoon and lift the curd strips from the bottom, then cut any large pieces. (4)

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Strain the whey into a large pitcher or jar and save for a later step. (5) Wrap the curds tightly in cheese cloth, and allow to drain until no more whey comes out (about four hours). (6) Unwrap your curds, sprinkle with one tablespoon of pure fine sea salt, and break up curds to mix in all of the salt. (7)

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Transfer curds into your cheese press or mold. There are online ideas for making one if you don’t own one. In my case, I just have the mold, but no cheese weights, so I press the cheese inside by placing my husband’s exercise weights on top. The cheese will sit like this overnight. (8)

Once the cheese is in the mold, transfer 2½ cups of the whey into a jar and add five tablespoons of salt. This will be your brine for your cheese. Let the brine sit out 12-24 hours. Allowing it to sit out will make it acidic, and it must be or your cheese will melt. I set it next to the cheese press, and let both do their thing for 12-18 hours in the summer, or longer in the colder months.

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In the morning dump your cheese onto a flat surface and cut into chunks. Place all the chunks in a container, and cover with the brine. (9) Store covered in fridge, and allow cheese to age in the brine for 3-5 days before eating.

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Add spice to your life with fire cider

 

Fire cider is a traditional folk elixir that has been lovingly brewed and used by generations of people across the world as a preventative medicine. Although the special ingredients differ from region to region, person to person, and even harvest to harvest, the core recipe remains fairly standard: raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey, onions, garlic, horseradish, hot peppers, and ginger, all combined then fermented for a minimum of two weeks and sometimes for over a month. Some people even bury it for a month or so instead of sticking it in a cool dark place.

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Apple pie brandy

 

Here’s to thee, old apple tree,

That blooms well, bears well.

Hats full, caps full,

Three bushel bags full,

An’ all under one tree.

Hurrah! Hurrah!

Each year I wonder what to do with my abundant apple harvest. There’s the usual juicing for cider and canning for juice, pies, and applesauce. I dehydrate some and cold-store others for winter eating. Then, with an eye to holiday gift-giving I make Apple Pie Brandy. It tastes like apple pie in a glass!

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Avoiding botulism when canning food

By Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP

 Home canning is a great way to have good things to eat, even in the coldest of winters, and more and more people are learning this useful skill. Indeed, Jarden Home Brands, which makes Ball canning jars, saw a 30 percent increase in sales last year.

Home canning techniques are much advanced from its beginnings about 180 years ago, with many scientific improvements that make it an excellent way to preserve food for later use.

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Bean and pumpkin soup

By Ilene Duffy

I really enjoy spending quiet time in my vegetable garden. Preparing the soil in the spring, planning where the vegetables will go, turning the compost pile and finding tons of worms, even weeding to keep a tidy garden are all enjoyable tasks. Then in the fall, after everything gets harvested, my husband, Dave, helps me turn the soil over and gather leaves to spread and churn in to prepare for the winter rains.

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Farmer’s cheese

By Miranda Rommel

Cheese: it’s delicious. Cheese making is a skill that’s been practiced for thousands of years, but for many home cooks it can seem mysterious and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Forget the special cultures, rennet, or dark caves. If you’re a newbie cheese maker, this is a great recipe for getting your feet wet and has lots of room for creativity.

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Zucchini: The most versatile fruit in your garden

By Tanya Kelley

I still remember chuckling as a dejected looking young couple, their arms loaded with weapons-grade zucchinis, walked out of our church last summer. Earlier that day, they had carried in the same number of zucchinis, obviously hoping to foist them off on some other (already zucchini-glutted) church members.
I chuckle, because I was in their shoes once. But then I figured out that zucchini is the best fruit in the garden. Fruit? Yes, fruit. That is, if you don’t mind deceiving your taste testers.

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Make homemade butter — without owning a cow

By James Kash

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Butter is one of the milk cow’s best by-products. Good on a hot biscuit with jam or as the secret ingredient to your finest meals, butter is one of the most useful products in your kitchen. Traditionally, butter was made after the cow’s milk had set and some of the cream from the fresh unhomogenized milk rose to the top and was scooped off. It was then saved and collected until a churnin’ was ready to go. At least that was what Granny and Papaw did.

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Healthy, budget-friendly, delicious grains

By Linda Gabris

Grains are a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are vital for good health and well-being. Diets rich in grains help prevent strokes and chronic ailments. When thinking along the lines of good health, it’s always wise to buy organically-grown grains.
Keeping your pantry well-stocked with various grains ensures your family will never go hungry. If you store your grains in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, they will save indefinitely. When grains are cooked, they absorb their cooking liquid and swell up to three or four times their original size; a small handful of grain really does make a lot more than you think.

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