Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Just in case we need Chevre after the apcolypse.

So, you haven't heard from us lately. You might guess that the Lloyd house has been enjoying some outside time... but oh no.
You might guess that we've been busy because
there is this thing called a Dissertation.
And it's DUE.
Like YESTERDAY already.
Even with those options available, what we've (I've) really been doing is preparing for the apocalypse. Not that I actually think it's gonna happen anytime soon... but it's a good motivator.

Unlike that Dissertation.
The one DUE ALREADY. (See mom, I get it)

When you think of the apocalypse and how you could possibly survive, you might plan to store water, or canned food and batteries.
We say that is all well and good. But why would you want to survive without Chevre cheese?
Seriously people, is life without cheese worth living?!
A while ago Meeshmellow tried (and succeeded!) at making actual, real, good, goats milk cheese at home.
Now you might say "oh, well, she's meeshmellow (and a chemist), of course she can do it."
So I'll finish it up with a "She said it was easy!".
To me, easy means that it doesn't take more that $20, more than 5 ingredients, or more than half a days worth of work. Guess what.
Cheese totally meets those requirements. I know, awesome, right?!

So here is what apocalypse preparation looks like in our house:
1) You use Google to find and purchase 2 ingredients: Rennet and Starter Culture (bacteria). You can get the goats milk at the grocery store.
2) You set out the equipment: some measuring spoons, a big spoon, a thermometer and a pot.
3) You follow the recipe which means first you heat up the milk, add the bacteria and rennet. Stir.
4) You then let the "inocculated" milk sit overnight. At room temp. That part kinda creeps me out.
5) The next day, you see if it's coagulated enough, drain the whey off and then let it drain in some cloth for a while. By "a while" I mean "as long as you can wait before eating it". Here is the stuff that I just let drain in cloth:
It came out like this:

It was pretty dry, and stayed in big chunks like I wanted. So that was good.

I also pressed some of the wet cheese in a nifty difty cheese press. THAT I TOTALLY MADE IN EL MACHINE SHOP! I know, you TOTALLY want to see this press, don't you?!

Ok, yes, I just took a piece of tupperware and punched holes in it. BUT IT TOTALLY WORKED, AND I MADE A CHEESE PRESS BY MYSELF IN LIKE 30 SECONDS. We'll need cheese presses at the apocalypse people.

This cheese turned out like this:

So, it was dry and chunky just like I wanted it. But square.
And with herbs because I put them in before I pressed it.
All in all, the press was the better way to go, there was less tending needed.
Now all I need is A BIGGER PRESS.

6) After it's drained, you get to eat it. You can add some salt and whatever, but it's good anyway.
7) Do it all again so that you can be really good at it in time for the apocalypse.

I'll have to admit, this whole do-yummy-yourself thing was inspired by El Machinist, who can do almost anything and in a gourmet way. He got me all makin' bread and stuff. Which is why we have this as a resident in the fridge:

It is super easy to make bread for dinner and whatnot. But all I could think about when I was eating the bread was how good it would taste with goat cheese. Hence the recent goat cheese activity.

When I brought the first batch of Chevre to El Machinist, he asked me where I got the ingredients. When I said the net, he said something like "It's apocolypse cheese, we won't have the internet. How can you make your own starter culture?" This then spurned a whole lunch hour of looking up how to start cultures and derive rennet from livestock or plants. Which, according to El Machinist after he read the instructions is " eh, easy enough to do... ". So there you have it.

Goat Cheese = Easy and yummy
Apocalypse = survivable, as long as your only requirements are bread and goat cheese
Dissertation = Not Complete