Sunday, August 6, 2017

Curd Cheese, Aging Cheddar, Baking Therapy and a YOP update!


This is my Year of Projects update! I have quite a bit done on my beach/fall cover up. Honestly though, I've been so focused on other things the last week, I didn't get as much done as I really wanted to. I have 5 more inches to knit before I get to the arm holes, this is the back of the cover up. Slow and steady! :)


Well, my cheese making took a new turn the past week! I made curd cheese! (I wrote a post on Rainy Day Cheese Making in more detail). This is a cheese that Alex and I really love to snack on. It's so expensive at the store. My batch yielded about 4 cups, and my cost was $7.50. A bag at the grocery store for one cup is $3.99.


I decided to make a homemade poutine (fries, gravy, curd cheese). Usually we only enjoy poutines from diners, but the homemade one was really good. I'll be working on it over the next few months to get it just right though. We have the fries that we love, I used my Bangers and Mash gravy, but I need to perfect the curd cheese. It turned out well in the flavour department, but that squeaky texture wasn't consistently there and I'm breaking brain cells trying to figure out why. I got some advice from the cheese supply shop and I found a very well recommended recipe that I'll try next time. My motto is to never give up! :)


I also tried a new recipe the other day too, potato pizza with Blue cheese and rosemary. Verdict? Could use a personal touch! It was good, but a little dry due to lack of sauce and cheese.. I'll add some Mozzarella and maybe some bacon next time. When I get it yummy I'll post my recipe! Speaking of food...well, first things first...


My favourite little fella in the whole wide world, Jack, is sick. :(...he ate something...we have no clue. But Alex stayed up with him until 3am, then I woke up and took my turn because he had to go out almost every half hour poor thing. At 7am, my nerves were bothering me so I decided on some baking therapy. So speaking of food...here is what I did all day:


Alex bought me a bundt pan last week with the new cookbooks, so I made my very first Mixed Berry Bundt Cake with a Brown Sugar and Butter Glaze. I searched high and low for a non-powdered-sugar glaze and this one was really sweet and delicious! I also made Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmmm...Hopefully these sweets will last us the week! :)


I am trying to empty the deep freezer. I defrosted a bunch of ingredients to make tonight's dinner, Potato, Ham and Gruyere Tart - this tart is so amazing, we can't get enough of it! I also used up the last of my Mozzarella to make a few frozen pizzas - I used my Thin Crust Dough recipe. So we're all set in case there are nights where I don't feel like cooking.


I also made a bunch of Joyce's Homemade Hamburger Buns. We decided to make 16 buns instead of the called-for 8 in her recipe so we can have some smaller burgers. We also use these as dinner rolls for stews and chilis. I love this recipe Joyce! :)


So, my first Cheddar is beautifully aging in a nice DRY orange coating! It'll be ready on Halloween. I made a second wheel which will age for 6 months and we'll try it on Valentine's Day! I have another Cheddar planned to age a full year, I will make that in the next week too.


Another pet in dire straights, poor Marlene...even with her Thunder Shirt, she really suffers during thunder storms. We've found the Thunder Shirt does help her but during long persistent bouts of thunder and lightning, not much will help. She stays with me in the kitchen and won't leave my side, though she runs upstairs occasionally for some comfort from Alex, then right back down again, curled into a ball and shaky. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make them all feel better!

42 comments:

Rachel said...

My mouth is WATERING! Your cheese and the poutine look incredible! I am so impressed by the cheddar too. Do you think the thunder-vest is worth the purchase? I just adopted a new pup and he's the first one I've had who's afraid of thunder. I've been thinking about buying one!

I hope Jack is feeling better soon!

Marsha said...

Poor Jack.....hope he is all better soon. And I have a "Marlene" too. I wish I had a magic wand too. Your foods look so yummy. I will look forward to your recipes when you oerfect them.

Becki said...

I've been trying (again) the 5-minutes-a-day (no knead) bread lately. I just made a loaf today and didn't think to take a picture! I was eating some buttered toast as I read your post here. :) I'm curious where you store your cheese, Rain. I just can't imagine having it visible (or anywhere I'd come across it) for so long and not being tempted to cut into it. I can't wait until you cut it open for Valentine's Day and give us a report. How fun to be in on it at the beginning!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Our Labrador Retriever Syrah always barked and was worried through thunder and fireworks. Oddly enough, Poppy could not be in the least bothered by such things.

Mama Pea said...

Isn't it a helpless feeling when you've done everything you can think of to help Marlene through the thunder and lightning storms . . . and she's still traumatized? Poor girl. But think how much worse she'd be feeling if she didn't have you and Alex . . . which I just know must be such a comfort to her.

And Jack! How could he have gotten something bad to eat when you keep such a close watch on your pups?

Oh, Rain, your cooking and baking makes me feel so inadequate about my same ol', simple efforts. I mean our meals are nutritious and healthy but . . . Maybe it's just that someone else's creations always look so much better!

You are becoming the Queen of Cheeses in short order. You're so ambitious and adventuresome. How can you miss making wonderful cheeses of all kinds?! I love reading of your cheese making adventures.

baili said...

you dishes made my mind blow dear Rain you are AMAZINGLY TALENTED!!!

your beach cover is beautiful and hope soon it is complete .

i adore you for your love and generosity for your new pet ,it is totally appreciated from bottom of my heart my friend!

Dorothy said...

Hope by now that Jack is well again - also hope the thunder has stopped. I hate it when our furbabies are upset. I have to say that your post has made me VERY hungry. I'm going to check out the recipe for the buns as they look so yummy. Will look forward to seeing more of your beach cover-up next week.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

everything looks wonderful rain! have you ever tried plying soothing music during a storm? my last chow hated them so i would play classical music and turn up the volume. it helped.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

As usual, you are a very busy lady. I hope Jack will feel better soon. My Daisy is so afraid of the storms also and has been having a lot of anxiety with all the storms we have had. I try to comfort her, but nothing seems to work.

Treey Stynes said...

Potato pizza?? Are you serious? Try sausage, bacon and pineapple chunks on pizza.always try something tasty. How about meatballs?

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

So much good eating at your place. Every time I read one of your posts I'm inspired to get back to regular home cooking. Then I look around at the house stuff we're still working on and I say "maybe next week". LOL But eventually.

Poor Jack! I hope he is feeling better. It is horribly sad to see animals sick. They don't truly understand and yet they just deal with whatever is happening with no complaints. Poor little souls...

And sweet Marlene. I can just imagine how frightening thunderstorms are for her. Hopefully there are far and few in between!

Breathing Life said...

I love poutine and yours with the homemade cheese looks so good. I can't have it very often because I need the gravy to be gluten free, but there is one place that I have found it.
Hope your doggies are feeling better now.
Your baking looks scrumptious

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

I hope poor Jack is all better now. You have really accomplished a lot on your knitting. Instead of emptying out your freezer with all you baking I think you must have filled it back up! Nice to have things made ahead though. Nancy

Sam I Am...... said...

Good for you on the knit coverup! You have very nice stitches and don't feel pressured....just enjoy it when you feel like it. You have a lot of irons in the fire and poor Jack! My heart went out to all of you...him for not feeling good...we all know how awful that is and you guys for staying up with him and taking him out. Poor Marlene too.....that must be awful for her!
I cannot believe how much you get done in a day! I have to try the crisp pizza crust, the tart and those buns! The poutine looks like a real comfort food! Yum! I was out of town yesterday (all day trip to the doctor) but I am back now to see what you've been up to and it looks like quite a lot! You are so motivating to me! Thank you...I need it! LOL!

Susan said...

Poor Jack - that look can just melt you into a puddle. I hope he's feeling better. I had a dog that was terrified of just about anything and everything. I tired thunder coats, music, everything. The only way I could reassure her was to let her go under my bed - a snug fit for her - while keeping the room dark and all windows tightly sealed and curtained. I see we use the same therapy for sleeplessness, worry and just about everything... :)

Rain said...

Hi Rachel :)) Thanks! The poutine was really good, but a squeakier cheese would have been better...I'll get it right that's for sure! :) Well, the Thundershirt...I paid $40 for Marlene's...she's a big girl, it was the large size. Without getting into too much TMI....she used to have the runs after every storm, her nerves got to her digestion...since the Thundershirt though, we noticed that doesn't happen...she still pants and shakes and runs around during storms and fireworks...but then her digestion is better after, so does that mean it helps? Maybe...with her though, she's so far gone with the fear...we were told that 2 owners ago, she was exposed to loud gunshots and that's how it all started. Maybe since you have a puppy, it might help at the get go? I think it's something each person just has to try because I've heard some people raving about it. For Marlene, I think it helps during some short fireworks. She just listens and lays down again. Before she would get in a panic. But for the long storms, not really sure. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

Rain said...

Thanks Marsha :)) Jack is slowly on the mend, but still pretty sick. He's eleven years old and was obese when we adopted him 2 years ago...we got him at a healthy weight and he eats really well now. I had a pug who had pancreatitis and kidney failure from a prolonged high fat diet...it just makes me worried about Jack now.

Rain said...

Hi Becki :)) I ONLY make no-knead bread now!!! Ever since I discovered it, I can't go back to kneading! I take lots of pictures of the food I make for reference mostly, but I thought it would be nice to post them. I love getting ideas from other people so I figure maybe I could help others too! The cheese...it's HARD not to want to eat it lol! When it's aging, I store it in the old bar fridge, though I think we'll need to get a bigger used fridge for this purpose now. I want to try it, but I keep thinking how proud I'll be when I cut into it the first time after the aging!!

Rain said...

Hi TB :)) It's funny how it affects one dog and not the other. Jack and Charlie could care less about loud noises...and the cats, two of the three are fine, but one of them cowers away when the fireworks start.

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :)) Thank you so much :)) Yes, it is a helpless feeling...we can only hope that she'll realize one day that she is safe. But from what we heard, she was exposed to gun shots in her past...and we think she must have got caught in a storm on her own because her reaction is terror. My old pugs back in the day were both scared, but they just hid and it wasn't as bad as Marlene's. I guess, me having panic and anxiety attacks, I can relate to what she's going through, so it makes me want to help her even more.

Jack...no idea. We racked our brains trying to figure out what he ate! He's still sick today. We made a vet appointment for Friday just in case. I'm just hoping it's not something more serious...fingers crossed he'll recover from this soon.

Oh Mama Pea...don't feel inadequate! I LOVE to cook, and we LOVE to eat (it's our favourite passtime lol)! Right now we can get away with lots of comfort food so that's how we're eating! We hope we can always eat that way! The cheese making has become a passion! I thought I'd try it out...now I have all sorts of plans for every cheese imaginable! But you know, I might need to buy that big fridge after all. The bar fridge might not hold enough for my big plans lol!

Rain said...

Hi Baili :)) Thank you! :)) My heart is with Alex and my pets and they get everything I can give. :) I've been baking and cooking so much to distract myself from the sick/upset pets...I think we'll be gaining weight until Jack gets better!

Rain said...

Hi Dorothy :)) Thank you, the thunder is gone good thing...none in the forecast this week so Marlene gets a break, unless the loud weekenders let off those annoying fire crackers...gah. Jack is not better yet, it worries me. He'll see the vet on Friday if needed though. Poor him, I wish I could help him more, but he's definitely getting nearly all of my attention these days! I think I might be done knitting the whole back of the cover up this week! It's keeping me distracted while Jack sleeps! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Joyce! :)) We never tried the music, but I'm willing to try. Right now we close the windows and turn on all the fans to try to drown out the thunder, but her ears are right up there, it's like she's waiting for the shoe to drop or something...I always wondered how we could put headphones on her and play some soothing nature sounds or something...

Rain said...

Hi Starting Over :)) Poor Daisy...it's so hard to see them go through it. We can't avoid the thunder though. I had a pug who was terrified back in the day. The only thing that "cured" him was when he lost his hearing as he got older.

Rain said...

Hi Terry :)) YES, I tried a potato pizza lol...I'm usually a sauce and cheese gal, but I wanted to try something new! It was pretty good though, but needed lost more cheese! Alex would love the pineapple, I'm not a fan of that, but we do love bacon and sausage! Everyone is trying to reinvent old classic recipes, which is okay if they work lol...but I will NEVER put lettuce on a pizza!!!

Rain said...

Hi Martha :)) Lol "maybe next week"...well, you do have priorities. It's hard to relax and enjoy cooking if the house is a shambles of renovations. When we first moved here there was a lot of work to do and our "cuisine" was mainly microwave! I wish I could handle pain and sickness like the dogs...I'm such a wuss and my pain threshold is getting lower and lower lately. He's a trooper though. He STILL wants to eat even though it makes him so sick! We're giving it until Friday before we go to the vet though. I can't imagine what he got into.

Rain said...

Hi Mary-Anne :)) Thank you! I guess if you find the right recipe for gravy, then poutine is allowed on a gluten-free diet. Sorry to hear that. I had to go gf for a year, but it was just part of an elimination diet to find what my digestion hated me for lol...I found it challenging to find good recipes.

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :)) Ha ha...Alex said the same thing, he said "I thought you were trying to EMPTY the deep freezer" hee hee. I said I'm just "reorganizing" the ingredients! :) I'm finding the knitting a great distraction these days, it's very comforting.

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) Thank you! :)) I really am enjoying the knitting, but I have to say, it's a nice relaxing distraction while Jack is sick. I'm on the porch knitting while he's sleeping next to me. Yes, he's suffering, but so are we lol...getting woken up after a few hours consistently isn't good for our overall immune system and we both are sick too now. Ugh!

The poutine is the BEST comfort food! Though my curd cheese needs improvement, I'll get it right! :) I have to check out your blog too, I've been so involved with the pets and trying not to worry too much! I'm happy I can motivate you!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)) You know the worst part about Jack's "bedroom eyes" is that he keeps trying to tell me he wants to eat what we're eating...I feel as though we need to eat in a separate room so he doesn't feel bad!! I remember you saying you used "baking therapy" and it fit me to a T. I make too much food sometimes though! :)

Lucy Bowen said...

Oh poor Jack - really hope he is better tomorrow. Your cover up looks great and all that cheese looks fabulous. I can't wait to see you cut the cheddar at Halloween.

John M said...

You have so many new good dishes I'd like to try.

Rain said...

Hi Lucy :)) Thanks, I hope my little fella is better soon. I just hate going to the vet, but I will if needed, he's the most important. :) Halloween...I'm so excited!! :)

Rain said...

Thanks John :) I'm trying to empty that deep freezer and I'm getting creative! :)

Treey Stynes said...

Hi Rain, I'm having a lot of computer problems at the moment so I can't always post a comment

Rain said...

Thanks for letting me know Terry! I couldn't post comments for a few days too, I was only able to start again yesterday. I think with Blogger, you get what you pay for lol. At one point all of the photos disappeared on my blog, I was so peeved, but they were back the next day.

Jenn said...

Hope Jack is feeling better, it sucks to see loved ones (people or pets) sick!!
I thought you of yesterday while I was listening to the radio on the way to work..they were talking about cheese and how do you actually make cheese...and why is cheddar orange? It was funny.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Poor Jack! I hope he's feeling better now. My nerves get the better of me when one of mine gets poorly. I hope this does not warrant a visit to the vet's.

That poutine (and all the other food photos) look smashing! So delicious!!

RO said...

I need to find a way to make a trip to your house! That mixed berry cake, the cheese curds, and your books are all calling my name. Totally love your posts! Happy Friday! RO

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :)) Lol...why is Cheddar orange? Food dyes!! My Cheddar turned out white, mind you, it darkens a little when it ages, so we'll see! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Well, so far no vet visit. But he's worrying me a bit today...tmi for non-pet owners, but the fact is, he hasn't pooped in 24 hours now...and it's raining today so unless it's urgent he won't even go out! Once his poop is normal, I'll feel better!

Rain said...

Hi RO :)) Lol...thanks for the nice comment! I love your posts too! :)