Monday, August 28, 2017

Mozza and Colby Cheese; Gardening and Project Updates (YOP Week 9)


Hi Everyone!

A new week is starting and I'm still catching up on last week! :) I finished the back of my beach/fall cover up during the weekend. This is an easy garment, it's just two pieces sewn together at the sides. I may or may not be putting this project on hold for a while because I want to knit us some winter hats and a doggy sweater for Jack. 


As some of you may have already read, I had success with my Pizza Mozzarella! It was my sixth try and I finally got a nice stretch from it. I got three balls of Mozza, just under a pound each I'd say. We're keeping one in the fridge to eat up, another is going in the freezer, and I'm going to try to age one in the cheese cave. The next one I try, I may add Lipase, that's a flavouring agent to give it more of a sharp taste. I also made a Colby cheese which is drying nicely! That ages for six weeks so we'll be able to try it around (Canadian) Thanksgiving. (More details on Rainy Day Cheese Making).


I'd prepared a wonderfully fattening comfort meal on Saturday for a "just in case" the sixth Mozza didn't work out. But what a nice surprise to find out that the Mozza grated well and melted wonderfully on our pizza for Pizza-Ghetti night! :)) The texture was just like the kind you buy in the bricks at the grocery store; and the taste was fresh and mild.

Now that I have the recipe for Mozza and the tools I need, I can make some whenever I like - I just have to get the timing right so I'm not up all night checking PH levels! Goodbye store-bought cheese-food Mozzarella! :)


The ONLY reason my Mozza worked was because I was able to read the PH (the red meter to the left). It worked like a dream, but took 22 hours for the PH to hit the sweet-stretch-spot. I also treated myself to a vacuum sealer. Not only will this come in handy for freezing, it will help me save lots of space in the cheese cave.


I already sealed up my aging cheeses! I also sealed one of the Mozzas for freezing.


Recognize my little fella? :)) I think that, of all the new projects I've started this year, the cheese making is my absolute favourite with the garden coming in at a close second! :) Speaking of the garden...


I cleaned up the garden this weekend too. I've discovered that flowers, root veggies and lettuces are the way to go in this climate. My poor tomatoes are all falling off the vine unripened. I never got one yellow bean or orange pepper. But my chamomile flowers have finally bloomed. They're so pretty!


My buttercrunch lettuce is still thriving! I have to find a way to grow this indoors over the winter, it's the only lettuce that my stomach can handle. And lookie lookie!!! A pun-kin is growing!!! Sometimes I see little surprises when I walk around the garden. This pumpkin was pushing its way out of the pumpkin patch. I tried to look more deeply in there but the stems are so pokey, even with gloves on, so I'm just waiting it out!


This seems like the last of the summer harvest. One little bit of spinach, 5 green beans, 4 cherry tomatoes and ONE cucumber (another surprise find yesterday!). I harvested the green onions too. I'll be harvesting my potatoes this week and we decided on a green onion and potato soup. We love green onions, but really don't use them that often and I don't want to freeze them.


Jack was watching me the whole time through the porch screen. He's a funny little guy, rarely wants to be outside, just likes the comforts of home I guess! :)


After the pizza-ghetti, we needed a nice light meal so with all of the garden goodies, I made a healthy and filling Cobb Salad.  The little cherry tomatoes were SO SWEET, delicious. I really hope we get more before the plants die from the cold nights.

I've come to terms with the fact that summer is more than likely over. I have to cover up the tomatoes and cukes each night now since it's down to around 5C these days. We had to put the heat on last night, ugh, in August! I hope everyone has a fabulous week, I intend to! :) 

46 comments:

Becki said...

As always I sighed as I finished your blog post, Rain. Everything just looks so soul-nurturing. I thank you for sharing your experiences - in cheese making, knitting and gardening (and anything else you choose to share). It has a way of nudging me to consider what gifts I have (both in talents and materially) and how I can use them to make my corner of the world more nurturing. I like your style. And I just want to say thank you.

Goatldi said...

Just look at you go girlie! Love the knit cover up and so glad you got the mozz to stretch for you. That is a fun part like taffy pulling!

Marsha said...

Wow......your mozza looks wonderful. So glad you finally found your perfect recipe. Your gardening has really been fun to watch. Sorry to hear your growing season is coming to an end. Your coverup really went quickly and will be there when you come back to it.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Get the snow shovels out and make sure the edges are sharp and straight!

Rain said...

That's so sweet Becki, thank you!! :)) And you said it so well, I DO make everything about soul-nurturing! My Blogger friends and I had discussions a while back about Hygge, which is a Danish style of life that is all about being comfy and cozy and feeling good. That's when I started to make my home the most comfy place in the world for me and Alex and the fur-kids. I'm fortunate that I don't have to leave the house to work, neither does Alex so we are home pretty much 24/7 and as my friend Kymber also says, we never want to go down the driveway if we can help it! Home should be nurturing, I never want to be anywhere else honestly! We always joke that we would love to hire an "intern" to go grocery shopping for us so we don't have to leave the house!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Goatldi :)) Thank you for encouraging me :) It was so much fun, but I think would have been more fun to pull the cheese with BETTER GLOVES...I was so happy and so "owe-y" at the same time lol. So glad I got it working! :)

Rain said...

Hi Marsha :)) I would love to get the cover up finished, so I'm not sure yet if I'll put it on hold or not, but I'd like to make something a little quicker...and with autumn pretty much already here, Jack needs a sweater. :) Okay, I NEED to make Jack a sweater...he already has a few, lol...the growing season is usually longer, but frankly just was pathetic this year! But I will work on the strengths of the climate and do mostly roots next summer with some lettuce, herbs and flowers. I'll save the peppers, beans, peas and other summer veggies for when I have a greenhouse. I still need to do tomatoes every year though, who knows? Maybe we'll have a great warm summer next year! :)

Rain said...

Oh Gill, MUST you mention the snow shovels lol??? I remember the sore shoulders from shoveling out last winter!!!

John M said...

Pizza-Ghetti, what a great idea!

Rain said...

Hi John, just be sure not to have a big lunch if you have this for dinner! :)

Dawn McHugh said...

your cheeses look fab it looks like you have really mastered the skill.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

you are the cheese queen! they look wonderful and i love the 'jack' cheese! i'm not surprised you are getting cold. we are very cool here for august which is a miracle. i can't remember it ever being this cool in august. i am loving it of course! my son was on a road trip with his wife today and found me my first pumpkins!!! i am SO excited!

kymber said...

Rain - you are always so uplifting and never stop trying! that pizza-ghetti night is to die for! your cheeses look amazing and that mozza sure looks like it was delicious! i can't wait hear about how the othercheeses turn out in a few months! i loved your comment on our blog about the boys off tinkering and me and you knitting and drinking wine - that dream MUST be a sign for you guys to come out here, look at some properties...we have a friend who rents a proper 2-bedroom trailer and they allow animals! we'd love to have you guys - not staying with us of course - we're anti-social too - bahahahah! but the trailer is about a mile away, very clean AND did i mention they accept animals. you should look into some cape breton properties - i can send you some good links! maybe next summer? and you could bring some of that aged cheddar for a lovely charcuterie plate one night on our back deck. lots of fishing and lots of swimming in the river and the beach (ocean) - clothes or no clothes. your call!

sending much love hon, as always to all 16 (all of your cats and dogs) of you - bahahahah! your friend,
kymber

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

The cheese looks fantastic Miss. Congratulations.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

So much good stuff at your place! And I'm very happy for you that things are going well with your cheese making. I know how much joy this brings you. Speaking of joy, that pizza would bring me lots of joy! LOL It looks SOOOOO delicious. We used to make homemade pizza all the time at home when I was a kid. And it was a family thing. My mom would make the dough and stretch it out, my dad would cut up pepperoni and grate the cheese. And my brothers and I would make the sauce, slice up whatever toppings we liked and put the pizza together. I can't tell you how many wonderful memories I have of this. I should make some homemade pizza one of these days to trigger those emotions!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Home made pizza! Be still my heart. I had a ball of fresh mozzarella for caprise salads. I used some of it and then saw the wrapper in the garbage. Husband strikes again. Seriously that man cannot be trusted around cheese. I wouldn't let him in your house! -Jenn

Breathing Life said...

Your pictures are so enticing. I love the pizza/pasta pic and it is cute followed up by your lighter meal. Congrats on conquering the mozza!

Share my Garden said...

What a feast! Yes, you certainly deserve the title, 'Cheese Queen', they look delicious. I'm impressed by the kit that you've bought and love the Jack cheese logo. Artisan cheese has become quite a big thing here in Blighty - do I see a cheese career blooming for you?!

Mama Pea said...

I'm thinking you'll be able to write a "how-to" book for beginning cheese makers in the future! You write so well, keep fantastic records and have actually had the hands-on experience (that so many writers lack!).

As for your garden this year, what a success! Success does not always mean things turn out perfectly, but rather climbing that learning curve counts for so much. I think all of us northern gardeners have to learn what is possible and what is not. (Although some of us -- ahem -- keep attempting the impossible. Grrrr!)

You've gotten a lot done on your knitted cover-up. And since you won't need it anymore this season, why not put it aside for more seasonable projects? Hats are so much fun in that they get done quickly and are always useful. Even if you have to find someone with a smaller head than your own. (Ask me how I know this.) Hugs to you, my super-creative friend!

Mary said...

Your cheese looks fantastic. Since we've moved, the only milk I can find is ultra pasteurized which prevents the cheese from forming. We're not up to having goats or cows yet and the regulations here make raw milk impossible to find. I really miss making some of my own cheese. And did I say all your cheese looks fantastic?

We've had the worst garden in the 4 years we've been here. Normally, we have peppers by the bushel. This year, the 3 yellow peppers that did start are still green after 2 months of just hanging there. The okra should be as tall as me by now but is just knee high. The potatoes all died in their bins before they flowered. Even the squash was a bust. Maybe next year will be better for both our gardens.

Just found your blog several months ago and I look forward to checking on you each morning. Your posts are so uplifting and motivational. Your blog is just a great way to start the day.

Susan said...

Your cheeses look fantastic! I love Jack - that little face. I would like to be able to grow lettuce inside all winter. It is the one thing I really miss. There is nothing - nothing! - like fresh lettuce.

Jenn said...

Everything seems to be coming along nicely!! Pizza-ghetti night...Love it! Although I love pizza so much, mine might turn into a pizza pizza night. Always enjoying reading your blog!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Congratulations on your moz sucess! It doesn't seem like it should be time already for summer to be over but guess it is!! Nancy

Blogoratti said...

What great success and you seem to be getting things right at your end, really lovely looking cheese. Good stuff, greetings.

RO said...

Rain, what in the world! You knit too! You are truly gifted. A brilliant idea about the pia and spaghetti together, and that Cobb Salad looks so yummy! I try to plant every year, and usually end up with a mess.(lol) This year I did mint, and thank goodness I didn't screw that up. It makes so much more sense to plant your own goodies so you can grab them as needed, and save money. You're keeping me motivated so I'm ready next year! Hugs and Happy Wednesday!RO

Rain said...

Thanks Dawn! I was so lost at first, now I feel like a pro! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Joyce :)) I know you are loving the cooler weather! Actually the days are pretty warm still, up in the high 20's C, but it's the nights that are a little too cool for me now. Pumpkins already! Fun! :) I have two growing and they are still green...so they have a few months to get nice and orange so I can harvest them for Halloween! :)

Rain said...

Hi Kymber :)) I told Alex about the rental and we will definitely keep that in mind. We've signed a lease here that ends June 30th 2019 so we're kind of stuck until then. This forced us to stay put so that we could save money and pay back some debt. But we always discussed renting in the area that we wanted to live before we buy...so I'll be revisiting this idea with you in a few years!!! Unless a gem rental comes along then we would be willing to do some work and find a new tenant to take over the lease! It's funny how alike we four are...so anti-social, yet friendly, we'd make a good foursome, all separated in our own homes that is, lol! ;) Fishing and swimming and cheese on the porch, now that sounds like heaven to me. Much love right back to you! :)

Rain said...

Thanks TB...I'm still wanting to see some of yours too!

Rain said...

Hi Martha :)) I LOVE that memory you have, and I agree...just the act of making the dough and preparing the pizza, keeping that memory in mind, it will conjure up some wonderful feelings! Plus you can eat the rewards! I love making pizza at home, now that we have the right Mozza...it's just perfect! :)

Rain said...

Lol Jenn...that's funny about the cheese wrapper! I'm like your hubby though, I can't be trusted around cheese. Though I'm doing pretty well with the ones aging! Once they're ready, they'll be gone quick I think.

Rain said...

Hi Mary-Anne :) Thank you! I conquered it! :)) And honestly, we are not a "dieting" household as you may have noticed lol! :) I try to make up for a big fatty meal with a healthy one though. Seems to work for us!

Rain said...

Hi Rosemary :) I couldn't help myself with the Jack cheese logo...it was meant to be :) Artisan cheese hasn't reached a big level here yet because we have all those yummy French imports...cheese is a big deal in Quebec. But we thought about it...I think I'd be too anxious all the time wondering if the cheese was worthy of being sold...and safety issues too. My next venture will be wine making though, so it'll go well together!

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :)) Thank you :)) I was reading a few cheese making books and honestly they are overly complicated. Cheese making really isn't that complicated, but paying attention and getting the right atmosphere, temperature, and in the case of the Mozza, the PH, is very important. I found it hard at first not having the right equipment. But I'm stocked up now (and quite broke from it lol)...so it's becoming easier and more fun to do!

You're right about the learning curve, and what you said on your blog, I won't give up the summer veggies next year. I already have the seeds, the containers and the will...so why not give it another go? I think this summer was a good one for me to start because I saw the worst of what the weather could bring during such an oddly cold and rainy summer.

Lol..that's funny about the hat. I have made things way too small for me because I'm too stubborn to do a gauge test before I start. And I NEVER learn my lesson! I actually started Jack's doggie sweater yesterday and I will put that cover up on hold for now, maybe get back to it once in a while. I think it would make a nice poncho-type of sweater for winter too!

Rain said...

Hi Mary :)) Thanks for visiting! :) Oh gosh, I feel so bad for you that all you can get is the ultra-pasteurized...I too have read that it ruins any chance of curd forming. Thanks for the compliment!! :) The regulations here are the same, raw milk can't be sold unpasteurized. At least the local Quebec milk isn't ultra or highly pasteurized so I can make it work with some Calcium Chloride.

That's awful about your garden...and the potatoes! I'm harvesting mine today and I've got fingers crossed that all went okay in there! I used garbage bins, this was my first try with potatoes. I'm so glad you dropped by! :))

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)) If you met Jack in person, you'd fall in love...both with the dog and the cheese lol ;)...I am going to try growing lettuce indoors...nothing to lose! I just have to find a way to cat-ify and dog-ify the containers.

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :)) I think we could eat pizza several times a week...but it really puts on the pounds, so we try to limit it to once a week at the most! The pizza-ghetti was such a heavy meal though...took a few days to digest lol!

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :)) Thank you! :) Summers here usually last all the way through September...but this year, it's just so cold. Who knows though, we might still get "Indian Summer", my hopes are high! :)

Rain said...

Hi Blogoratti :)) Thank you! Getting that Traditional Mozzarella to stretch was the pinnacle of my cheese making summer so far! :) Now my confidence is way up there I'm going to try making a Swiss style cheese I think! :)

Rain said...

Hi RO :)) Aw, thank you! Mint is my extreme nemesis for some reason...everyone says that if you let it, it will grow like weeds...mine won't even push out of the dirt! I've tried 3 years in a row and the mint seeds have some kind of conspiracy going...I won't give up though, we want fresh mint to make Mint Juleps! :) This was my first year gardening with seeds. I decided on container gardening mostly (except the pumpkin patch) because we are renting and I didn't want to dig up too much of the lawn. It's been a great experience and I'm definitely up for it next summer. But I am also planning a winter garden...so stay tuned! :)

Ruth said...

Lettuce will grow in pots under lights in the winter. It doesn't form proper heads unless you splurge on really expensive lights, but even under cheap lights you can get edible salad greens in the winter!

Rain said...

Thanks for the tip Ruth :)) I'm going to try a winter "greens" garden, but I'm thinking of getting some cheaper lights to start my seedlings in the spring as well. My biggest success were those I started indoors in April.

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

I would rather be turning the heat on than the AC! LOL! It's hot here still even though the leaves are falling. Your cheeses are nothing short of miraculous! You are so talented. Maybe someday I will get to make cheeses but for now I need to clean, sort, get rid of and and repair this old place! LOL! I will have to live vicariously through you. Your knitting is so perfect! That is going to be one sweet coverup when you're done! Have a great week! Love the "Jack Cheese" label....too cute!

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) That's where we differ...I would rather have the AC going these days! :) Our summer wasn't very good. Oh thank you :) And I do hope you have time one day for the cheese making, it's really fun to do once you get the hang of it! I could wear the cover up all year long as a sweater!!!

baili said...

glad your knitting is going great Rain!

either i think Jack wants to be at home rather than wandering around ,he is so cute>

Loved you garden ,looks beautifully groomed and cheerful. you are doing great in each field you chose to work on my friend!

Thank God your cheese making is success and you are storing this now ,congrats dear

Rain said...

Hi Baili :) The knitting is fun, I've found a renewed interest in it! I think it has a lot to do with being able to sit on the porch and be comfy...I wonder how well I'll do in the winter though! I might have to bring my porch love seat inside, it's so comfy! :) Thank you! The cheese making is great, I'm so proud and pleased with all of the results so far...but the real test will be when we taste them! :)