As I write this my mouth is happily chewing and I am trying my best not to pass out from sheer bliss!
I’ve finished my plate and taken a moment to reflect (and pant heavily) and now I simply have to tell you what just went down.
Here’s how it all happened:
I walked into our back room which is where we have our laundry, refrigerator and mini (but crazily messy) storage space. I picked up a package of noodles to prep for tonight’s dinner and came across a bag of sugar preveously unopened by me but which was now sporting a big gnarly hole chewed through the plastic by rodent teeth! This did not go over well with me.
No not one bit am I “chill” about the thought of having to battle a rodent (and possibly more than one) in my pantry/storage/laundry space. I had a bit of a freak out (but quietly because my son had just gone down for his nap on the other side of the wall.) I turned on my heel and quietly stomped out into my living room and has a hissy fit. We have sonic, plug in rodent repellent thingies in the wall out there so this WON’T HAPPEN!!! Ok, so this will have to be dealt with and soon but here is the deal. That back “room” ( I use this word loosely) was an “add on” to this house that we rent, some time back in the 70’s and it has absolutely NO insulation at all….and no doors either. I have curtains drawn between that space and my kitchen and between my kitchen and the rest of our house and those curtains are all that separates us from 120 degree heat (it’s always 10-15 degrees hotter out there than it is outside in the summer…and it is now summer in Pasadena Ca.) and now that is all that separates us from rodents!!!
God help us. I will now be a mess of a wreck and a half until this gets dealt with. So, just empty it out and search box by box and clean everything out so it can’t hide and set some traps. Yes, that is what I intend to do but not by myself and not in the hottest part of the day and not when I KNOW that I will scream if I see the little vermin and then what would I do about it anyway?…hit it with a stick? No! Better to do something to distract myself until darling hubby comes home to perform his manly duties and rid our dwelling of vermin.
What to do? What to do? I know! I’ll make cheese. 🙂
Have I ever made cheese before?
Yea, once about 5 years ago I got a wild hair and made some really mediocre mozzarella ( which needed rennet which I don’t keep on hand) I don’t know why I decided on cheese making as a distraction except perhaps I wanted to make something that I knew that little bugger would want and wouldn’t be able to have…just as an F-you for chewing a hole in a brand new bag of organic brown sugar! Plus I’m a stress eater/foodie who loves to cook, so what better time to make cheese.
I went looking for a cheese recipe that didn’t call for rennet and quickly found a quick 10 minute farmers cheese recipe. I scanned throughout the comments to see what problems other folks had and what reccomendations they had and the. Looked to see if I had the ingredients. So here is the recipe as I read it and the modifications I made:
HOME MADE FARMER’S CHEESE RECIPE
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 large lemon, juiced
Pour the milk into a large pot, and stir in a pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom of the pot.
When the milk begins to boil (small bubbles will first appear at the edges), turn off the heat. Stir lemon juice into the milk, and the milk will curdle. You may need to wait 5 or 10 minutes.
Line a sieve or collander with a cheesecloth, and pour the milk through the cloth to catch the curds.
What is left in the cheesecloth is the Farmer’s Cheese. The liquid is the whey.
Some people keep the whey and drink it, but I throw it away. Gather the cloth around the cheese, and squeeze out as much of the whey as you can. Wrap in plastic, or place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.
I didn’t have a gallon of milk. I had 2 1/2 cups whole European style yogurt from Trader Joe’s, 3/4 cup heavy cream and 4 3/4 cup whole milk (don’t use ultra pasteurized or it might not work) which gave me 1/2 gallon so I decided to follow the recipe as though I were just doing a half batch.
I put all the liquids in the pot with about 1/2 tsp grey sea salt and stirred it. I put on the flame at med Hightower and put the thermometer in (waiting for 190 F, the point at which the milk starts to boil around the edges) it started to curdle even before I added my lemon juice but I added 2 tablespoons anyway and stirred it up and waited my 10 minutes.
I did not have cheese cloth so I used an old loosely woven linen tea towel (not precious so I didn’t mind staining) and placed it in a strainer over another large pot to let it drain.
It drained pretty fast but I couldn’t wait!
After most but not all of the liquid had drained I spread some thickly onto some Italian toasts (Rusks) and topped it with salt, fresh cracked black pepper, good olive oil and sliced a warm, ripe tomato from the yard.
This was heaven on toast! and exactly hit the spot and made me forgive the little mouse for seeking refuge from the cruel California summer sun in my back room while looking for a morsel of food to ease his grumbly little tummy…for a minute or two at least…but he still has to go!
Any ideas how to get him out quickly?