January 2007

January 2007

Monday, April 25, 2011

making fresh mozzarella cheese

My daughter and I completed our first attempt at making fresh mozzarella cheese over the weekend.  I read a post from Kevin over at A Garden for the House blog about making cheese.  http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2011/03/homemade-mozzarella-in-30-minutes.html
I ordered the cheese making kit he suggested ($32.50 w/shipping) It arrived in 2 days. We were very excited to undertake this new adventure.  It took us much longer than the 30 minutes it should have, but that was due to us not being sure if we were doing it right. We kept looking at the pictures and comparing to what we had on the stove. We finally just poured everything into a colandar and were surprised to find more curds than we thought we had.  We kneaded and stretched the cheese and ended up with almost a pound of fresh cheese. The only problem with making this with another person is that you have to share it wtih them!! Looking forward to making our next batch.  The kit comes with enough citric acid and rennet to make 40 batches of cheese. It also came with cheesecloth and a thermometer.  Give it a try and have fun! I only wish it was fresh tomato and basil season!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring is here, I think. Do I rake or shovel?

I was going to post about the glories of Spring finally arriving, but as I look out my window, I see snow falling.  We've had 2 days of decent weather that I was able to start my garden clean-ups.  Where to start!
Remember that sapsicle picture I posted? It was on a very large maple tree in my back yard. I love that leaf-covered maple tree on hot summer days.  I don't love those same leaves in the Spring.  Especially when it snows so early in the Fall that I don't get them all raked up.  This is the mess I am faced with.  These leaves literally can be rolled up like a mat.  I think I have all my spring bulbs uncovered, some of their leaves were pretty spindly and yellow as they struggled to find some sunlight under the maple leaves.
This was taken last week, on one of those nice days. It was pretty chilly out, but the sun was shining bright and the bees and flies were happy and busy. I didn't get my camera in time to capture the 5 bees that were covering these flowers.

This was a pleasant surprise 2 weeks ago. I forgot I planted these little iris last fall.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Peanut butter cup cheesecake

I'm still waiting for spring to reach us, hopefully we'll see it this weekend. In the meantime, I thought I'd post this recipe that I created for my daughter's birthday. I always make her a different kind of cheesecake.  Recently, Hershey's came out with bite-size Reese's peanut butter cups. In case you are reading this from a country that doesn't have peanut butter cups - my sympathies.  I learned last year from a foreign exchange student that England does not have them. They are one thing she was going to miss about America.  They truly are the best food in the world!!  So, back to the cake.  I took my chocolate chip cheesecake recipe and used the bite size peanut butter cups instead of the chips.  Oh, so delicious!!!!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Crust - I used a package of Girl Scout peanut butter sandwich cookies (Do-Si-Dos). I crushed them and patted them in the bottom of a cheesecake pan.  You can also do the traditional graham cracker crust.
Filling -
3 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 can condensed milk
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 bag Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - or use regular size and cut them in bite size pieces
1 tsp. flour
In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add condensed milk; beat until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. In small bowl, toss together peanut butter cups with flour to coat (this keeps them from sinking in the batter), stir into cheese mixture. Pour over crust in pan. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool to room temperature. Chill. Remove side of pan, refrigerate leftovers.
Note - mini chocolate chips can be substituted - toss together 1 cup of chips with flour. Sprinkle 1 cup of chips, not mixed with flour,  on top of cake before baking.