September 1, 2014

Mizithra Cheese - National Goat Cheese Month


August is National Goat Cheese Month. Just for fun, I ....

Yes, I know today is September first, and it isn't National Goat Cheese Month anymore...

BUT WAIT!

A friend of mine suggested I make mizithra, the cheese that tops her favorite dish at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Indianapolis. I'd already made four cheeses, but I really wanted to do this one too. So you're getting a bonus cheese post!



My Nubian goats - Phoenix, Ziva, Firefly, and Felicity - have provided the milk I've used to make the cheeses, and the kind folks at Hoegger Supply Company, my favorite place to buy goat supplies, have provided the supplies I've been using for this series on goat cheese. My many thanks go out to them.

Mizithra is a traditional Greek cheese made from unpasteurized goat or sheep milk. This cheese takes several days to make but it is very easy. It uses fresh whey from making another cheese, so I made another batch of lemon cheese. This time the curds had begun to separate even before I added the lemon juice. I didn't have to add additional lemon juice and wait longer for the curds to separate correctly this time either. When I took the lid off the pot, the curds and whey looked like this:


I drained the whey from the curds, and then began making the mizithra. "Fresh whey" means just that: freshly drained from a batch of cheese, no more than an hour old.


To make mizithra, the recipe said to use:
4 quarts of fresh whey
2 quarts of whole milk
juice of a lemon
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)

Since I didn't have that much whey, I halved the recipe and used:
2 quarts of fresh whey
1 quart of whole, raw goat milk
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cheese salt


I poured the whey and the goat milk into my pot and heated it up to 90°F. This didn't take long at all because the whey was still quite warm. When it hit 90°, I removed the pot from the stove, added the juice of half a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of cheese salt, stirred it once around, and put the top on the pot.


Then the pot sat in a warm place in the kitchen for 2 days - the directions say 2-3 days - until it was thick and curdled. The curds formed a bumpy layer on top of the whey.


I moved the curds to a cheesecloth-lined bowl.


I gathered the corners of the cheesecloth and hung the ball of curds from a plastic spoon in a pitcher so the whey could drain off. The direction recommends draining for 24-48 hours. The longer you let it drain, the firmer and drier the cheese will be. I let mine drain for 24 hours and it seems to have been just right.

I read that this cheese can be tangy when made at certain times of the year. Mine was definitely tangy!

What can you do with mizithra cheese? Hubby says it would be very good with crackers and fruit. Here is a link to that recipe for spaghetti with browned butter, my friend's favorite dish from Old Spaghetti Factory. I'll be making that for dinner tomorrow tonight.

I hope you've enjoyed this series on goat cheeses and National Goat Cheese Month as much as I have. I'd like to thank Hoegger Goat Supply for providing the cultures and other supplies I've used in this series. Do you need cheese? Make some!




National Goat Cheese Month
Week One - Lemon Cheese
Week Two - Ricotta
Week Three - Mozzarella
Week Four - Chevre
Bonus - Mizithra Cheese - this post




DISCLOSURE: The cheese cultures and supplies I'm using were supplied by 



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
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August 31, 2014

Silver Sunday and Being Thankful

I am thankful to the Lord, my God, for:

- a visit from our son and future daughter-in-law
- picture perfect mornings
- two eggs in the chicken coop from my old hens
- enough milk to make cheese
- the antics of my yard rooster
Silver Sunday

The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
Psalm 18:46 NIV


~~~~~

August 30, 2014

The Great Zucchini Blog Hop

 ~~ It's the Great Zucchini Blog Hop! ~~


Zucchini - that most prolific of garden vegetables! According to an old joke, if you leave your car unlocked during zucchini season, your neighbors are likely to "gift" you with bags and bags of zucchini in the back seat when you're not looking. I've never had that happen, but I've sometimes watched folks at church avoid zucchini growers on Sunday, having already had their fill of squash!

I've never grown zucchini - I've never had a garden big enough to grow all that I want to grow, and zucchini is a sprawler as well as not being way up top of my list. One of my daughters grows it each year; she grates up extra zukes and freezes them, later adding them to baked goods and spaghetti sauce. She's talked me into giving it a try and next year I'll be including it in my expanded garden.

In honor of this wonderful squash, Lisa from the Self-Sufficient HomeAcre, and hostess of our weekly HomeAcre Hop, is holding a Great Zucchini Blog Hop, and I'm joining in. I want to know your favorite variety, your growing tips, and how you use zucchini - since next year I hope to have a surplus.

Don't make your neighbors run and hide in fear of yet another zucchini! Look here for tips to use up all those extras. Zucchini-related posts of any kind are welcome, even those in your blog archives. Don't have a blog? Leave a comment with your favorite tips or recipe. I hope you'll join in ...

~~ The Great Zucchini Blog Hop! ~~






~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
  Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email

August 29, 2014

Friday Follow-Up

This week:

-- This is the last week of August - summer has just flown by - and the end of National Goat Cheese Month, but I'll have a bonus cheese post on Monday, September 1st.


-- Tomorrow I'll be participating in the Great Zucchini Blog Hop, a fun one-week-only hop focusing on that super-prolific summer squash. Please stop by over the weekend and link up your posts on how to use, how to cook, and how to grow zucchini. Share your favorite recipe, your favorite growing tips, or maybe even a favorite memory. Spread the word!


-- This is the first year I've grown paste tomatoes. They are determinate plants, and evidently they have reached the end of their growing season. The tomatoes left on the withered plants are slowly ripening and that's all I'll get now. I've learned that they need more calcium than other tomato plants, so in the future I'll need to treat with ground eggshells as a matter of course. I've also learned that to make the amount of tomato sauce and other goodies I want, I'll need to plant more than I did this year.

-- Next week is our county fair. As fair secretary, I can't even begin to tell you how busy I've been recently, and especially this week. Next week I'll be milking goats in the dark at both ends of the day, and letting hubby eat frozen food. I'll be posting as usual next week by using the "schedule ahead" feature, but I will most likely be scarce on Facebook, etc.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
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August 27, 2014

The Herb Garden in August


Now that it's August, the herb garden is finally looking established, full and green. I enjoy going out there each day to water each individual plant and see how they're doing. It's almost like visiting friends. I brush my fingers against the rosemary, the different basils, the catnip and mint; they smell so good.


The grasshopper population has declined. I'm sure they've laid their eggs in the ground for next year's invasion, but at least for now, there aren't as many of them and my plants are finally able to grow and thrive.


I have four kinds of basil this year: sweet basil (genovese), dark opal basil, cinnamon basil and purple basil.


The cinnamon basil has gone to seed. I've been pinching off the sweet basil flowers so it will continue growing leaves that I can harvest, but I let the others "do their thing".


Do you remember when I confessed that I've never been able to keep rosemary alive? This plant has outlived my expectations and still looks great.


I was a little worried about planting catnip, but the outdoor cats have ignored it. Whether or not a cat likes catnip is a genetic thing.


Calendula



Marigolds


I finally spotted a dozen little paprika peppers on this plant.


The lavender plant is just beginning to bloom again.


Lemon balm

I planted oregano seeds; they sprouted and grew to a grand height of about a quarter inch, where they remained for two months and then died. I've replanted the pot and hope for better success.


A dear friend sent me a birthday card made of handmade paper with flower seeds embedded in it. I kept the inner card but "planted" the handmade paper in a pot in the herb garden.


Soon there were little seedlings, and now they've grown tall and the zinnias are blooming. There are small purple flowers as well but I'm not sure what they are. Verbena maybe?


Not all the flowers in the herb garden are herbs, but they are all delightful, lending cheerful color to the variety of green leaves and the sweet and spicy scents. I'm enjoying the addition of the container garden. I hope I can overwinter the perennials in the house so that I can enjoy them again next spring.

You might also enjoy:
The New Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in June
The Herb Garden in July
The Herb Garden in August


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email
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