Making chevre cheese from our home-milked goat milk

June 24, 2008 in cheese, Food Porn, Humble Garden, Local Food, recipe

(This was cross-posted to Humble Garden)

Making Chevre: Completed!

(Homemade chevre cheese)

We are enjoying our independence from the food chain. We get our eggs and our milk (and now cheese) from our backyard. We eat our salads from our backyard.

If you don’t now, what are you waiting for?!

If you think food prices are high now, you will be pale with shock soon enough. Think oil-based fertilizers, oil-based pesticides, oil-run tractors and trucks, think floods, think drought, think 2008.

secret egg

(One of our hens, Jennifer, escapes the coop every day and lays her beautiful egg in the shed where the hay is)

The seed companies are reporting a 40% rise in seed sales this year (they were shocked, didn’t see it coming, these people need to get on the web more often).

Now that the baby goats are not such babies and are fully weaned, we have more goat milk to work with. We go through less than 1 gallon of fluid goat milk a day for Baby O (who adores goat milk and is sensitive to lactose in pasteurized cow milk).

Can't have him, McCain

(Baby O with new hair cut, growing lots of muscles from that goat milk!)

Our milking doe, Torte, gives us about one and 1/2 gallons of milk a day. Over two days, we then have one extra gallon of milk, works out nicely.

torte being milked

(Torte in her stanchion)

You may or may not know that it is hard to make cream or butter from goat milk because the fat doesn’t separate out (because the fat globules are smaller and stay spread out, like its been homogenized). We could make it if we bought a $400.00 cream separator but thats not going to happen! I love goat cheese just fine.

torte being milked

(Q milking Torte)

We will be getting a jersey cow/calf to have super high quality milk, cream, and butter. I can wait for that.

Back to the topic for today.

It is VERY easy to make chevre but it takes a few days, you simply have to be patient.

We are using milk we pasteurized for this batch, we may go raw with he next batch.

We used a chevre starter from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, I can not recommend them highly enough.

Making chevre with our home-milked goat milk

(All in one chevre starter)

This little packet is enough for one gallon of milk. This could not be easier, you just bring your milk up to (or down to as the case may be) to 86 F and sprinkle the starter in. Mix well and let culture at room temperature for 12-20 hours.

The curd sets up and excludes the whey.

You then slice it up a bit so that the mass of curd is broken up and more whey is excluded.

Remember that all of the equipment being used must be sterilized.

We bought the plastic chevre molds from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company which I cleaned very well.

These are well worth the cost and will last a long time.

Making Chevre: plastic molds

(Chevre molds)

Using a sterilized slotted spoon, you scoop out the curds and begin to fill the molds.

Making Chevre: curds out of the pot

(Curds and whey)

Making Chevre: scooping in the curds

(Pouring curds into molds)

One gallon of milk yielded three molds worth of cheese.

Making Chevre: curds in the mold

(Filled mold)

Making Chevre: curds in the mold

(Filled cheese molds)

Once they are filled they go on a wire rack over a pan or bucket to catch the dripping whey, cover the tops and let sit at room temperature or in the fridge for 2 days. They will shrink a lot.

Making Chevre: 2 days to drip

(Covered and dripping, on the counter top)

After the two days, the cups were no longer dripping and the cheese was quite firm and much dryer.

Making Chevre: Completed!

(Homemade chevre cheese)

This cheese tastes unbelievably fresh and, I think, uniquely ours. Its a fantastic feeling to sit down to a salad that we grew topped with chevre we made from our own goat. I watched Torte munching on tree bark in our backyard as I nibbled on the cheese.


Blue Eggs Yellow Tomatoes – A Beautiful Life

June 1, 2008 in cookbook, Local Food, photography, review

blue eggs yellow tomatoes cookbook

Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden

Eating homegrown food is not only good for you and your bank account but it can be fantastically tasty and quite photogenic.

I recently received a review copy of “Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden” by Jeanne Kelley (published in April 2008 by Running Press Books). Kelley has decades of experience writing for Bon Appetit, Cooking Light magazine and many of her recipes have been published in LA Times Magazine, Natural Health, Islands and Spa Magazines.

Her professional life and her home life come together in Blue Eggs Yellow Tomatoes as she writes about how she raises some of her own food (chickens, vegetables) at her suburban home in Los Angeles and shares recipes that yield simply delicious concoctions that should satisfy anyone, whether you are growing your own food or if you go to the farmer’s market.

The book includes a charming mixture of fantastic food photography and the author’s own photographic glimpses into her family and backyard. She is not a professional photographer but her images are candid and enjoyable.

egg still life

(Copyright 2007 Nika Boyce Studios All Rights Reserved)

She covers various topics not necessarily found in your average cookbook, from how to garden in your own backyard to growing chickens to how to compost.

Nascent gardeners are given plenty of reasons to start growing their own food – 150 delightful recipes that span the range from salads to desserts in 10 chapters.

  • Appetizers and Small Plates
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches and Tartines
  • Pizza and Pasta
  • Fish and Poultry
  • Meats
  • Vegetables and Sides
  • Desserts and Sweets
  • Breakfast and Brunch

I found her salads chapter to be particularly enticing. They are quite beautiful and diverse, many interesting ingredient ideas. My attraction to the salads is also fed by a hankering for the veggies that have not even sprouted in my garden.

I really enjoyed the craftsmanship of this book. It is a large book (3.8 pounds) with bright white pages mixed in with country-home pages featuring a sunny palette of colors. As I mentioned before, the food photography is quite enticing.

egg - soft lighting

(Copyright 2007 Nika Boyce Studios All Rights Reserved)

Other attractions include a guide on pantry stocking and equipment choices, a kitchen garden primer, a section on how to use a recipe, and a guide for chicken keeping.

I am obviously biased positively toward anyone making an effort to grow their own food (veggie and animal). We have our organic garden, a flock of layer chickens, and a growing herd of dairy goats.

I would recommend this lovely cookbook to anyone who loves food and who is interested in pouring love and nurturing into their cooking.

Red bowl, egg, still life

(Copyright 2007 Nika Boyce Studios All Rights Reserved)

Product Details:

Local Food: Goat Milk

April 26, 2008 in Local Food

Local Food: First milking for KD

(Getting set up)

First I want to thank all of you who have gone to the trouble of doing the egg price survey in my last post. I am going to post up a map with prices (from around the world!) and talk about some of the numbers and comments.

Today I am going to share some scenes from around our little growing homestead. We are shooting for full food independence this year and milk is a huge part of this.

As you know we have two baby goats and we also have one momma goat (named, Millet, Wheat, and Torte, respectively).

The pictures in this post show Q and KD milking Torte. We have since set yup a stanchion in the wood shed where the milking goes better. We get about 1/2 gallon of milk a day.

Enjoy the photos!

Local Food: First milking for KD

(Cleaning the teats)

Local Food: First milking for KD

(Cleaning the teats)

Local Food: First milking for KD

(Cleaning KD’s hands)

Local Food: First milking for KD

(Q milking Torte)

Local Food: First milking for KD

(KD milking Torte)

Local Food: First milking for KD

(Feeding the unweaned babies Wheat and Millet)

My mom got me a pasteurizer for my birthday (thanks mom!!) and I can not wait for the babies to be weaned so I can start making some chevre!

Eggstravagant or worth it? Whats your price point?

April 13, 2008 in Local Food

eggs - test shot

(Homegrown eggs)

This is a question I honestly want your opinion on and I thank you all ahead of time for your time and answers.

Considering the rising costs of all foods and transportation, issues with food safety and such, what is a dozen of free-range brown eggs worth to you?

Click Here to take a short survey I made just for this post. Thanks for you help!

First, let me know where you are writing from (eggs will cost different amounts across the world), what sort of store you buy your eggs in, how much they cost you last time you bought (were they brown? White? Here in New England stores charge MORE for brown eggs even tho there is no difference between them). I have seen estimates of 28% to 45% INCREASE in egg prices overt the past few months to a year.

Do you usually buy factory farmed eggs or the organic or cage free “upscale” ones? What is the differential in your store from today’s prices and those a year ago?

I can’t tell you what eggs go for here in central Massachusetts because its been so long since I bought them. I can tell you that milk is simply astronomical (closing in on more than $4.50/gallon I think). This milk price coupled with the massive gas prices and having a baby who is tolerating cow’s milk now has pushed us to buying the milk at our convenience store where it is sold as a “loss leader” at just under $3.00/gallon. The gas is something like $3.40/gallon.

Soon we will be getting our milking doe and so we will be unhooking from the factory teat.

Kids, I have to tell you one last thing. Do you remember that car accident I had and all seemed well? Not so fast. My lovely car is moribund and not safe to drive on my commute. So now I am faced with getting another car. I am working this week to reach out to local restaurants to see if I can get their non-hydrogenated frying oil.. and then I think I am going to convert a diesel (VW?) to a grease car for my commute. In any event, I am going to have to find the money to get another car, this seems like an opportune time to take this plunge.

Do not forget to drop me a comment or email about your egg price point for local sourced farm fresh free range eggs.