Archives for category: Food

Cheese Press-o-lator Mark II

Having already gotten a cheese cave together I felt a certain amount of pressure to build a cheese press so that I can get some product in the cave and ageing.  I built the first version of the cheese press in early December.  Check out the how-to on Instructables for construction and use details.  The picture above is of the Cheese Press-o-lator Mark II.  I gave the Mark I away (but not before I tried it out) to inspire me to continue working out the design more.  I want to continue to refine this press design until I am satisfied and then sell them.  New for the Mark II, I changed the gauge which is now a rod sticking out of the middle of the top.  There are grooves inscribed on the rod that denote every ten pounds of pressure.  It’s a much more elegant design than the cardboard strip I had before.  I have to admit that I haven’t made time to make any more cheese that needs pressing.  I will though, the cave was being used most recently to cure pepperoni.  I did make a great fresh cheese that got given away to friends at Christmas.

Try it yourself:

Strain yogurt overnight in a cheesecloth (or any other cloth, t-shirts work well) until it has the consistency of spreadable cheese.  I did it by tying the cloth around a wooden spoon and hanging it in a stock pot.  You can also line a sieve with cloth and put it in a bowl.  Mix in your favorite herbs.  I used tarragon, thyme and cilantro.  Garlic and rosemary wouldn’t be bad either.

Fast, Easy, Delicious!

Let me know how your cheese comes out…

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Matzoh crunch

This Christmas we made goodie bags full of treats for everyone.  In addition to the candied grapefruit peels we made cake balls, assorted chocolates and Matzoh Caramel Crunch.  The Matzoh Caramel Crunch was so good it deserved its own post.  Carefull though, if you decide to make it you may need to make a second batch to give away as the first one won’t make it through the day…

grilling planks

We had some leftover cedar tongue and groove board ends at work from a door building project.  They looked suspiciously like the salmon grilling planks you can buy for your grill.  I ran them through a thickness planer to smooth them and cut the groove side off on the table saw.  The brand was made from a leftover piece of brass weatherstripping.  I bent it into the spiral design and heated it over a small gas barbecue grill with pliers.  I used a piece of scrap wood to press down on the brand once it was hot.

sofi cake
This year Sofia wanted an all white cake.   We decided on the same white cake recipe from Shirley Corriher that created the epic fail cupcakes.   I backed off the baking powder and it helped but it was still a fiasco.   I over filled the pans and they started bubling up right away.  I had to take the pans out and scoop out 30% of the batter from each one part way through baking.   They also made big bubbles and sank in the middle when they cooled.

Not the best.

The filling was a creme filling for eclairs and the icing was whipped cream stabilized with cream cheese.   I was able to hide the concave layers with a combination of over stuffing the middle with filling and plenty of icing. I used a comb that I cut out of cardboard to make the patterns.

In spite of the tribulations, the final result was delicious.

Candied grapefruit peel

I was at the dentist for a regular cleaning and the hygienist asked me if I had noticed anything wrong with my teeth since the last time I was there.  “Well,” I said, “this one molar in the back seems a little sharp.”     Read the rest of this entry »

CraisinLove Bars

I like Crasins fine, wouldn’t say I loooove them but we’ll get to that later.

I didn’t plan on posting so much about food when I decided to start this blog.  I thought I’d be posting about machines and other constructed stuff.  It turns out that making food is a great way to scratch the project making itch for me. Cooking neatly contains all the components I want in a project: Read the rest of this entry »

cheese cave

The new Cheese Cave

I’ve decided that cheese making is going to be my new winter hobby.  Like most people I assumed that cheese making required a lot of exotic equipment and supplies that were out of the scope of the home kitchen.  Turns out I was right on the first two counts but not on the third.  Looks like it’s time to build more food gear.  Depending on what kind of cheese you make it can be as simple as a pot, a spoon, a thermometer, lemon juice and milk to make ricotta or it can get complex with mesophilic cultures, cheese molds and a press, inoculation of beneficial bacteria and storage in a temperature and humidity controlled cheese cave to make Roquefort. Read the rest of this entry »

This summer I got my hands on the book Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.  It’s an amazing treatise on the myriad variety of ways to preserve and manipulate meats to make them delicious.  I immediately started dreaming about making my own sausage.  A few things had to happen first: Read the rest of this entry »

failed cupcakes

Lest you think it’s all rainbows and unicorns in Michael’s kitchen…..

I thought I’d share some of the joy of baking at high altitude.  These were going to be yellow cake cupcakes w/ chocolate ganache filling but noooo the the baking gods were not smiling last weekend.  This is what too much baking powder in your recipe looks like.  This weekend I’m going to try again and find the magic amount of leavening for these suckers.

creme fraiche ice cream

Our friends Steve and Alesandra brought a big bowl of creme fraiche to our pie extravaganza and it was delicious!  Surprisingly, hardly anyone had any.  ( maybe it was the 15 pies to choose from)  We ended up with lots of leftovers and I didn’t know what to do with it.  Molly’s friend Juliette suggested using it in place of sour cream in this sour cream ice cream recipe.  The result was fantastic!  Rich and creamy with a tangy finish.  Yum.  Thanks everyone for your ingredients and suggestions.