Wednesday, September 30, 2009


OK, so I used the microwave for one of the steps to play it safe, and I did order a kit by mail, but I did make cheese!  It only took about 20 minutes or so (it's called "30 minute mozzarella," but unbelievably, it really only takes that long).  I didn't even have the thermometer I was supposed to have so I just guessed, and it still worked.  I do appreciate now why cheese is expensive, though.  2/3 of a gallon of milk only made a little under a pound.  It tasted exactly right.  I got my kit at the New England Cheese Making Supply Company ( 

I was going to put cheesemaking off until after my sourdough and kefir experiments, but I had to make pizza and didn't have enough cheese (because I stopped buying it knowing that I could make it), and this is my brand of lazy and cheap (didn't want to go buy some at the store).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jesse is POTTYTRAINED! Hurray!

Wow, what a blessing!  We are loving the freedom of Jesse out of diapers.  This is the first time in four years we haven't had to change diapers.  OK, except for the overnight diaper in the morning.  . . . And the diapers of the child I babysit a few days a week.  But still!  Very exciting.  And Jesse is very proud of himself.  He will often shout at me while I'm on the phone (sometimes with a business-related call, which is embarrassing) "POO POO on the POTTY!" so I share his good news with whomever I am speaking.  The boys really enjoy these group bathroom times now, though Jesse's figured out how to join his brother standing at the toilet, which is what they really find entertaining. 

Here's to some great diaper free days!

Weird stuff on the counter (kefir and sourdough!) . . .

My shrouded jars are: 1) the gluten-free starter that is aspiring to be sourdough bread; and 2) kefir, a hippie-type food that basically contains the bacteria and yeasts in yogurt.  I find myself in a strange new (vaguely alarming) world of stirring and sniffing and waiting.  The kefir arrived in several baggies in the mail looking like little curds of cottage cheese in cream.  I put them in milk for 24 hours and--AMAZING!--I got a thin yogurt product by today.  It looks and tastes (and cooked, on our fish tonight) like a thin yogurt.  Yum.  So I read about it that you can thin it and use it like buttermilk in pancakes or strain it and make it into cheese or drink it plain OR you can use it as a booster for a sourdough starter. 

A sourdough starter, just for those who don't know, is a fermenting dough product that makes its own yeast through the fermenting process.  It's harder to do with gluten-free dough, so I read that using a few tablespoons of this yogurt-like kefir can help with the fermentation.  We shall see.  But it did make great yogurt.  And for those who are concerned that the milk product is on the counter, I did put the yogurt in the fridge.  What remains on the counter is my new batch.  When I go away for the weekend and can't swirl or sniff it I will put it all in the fridge.  I am hoping to get to make a decent sourdough loaf of bread before I go away this weekend. 

I read an article (Thank you, Aunt Nancy) about gluten and yeast creating an especially bad combo for our gut health, and how back in the day everyone made sourdough bread and it was so much better for you.  So, here I go, but it's even harder trying to make it gluten-free.  I also feel like adding the kefir stuff just puts me into a whole new camp of weird.  But I am loving it!

I will of course post any success or failure on my first sourdough loaf.  At least the starter doesn't stink, it smells sourdoughish, and it's been on my counter now for a good four days or so, which would have been long enough for it to go bad.  Hopefully this will be more successful than my attempts to make gluten-free beer bread with hard cider.

Friday, September 25, 2009

About that Pizza . . .

That mozzarella, tomato, basil, thin-sliced red onion pizza with olive oil drizzled and parmesan (we used romano) sprinkled on top . . . was some of the BEST pizza I've ever had.  Even accounting for the gluten-free crust.  I have actually discovered that Trader Joe's brown rice tortillas work perfectly as crusts.  I just eat two mini pizzas each time.  Anyway, just didn't want anyone to miss out, you gotta try this recipe.  Hopefully while all the ingredients are still local.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seasonal Pizza

In my attempt to eat local foods year round (which will of course include my canned and frozen additions in the winter months), I'm instituting Friday pizza day. We're on our third or fourth Friday this weekend. So far we've done summer squash pizza, broccoli pizza with roasted red peppers, and mozzarella with basil and tomato pizza. This one looks similar to that last with the addition of thin sliced red onion. I'm trying it this Friday.

Summer Pizza Recipe Food & Wine

If any locavores are going to try a similar idea this winter, it's a good idea to roast and freeze some peppers while they're in all the farmer's markets in cheap and plentiful quantities right now (an idea, I should add, I got from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). Rachel Ray showed me how I can roast them right on the gas stove top, just turning them as I go. And then I pit them and throw them in a ziplock in the freezer. I also arranged with a farmer to get a bushel of onions that store all winter, so at least I'll have onion and roasted red pepper and tomato sauce all stored up for my winter pizzas.

Happy pizza eating!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Healthcare Reform . . . Through Local Produce?

Check this article out! Michael Pollan says that making insurance companies take all patients regardless of health issues or pre-existing conditions could be a radical step toward moving the American diet back toward a vegetable/fruit centered localized base. Wow, I hope he's right.

Op-Ed Contributor - Big Food vs. Big Insurance -

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For those with zucchini to use up . . . or to sneak in . . .

Zucchini Bread
(adapteded from a recipe from Mary Bailey on

3 eggs
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cup wheat flour or ground gluten-free grains
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup wheat germ or flax meal

In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla. Mix well. Add flours, baking powder, soda, salt, wheat germ, and cinnamon; stir to combine. Stir in raisins and nuts, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.