Category Archives: In my kitchen

Making Cheese

I was honored to be able to be the guest speaker at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s meeting today. I demonstrated several different cheeses and showed how a cheese press works as well as cheese wax.  Below is my handout with some recipes. 

Click the button below to download the PDF handout for the class.

ABM_1459011738Making simple cheese

On our homestead, we do not like going to the grocery store if there is a way for us to create our own products from scratch, using what we have on hand. Making cheese is a prime example of that. Using raw milk straight from our goats, we are able to recreate all types of cheeses that we eat daily at home. We can recreate everything from cheddar to soft chevre, mozzarella to cream cheese.  Along that line, we also make butter, sour cream, and cottage cheese.

Every morning, we decide what we are going to use our milk for during that day. 2-3 days a week, we make cheese, one day a week, we make butter. The rest of the week, we use it for drinking. Nothing gets wasted as the pigs are happy to drink anything that is left over. We have been making cheese weekly for about a year now when last season we picked up a goat in milk. Now, we have 4 in milk and 3 more pregnant for this season.

Our history: Our family has lived in the Chino Valley Area for over 25 years. We have 7 kids (ages 8 to 17) plus occasional foster kids in our home.  

We currently have a family garden which is about ¼ acre, 2 greenhouses one of which houses an aquaponics system growing fish and lettuce year-round, herb and berry walks. We raise our own meat including a steer, pigs, goats, quail, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.  We homeschool our children math, English, science, history and also teach them life skills that most kids have no understanding about including homesteading, cooking from scratch, solar oven cooking, carpentry, making soap and cheese, animal husbandry etc. We dehydrate and can our summer crop to use later and do all of this on less than 3 acres. We currently have 7 pigs, 9 goats and about 45 chickens, plus many rabbits and over 100 quail.  We have several cabinet incubators where we hatch our own birds. We do not go to the grocery store from May until October

We also maintain an active website and Facebook page for our homestead where we share recipes, tips and tricks for homesteading and preparedness and list animals for sale.

 

General list of items needed for cheese making.

Tools that you will need to make cheese

  • Strainer
  • Large bowl (that the strainer fits in)
  • Cheese cloth or flour sack towels
  • Large slotted spoon
  • Pot
  • Thermometer
  • measuring spoons that measure SMALL (I have ones that measure 1/64, 1/32 and 1/16 of a teaspoon that I picked up from homesteadersupply.com)

Certain cheeses need cultures. We purchase ours from www.homesteadersupply.com and from www.culturesforhealth.com

 


SIMPLE FARM CHEESE

This simple farm cheese can come together quickly. It tastes mild and sweet, and doesn’t require rennet, making an excellent cheese for beginners.

Serves: about 1 pound

  • 1 gallon milk, not “ultra-pasteurized” You may use raw or pasteurized
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or cheese salt

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. We use flour sack towels at our house.
  2. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed kettle, and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir it frequently to keep the milk from scorching. When it comes to a boil, immediately remove from heat and stir in the vinegar.
  3. The milk should immediately begin separating into curds and whey. If it does not begin to separate, add a bit more vinegar one tablespoon at a time until you see the milk solids coagulate into curds swimming within the thin greenish blue whey.
  4. Pour the curds and whey into the lined colander. Sprinkle the curds with salt. Tie up the cheesecloth, and press it a bit with your hands to remove excess whey. Let the cheesecloth hang for 1 to 2 hours, then open it up and chop it coarsely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or eat fresh.

 

NOTES

The whey from these 2 cheeses (lemon and vinegar cheeses) does not contain a live culture, so it cannot be used to create ricotta. However, you can recycle it to feed pigs or soak grains for chickens.


LEMON CHEESE

Serves: about 1-1/2 cups

  • ½ gallon goat’s milk (raw or pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • Sea salt or cheese salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Slowly heat the milk on the stove until it reaches 180 – 185 degrees. Gentle bubbles should be forming and the surface will look foamy. Turn off the heat.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice then let the milk sit for 10 minutes. The milk should curdle and become slightly thicker on the surface.
  3. Line a colander with two layers of cheese cloth. Gently pour the milk into the cheese cloth then gather the cheesecloth up around the curds and tie it into a bundle.
  4. Hang the bundle over a pot or jar so the liquid can drip out. (You can do this by attaching the bundle to a wooden spoon or a ladle and setting the spoon over the top of the pot or jar.)
  5. Let the cheese drain for at least 1 1/2 hours. Scrape the cheese into a bowl. Stir in salt and/or other ingredients to taste.
  6. Use your hands to pat and shape the cheese into a small wheel or log. A biscuit cutter works as well for shaping.
  7. The flavor and texture of the cheese usually improves a little bit if you refrigerate it for a few hours before serving
  8. The goat cheese should stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1 week.

 


Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese

  • 3 gallons whole milk
  • Mesophilic Culture (1/4 tsp Abiasa, 1/8 tsp Danisco, or 1/16 tsp Sacco)
  • 2 teaspoons calcium chloride (only needed for store bought milk or pasteurized milk)
  • 5 tablet rennet or 3/4 tsp liquid rennet
  • ¼ cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Combine milk, (calcium chloride) in 16 qt stock pot (double boiler to prevent scorching)
  2. Slowly heat mixture to 86 degrees. Turn off heat and stir in lactic cheese culture. (Different types of culture create different flavors of cheese)  Stir gently throughout. Cover mixture and allow to rest undisturbed at 86 degrees for 45 minutes.
  3. Dissolve rennet tablet or liquid rennet in 1/4 cup water.
  4. Keep the milk at 86 degrees.  Stir the rennet mixture into milk slowly but thoroughly. Allow milk to set undisturbed for 30 – 45 minutes or until curd shows a clean break.
  5. Using long knife, cut the curds into 1/2 inch squares, then stir gently just to break the strips of curds into chunks. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly heat the curds and whey to 102 degrees, raising the temperature 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Stir curd gently to prevent matting and reduce their size to half peanut size. A large whisk works well by placing it to bottom of pot and putting up right so curds break as they fall through the wisk. Hold curds for additional 30 minutes at this temperature
  7. Place pre-warmed with hot water colander over a pot and pour the curds into it.
  8. Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds onto the cheese pot. Cover top with cheese cloth and lid to keep in warmth. Allow curds to drain for 45 to 60 minutes. This is called the cheddaring process.
  9. Cut slab into pieces and press through french fry cutter or cut by hand.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Using your hands, gently mix the salt into curds. You can eat these curds now, or press into a wheel.
  11. Place the curds into cheese press and follow the directions for dressing with cheese cloth for 12 hours.
  12. Remove cheese from press, unwrap the cloth, place cheese on drying mat to air dry for 12 hours, creating a nice skin over the whole cheese.  Cheese is ready to slice and eat or you can wax and age for stronger cheddar flavor.
  13. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Use a corner of the cheese cloth to lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.

The farmhouse cheddar recipe above is from www.homesteadersupply.com.


Chevre

Chevre is French for goat. This is a simple cheese that is a great addition to your cuisine.

Serves: about 1 pound

  • 1 gallon goat’s milk, not “ultra-pasteurized” You may use raw or pasteurized
  • 1/8 teaspoon mesophilic culture, MA or MM
  • 1 drop rennet in ¼ cup water

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat milk to 86 degrees
  2. Add the culture and rennet into the milk.
  3. Cover and let set at room temperature (72 degrees) for 12 hours (overnight works GREAT for this recipe)
  4. Place colander into large bowl and line the colander with cheese cloth
  5. Ladle curds into cloth, tie ends and hang to drain.
  6. Drain for 6-12 hours or until the curds reach desired consistency.
  7. Store in a covered container for up to one week.

RICOTTA

  • Whey left over from making live culture cheese. (chevre, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Over direct heat, heat the hard cheese whey to 200°
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Place colander into large bowl and line the colander with fine cheese cloth
  4. Pour whey into colander (Slowly, it is HOT)
  5. Hang and drain curds
  6. When it has drained, place the ricotta in a bowl and add salt to taste. 
  7. Store in a covered container for up to one week.

 

Preparedness class at Oathkeepers

I was honored to be able to talk at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s Preparedness class this weekend! THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME!!! Click the button below to download the PDF of the handout of the class.

We talked about getting your garden up and going. Yep, this can be essential to getting ready for any disaster or need.

krisandlarry.com - Being PreparedStart simple…. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash… and all of these can be planted on your back porch in pots and will provide fresh veggies for your family. – What you don’t eat, can or dehydrate.

Next, get a chicken or 2 for each member of your family.  (Or instead, 4 quail per person in your family will provide enough eggs for your family and can live in much smaller spaces. 

If you are able, you can add sheep or goats to the swing of things in order to get milk for dairy products and I was able to show what a cheese press looks like. Yep, It was a good day!

I was able to share 2 important handouts:

  1. My list of go to websites for many different homesteading products. THIS IS NOT COMPLETE and is a full working list. Here it is to share with you!
  2. My local planting guide from Yavapai Extension Office. Here is a link for their PDF: http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/publications/yavcobulletins/Yavapai%20County%20Vegetable%20Planting%20Dates.pdf

Here is my list for you: 

Planting Seeds

Cheese Making Supplies

Local Delivery for Grains Meat and Other Bulk Items

Homesteading

Food Dehydrators

Goat & Animal Supplies

Soap Making Supplies

Dried Herbs and Teas

Vitamins and Supplements

Survival Products

Blog and websites from general information:

Cheese Press by homesteadersupply.com

krisandlarry.com Farmhouse Cheddar
Farmhouse cheddar made from our goat’s milk on our homestead getting ready for the 12 hours second press.

I was so intimidated by the thought of making cheese and of curds separating from the whey. I mean… Think about it…. curds and whey look like rotten milk.  I promise you that it is not rotten and it is supposed to look like that!

I had no idea where to start, what to do. I ordered a kit to create soft goat cheese and then realized that it really wasn’t that hard. We have been making our own soft goats milk cheese for over a year now. 

(Trystan’s tummy can handle anything with goats milk too!!! YEA!!)

Krisandlarry.com Cheese Press
Elwyn getting ready to use her Cheese Press.

Then I started researching how to make hard cheese. I needed a cheese press? WHAT IS A CHEESE PRESS?!?!   I remembered that Homesteader Supply made their own and used to be a local business here in Arizona but have since moved to Tennessee.  www.HomesteaderSupply.com  is an AWESOME company and they carry one of the best presses out there. AND it is Made in the USA! 

Once you discover how easy it is to make your own cheese (and do not have to add dyes in it to make it yellow), you will see that it is something that you can do for your family.

Here is the recipe that we have been using for our hard cheddar from HomesteaderSupply’s blog:  https://www.homesteadersupply.com/blog/2014/05/farmhouse-cheddar-cheese-recipe.html

3 gallons whole milk
Mesophilic Culture (1/4 tsp Abiasa, 1/8 tsp Danisco, or 1/16 tsp Sacco) (We have been using Danisco because that is what I had on hand already)
2 teaspoons calcium chloride (only needed for store bought milk)
1.5 tablet rennet or 3/4 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup unchlorinated water
1 Tbsp salt
  • Combine milk, (calcium chloride) in 16 qt stock pot (double boiler to prevent scorching)
  • Slowly heat mixture to 86 degrees. Turn off heat and stir in lactic cheese culture. (Different types of culture create different flavors of cheese)  Stir gently throughout. Cover mixture and allow to rest undisturbed at 86 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Dissolve rennet tablet or liquid rennet in 1/4 cup  water.
  • Keep the milk at 86 degrees.  Stir the rennet mixture into milk slowly but thoroughly. Allow milk to set undisturbed for 30 – 45 minutes or until curd shows a clean break.
  • Using long knife, cut the curds into 1/2 inch squares, then stir gently just to break the strips of curds into chunks. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slowly heat the curds and whey to 102 degrees, raising the temperature 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Stir curd gently to prevent matting and reduce their size to half peanut size. A large whisk works well by placing it to bottom of pot and putting up right so curds break as they fall through the wisk. Hold curds for additional 30 minutes at this temperature
  • Place pre-warmed with hot water colander over a pot and pour the curds into it.
  • Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds onto the cheese pot. Cover top with cheese cloth and lid to keep in warmth. Allow curds to drain for 45 to 60 minutes. This is called the cheddaring process.
  • Cut slab into pieces and press through french fry cutter or cut by hand.
  • Add 1 tablespoon course salt. Using your hands, gently mix the salt into curds. You can eat these curds now, or press into a wheel.
  • Place the curds into cheese press and follow the directions for dressing with cheese cloth for the next 12 hours.
  • Remove cheese from press, unwrap the cloth, place cheese on drying mat to air dry for 12 hours, creating a nice skin over the whole cheese.  Cheese is ready to slice and eat or you can wax and age for stronger cheddar flavor.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Use a corner of the cheese cloth to lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.

Here is a video using the cheese press by GNOWFGLINS.com

 

Eating Quinoa – Avocado Quinoa Salad

ABM_14538606185 years ago we really took a jump on changing how we eat. We had already taken all of the dye filled foods out of our lives and then we started with all of the processed. No more boxed rice or pasta sides for us!!

We discovered that it is a ton easier to make it from scratch than to make the processed mixes. When we make quinoa, we normally make a double batch so that we have leftovers for the next day. 

What is quinoa? 

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) is a seed from the quinoa plant. It has been a staple food in Peru and Bolivia. 

To cook it, the ratio is 2 liquid to 1 quinoa – We normally make 3 cups for our family of 10… so 3 cups of quinoa to 6 cups of water or broth.  Before you cook it, rinse it. If you don’t it could have a bitter flavor. 

You can also add other things into the quinoa. We have added cheese, chopped veggies, even ranch dip mix, butter or soy sauce. 

Here is a favorite that we make with left over quinoa in our house. 

Avocado Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, chilled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado cut in cubes
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoon diced red onion
  • 2 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and serve! Easy-Peasy

Easy Boule Bread – A Family Favorite.

eaBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

This is a GREAT recipe to make bread bowls as well!!! Divide the dough into 4 or 5 smaller rounds, shape and bake!

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too) – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see belowBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

Directions

    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
    9. (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos on their bread)
    10. Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
    11. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

I make the dough ahead of time and put in a super large container in my fridge.  I actually triple this recipe and take out enough over the week to make bread daily.

Roasted Butternut Squash

ABM_1453345765Growing our own fruits and veggies is extremely important to our family. We always plant extra and a variety of plants in our garden.

Butternut squash is a favorite in this house. Once cooked, it has a “creamy” texture. It can be used as a stand alone dish, a side or even a soup. My kids LOVE butternut squash. 

Butternut squash can be grown and stored for several months after you harvest. It is a fantastic winter squash. 

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary leaves
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place butternut squash in oven safe pan. 
  3. Add butter to top and sprinkle with rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper. 
  4. Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Our Family GO-TO Buttery Biscuit Recipe

Buttery biscuits from scratch - krisandlarry.comNo Refrigerator Biscuits Here!!! Too many weird unpronounceable ingredients in those… and not to mention RED DYE! 🙁

*These biscuits take a little time…. remember that you can flash freeze the cut dough for later use too. 

 When we have extra eggs, we tend to make breakfast for dinner too. These work for all occasions.  Mix some fresh chopped herbs into the batter for an entirely different flavor dinner biscuit.

Here is our family’s GO-TO  biscuit recipe. This was given to me by another homeschooling mom about 7 years ago as her favorite recipe… and guess what? It is ours too. We always tend to go back to this one too… LOVE IT! (We use fresh goats milk and fresh goat’s butter in it as well as fresh ground flour.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1  tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter (Yes, goats milk butter works GREAT!!)
  • 1 cup whole milk (We use raw whole goats milk) 

We always double our recipe above for our family.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. We use our old KitchenAid bowl.
  3. Using a dough hook, cut butter into pats and add to flour, mix until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Add up to 1 Tablespoon of chopped herbs here if you want a dinner biscuits with a new flavor or 1/2 cup of shredded cheese for a cheesy biscuit)
  4. Slowly, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle, about one inch thick  and 12 inches by 6 inches. Fold it over in half and gently roll  in into a rectangle again. Repeat 2 more times. Cover the dough loosely with a  damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Press straight down. (it lets the biscuits rise better in the oven if you don’t twist the cutter)
  7. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet  or baking clay.
  8. Bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

*To freeze your dough make a double batch and cut out all of your dough. Instead of baking the dough, place the cut biscuits on a lined baking tray and place in the freezer for 60 minutes. (Make sure none are touching!!) After that 60 minutes, remove from tray and place in freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. (Mine don’t last a week with all of these kids!) When you are ready to eat them, take as many as needed out of the freezer and let thaw completely on a baking pan. Once thawed, bake as above. 

ABM_1452216416

Christmas traditions – Rosette cookies

imageEvery year, we have little Christmas traditions that we, as a family, have during the season.  One of them like many other families is making Christmas cookies. With so many kids in the family, cookies don’t last  too long. We love making rosette cookies. We have several rosette irons, 2 of which are antiques that we picked up from yard sales.  And since my Larry is a cookie moster, these are a hit at our house. 

Here is the recipe that we use… Yes you can substitute  goat’s milk and white rice flour. 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Combine eggs, sugar and salt; beat well. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. I do this with a whisk.
  2. Heat a rosette iron in deep, hot oil (375 degrees) for 2 minutes.
  3. Drain excess oil from iron. Dip in batter to 1/4 inch from the top of the iron, then dip iron immediately into hot oil (375 degrees).
  4. Fry rosette until golden, about 30 seconds. Lift out; tip upside down to drain. 
  5. Reheat iron 1 minutein oil; make next rosette.
  6. Sprinkle rosettes with powdered sugar.

 

Fresh Pita Bread


Pita BreadABM_1450392577

Makes 16 pitas (This recipe is easily halved…. When our family makes it, we make 2 in a row and make 32 pitas+ at a time)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons  honey
  • 4 teaspoons of yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups warm (not hot)water (Divided into 1 cup and remainder)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

ABM_1450396263Directions

  1. Add yeast and sugar to the 1 Cup of water. Stir until dissolved Let bubble for 5 minutes. 
  2. In mixer, add flour, salt and blend. Gradually add the yeast mixture and olive oil. 
  3. Continue to stir in the additional water until the mixture forms a ball (I use my kitchen aid and dough hook)
  4. Kneed your dough for 10 minutes. (if it is too tacky, add additional flour. If it is too dry, add additional water.)
  5. Add kneaded dough to a greased bowl and let rise for 90 minutes. 
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (I add a clay pizza tray into my oven so it is HOT.)
  7. Punch down your dough and divide into 16 even(ish) balls and let rest for an additional 20 minutes. 
  8. Roll out dough ball to flat 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. (rolling thinner is better)
  9. Place 2 of your rolled doughs on the hot surface in the oven for 3-4 minutes. The pitas will puff up.  Remove from oven… 

That’s it! Although they do take a while to rise, these pitas are well worth it. 

Chicken Corn Potato Chowder

Chicken Corn Potato Chowder - krisandlarry.comThis is an EASY recipe – I make this in bulk and you can half it if you want.

  • 5 pounds of potatoes,
  • 3 cans of whole corn,
  • 2 small cans of chilies,
  • roasted chicken meat (we took the meat off of a whole chicken that we raised on our homestead),
  • 32 oz of Chicken broth,
  • 1 quart of milk (we used goats milk from our homestead).

Boil potatoes until tender and then drain. Add potatoes back into pot and turn on medium heat. Add all other ingredients and stir together, Let boil and thicken (about 20 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: Top with fresh goat cheese or feta when serving