Saturday morning I participated in a three hour class to learn how to make cheese at home. The class was held at Cook's World in the U District. The instructor was Linda Conroy, an herbalist, soap-maker, cheese maker, etc. She demonstrated how easy it is to make several cheeses right in your own home with just a few extra tools and a little bit of planning and patience. First she made paneer, a product similar to extra firm tofu in texture and used throughout southern Asia. It was extremely easy to make and required only milk and lemon juice (to curdle the milk). It took less than an hour.
During the class she also made feta. Again, this was not difficult to make and required only the milk (she used 1 gallon cow's milk and 1 gallon goat's milk), rennet (she uses a liquid vegetable rennet), and a "starter" or culture, in this case, Mesophilic-A. We also whipped up some cultured butter by adding some Piima culture to some heavy cream in a mason jar and shaking. Piima is a starter culture like (but not the same as) buttermilk, acidophilus and kefir. With it you can culture fresh milk at room temperature to make a delicious custard similar to yogurt. Shaking to a certain point gave us whipped cultured cream basically. Tasted pretty yummy. More shaking and suddenly this blob of butter spontaneously appeared along with buttermilk to slosh in. Both the butter and the buttermilk tasted really good. The butter was light, extrememly smooth, and didn't have that awful stick to the roof of your mouth, wax feeling of regular butter that I hate. In addition to health reasons, this is why I don't eat butter. But I think that once in a while I wouldn't mind having some of this cultured butter mixed with fresh herbs on some homemade bread. It would be a treat.
After class I went to Andrea's house in Lake City and prepared the food for her sister's baby shower. The menu included turkey and non-turkey and herbed cream cheese roll ups, hummus, spicy eggplant dip, greek pasta salad, cheesy cresent rolls with cheddar and scallions, meatballs in sweet and sour sauce, and a huge cheese tray. The food prepared, Andrea and I raced to Fremont to collect Evan from a basketball game. Then raced back up to Montlake Terrace to drop off Evan with his grandma who was picking up cousin David from a pool party to take both boys to see the Lipizzaner Stallions. Andrea and I then headed to the Edmunds Waterfront Festival. We strolled along and visited the vendor booths and then had a beer in the beer garden (we both got carded?) before heading to Arnie's for a drink. I had my first ever Mai Thai. Pretty powerful and not nearly as sweet as I expected but that was a good thing. For dinner we walked over to Thai Park. The food was really good and we were the only ones in the place - it was pretty late. Then it was over to Andrea's mom's to pick up Evan, then back to Andrea's place where I could pick up my car to go home. I haven't been out that late in a long time. Made it home around 11:15 pm. I'm old.