A Fine Selection of Cheeses

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Ran into the grocery store to get milk. Im making some bread later. Treated myself to a half price expired wheel of assorted spreadable cheeses. Isnt it beautiful? I couldn’t even wait til we got home to tuck into them. I was gleefully peeling away the tinfoil of my precious triangles, reveailing their pale nakedness and then biting them right on the tip! Humming happily to myself. Lalala, cheese friends. CB disapproves of my lifestyle.

Sometimes he makes me stand in the garbage.

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I have absolutely no pants on.

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Well hello there, I see Im not the only one in a shocking state of undress. What’s your name, my creamy little friend?

Oh eu actually that ones gross. Mustard flavour… bleh

On the way home, we stopped by the post office to pick up my mystery package!

It was a birthday card from my loving fams, FULL OF LOTTERY TICKETS!

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I’M RICH BIYATCH!

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This one is my favourite. Fat Cat. Fat Cat Givin me Fat Stacks O Cash Cat.

Cash

Has

Every

Damn

Dude

Actin’

Rude.

I WON THE LOTTERY!!!

THIRTEEN DOLLARS! I’ll have to mail it back to Ontario and have them cash all my sweet sweet winnings. And then SHOPPING SPREE!

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My card had a whoppee cushion in it. My family, showing their love with farts..

Won’t even need this after I polish off this wheel of cheese

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Ponkballs

I started this post this afternoon and am now finishing it at 9:59pm. CB likes to give me the most squeezing hugs and squished my poor tube too hard, and I just passed right out until now. He gives me such proper squeezing we even have a hug safe word, “pants”. At least once a day I scream “PANTS!!” to avoid dying… anyway I’m lying, we just had a super long nap. And now its passed my usual bedtime and I’m WIDE AWAAAKE eating a peanut butter chocolate bar and watching a particularly brutal cowboy movie with CB. Well mostly Im making a blog.

Last night I was in charge of supper so I decided to clear out the fridge. My ingredients: 300g pork mince, 2 onions, a small hunk of edam, a real wobbly carrot and a little bit of chopped bacon. Combined with a zook from the garden, and some fresh thyme and our first jalapeno from our Bucket Garden, we had MEATBALLS! Meatballs.. is there anything more that needs to be said that the name doesnt say? C’est parfait. But you know what is totally unecessary but even better? Stuffing each meatball with a chunk of cheese. Yeah, that’ll do.

Cheesy Pork Meatballs

Yield: 16 medium sized meatballs
Cost: <$10
Time: 30 minutes

Chunky Sauce:

1 can of diced tomato
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, fine dice
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt

In a large pan on medium high heat, warm some olive oil. Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add in carrot, jalapeno and thyme and cook until carrots are tender. Add in your diced tomato, vinegar, bouillon, brown sugar and salt. Simmer on medium low heat until sauce thickens and starts to look a bit shiny and deep red.

Balls o’Meat:

300g pork
150g bacon, chopped fine
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
Salt, pepper, hot sauce

16 1 cm cubes of cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F.

Put everything in a large bowl and mash together. I like to use a balloon whisk and whip the crap out of my meat because I like the texture better. Take 2 tbsp of porky goodness and flatten it into a small patty shape in your hand. Place a cube of cheese in the middle, form the meat around it and give it a quick roll to round it up. Set aside on a tray.

On a hot nonstick pan, sear off the meatballs until nice and crispy brown on both sides. Put on a tinfoil or parchment lined baking pan and bake in the oven 15-20 minutes to finish. Depending on the size of your meatballs, it may take a little less or little more time, but you’ll know they are done when the cheese erupts out of the middle like little meat volcanoes!

Add sauce and eat’em up!

Home Made Cream Cheese!

My first cheese! Isn’t it beautiful! Im so proud of my creamy little baby!

Its a perfect spreadable texture. Look how it held the texture from the tea towel it was wrapped in! It tastes creamy and the salt & vinegar give it so much tastiness. Also leaving it out at room temperature for a day gives it an extra little background flavour of cheesy funk that sounds gross in words but is super delicious. Yay! I made a cheese!

I was really excited when I smelled the 2L bottle of cream I bought and it was starting to have that almost off smell 3 days before its expiry date. BECAUSE it was an excuse to try cheese making, to try to preserve it longer. *dance dance*

When you heat the cream, you have to bring it up to 180F. Which was kind of exhilarating in a geeky way, because I thought any second now its going to burn, or boil, and Ive ruined it. But if you do it gently and patiently wait the 8-10 minutes it takes to get there, it’ll get there, safe and sound.

I was pleasantly surprised when I unwrapped the cheese to find at least a pound in there! I was making it so I didnt have to throw 2L of cream I didn’t think it would turn out even remotely economical. But I bought my cream for $5.99 and I got over 500g of cheese from it, which is a dollar or two savings if you compare it to 500g of store bought cream cheese. Awesome socks, never buying cream cheese again.

If I can find some herbs growing around the garden I’m going to chop some up and mix it in. I think chives would be killer, or dill. Yum!

Also, make sure to save your whey. Its full of good stuff. I added a bit of milk to mine and am currently marinating some chicken in it for Fried Chicken tomorrow. But you can use it in recipes that call for buttermilk, or add it to soup!

Home Made Cream Cheese

Yield: 300g+
Time: 2 days, 20 minutes of actual work
Cost: $3-4

1 1/2 litre of cream
1/3 or more white vinegar
Splash of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt

Heat cream + saltĀ  in a clean, heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat until it reaches 180F on a thermometer. Stir it gently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

If you dont have a thermometer, you want it to be just near boiling, bubbling slightly, with steam coming off the top. It will be hot to the touch, but try not to bring it to a full boil.

Once it reaches 180F, pull it off the heat and let it cool 5-10 minutes. Add in your vinegar. Taste it with a spoon, if its not tangy enough, add more vinegar. If it’s not salty enough, add more salt!

Leave in the pot with a tea towel over top over night, or at least 8 hours.

Youll notice that the cream begins to separate. You’ll have a thick layer of cream “curd” on top and a yellowy water underneath, that’s the whey.

Line a bowl with 4x layer of cheese cloth or a very clean tea towel. Pour in cream. Neatly tie the edges of the cloth together to make a sturdy pouch, and knot it well. Tie it to the handle of a wooden spoon and hang it in a tall jar. Make sure to leave atleast a couple of inches for the whey to drip into, without it building up and soaking the pouch. Or if your jar isnt tall enough, just drain off the whey into a separate container. Leave in fridge overnight.

In the morning, give your pouch a squeeze (teehee). If its nice and firm and not much more whey is going to be coming out of it, you can unbundle it! You should have a nice, spreadable cream cheese inside. Philly’s got nothing on this bad boy!

Greedy Meat Feelings

On the way home from loading giant sacks of pellets into the truck while CB frollicked with a dozen fluffy barn kittens with eyes like sapphires, we found a DELI!

A EUROPEAN deli, with spicy calabrese, soprasetta, amazing proccutto, Mennonite salami, glorious looking goats milk cheeses… AUNGH! Damn! It was hard not to be greedy, grab everything and run away like a chubby thief in the NIGHT!

We very reservedly chose a long, dry salami that was rolled in a crust of peppercorns. And a 5 year old cheddar labelled “extreme”.

I made a tasty little plate of the cheddar and salami with some dill pickles, salty radishes, sour green apples drizzled with honey and two industrial sized rye & cokes with way too much ice.

A perfect summer meal. And when the plate was clean we trundled upstairs to have a nice warm late afternoon nap full of beautiful cheese dreams floating on a cloud of salami breath and roaring farts.

CB:”Kara, I don’t mean to upset you, but there is a baby moose in the house. And he’s sad.”

Pork Picnic

March in Northern Ontario is usually the 6th month of snowy grey misery. But thanks to my consistent refusal to recycle anything ever at all, ESPECIALLY aluminum cans, cans full of beans, that I ate all of, and then released into the atmosphere in a steady stream of noxious gas, it was probably near 20 degrees out today. So, you’re welcome, planet Earthlings. Thank my butt, yet again, for all your good fortunes.

Anyway, to celebrate the amazing summeriness of the day I slow roasted a nice bit of pork shoulder, skin on and bone in, for 5 hours and then shredded it, and mixed it with its own juices and some BBQ sauce. Pulled pork baby! I made this for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was really good.. but this was better. This was hog heaven man.. Yeah, I said that, for real. Deal with it. Move on..

Sitting out on the deck with my family in my tshirt, drinking beers and eating pulled pork sandwiches with cheese and pickles with the sun going down behind us.. It was a really nice meal.

Pulled Pork

4lbĀ  pork shoulder, skin on & bone in

Marinade:

4 cups water

1 cup vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 bay leaves

chili powder

pepper

Mix all ingredients together until combined. Pour over pork and seal well in a ziplock bag or pot, leave in fridge over night.

Rub:

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp mustard powder

1 tbsp salt

pepper

2 large onions, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take the pork out of the marinade and pat it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Mix together the spices for your rub and rub all over the meat, making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.

In a roasting pan with a rack in the bottom, place your ovens in an oven layer. Place pork shoulder on top, with the layer of skin (or fat if you’re using skinless) right side up. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.

Take out your roast, turn down the oven to 250 degrees. Add 1 cup of water to your onions. Cover your roast with a lid or tinfoil and put back in the oven for 5-5 1/2 hours.

When the roast is done it will be 200 degrees in the middle and shred easily with a fork. Put it aside to rest, covered in tinfoil.

Meanwhile, strain out the drippings and onions from the roasting pan. If it’s very water, reduce it on high heat for 30 minutes. Mix with your favourite bbq sauce.

Shred your pork!

Mix bbq sauce mix into the meat, just until it is juicy. Serve.