Monday, September 26, 2011

Butt Cheese

I've drunk more than just one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer this evening. I've in fact had two beers in addition to the bourbon and scotch. Why? Because I'm tired of doing school work. How many days in a row should I have to have multiple meetings and training and what not. I know what you're going to say: "you didn't have meetings or trainings on Friday." Piss off, alright. Friday was an exception. Seriously, I went 12 days without cooking. That's a record for me. I think I cooked more when I was out in the middle of nowhere West Coasting it this summer. Whatever, I got Spotify and Spotify rocks. Download it. Listen to music. Lou Reed is the coolest dude who's ever pleased my ear.

I went to Austin two weekends ago. It was pleasurable more or less (less only because I couldn't shake the thought that I had tests and quizzes to write and grade and lessons to plan and parents to call oh my). More importantly, it was inspiring. In case you're the English teacher or math teacher in my school- by the way, math really should be capitalized since we're every bit as important as English (though to a lesser degree if I had to be honest), but whatevs, diggy, eat a dill (tab -Miles)- I'd like you to not bring this up to anyone- principally principals- but I went to check out the LBJ School of Public Affairs. I loved it. I'm applying to it and I fully plan on petitioning their decision if I don't get accepted. It's not that I don't like my job- I do. I love my kids and I'm grateful for the opportunity to meld their minds, but math is not my passion and I think I would be more successful at saving the world from the policy perspective.

So much alliteration!

Anyway, long story elongated: I went to Austin to see the school and stopped by Austin Homebrew Supply Co. and bought ingredients to make'a the mozza'rella. Historically insignificant fail. Don't buy H.E.B. (the "B" stands for "Butt," no joke; it was started by Florence Butt ) unless you want Ricotta.

So anyway, here's my experience making Mozzarella. I mean Ricotta.

Butt Ricotta

***Full disclaimer: I followed the Austin Homebrew recipe as closely as I could.***

1 Gallon H.E.B(utt) Whole Milk
0.5 Tablets Vegetable Rennet
2 tsp Citric Acid
0.5 tsp Calcium Chloride
.0.75 tsp Cheese Salt
1/2 c. Water

Mix Citric Acid and CaCl in 0.25 c. Water. Crush and dissolve Rennet Tablet half in remaining water.

Bring Milk to 55 F and mix in Acid CaCl mix (any chem people, is CaCl the proper notation for Calcium Cloride? Any ^-1 or anything like that? Also, don't you love the level of (high)schooling necessary to enjoy this blog?).

Heat to 88 F and mix in the Rennet mixture in an "up and down motion for about 30 seconds".

Bring to 105 and then cover pot and let set for 20 minutes.

When the whey is clear and the curds are clumped, scoop out with a slotted spoon. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible and microwave for 1 minute on high. Pour out liquid. Fold in Cheese Salt. Then microwave again for 30 seconds. Do this until elastic like mozzarella. Pull apart and squeeze with plastic gloves if you're not feeling particularly manly. Personally, it was still too hot for me even with the gloves on. Keep doing this until cheese is thick and stringy.

Mine never got like that. It stayed gloopy-gloppy. That's Ricotta! They say if your Milk was pasteurized at too high of a temperature it will do this. Oh well, it made some damn good lasagna. More on that later!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby Back Ribs (er, uh, Ham and Hatch Quiche)

Labor Day, Eat Babies!

I should've made baby back ribs for this very reason, but instead I made a quiche. I'm effeminate.

Actually, I'm loving my holiday. It's a tender 74 degrees outside and my air is off and my windows are open. How awesome is that! Yesterday I did a couple laps around the lake on my bike and all I have left to do today is get some schoolwork done and get a drink with some random internet hottie.

On Friday I bought a Bearded Dragon- a super-sick (as in awesome) lizard that I've named Daxos after the leader of the Arcadians in 300. Were they as hardcore as the Spartans? No. In fact they were the ones who chided King Leonides for bringing such a small army only to concede that they brought a rag-tag group of potters and such and had, indeed, brought fewer soldiers. Still, Daxos is too chill to be a Spartan. I wanted to name him Gadhafi after seeing him brutally decimate an entire population of tasty crickets, but... well I don't need to explain why I decided against this.

If you haven't tried Spotify yet, it's totally rad. It's a free music listening program like Ruckus, but everything streams so my computer is no longer full of music that I don't have the rights to. I highly recommend it. My sincere gratitude to my friend the Lobster Baron for sending me an invitation e-mail and then to my roommate that never was who told me to actually read the e-mail. So far I've added Bruno Mars (don't maim), the new Kanye-Jay Z album which is good, and Florence + the Machine!

Without further ado, try this quiche!

Ham and Hatch Quiche

For the crust:

Spoonful of Lard
However much Flour to get a fairly dry consistency
Pinch of Marjoram
Pinch of Sage
Pinch of Rosemary
Salt and Pepper

Mix all this together. I made the mistake of not baking it for a couple minutes to harden it before putting in my filling. I'm a newb. My crust was gross, but if it had hardened I think I would've liked it. I liked having spices in the crust.

For the filling:

4 Eggs
1 lb. Frozen Spinach defrosted and squeezed to remove excess water
1.5 c. Shredded Cheese (I used a variety of expensive cheeses that were beginning to mold. It was quite delicious and elegant, but any normal cheese should work.)
3 Spicy Roasted Hatch Chili Peppers diced (this is what made my filling so ultimate)
3 large pieces of cooked Ham diced
1/3 Onion diced
Salt and Pepper

Mix everything together and pour into filling. Back at 350 for about 45 minutes. This is one heck of a good quiche!