Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Super simple paneer recipe.

My uncle recently came to town for my sisters graduation,  and I've been busy, so it's been a few days since I made cottage cheese (actually called Paneer, as it's made without rennet). Here are some pictures of the process. It was really good! I can't say it tastes the same as cottage cheese, though. The flavor is lighter. Here's a very simple recipe for making paneer. With pictures!

You'll need: 
  • 8cups of whole milk.
  • 6tbsp of plain yogurt.
  • 4tbsp lemon juice.
  • a few pieces of cheesecloth doubled over. Try using a cotton t-shirt if you have no cheesecloth.

Boil milk until it foams.

Mix yogurt and lemon together, and add to the milk as it begins to foam. Stir. In a few minutes, you'll see chunks of paneer float in whey. Save whey for other dishes!

Wet cheesecloth. Pour mixture through a cheese cloth. It helps if you do this with a colander in a larger bowl, and the cheesecloth sitting in the colander.

Gently squeeze the whey out of the paneer. The more you squeeze out, the firmer the cheese.


Also, here's a cute video I took of Luca eating a lemon

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Because I can!

Going to try making cottage cheese. Update soon. I'll see if I can take pictures. Keep in mind, the only camera I own is a webcam. Don't be too critical :D

What I'm listening to: 

Garden update.

Three days ago, I threw my fern out. (very finicky for a non-edible plant)so, I decided to use the soil for new plants. We ended haveing a potting party in my bathroom. Luca was so busy squishing the soil in his fingers, and even ate a bit of it while we did the real work of it. Dennises dragon carrots were put under the bathroom sink while mine were placed above the stove, and, for some reason, only one or two of his are just starting to sprout where most of mine are coming up in bushels. I'm wondering if it was the way he planted them (popped a finger into the soil, dropped a seed in, and covered it) might have packed the soil down or if it was just where we sprouted them. I'm considering planting a few in various ways to see which work really well. I still have so much learning to do..

My beans have bean flies. I noticed my plants yellowing, and spotting under a few of the leaves, and now there are little flies which fly out of the gap where the stem meets the soil. I found a fairly simple test online to be sure that that's what they are. You're supposed to peel back the stem of an infested plant and see if there are any maggots. Easy peasy ...if you're not irrationally afraid of maggots... I did it though. There were only one or two of the little bastards, but it was enough to make me jump out of my  skin! Now I need to find some neem, and take care of these pesky critters the organic way!

Why organic is important to us.

We buy a lot of organic food (!!!$$$!!!) for a few reasons. I'm often asked why I would spend twice as much on food which appears the same as other veggies in the market. 

1. Avoiding Pesticides. These are not good for little bodies! Reproductive effects, brain and nervous system effects, cancer, and increased risks of some cancers (particularly leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and neuroblastoma) and birth defects are all linked to pesticides. But they're still touted as "safe" 
2. We don't want to eat genetically modified foods. Some organic foods have even been found to have GMO ingrediants.  They haven't undergone adequate safety testing. The same people who passed laws allowing genetically modified foods work for Monsanto, and the whole system for regulating these plants is corrupt to the core. Peru recently put a 10 year ban on the sale of genetically modified foods, and, unlike the Americas, European GMO's must be labelled "genetically modified" so that consumers can make informed decisions. They also recently... uhm? Created? Cows that produce human breastmilk. This genetically modified.. disaster is supposed to be fed to infants.
More info on GMOs.
3. We use what we don't eat for our vermicompost. Nothing is ever wasted.

4. It's much healthier. One French study analyzed twelve foods, and concluded that organic is ahead in terms of both nutritional quality and micronutrients. In organic food one finds more micronutrients essential for good health: vitamins A, C, E, vitamins of the B group, and other elements such as zinc and minerals such as calcium. These findings, coupled with health concerns linked to pesticides, antibiotics, nitrates and additives occurring in non-organic foods, suggests increased government support for organic production could have significant health benefits in addition to the environmental benefits already proven.

5. We don't want to support Monsanto. This is the company who produces the e coli-poop marketed under the name "aspartame" and is the leading producer of herbicides, pesticides, and genetically modified foods. They also produced the banned PCB and Agent Orange (used in the vietnam war and laced with highly carcinogenic dioxin. They were the first to patent a living organism (genetically modified seeds) and have sued a number of Canadian and American farmers for patent infringement when seed or pesticide is blown with the wind from neighbors crops and tested as Monsanto seed. The farmers usually couldn't afford to pay legal fees, and end up losing everything. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Just google Monsanto, and you'll find tons of information.

6.  We don't currently have enough space to plant enough vegetables feed our family throughout the year. This is actually the main reason I'm going back to school right now. I want to be able to provide for my family as best I can. With my own animals, and food that I worked hard for.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

a blog!

Hey all;
Sorry for my absence. My closest aunt may pass away, and it's left me a tad shaken. I've been pumping much of my energy into experiencing as much of life as possible and jogging, gardening, and stopping to smell every flower I come across. I really have to come to terms with death. It just jolts me like nothing else. On the more positive spectrum of things, I bought a pound of worms about a month ago and I now have a vermicompost going! A vermicompost is basically an odourless way to compost indoors. It doesn't smell, or take much effort, or space. It's also pretty facinating, and not nearly as intimidating as I'd anticipated. I was terrified at the thought of being in charge of a few thousand lives but my worms are doing swell!. Here's a great resource if you're interested in learning more about vermicomposting.
Oh god, and a few days ago, I learned that some cheese has rennet in it. That's calf stomach lining, and gelatin (mushed up animal bones) is found in most yogurts. Not terribly vegetarian. I feel like such a hypocrite... but lesson learned. I'm now an obsessive label reader

anyways, I should sleep. You know what would liven this post up? kid spinning. For more pictures, click here!
ps; these aren't my little ones.

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