Uses for Whey

Cheese making is a cool hobby, and one that will impress your friends. But if you are thinking about trying your hand, consider first the dark underbelly of cheemaking. The secret they don’t want you to know; whey.

Whey is the by-product of cheese making. It is the watery part of milk, and contains some fat and protein that didn’t make it into the cheese. And boy-howdee, do you get a lot of it. A 2 gallon batch of say cheddar or manchego, results in close to 1.75 gallons of whey; that’s a lot! You could just pour it down the sink, but it seems such a waste. I’m always looking to find new uses for it.

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Homemade Chevre

Last February we joined a goat milk co-op. That statement stands on it’s own, as there was no real reason for it other than a friend asked us if we wanted to. Prior to joining, we didn’t even drink milk. And we weren’t crazy raw-food fanatics either. Someone just asked, and we said yes.

Now we get 1-3 gallons of goat milk every week. Everyone wants to know if it’s funky. It’s absolutely not. It’s fresh, creamy, and odorless. In fact I would rate it as way more palatable than any store bought cow’s milk I’ve had. That said, I still prefer soy milk on my cereal, and attempts at making goat ice cream have come out more like goat ice milk. That leaves me no where to go but cheese and yogurt. Continue reading Homemade Chevre

Passion Fruit Sorbet

Whenever I have a bumper crop of fruit I eat it fresh until I’m sick of it, then my mind turns to sorbet. If you’re not making sorbet, you should. It’s cheap, easy, and delicious. It’s also a great way to preserve fresh fruit. I make sorbet from uncooked fruit puree and sugar. Dehydrated and jam are other options, but sorbet captures and preserves the fresh, bright flavors of the fruit. And because you’re only using the juice, you’re preserving it in a compact, convenient form; no canning or vacuum sealing required. Continue reading Passion Fruit Sorbet

Time to Brew Some Cider!

It’s fall. Fall means apples and pumpkins. Right now I’m fermenting both. I wanted to do a quick cider redux, since the first was more musings about driving into the hills and less recipe. Remember that cider is fermented apple juice, or what some call hard cider. It is the quintessential American alcohol, brought to prominence when the water was unsafe to drink and the boiled juice was unknowingly sterilized.

Cider is a crisp, delicious drink; to me the intersection between Champagne and Beer. Perfect for fall and the rich meals that it brings. And if you want to start fermenting your own booze, cider is a great place to start.

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Roadside Sustainable Seafood?

A wild-caught California King Salmon

Stephanie Mutz (@seastephfish), President of the Commercial Fisherman of Santa Barbara, says that fish is the last wild food we eat. Think about that and you will probably find it true. You probably haven’t stalked a deer in awhile and you just can’t find a recipe you like for those wild mustard greens; but most of the fish we eat grows wild in our oceans, rivers, and lakes. And though there are farmed versions of many types of seafood, a good deal of fish comes only in wild form. Continue reading Roadside Sustainable Seafood?

Episode V: The MSteiger Strikes Back

I’ve just returned from the the 2012 Edible Institute (#edi2012), a yearly food conference held by the visionary founders of the Edible Communities magazines (for whom I am so humbly employed). The conference hosted speakers from all walks of foodie-ism and featured a plethora of splendid eats and ideas. Returning home I am exhausted, inspired, and thinking about my own goals as a writer. Continue reading Episode V: The MSteiger Strikes Back

Save Your Tomato Seeds

Fall is rapidly approaching in San Diego. We will likely have a few more hot spells, but there is a slight but distinct chill in the air most nights. By now most of the summer garden is winding down. Carrots are huge and waiting to be pulled, pumpkins are developing a nice orange hue, and the tomato vines are ripening the last of their fruits and withering away. Now is your last chance to harvest some seeds and put them away for next year.

Seed saving is a rewarding experience for the home gardener. Grab the best fruit you’ve grown and save its seeds for next year. By doing so, you train your plants to grow and thrive in your exact microcosm. Before you go too crazy though, there are two things to consider: 1) hybrid vs heirloom, and 2) cross-pollination vs self-pollination. Always choose heirloom plants for seed saving; hybrids are almost always sterile. Also stick with self-pollinating plants, as cross-pollination leads to hybrids (see above). Continue reading Save Your Tomato Seeds

Challah Challah Challah

In a continuing effort to find applications for eggs, I recently dug out an oldie but a goodie: Challah (pronounced hall-ah). Challah is traditional Jewish egg bread eaten on Sabbath and certain holidays, including Rosh Hashana. According to legend, Challah was one form of manna (food provided by God), which fell from heaven to the Israelites as they wandered the desert.

I cannot confirm or deny any part of this legend, but I can say that Challah is damn good bread. A large number of eggs in the dough, usually 5 or 6, lends richness to this bread. Most recipes call for sugar or honey, which give a gentle sweetness. The top is brushed with more eggs, or honey on special occasions, which renders the loaf shimmering golden brown. The loaf itself is braided which not only makes for spectacular presentation, but also creates long sinews of bread that can be torn apart and eaten out of hand. Sometimes raisins are added to the dough or sesame seeds sprinkled over the top; these add texture and interesting variations to the flavor. However you take it, it’s delicious. Continue reading Challah Challah Challah

Dubbel Troubel

The third beer in my Summer Belgian Series is a dubbel (pronounced double). I brewed this beer a few weeks ago and it has spawned no end of discussion among my friends, as to the nature of dubbel, trippel, and quadrupel (and singel?). In San Diego we have all become accustomed to the West Coast style of pale ales; Double and Triple IPAs. These are strong, highly hopped beers in the IPA tradition, having twice (or three times) the alcohol and hops of a normal IPA. From that we might be tempted draw a similar parallel in Belgian beers (or in point of fact, to assume the West Coast Pale Ales have copied the Belgian naming tradition); we’d be mostly right.

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