Making Stuff

Some of you would be interested to know what is up with Gregory’s leg. The x ray didn’t show any breaks or torn ligaments, although the doctor estimated that he has a pint of fluid around his scrawny little knee. It looks and feels rather grotesque, but he is hobbling around a bit better. Thankfully, they were in and out of the E.D. very speedily the other evening.

It’s that time of the year. The walls are pushing in on me. The house is a perpetual riot of paper snibble projects and play dough and broken crayons underfoot and dolls on leashes, I kid you not. Our main living area is about 900 square feet, so it is not a whole lot of breathing room for 7 people. I get to feeling really crotchety, like I have to break out and do something different, something creative, before I start staring glassy eyed out the window, waiting for daffodils to appear.

With Gabe working this afternoon and night, I briefly entertained the idea of taking the crew to the library, then I quickly squelched it as not a good relaxing thing to do at all. Instead, I decided to make mozzarella cheese and have a tea party with the small people. In retrospect, I should have stuck to plan A. All the tutorials say it is so easy to make mozzarella, why in the world wouldn’t everybody do it? I was planning to use raw milk, but the empty milk jugs were in the car trunk, parked at the hospital. They say you can use pasteurized milk, only be prepared to knead it a bit more.

So. I had my vegetable rennet, my citric acid, and my gallon of store bought milk. I followed the instructions as carefully as 23 interruptions allowed me. Somehow, in the final stage, where I should have had a mass of fairly solid, stringy cheese, I had this cottage cheese looking stuff. It took a loooong time to fish it out of the whey with a slotted spoon, since the strainer holes plugged up in the first minute of straining.

Meanwhile, the big boy was icing cupcakes, the next boy was setting the table with nice dishes, and the little girls were watching Timmy Time. Both boys kept defecting to see what Timmy was doing, and getting more sour every time I pulled them back into the kitchen. I had planned to have fresh cheese in these bread pockets I make sometimes for our tea/supper, so I kept skimming the little blobs out of the whey, skimming, skimming, until I couldn’t stand it and left the last ricotta sized curds afloat. Then I proceeded to knead. Ever try to knead something that just springs away from you in small rivvels? It was an exercise in futility. Apparently, they were right about the pasteurized milk kneading  (snicker) a bit more work so it hangs together. I stirred in the kosher salt and decided we would eat it as a dip with crackers. There was no excess energy to make the bread dough for cheesy buns.

It was actually quite good, and sat up in lumpy little heaps on the crackers. We had crackers, pepperoni, and cheese, cupcakes and jello cups and tea. It was improvised and funny, but at least it was different.

I also currently have a batch of determined sprouts in a jar and a batch of kefir on the counter. We will survive the long, cold time. And the mozzarella hasn’t whipped me yet. I shall be trying it again as soon as I get raw milk and some cheese cloth.

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