Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mozzarella!

Mozzarella class! On Wednesday I took a Mozzarella class through the Fair Food Farm Stand at Reading Terminal. They've recently build a teaching kitchen in the back. About 30 of us spent a couple of hours listening to Rynn Caputo of Caputo Brother's Creamery and sampling minutes fresh mozzarella. What a lovely evening.  Actually - I feel the need to quote Rynn and clarify - we did not make mozzarella. Mozzarella is made from the milk of a water buffalo, only that stuff can be called mozzarella. We made Fior di Latte.

Caputo Brother's Creamery has a wonderful history. I won't go into it much here - but you can read all about it on their website or watch the video of their Friday Arts feature.

Rynn Caputo is a cheerful, high energy, fun, teacher. She demonstrated three batches and we scarfed each batch down.  Here she is talking about that wooden paddle technique:
 
Allow the cheese to stretch itself: 
And finally folding it before making the final balls of cheese. She makes it look so easy. That is very hot cheese right there. 

We leave the workshop with a pound of the frozen cheese curds ready to make our own cheese. 

After defrosting in the fridge, the curd is broken into a stainless steel bowl, a "friendship bowl" of cold water is also needed and then the sea salt.

Add 190°F water to warm the curds (don't forget the three four-fingered pinches of salt before the hot water - like I did). 

Try to be as graceful as Rynn scooping up the slippery curd and allowing it to stretch itself. 
Burn your hands all to heck trying to fold that hot cheese under: 
  
Big Ball...

Turn into a baguette. If you are making caprese, stop here. 

Make the cheese balls by scooping the baguette up and pinching between thumb and forefinger, break off with the other hand. And voilá! (what is Italian for voilá!?)

Then dinner - with a fresh tomato from the garden. Sorry about the blurry photos, it's hard to gauge the clarity when you are using a tripod and remote control to take the photos. I need to practice more. 

Also fresh basil from the garden, a little balsamic and cracked pepper. Even though I forgot the salt, it tastes really good. 
 
I do need more practice at this though. I think the cheese was a little chewy. I'm not sure if I worked it too much or let it sit in the hot water too long (because I was busy taking pictures) or what. Rynn did say that you should take your time, piano, piano...  But maybe I took too much time. It's just too bad that I will have to try it again, and again, until I get it right. However, this does mean I need to get my rear on a bicycle pronto because I have no idea how many points this stuff is. I can't imagine is very low. 

I did get to visit Jessica and her new little peanut. He is so little -teeny tiny! Kenneth Armando (Armantito!) Here he is with mommy and a good handful of her hair.
  

And lastly, if you are tired of my sunflowers, you can quit the post now because I'm just going a few pictures of my gorgeous teddy bear sunflower. It is about the size of a pomelo.
   
Right in the middle here (above) is the flower in question.

I am just fascinated by it and want to keep looking at it.  How can one flower have so many petals!?






The back patch: