Saturday, October 28, 2006

Making Cheese....or...Oh! Pimento!

It has been so good to be back in my own kitchen! I have been playing with cheese since getting back home...not literally of course! I have had the desire to try some new recipes. I tried making a lemon cheese, it sounded SO simple when I read the recipe that I just thought I could "whip that out" in no time. Well, you know what happens when you get too big for your britches, as Grandma used to say! Apparently I have not graduated to the "whip one out" stage in my cheesemaking career. It was a miserable flop but the chickens enjoyed just never set up no matter how much lemon juice I added or how long it sat. So this week I decided to try Neufachel cheese. This is a fancy word for really creamy cream cheese :) It takes a gallon of milk and you add a pint of heavy cream to this. It is an easy cheese to make. It only takes about 20 minutes in the evening and then in the morning, if all went well, you hang the cheese to drain. I wonder at times what happens in that stainless steel covered pan over night...I leave it as milk but come back to it in the morning and voilla!....cheese! I'd love to have a see through pan but then that would most likely be plastic and this farm girl does not like to use plastic if it can be avoided! Anyway, after taking the cheese down and unwrapping it I took half of it and added fresh minced garlic, fresh chopped dill and a pinch of salt. Yummy as my boys say! I topped it with a sprig of fresh dill and it was ready for delivery to a friend who is having a party this weekend. Our portion will be put into a glass pyrex container and will mysteriously disappear before the weekend is over. (Any mother with growing boys will understand this phenomenon.) Now the puzzle was what to do with the rest of the cheese. I decided to try my hand at pimento cheese. I did not come to this decision lightly...there was a method to my madness but it is a long story.... This year I planted an entire raised bed (3 feet by 33 feet) in red fresno peppers. I make a KILLER wing sauce from these peppers and wanted to make sure I had plenty to can. For those of you who haven't grown peppers....all pepper plants look about the same (exceptions for habaneros and cayennes!) don't really know what you have until the peppers show must blindly trust your seed packets....HA! I want you to know that out of 110 pepper plants (yes that is not a typo...I said is a REALLY good wing sauce!) not one of those plants were a red fresno....and you thought farming was predictable! I was crushed... all spring I nurtured my fresno pepper plants, I admired them, I thanked God for them...I thought of all the fresno peppers I would never have to buy again! When all was said and done, there were perhaps a dozen unidentifiable peppers, other than tasting to see if they were sweet or hot. All of the rest of these plants were pimento peppers! And I had a bumper crop! Now I like pimentos but I would never have planted 100 of them! So...I can't waste them...what do I do? I found out through the summer that they were good in salads....I found out that they dehydrate well for winter salad use....what to do with the rest? PIMENTO CHEESE! Although we provide much of our own food, there are still things that we purchase. I try to tackle one of them at a time to see if we can add that to our "never have to buy that again" list. My youngest son and I absolutely love pimento cheese...however I rarely buy it because of the ingredients....what ARE all of those nasty sounding non-food items? So...not being able to find a recipe for pimento cheese, I bought a container from the store and tried to come up with my own recipe by reading their ingredients. First, I shredded some mild colby into the Neufachel, minced a few garlic cloves, added a pinch

of salt (real salt...not that nasty salt with the cute little girl on the front!) and then added some finely chopped pimento peppers from our garden. Somehow it just wsn't quite "pimento-ey" enough. I let it sit in the frig overnight to let the flavors mingle and by morning it was delicious! I packed a container for my friend's party and put the rest in our frig. Elijah indulged in a pimento cheese sandwhich on fresh tater sourdough bread! I love to cook for Elijah...he is not shy, either by facial expression or exceedingly dramatic noises, at declaring his appreciation for what you create. Now how to preserve those peppers for cheese throughout the year? I decided to run the rest of them through a small electric chopper, put them in ice cube trays, let them freeze and then I will turn them out into pyrex and put into the freezer. I can pull out one or two "cubes" let it thaw and then use them in cheese, soup, stews, etc.

All in all, I am thankful for all the bushels of pimentos that we harvested this year I will purchase my seeds from a different vendor and try again for my 110 Red Fresno Peppers....I might also plant a couple of pimentos....maybe....


  1. Now that Taylor has promoted, all I hear every Sunday after church are stories of how sweet Elijah is! You are raising quite the gentleman it seems. Yay! I LOVE pimento chesse too but haven't eaten it in years because of the processed cheese and other stuff it contains. Yours sounds delightful:)

  2. Hi!
    Visit your sister this week....I left them with some cheese this morning :)! Elijah seems quite enamored with do you feel about marriage contracts ;)


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