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June 23, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Over the weekend, I made mozzarella cheese once again and have to say that this batch was the best one yet.
It proves that the best results come from the best ingredients. The last few times I made cheese, I used whole milk from the grocery store, making sure it wasn’t ultra-pasteurized. But this time, I used a gallon of whole milk that was not homogenized. I bought it from a local fruit market last week. It came in glass bottles, the kind I remember my mother getting outside our door each morning after the milkman made his delivery.
Some would say those were simpler times, and perhaps they were. I often think it would be nice to have someone deliver milk and bread to my house so I wouldn’t have to make those nuisance trips to the store.
Most milk in the mid-to late-1950s wasn’t homogenized and I remember my mother using her finger to scoop up the butterfat that congealed around the mouth of the milk bottle. It was a special treat that she allowed herself. She would offer it to us, but we weren’t sure about the thick, creamy substance that somehow had separated itself from our milk.
When I opened the bottles to begin making the mozzarella cheese, it too had the congealed butterfat at the top of the bottle. I shook it up, as requested on the label, but all wouldn’t melt back into the liquid. I still didn’t have the nerve to taste it, but instead scooped it out with a knife and added it to the milk in the saucepan.
The cheese, as I mentioned before, was the best batch ever, with a soft creamy texture. I had to heat it several times and knead it a bit longer to get as much of the liquid out as possible, but even as I formed it into the shape of mozzarella that is so familiar, it oozed the milky butterfat. I wrapped the cheese ball in plastic wrap. Now I wish the tomatoes were ripe in the garden as nothing would have been better than the cheese sliced with tomatoes and topped with whole basil leaves and drizzled with olive oil for a tasty caprese salad.
After a trip to the gym this morning, I had breakfast at my office in Niles, but before the gym, I grabbed a Kashi cereal bar so I wouldn’t be without fuel for my workout. I wondered how rolled oats would be reheated, so I made up a batch last night and packaged them up for this morning. They really weren’t bad, although I had to add a bit of water to them as they reheated in the microwave, as they they dried out a bit in storage overnight. After the gym, I made a quick stop at the store for fresh blueberries, which are in season and came from New Jersey. I brought along a small container of chopped walnuts and brown sugar for the oats. The only thing I forgot was the cinnamon.
Lunch was equally good as I still had some of the pasta and kale stir-fry left over from Friday’s dinner. I added a tossed salad to it with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and a peach for something sweet. I think I’ll be fine until dinner, but just in case, I have another peach if I need it. Dinner was a three ounce filet of wild salmon, dry cooked in a skillet with a few shots of cooking spray. I also sauteed a cup of chopped brussel sprouts and had two more slices of homemade wheat/oat bread along with a diet drink.
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Breakfast: 2 ¼ ounces grains; ½ cup fruit; 1 ounce meat; 1 ½ tsps. healthy oils; 80 discretionary calories (sugar in oats, tea and cereal bar). Total breakfast calories, 450.