|the raw milk collection|
This morning, perish the thought! We've been letting them graze on the hillside right outside our front door and they are methodically eating down the invasive Scotch broom and blackberry brambles. It is strangely mesmerizing to watch goats forage, very peaceful. I can't really explain why, but I can watch them for hours.
We now have more goat's milk than I can use in flan and crema catalana and so the other day I made cheese. To produce this particular cheese, you sprinkle a pinch of culture over barely tepid milk (in our case raw; more on this momentarily) and then add some rennet. Let the pot of milk sit at room temperature for 24 hours, drain it for a few more hours, stir in some salt, refrigerate. You end up with a fluffy, snowy, spreadable dairy product, like whipped cream cheese, but tangier. If you've had Laura Chenel chevre, this is just like that, except fresher and better.
About the raw milk. I have not yet read the Dana Goodyear story because our New Yorker subscription lapsed, though I intend to find it at the library this afternoon. I do think people should be able to buy raw milk legally, although I would have no interest in ever doing so myself. I also think people should be able to buy marijuana legally, although . . . oh wait. Perhaps a bad example.
Because we keep goats, we currently have a lot of raw milk on our hands. Stove-top pasteurization is an option, but seems like a nuisance given the pains we already take to sterilize the bucket, wash Natalie's udder with iodine, check the milk for impurities in a strip cup, strain it through a fine filter, immerse immediately in a bowl of ice, and so on. Why bother with those tedious steps if you're going to pasteurize the milk anyway?
One argument made by raw milk advocates: You treat the product with care from the very beginning and there's no need to boil the bejesus out of it.
This makes sense to me.
And yet, what exactly does it mean to "treat the product with care?" How clean is clean enough? I don't wear rubber gloves to milk. The polite word for the back yard, where we milk, is earthy. There are earthy flies and lots of earthy chickens squawking and scratching around. Or are flies and chickens just dirty? Natalie herself is extremely earthy. Sometimes a speck or two of of earthiness land in the milk. I strain it out. Fret. The fretting goes something like this:
Me: Oh, come on! A little fleck of dirt never hurt anyone. You're such a ninny. People drank raw milk for millennia before Louis Pasteur.
Me: And for millennia, people didn't live very long.
Me: You know as well as I do that most of them didn't die from drinking milk. Anyway, you live near a hospital.
Me: I would never forgive myself if something happened. Not to me, but to someone else.
Me: If you're just worried about other people, what's stopping YOU from eating the cheese? Even if you do get some bug, you'll probably kick it.
Me: That's true and the cheese does look awfully good. You know, you're right! This is stupid. I'm just going to eat the cheese. I'll be a guinea pig.
It was delicious cheese. A day passed and I felt fine. Then everyone in the family ate the cheese and everyone loved it and everyone is fine.
Upshot: We are going to continue with our current dairying practices, although we will not be offering raw goat cheese to pregnant women, small children, or my grandmother.
|such a sad photo of really good bread and cheese|
I would not suggest that you buy The Cuisines of Spain. I'm glad I checked it out from the library because while it's a solid compendium of traditional Spanish recipes, many very tasty, I've cooked nothing I would make again. Last night we had patatas a la Riojana which involved boiling onions, potatoes, greasy chorizo, and paprika together in a big pot of water.
|all it takes to make a mediocre soup|