There was a time when the Klesick family had a milk cow, and not any cow, but a Jersey milk cow. Her name was Miss Moo. Jersey milk cows are smaller than Holsteins and their milk is slightly higher in butterfat, which makes it, dare I say, more flavorful. The milk wasn’t free though, for she had to be cleaned and brushed, and provided clean bedding and fresh hay, but in exchange she gave us rich nutritious milk twice a day, EVERY DAY! Hmm…thinking back to those days, I am not sure who the owner was, Miss Moo or me.
Oh Miss Moo—she was quite the character and loved to have her ears scratched. One of the kiddos referred to her as a real “lubber dubber.” Even though Miss Moo was a brown cow, she produced copious amounts of white milk. This totally shattered our young’uns’ hopes for chocolate milk, but they soon got over it, especially when we would make ice cream, yogurt, or cheese.
With non-homogenized milk, the cream really does rise to the top. This is often called a “cream plug.” The cream can be loosened and shaken back into the milk, but we would skim the cream plug off for a few days and then make butter from it. Every so often we would set out to make a little whipped cream, get a little over zealous, and, voila, we’d end up with butter instead :)! You can’t over shake the cream, unless you want some butter, that is.
A real family favorite was making “squeaky” cheese from our milk. We would heat up the whole milk, add a little lemon juice to help the milk curdle and form curds, drain off the whey, and salt the curds and enjoy. It is called squeaky cheese because, well, it sort of “squeaks” when you rub it between your fingers or bite it. I’ve included the recipe (below).
I often look back on those days with Miss Moo and fresh Jersey milk with fondness. Recently, Larry, from Twin Brook Creamery, asked if I would be willing to carry his milk. I paused and thought long and hard. I love that Twin Brook is pretty much a grass-based dairy, l love that the milk is ultra-fresh, I love that the milk is from Jerseys, I love that it is milk from one local herd and not a thousand herds, and I love that it is not homogenized. Although I am not a milkman, at the heart of Klesick Farms is good food, and the more local the better. So, after some serious thought, we added local milk delivery from a local dairy to our offerings.
Now, once again, I am making cheese and yogurt, but this time Larry gets to milk the cows. That is a fair trade in my book. Enjoy!
Recipe: Squeaky Cheese
2 quarts of milk
1/4 cup vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice
1. Heat the milk to 185 degrees F, then remove from heat.
2. Add the vinegar slowly while stirring, until curd forms. The milk will curdle almost immediately once the vinegar is added.
3. Once the milk has finished curdling, either skim the curds from the pot or strain them through a colander.
4. Tie the cords of the butter muslin together and hang the cheese where it can drain for several hours.
5. After draining you can either use it as is or go on to make queso blanco.
Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes for the BBQ
4 red potatoes, thinly sliced 1 large onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup butter, cubed Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
2. Layer sliced potatoes on aluminum foil with the onion, garlic, basil, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Fold foil around the potatoes to make a packet.
3. Place potato packet on heated grill over indirect heat, and cook for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Turn over packet halfway through cooking.
-adapted from allrecipes.com
Know Your Produce: Potatoes
Add a little whole milk to our freshly dug potatoes and turn them into mashed potatoes for dinner this week and you will be in for a special treat.
This week we are digging extremely fresh potatoes from the farm. You will notice that the skins are not set on the potatoes and will easily rub off. Don’t be alarmed because this is normal for freshly dug spuds. The freshness also means that they won’t keep as long either.
I will often boil the spuds one day and make hash browns the next or a potato salad. My favorite way to eat them is cubed. For this, placed the cubed potatoes in an 9” x 12” baking pan with salt, pepper, parsley, and olive oil. Mix them up and bake at 425 degrees F. They rarely make it to the table in the Klesick household!