Keep Your Eyes open for these upcoming Events

Check out what is happening October 27th! It's a field trip!
More Info to Come, just starting to gather info now. Plan is to rent a van and have it tote us around, stopping at Tequesta Brewing Company, Bx Beer Depot, World of Beers, Due South and do tastings at each location. Like I say, I am just starting to do the legwork now, so just save the date state.
Let me know as soon as you know you are interested so I can plan accordingly
the cost of this event will be in the range of $30-$35. Purchasing beer at the stops will not be included so that you can budget your flights or single pints for yourself. Your price will include a delicious "lining your bellies" lunch at the Serenity Garden Tea House and your transportation for the day. Timeline and More to come

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November’s Gulp got Cheesy

Florida’s weather has been absolutely gorgeous this month.  Temperatures are in the 70’s, low humidity and sunny skies.  The conditions were perfect on November 17th to get togethjojoer at Casa La Sally and make some cheese.
What you ask?
We drink wine but we don’t make cheese.   Well, you’d be Wrongo Marylou.  
Thanks to the excellent mentoring skills of Jojo Milano of Delilah’s Dairy we Gulpers can now make cheese to go with our wine. (This post is ripe for bad puns and cheesy jokes.  I will try to keep them to a minimum).  I have to apologize in advance to our loyal followers, this was a hands on class.  I didn’t get a ton of notes or even pictures.  I did get the process of making paneer cheese pretty well documented and some silly video of the mozzarella making that if it doesn’t instruct you it will make you giggle a little. 
Let the cheese making begin!
We start with a few very important and serious instructions.  The most important being sanitation.  Everything must be clean and sanitized.  We made our cheese from Jojo’s fresh whole goat’s milk.  It was raw which means it hadn’t been pasteurized which means it is essentially alive.  We must treat it with respect and care.  All the pots, utensils and such should be well washed and sanitized.  Our hands must be well washed and sanitized too.  Jojo had a soapy solution with a little bleach in it for our washing needs.  One Gulper said she felt like she was prepping for surgery!
Another interesting point was because we were using raw milk our cheese would be considered vegetarian, NOT VEGAN, vegetarian.
You can use store bought milk to make this cheese but you need to make sure it isn’t ultra-homogenized.   The process changes the milk radically, removing calcium and changing the protein in a way that makes it unable to cut the cheese.  If you don’t have access to raw milk, (please see Jojo), then make sure it is only homogenized.  Organic milk can be ulta-homogenized so make sure you read the label.  Whole Foods sells one brand that would work, I think it is called 365? Jojo also mentioned Publix Greenwise milk would work too but make sure to read the label!  You could use skim or whole milk but keep in mind the butterfat is what gives the cheese more flavor.  What’s the point of going through the effort for no flavor?  Just my opinion.
Finally, while there is certainly an art to cheese making it is also a science.  Directions matter.  To get a good curd the milk needs to be at a specific temperature before adding the acid.  Rinsing is important to get rid of excess whey and makes the cheese last longer.
Let’s make some Cheese!
Paneer is a fresh simple cheese found much in Southeast Asian cuisine.  In the U.S it is called Farmer’s Cheese.  In Mexico it is Queso Fresca.  It is made with milk and an acid like lemon, citric acid, vinegar or yogurt.  In our lesson we used goat milk from Delilah Dairy and vinegar from Publix.  The recipe calls for 1 gallon of milk to a 1/2 cup of vinegar for approximately a pound of cheese.
Here is what we did:
paneer collage1.  In a large saucepan bring the milk to 187 degrees stirring constantly.  Do not stir vigorously or you might spill the milk and then someone might start crying and that would be well, crying over spilled milk and just not done.
2. Once it is at temp slowly add the vinegar.  This will make the milk curd which will become the cheese.  Note:  even though the directions are for a half cup of vinegar we needed to add an additional 1/4 cup to get a good curd.  Jojo said that was fine.  “While there is definitely a science to cheesing making it is also an art”, wisely advised the day’s sage. 
3.  Once the curd is formed begin spooning it out of the pan and into a cheese cloth covered colander.  This allows the whey to continue to drain.  After scooping out all of the curd from the pot pick up the edges of the cheese cloth and twist to continue draining away the whey or a whey it goes!  (I couldn’t help myself).
4.  Take the curd in the cheese cloth to the sink and rinse it under running water.  Then twist again to squeeze out water and any left over whey.  Be careful not to over squeeze.  Too much and all you will have left is no curds and whey.  Seriously, too much and it will reduce the amount of cheese produced.
5.  This is now for all intents and purposes cheese.  But how do we make it taste good?  Well you gouda add herbs, ( I swear no more), but first add salt.  IMPORTANT:  Do not use iodized salt.  It will turn the cheese green!  I am not kidding it is true.  Use kosher or canning salt to season the cheese.  Here let Jojo explain:
no green cheese allowed
After the exciting adventure with paneer cheese the gathered Gulpers sat back and enjoyed noshes prepared by Coreen and Lebeau.  While I sipped my Brandsen Reserve 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon I munched on cheese and sausages, mini tacos, sweet potato fries with a sriracha sauce, mini blt bites, and pears with spiced ricotta.   In the meantime Jojo prepared the stage for a demonstration on mozzarella cheese making.  Once again I am going to let Jojo do the talking.  Give her your unfeta’d attention:
The recipe for the mozzarella is as follows: 
yes I know the first few frames are sideways. The wine was very good!
1. let milk stand to room temp 55 ° and above in pot.
don't start heating till :
2. in 1/4 cup of chilled water add 1/4tsp of rennet put back in fridge
in 1/4 cup of chilled water add 1.5 tsp of citric acid
in% cup of chilled water add 1/4 tsp of lipase powder chill in fridge 20 minutes till
on stove
1. with room temp milk add the lipase powder and the citric acid and stir stir stir.
2. heat milk to 88 ° (i can sometimes go up to 90 °)
3. pour in rennet. stirring as you go. up and down motions for about 30 seconds.
just make sure all rennet is stirred into milk.
4. make sure milk is still at 88-90 ° a bit above is fine.
5. take milk off stove and let sit for 20-50 minutes. cover it.
6. at 20 min. check to see if you have one giant curd. stick your finger in to test.
should look custard like. if not, leave it alone.
7. Cut curds into 1 inch squares.
8. put on the stove to heat it up again to about 105-108 ° to firm things up a bit. or
if a good firm curd just let sit for another 10 minutes. can remove soMe whey.
you can start to stir to mix the curds. they should start sticking together and first
look of gooey mozzarella is starting.
9. take off stove and pour out tome of the whey. are curds melding tOgether? if
not, put back on stove to heat up to 108 °
10. ladle the cheese into a colander (plastic is fine), start to fold curds into each
other, get the whey out. should be clear.
11. take the big ball of curd and place in a microwave bowl. place in the
microwave 30-50 seconds (my microwave) where its almost too hot to touch.
and start playing with it. seeing a stretch starting, when slightly cooled to touch
determine if its too soft or too hard, or not pulling enough put in microwave for
another 30 sec. repeat above.
12. add some salt to itkeep pulling
At this point you should have a lovely shiny, long, stretchy mozzarella.
13. rope. braid. roll.
14. stick in an ice water bath to chill the moz... 10 minutes.
It was an amazing evening.  The setting was perfect.  The friends were perfect and the cheese beyond all expectations.  I butter quit for now.  I camembert for the next event!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I love Oktoberfest with Gulp!

Before I begin this post I just want to send out prayers and well wishes to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  We in South Florida know what you are going through and feel your pain, aggravation and need for electricity.  For anyone who reads the Gulp posts who wishes to help out our Northern neighbors visit or donate blood at your local blood bank.  That’s what neighbors do, we help each other out when the times get tough!
Onto the pairings!
This was a unique pairing event.  Not because it was beer.  We’ve done that.  Not because it was Oktoberfest, done that too.  We have never done, however costumes.  Yep, that’s right people came in costume to celebrate Halloween!  I give big props to everyone who dressed up but my personal favorite was the ooompa looompa!  Yes, I have pictures…hehehehhee.  It was also unique because this pairing featured not only Coreen’s skills in the kitchen but also her brewing chops as well.  Two of the courses were paired with a homebrew created by Coreen and I can tell you right now that I liked both.  Great job young lady!  This was also the largest gathering to date with 35 Gulpers joining in on the fun and learning about beer pairing. 
1st Course:  This was a course as far away from Germany as one could get.  Coreen and LeBeau went deep into the heart of Dixie and made chicken and waffles.  Can Y’all say chix and wafflefinger lickin’ good?  The waffle was freshly made with a pat of butter and maple syrup and it was topped with a crispy fried chicken tender.  It was paired with Coreen’s first brew of the day.  The Vanilla, oatmeal and maple syrup stout was like breakfast in a glass all on its own!  Paired with the crispy chicken and sweet, toasty waffle I was visioning big verandas, roman columns, and oak trees dripping with spanish moss.  (I refuse to see myself in hoop skirt or crinoline.)  Seriously, the aroma of the stout was all maple syrup and then when I took my first drink I got the maple but right behind it the vanilla coffee.  The oatmeal gave the brew body and weight making it definitely a meal.  It paired wonderfully with the waffle.  The maple in the stout said hi to the maple on the waffle and chicken and they all became very good friends in my mouth.  Michelle said she was going to have this for breakfast everyday!

pumpkin lasagna2nd Course:  This course put us smack dab into the middle of Fall.  The beer was Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Stout and it tasted the way its name sounds.  It was big, and bold with aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and pumpkin.  Its flavor was caramel-y and pumpkin-y with a faint note of citrus on the back end.  It was paired with more pumpkin in a lasagna that everyone wanted seconds of.  The pumpkin lasagna was lovely thin layers of tender noodles filled with ricotta, pumpkin and acorn squash puree.  It was topped with mozzarella and parmesan.  The parmesan was a smart ingredient that gave the lasagna a nutty, salty component that kept the rest from being really sweet.  The match between the brew and the food was phenomenal!  Almost every Italian will tell you cream sauces are enhanced with a touch of nutmeg and the stout provided that touch.  This was savory, warm and creamy meets cool, spicy and satisfying.  In short, yummy!
Dessert in the middle:  Before we moved to the third course we were served dessert.  This lovely little bite was created by our own Deb Knepp.  It was a pumpkin pound cake w/ amaretto cream cheese DSCN0647frosting.  It was moist rich and dense cake topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting that just melted in my mouth.  I have to say I am a sucker for cream cheese frosting and this one reminded me why.  I love the sweet, tangy creamy flavor and then mix in a cake that was full of pumpkin goodness I could have eaten a lot more, as it was a had two pieces!  I paired it with the pumpkin stout and wow was that delicious!

brats3rd Course:  With this course we came fully into Oktoberfest.  Coreen braised brawursts in stout and caramelized onions in the same stout and put the two together in a soft bun.  My mouth is watering at the memory.  The aroma of the meat and onions tickled my nose as Lebeau presented it to our table and I knew then and there I was in brat love.  They paired  them with a Lefthand Oktoberfest Marzen.   This pretty amber colored brew smelled sweet and a little yeasty.  The flavor followed suit.  After two fairly big flavor beers this one was lighter and if I may say refreshing especially against the sandwich with it’s porky, fatty goodness.  There was a caramel note to the beer as well which matched the sweetness of the onions.  It was a really a perfect pairing.

4th Course:  Coreen excels at sweets!  This is a bit funny because she isn’t much for eating them.  Personally, I don’t care about that, just that she keeps coming up with these tasty closings to every Gulp meal.  Thisbananas one was a banana fosters cup with banana mousse, chopped nuts, caramel sauce and ginger cookie crumbles.  REALLY?  Oh yeah, really and it tasted better than its description.  Creamy, cool mousse meets banana and then crunch, crunch, crunch go the nuts and cookies.  Crap! It was good.   Coreen’s homebrew heffeweisen was the perfect match with all that banana flavor.  It was slightly cloudy and a smelled a little yeasty.  It was mild in flavor and I thought a perfect foil for the richness of the dessert.  All I wrote at the time was YUMMO!
Well my friends that is it for this edition of the Gulp Recap!  Have a great November and if I don’t see you have a Happy, Safe and Grateful Thanksgiving!
Enjoy the Halloween costume pictures: