It is an exciting time in my Ricki Carroll cheese challenge: the time when we can actually EAT the cheeses. Hopefully this will also be the time that buying milk begins to alleviate the grocery budget rather than just be a black (and white) hole for money. Today I cracked the first traditional cheddar made here.

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John referred to this as a “Very sharp cheddar” which I thought was funny since it only aged 3 months. I am considering re-waxing the rest and letting it age for 3 more to let more flavor develop. That is, if we don’t eat it all.

Then we went ahead and made it a tasting party:

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This was the first time we had tried the pickles that I made in August I think? (Mostly because I don’t really like pickles). These were good though. I think the trick of adding grape leaves did keep them crisp. Good thing we have them in such abundance! Any tricks to making stuffed grape leaves?

I also made Kimchi Pierogi’s to celebrate Paczki Day. This is a cultural nightmare basically, as Kimchi is Korean and pierogis and Paczki are Polish.

My sister-in-law was all about Kimchi a few months ago and I think she graduated to making her own. I however, bought Trader Joes and used it as filling for pierogi dough. I subbed olive oil and it worked fine.

My recommendations are to drain your filling for a long time because if it is too wet the dough won’t stick together. Roll out the dough (my dough was very resilient and took some muscle to roll out), then use a glass to cut little circles. Use less filling than you think you need, and press the edges together firmly. Boil each pierogi for about 5 minutes before frying until crispy in a pan.

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Then I decided to do a little thrifting after being jealous of a 2 year old’s birthday party and found these fancy things:

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Don’t they look like they are from beauty and the beast and may start walking and talking at any minute? Don’t worry I stopped just short of being jealous of the very same child’s adorable Valentine’s Day Jumper. (Lies, I am scheming to make myself one right now).

I wrapped things up this weekend by making a little Monterey Jack. On the page for Monterey Jack Home Cheese making quotes the Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable about “Ken-no” cheese, which I suppose is similar? It says “This was a large rich cheese, made by the women of the family with great affection of secrecy, and was intended for the refreshment of the gossips who were in the house at the ‘canny minute’ of the birth of a child. Called Ken-no because no one was supposed to know if its existence-certainly no male being, not excepting the master of the house. After all had eaten their fill on the auspicious occasion, the rest was divided among the gossips and taken home.”

This stuck out to me because it seems to imply that perhaps men were otherwise involved in cheese making frequently? John certainly is because I can hardly lift the cheese press myself/have no objection to allowing whey to get everywhere. Any women want to come over for some gossip and Monterey Jack in 1-4 months?

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