Sorry to have disappeared on you for a while there. This past weekend we went to Vernon, BC to visit some friends. The drive took us about 7 hours, but we drove through such beautiful country that it was thoroughly enjoyable. The kids each took long naps, and between their pile of books and audio books on CD they were happily entertained along the way. It wasn’t the most frugal of vacations, particularly since our Son the Destroyer tossed a Kleen Kanteen bottle at our friends’ brand new big screen TV and cracked the display! We replaced the TV and are looking for some local child labour outfits so he can work off his debt to us (just kidding!).
Between that trip and a busy weekend before it, I have ended up missing the last two farmer’s markets. Which brings me to my second excuse, this one regarding the One Local Summer challenge. The first week of June has come and gone and I have no local meal to write about. This week wasn’t looking too good either until I found some local grape tomatoes (greenhouse grown) at the supermarket. I’m sure the flavour of these little gems won’t be quite as wonderful as those from the farmer’s market but I think they will go quite nicely with some salad from my garden.
And now for the good news: I finally made cheese! I ordered the Gourmet Home Dairy kit from The Cheese Queen (those of you who have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle might remember that name). I made a big batch of Fromage Blanc from 4 litres of local, organic milk. It looks like this and tastes a bit like cream cheese:
I mixed up a bit with some pesto and crushed walnuts and it was lovely on crackers.
Right now I’m enjoying another little batch mixed up with raspberry jam which is VERY yummy.
The stuff was super easy to make, but I will warn you that if you buy this particular kit there is a misleading bit of information: the kit comes with a Yogotherm which you can use to make all sorts of cheeses and yogurty stuff but you can NOT make Fromage Blanc in there because the container does not hold an entire gallon of milk! The instruction booklet actually tells you to pour it in there, but you will find out – like I did in a total panic – that it doesn’t fit. I did manage to salvage the situation and ended up with yummy cheese, so all is well. And I wrote the company and warned them that they need to correct the info in the booklet. But I am very pleased with my cheese and looking forward to making more of it.
Finally, a cheese tip for my local readers: my dear friend’s wonderful partner has opened up a cheese shop in Vancouver that stocks only Canadian cheeses (almost 200 varieties!). They just opened a couple of weeks ago at Cambie and 17th and I got to sample some of their stock – absolutely wonderful stuff! There are many local cheeses there, even some raw milk cheeses. It was hard to choose which ones to bring home with me. They also sell locally made crackers and jellies. So if any of you are looking for a place to get some good, quality local cheeses (and a whole bunch of yummy not-so-local but still Canadian cheeses) I highly recommend you visit the Mount Pleasant Cheese Shop (right next door to the Park Theatre).