So this weekend we celebrated my sister’s birthday. I was asked to bring a cake to serve 40+. Normally I would have totally made the whole thing myself, but between a 3 year old wild-child and an attention-gobbling 5 week old I opted for a store-bought cake. A Costco cake, to be exact. However, I didn’t want to be completely generic as I knowingly poisoned people with toxic processed butter cream and commercial food dyes…. So I made a gum paste cake topper to individualize the cake….
My sister is an aires, and she’s considered somewhat of a goddess in her circles, so…..how about a nekkid gum paste Aries goddess. Yes! That’s it! I used pieces of lollypop sticks cut to size to support the arms and head onto the body. I used a paint brush and food dye to paint the color on the hair, horns and nipples.
The Bean has a best friend – an imaginary best friend: Wuzzie the Rat. Wuzzie became a member of our family about 5 months ago. The only rat Beans had ever seen was a dead one a cat had put an end to. It must have made quite an impression on him. When he first started talking to me about Wuzzie I thought it was a phase that would quickly pass – I mean, come on, a flying rat?!?. However, the Bean’s relationship with his imaginary friend has only grown. My son will talk to Wuzzie for hours at a time as he plays with his toys, we have to wait for Wuzzie, Wuzzie sits with us as restaurants, Beans shares his meals with Wuzzie and the best – I can threaten to send Wuzzie home as an effective form of discipline. No kidding. So I figured it was only fitting that I sketch what *I* imagine Wuzzie the Rat to look like. When I showed Beans the sketch he recognized Wuzzie right away. He then asked me why I didn’t draw him riding on Wuzzie. I guess thats the next sketch….
Yes, I saved my placenta. No, I didn’t eat it or encapsulate it. Yes, I made art with it.
I gave birth to The Sprout 2 weeks ago, but painting with my placenta was not high on the priority list so I froze it. After a good thaw, I mixed some black and green acrylic paint with water and “bathed” the placenta.
I used a sea sponge to dab excess liquid off the placenta. I used 140# watercolor paper and would gently set the placenta on top of each piece. The resulting prints are beautiful, unique, displayable pieces.
I bought my culture, rennet and cheesecloth at our local supply store, Grains, Beans & Things.
Here’s the ingredients you need:
1 quart of raw goat’s milk
1/4 cup sterilized water
1 drop of single strength Animal Rennet
1/16 teaspoon Mesophilic Culture
1/4 Sea Salt
Here’s the equipment you need:
2 medium squares of fine cheesecloth
Stainless steel colander
Stainless steel bowl
Large glass bowl
small glass bowl or cup
– You want the colander to be able to be suspended over stainless steel bowl
Firstly, make sure all your equipment is sterilized. Wash it with soap, rinse, pour boiling water over it all and then thoroughly dry it all.
– this includes the cheesecloth.
Pour quart of raw milk into the large glass bowl and sprinkle culture on the top of the milk. Give the culture a few minutes to re-hydrate and then mix gently but thoroughly with a wooden spoon. In the small glass bowl combine sterilized water with one drop of rennet. Add 2 tablespoons of rennet solution to milk mixture, mixing with the wooden spoon.
Cover bowl of milk with a towel and allow to culture at room temperature for 24 hours.
Place colander inside of stainless steel bowl and line with cheesecloth.
Pour cultured milk into cheese cloth – it should be a mixture of curds and whey at this point.
Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth to make a little bag for the cheese. The whey will drain through the cheesecloth and colander and be caught in the bottom of the stainless steel bowl. I slipped the wooden handle of a spatula through the top knot to further suspend the draining cheese.
Let drain for 24 hours for moist cheese – longer for dryer cheese. Even though many recipes said to allow the cheese to drain in the kitchen, I – being a paranoid first-time-raw-goat-cheese-maker – let my cheese drain in the ‘fridge.
When the cheese has drained, free it from it’s cheesecloth shroud.
I saved the drained whey in a jar to be used in another project and scraped the new cheese from the cheesecloth into the stainless steel bowl.
Add the sea salt.
Mix in the sea salt with a wooden spoon.
Store the finished raw cheese in clean (preferably glass) container.
This chèvre is seriously good stuff! I am SO excited to try new cultures for different cheese. If I can do this, anyone can do this.