I thought, to celebrate Friday, I would share a bit about hard cheese making. Not so much the process as why you should just accept some things about cheese. Cheese is mold. Mold makes cheese. Mold and Cheese are like apples and cider, birthdays and cake, chocolate and life! well yeah. Anyways. When I made my first hard cheese I kind of freaked out about the mold. So I would scrape off ever spot I saw to keep it pretty and white. The next one I didn’t scrape it, but I also didn’t let it age as much as I should have because again, the mold was freaking me out. The third one I achieved enlightenment (as far as cheese making) and I let the cheese choose its own course…I let it happen. With the nerves of a Zen master I let it get to this:
Now before you get all up in arms or something, let me mini rant for a few seconds. Just because our current food culture has inundated the public with scare tactics meant to make everyone ok with uber-sterilized food, doesn’t make sterilized food more healthy. In fact we are missing out on a ton of good stuff when we turn up our collective noses at raw, and unpasteurized, and fermented, and…yes…moldy. Our forebears and those in cultures all over the world knew that there is something kind of awesome when nature takes its course in some things. Not convinced? Fine! No more brie, blue cheese, vinegar, sourdough (or any fluffy bread for that matter), sparkling anything, or soy sauce for you!
Now all this isn’t to say that I want to eat blue and black fuzzies on my cheese. All I’m saying is that when I just let it go, and age the way it is supposed to, it tastes better. It is mellow and not at all goaty or sharp. It is very hard and dry like a nice parmesan, and it is my favorite. Like way better than anything store-bought. I cut off the mold and into slices that I can grab with anything. And if I really love myself I have this for lunch—> (Pull out your imagination)…I take a few slices (on that same green plate) and layer them with sliced tomato and avocado, sprinkle some salt and pepper, drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and voila! The most amazing caprese salad. I eat that a lot but by the time I remember the camera it’s mostly gone and not very pretty on the plate.