Friday, May 16, 2008

Smears

Since I have quarantined the blue moldy cheeses and cleaned the cheese mats and boards of mold, things are looking up in the aging room. The smears on the rinds are developing well and seem to have stopped the growing of mold. The cheese at the top has a nice orange color which is evidence of healthy Brevibacterium linens development. The smear has a typical smear flavor, and I am confident that this will turn into a nice tasting cheese.
The second cheese is a kind of mystery how it turned into what it is. I suspect that I smeared the cheese with Geotrichum candidum, a aerobic fungus which creates a white mold. So far the cheese looks reminiscent of Brie and Camembert.
The third cheese is also developing a smear of B. linens. The cheese younger and harder than the first one.
The last cheese is a hard cheese made with a thermophilic starter and has still some Penicillium roqueforti growth as well as some white molds. I brush this of once in a while to keep the growth under control.




Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Moldy


Things are getting a little hairy in the cheese aging room. Although the Stilton styles are getting pretty green, the other cheeses seem to be infected too. I start to wonder whether the combination of moldy and non-moldy cheese in the same room is a good thing. I am also concerned about the possible contamination with Penicillium roqueforti of the aging room. I don't want to create a Rocuefort cave. I have sought online consultation and am awaiting response.





Ramps

video

Yesterday I set out in our woods in upstate New York for our weekly harvest of ramps. This member of the onion family (Allium tricoccum) grows here abundantly from April through May. It is often referred to as wild leek. Although I only harvest some for our personal culinary use, they are brought to the farmers markets around New York City by many vendors. There it is sold to the market goers, including many first class restaurants where it is served as a seasonal specialty.
As you can see, the ramps are hard to get out. They seem to prefer to grow around the base of trees in the root system or among the rocks which are plenty here. This combined with their strong rope like roots (they are heavy feeders), it sometimes feels they are holding on to dear life.