Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Comeback Cow

Yippee! Spring is just around the corner - one month, to be exact. And today is a decidedly spring-like day, warm (43 degrees!) and sunny and the birds are out. Of course snow is still on the ground and not one speck of new green is to be found (I looked carefully - no crocuses or forsythia), but it looks promising.

I've been thinking a lot about what to do with my life upon graduation in June. Unlike most students here, I will not be looking for a restaurant job - been there, done that, and it's not my idea of fun. So I think it's time to start up the Creamery again and continue teaching cheesemaking classes.

I did this back in 2008. The class, Cheesemaking: From Cow to Curd, was six hours long. Participants learned what really goes into making dairy products through a hands-on class that started with the cow and ended in a bountiful, dairy-laden feast. Each class consisted of six to eight people. We would start off by milking Lil, my Jersey cow, and then carry the warm milk back to the house. Using a total of eight gallons of milk, I would go through the processes of skimming cream, culturing milk, making butter and buttermilk, fresh mozzarella, a basic cheddar-style pressed cheese, ricotta, fromage blanc, and yogurt. While we waited for the milk to culture, students could sample the freshly made cultured raw butter and aged cheeses from past classes. After stretching the mozzarella and packing the cheddar curds into the mold, we would all sit down for lunch - which went something like this: backyard salad greens with olive-oil and rosemary aged feta, platters of still-warm mozzarella layered with basil and our neighbor's tomatoes and pools of excellent olive oil, herb and garlic fromage blanc, and fresh mascarpone on walnut bread. The main event might be ricotta gnudi with brown butter, butternut squash, currants and pinenuts, or homemade pappardelle with mushrooms foraged by yours truly and ridiculous amounts of Lil's golden cream (among other things). My favorite dessert was a meyer lemon mascarpone ice cream. Wine and raw milk were the libations of choice - of course!

So Vashon, prepare yourself. The cows are coming home to Fort Bantam Creamery.

P.S. I already have a waiting list for classes. If you're interested, send an email to

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