My life in the midst of bacteria

It appears that it is not illegal in the State of Washington to produce or purchase unhomogenized, unpasteurized milk. Of course, they also have medical marijuana up here, but that’s another story. This story is about yogurt, hence the bacteria.

I suppose if one is going to be situated in a small town — call it a city if you like, but really, if we’re talking fewer than six digits of people, we’re talking town. Anyway, if this small town is in the corner of a state bordered by people nostalic for the Wild West and people nostalgic for fascism, one needs to begin playing to one’s strengths, in this case, baking and cooking. Not that these are the only things that one does, but when one begins referring to oneself in the third person (and people don’t bring up Suede of Project Runway), baking and cooking are the easiest strengths to highlight. So bear with one. Erm, me.

Susanne and I were invited to a farm share dinner, which was nice because we used to do those occasionally in DC. We asked what we could contribute and were delighted to be told: DESSERT. So I thought about making cheesecake, as I have in years past, when I’ve made delights like these:


Caramel toffee cheesecake

Caramel toffee cheesecake


A caramel toffee cheesecake with the traditional graham cracker crust. There’s also the chocolate mousse cheesecake with an Oreo crust, and finally, the brownie and chocolate swirl cheesecake with a vanilla sponge cake crust.

None of these, however, did I make for the farm share dinner. I made this, a chocolate fudge cake with a masala chai-infused ganache.

Hopefully it went some distance toward making some friends! 




Chocolate cheesecake

Chocolate cheesecake













chocolate fudge cake

chocolate fudge cake

Meanwhile, I made my first foray into growing bacteria in milk, or rather, I made some yogurt last week. Baking the cake was a motivator, so I poured 8 cups of raw milk into a nice large pot and made it not raw anymore by bringing it slowly to 180 degrees. I wound up with three batches setting overnight — a vanilla batch, a plain batch, and a small batch with local organic honey. It turned out really well! Now I need some recipes using yogurt because 8 cups of yogurt is a LOT of yogurt to get through in its two-week life span.

Maybe that’ll be my new career — yogurt maker for the stars. I just need some flavor ideas that are novel and hip, and I’m in business.

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5 Comments on “My life in the midst of bacteria”

  1. Jody
    September 16, 2008 at 5:43 am #

    Let’s go asian…

    Green tea yogurt

    Ginger yogurt

    Savory wasabi yogurt sauce

  2. evmaroon
    September 16, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    Those sound more like frozen yogurt specialties to me, but you may be on to something, Jody!

  3. Alexis
    September 16, 2008 at 10:48 pm #

    You, sir, need chickens. Now. Chickens love nothing more than yogurt. Toss a couple chunks of banana in there and you’ve got friends for life!

    Then your eggs taste even yummier! Not that I would know since the damn freeloaders haven’t started to lay yet…

  4. evmaroon
    September 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm #

    I don’t have any room for chickens! Much as I would like to raise some of the cute breeds you have at your place. Are you using any soy in their feed? Apparently that makes a big difference… what are you feeding them?

  5. Alexis
    September 17, 2008 at 9:37 am #

    I’d have to go out into the coop to check the bag, but it’s pitch black out there right now, so I won’t, but it is whatever laying pellet our local Agway carries. I just switched them over from chick starter/grower to layer feed a week ago. They also get whatever is left on the kids’ plates after dinner, yogurt with fruit cut up in it, a couple dozen crickets from the pet store, any past prime veggies from my neighbor’s garden, whatever my husband grabs out of the fridge whenever he goes out to visit them, weeds from my garden complete with bugs. I also routinely tie heads of broccoli and bunches of grapes several inches above their heads to give them something to do during the day since i can’t let them free range here.

    They are only 20 weeks old now, the average age to lay is 21 weeks, so although I complain, they aren’t even late yet. I know they are just waiting for my birthday this weekend anyway!

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