Category Archives: Uncategorized

Launch of Somibo.com – the Worldwide Wellness Network

When I’m not making cheese or gardening, I’m working on Somibo.com – the worldwide wellness network.

Somibo.com has listings of wellness related businesses worlwide – from yoga and pilates to acupuncture, retreats and travel, spas, massage therapy and more. Somibo.com users can add businesses, write reviewed and rate businesses — all for free. Businesses can also list coupons and discounts on Somibo.com!

Somibo.com also has wellness event listings, a forum, and more….

See you on Somibo.com

somibo: the soul, mind and body connection

We interrupt the regularly scheduled program to announce the launch of somibo.com: the soul, mind and body connection.

somibo_logo_letterhead

Have you ever wanted one place to find, rate review and hear about what other people think about all of the “wellness related” businesses, products and services in your city and in other cities around the world? Well, somibo.com is it.

somibo.com has Yoga, massage, spas, acupuncture, organics, eco/green living, retreats and travel, meditation spas  and more.

And, businesses can give somibo.com users discounts and coupons through the site. There’s also a community forum and a wellness resources section with sites and blogs that somibo users will find interesting and useful.

somibo is all 100% free and is a project I’ve been working on for the past 2 years. Please join the site, tell others about it and let wellness businesses in your community know about it suggest a wellness business on the site and we’ll add them.

All Feedback is welcome. Thanks.somibosun

“Got yer Goat” yet?

Getting my Goat On

Getting my Goat On

According to Goat World, there are more than 450 million goats in the world. That’s more goats than there are Americans…. The origin of the expression “to get ones goat” is unclear, but the Word Detective says that it’s an American expression dating back to the early 20th century and has something to do with goats being used to calm down horses at racetracks. Sounds fishy to me.

My favorite kind of cheese comes from goat’s milk. Goats produce around 1 gallon a day on average compared to 10 gallons from a cow. But if it’s quality and not quantity you are looking for, goat’s milk is richer and easier to digest than the cow’s. Sheep’s produce even less and their milk is even richer, and their milk makes great cheese.

51I6swQkjiL._SL500_AA240_I prefer the goat both for its cheese and its personality. Sheep are too sheepish and cows too big and clumsy. Goats are both manageable and smart enough to be worth having as “pets.” Although my life in Brooklyn prohibits having a goat or two, I am interested in raising a few at some point. If you think raising goats is only for the very hardy, consider that there’s even a “Raising Goats for Dummies” book. Anyone can do it!

This great article on Mother Earth News walks you through the process of raising and breeding goats and explains the different breeds.

The most problematic part of raising goats, for me, is what to do with all of the male goats (kids) that are born every year. To keep goats producing sufficient quantities of milk, you have to breed them every fall and they give birth to their kids (often twins or triplets) in the Spring — hence the spring lambs, etc. You keep some of the females for milk to replace any older does who drop out of your herd. But what about the males? They are usually castrated and sold as “lawnmowers” or pets or for meat. That’s disturbing. But what’s the alternative? You can’t keep all of the kids or you’ll be overrun by goats in no time.

Another funny goat tidbit — anyone ever hear of fainting or narcoleptic goats?

Last but not least, goats are smart. They’re smarter than we usually give them credit for as evidenced by this video clip:

Need I say more?

The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment and Bialys…

Brooklyn Cheese

Brooklyn CheeseThis past sunday, I wandered down to The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment (hats off to #3 for the tip!). It was in my neighborhood and featured home-brewers from all over Brooklyn and beyond and a cook-off featuring cheese dishes. According the Village Voice Blog: "Home cooks and home brewers competed for the hearts and stomach linings of the audience and judges alike; inhuman quantities of curds and whey were consumed, and untold volumes of foam were absorbed by an untold number of beards." There certainly were lots of beards. It was a thoroughly satisfying Brooklyn experience.

According to the NY Times, Brooklyn today is like Berkeley, CA in the 1970s: a hotbed of culinary innovation, a foodie mecca, and the epi-center of the home-grown, slow-food movement. I’m glad to call it home.

Avi's Bialys!

Avi's Bialys!

After the Cheese experiment, I went back home to bake some bread. After leafing through my bread book, I decided to bake BIALYS. The Bialy: not a bagel and not a bread. Not a hybrid either. The bialy is its own category. According to Wikipedia, the Bialy is short for Bialystok, the town in Poland. Bialys were brought to America by Ashkenazi Jews and were little known outside of NY until recently. There’s even a book about Bialy’s: Mimi Sheraton’s The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World.

I made my Bialys using my Sourdough starter as my leavening agent (I fed the starter a few hours prior so it was ncie and activated) and also added a pinch of fleishmans. I used white flour, a little salt, water and presto – Bialy dough.Here’s a decent Bialy recipe. After finishing the dough, I sauteed red onions in olive oil and added them with sesame seeds. Unlike its cousin the bagel, the bialy is not boiled but merely baked. My bialys were baked at 480 degrees.

I just finished one with melted cheese on it – divine.

Cheese University Part Due

My excursion into the world of formal cheese education last night was a success.

I arrived at the famous Murray’s cheese on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village a little nervous. Although I’ve been making my Brooklyn Cheese for more than six months now, would I be a complete novice in a room full of dairy mavens and TUROPHILES (That’s definitely the SAT word of the day)? With all of these sophisticated New Yorkers, would I end up looking like a Kraft single in a room full of aged cheddar and weepy brie?

My fears were quickly put to rest by the friendliness of the staff at Murrays and by the laid-back teacher of the class, Wil Edwards. Aside from teaching this class, Wil is an editor at the new Culture Magazine . He has spent years working on goat and sheep farms in California and Europe and he is a great photographer. Will is also opening an Artisan Food School. Very cool.

During the class, we tried 10 different cheese and learned a lot about the cheese making process. Most of the class was review for me, but i did learn some new things. I loved Wil’s passionate insistence that when you eat cheese, the cheesemaker is as much on your plate as the cheese itself. Each cheese is an art just like painting or photography.

My favorite cheese of the evening was Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a raw, cow’s milk from 9 cross breeds handcrafted by Mike Gingrich. It is so damn good! From the Uplands Cheese Company that makes this cheese:

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an artisanal cheese made from the non-pasteurized milk of a single herd of Wisconsin cows fed and managed using natural, “old world” practices. Our cows graze lush pastures from early spring through fall, just as all cows did before the industrialization of our food system. The resulting milk has better nutritional value and more varied and subtle flavors that are expressed in the delicate flavor profile of Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese.”

I also learned about a rare Italian delicacy called “callu cabetu cheese” that is literally cheese curds formed in a baby goat (kid)’s stomach. The kid is slaughtered and the cheese is served or sold right out of the stomach. Yuk, but definitely interesting. According to Wil, this is how rennet (the enzyme used by cheesemakers to harden or coagulate milk) was discovered: a baby goat was slaughtered and they saw that the milk it had drunk was now chees-y in its stomach. Wow.

Another thing I learned about was Washed Rind Cheeses. Here’s a video explaining how it’s done (Although these guys are whacky Canadians, they explain it nicely) :

I’m thinking of going to Murray’s Cheese U Bootcamp in two weeks. Anyone else planning on going?

Cheese University

I’m off to Cheese University tonight at the famous Murrays Cheese, in Greenwich Village.

I’m taking The Art of Cheesemaking which is described on the Murray’s website as folows:

“It’s often hard to truly school students on the cheesemaking process within the confines of 254 Bleecker Street, but this time we’re going all out. Although we can’t get a herd of cows and a thousand liter vat, Wil Edwards, Editor at Large and photographer for Culture magazine, will lead you on a multi-sensory adventure, teaching you about the craft of cheesemaking. Combining tasting, talking, and photographs, he’ll spell out the process, step by step, and teach you how cheesemakers transform milk to cheese masterpiece. Taste through a variety of distinct styles and broaden your knowledge on how each cheese came to be.me we’re going all out. Although we can’t get a herd of cows and a thousand liter vat, Wil Edwards, Editor at Large and photographer for Culture magazine, will lead you on a multi-sensory adventure, teaching you about the craft of cheesemaking. Combining tasting, talking, and photographs, he’ll spell out the process, step by step, and teach you how cheesemakers transform milk to cheese masterpiece. Taste through a variety of distinct styles and broaden your knowledge on how each cheese came to be.”

I’m excited and will keep you updated…

American Cheese on July 4

Your perfect  square shape. Your plastic wrap so satisfying to open.  Your perfect stickiness to the roof of my mouth. Your reliable, consistent, comforting, fake taste. You make me feel so……American.

American Cheese

American Cheese

According to the great blog, Cheese is Alive:

“American cheese has a legal definition. It is legal for it to have as little as 51% cheese . The rest is emulsifiers, enzymes, coloring, pixie dust , eye of newt and a wee pinch of despair. Velveeta is less than 51% cheese. I don’t know what’s in Velveeta. My guess is unadulterated evil and the tears of the innocent, but I could be wrong.”

American Cheese, according to Wikipedia, has the following origins:

British colonists began making cheddar as soon as they arrived in America. By 1790, American cheddars were being exported back to England. The British referred to American cheddar as “American cheese,” or “Yankee cheese,” and post-Revolution Americans promoted this usage to distinguish the exports of their proud new nation from European cheese.[3] For example, an 1878 newspaper article in The New York Times lists the total export of American cheese at 355 million pounds per year, with an expected growth to 1,420 million pounds[4].

Originally, the British considered American cheese inferior in quality; still, it was relatively cheap, so it sold. This connotation of the term American cheese became entrenched in Europe even after the Americans began producing quality cheese. Another article from 1878 mentions that the high quality American cheese is usually re-labelled under European names after export, with only low grade cheese retaining American labelling in Europe[5]. It also states that even in the United States quality American cheese is often relabelled, etc, and that this situation is a detriment to the reputation of American cheesemakers. This practice may be in part responsible for the name “American cheese” being synonymous with bland, low quality cheese[6].

“American Cheese” continued to refer to American cheddar until the advent of the processed cheese that now commands the title. Meanwhile, Americans themselves referred to their cheddar as “yellow cheese” or “store cheese,” because of its popularity and availability. Sometimes it was called “apple-pie cheese,” after its common pairing with that other iconic American food.[3] By the 1890s, once cheese factories had sprung up across the nation, American cheddar was also referred to as “factory cheese.” And in the 1920s another slang term arose for the still popular cheese: “rattrap cheese,” or “rat cheese.”[7]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines American cheese as a “cheese of cheddar type, made in the U.S.” and lists 1804 as the first known usage of “American cheese,” occurring in the Frankfort, Kentucky newspaper Guardian of Freedom. The next usage given is in 1860 by Charles Dickens in his series The Uncommercial Traveller.[8]

For More on American Cheese, visit the great blog: after cheese comes nothing.

Happy 4th of July and enjoy some REAL cheese!