Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I tried a new cheese called "Chenna" a couple of days ago. It turned out really good. Here's what you do:

First you make "Panir" (also called "Paneer"):
1 gallon whole milk
8 T lemon juice or 2 t. citric acid dissolved in 3/4 c. hot water

In a large pot directly heat the milk to a gentle boil, stirring often to prevent scorching. Reduce the heat to low and drizzle in the lemon juice (or citric acid in water). Cook for 10-15 seconds. Remove from heat and stir gently until large curds form. Let set for 10 minutes. Ladle curds into a colander lined with butter muslin (I use old sheeting). Tie the corners of the fabric into a knot and hold the bag under a gentle stream of lukewarm water for 5-10 seconds. Twist the top of the muslin to squeeze out extra whey. Hang the bag to drain for 2-3 hours or place fabric covered curds in the colander and place a heavy object on top and press for 2 hours at room temperature. Eat right away or store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

1 recipe Paneer
Noniodized salt to taste
herbs, pepper, garlic to taste
Olive oil, for shallow frying

Follow directions for Paneer up to rinsing under lukewarm water and squeezing out excess whey. Put wrapped cheese in colander, place a 5-pound weight on top and press for 45 minutes. Unwrap the cheese, break apart and press with a clean cloth to remove any remaining whey. Knead the cheese like bread on your counter or cutting board for about 10 minutes until it is light and smooth, without any grainy texture. Add salt, herbs, garlic, etc. in any combination desired. Shape cheese into flat patties and shallow fry them in olive oil. Store in refrigerator 1 to 2 weeks, fry just before serving.

I added salt to the whole recipe, then divided the "dough" into 4 balls. I put different seasonings in each one: one I left plain, just with salt added, one I sprinkled with a mixed Italian seasoning blend and pepper, one I mixed with herbs de provence, and one I mixed with fresh garlic and dried chives. We've eaten all but the herbs de provence patty. They all turned out delicious!

Today's Menu:

Breakfast: Homemade Country Sage Pork Sausage, Pumpkin Breakfast Bake, Gogurt with Raspberries
Main Meal: Grilled Pork Tenderloin marinated in garlic, dijon mustard, and honey; Tromboncino Zucchini and onions sauteed in olive oil and butter with crumbled Ricotta Salata; Fresh Garden Honeydew Melon
Evening Snack: Leftover grilled chicken, Chenna cheese with herbs de provence seasoning, grapes, wine, dark chocolate

We've been thrilled with the Tromboncino Zucchini. See a picture here: I've given some to my parents and to my friend Carolyn and they are also very impressed. The seeds are only in the bulb end, but they don't get big. The squash sautes beautifully and doesn't get mushy. Today we had it just with onions, but I've also included it in mixed stir-fries with eggplant, carrots, etc. and it's just delicious. This is one plant that I will definitely be planting again. The vines grow very long though. I have one that must be twenty feet long. I've got it tied to my fence.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Milk Production

I tried to get a picture of all three goats on the spools, but when I come near the fence they usually stand up and run towards me. They are so cute each laying down on a spool. It took PJ a week or ten days to figure out that one could be hers, but she's up there just as much as Tigger and Una now.

Earlier this year (when I just had Tigger and Una) my milk production seemed to really be plummeting. I posed my question on a Nigerian Dwarf yahoo group I belong to and the consensus was either a copper deficiency or subclinical mastitis. I thought the copper deficiency, or perhaps just a general mineral deficiency made sense, but decided to pursue both a copper deficiency and subclinical mastitis as possibilities. Several people on the group recommended that I contact Kat at Fir Meadows ( to get some recommendations.

She recommended that I start with a liver cleanse, and then for the copper use kelp with an herbal blend high in copper and selenium. She recommended a salve for the possible subclinical mastitis. I purchased all of these items and began using them around July 20. Within about two weeks there was a marked improvement in my milk production. Tigger, my best milker, is up about 30% and holding nicely at that new level. Una is up just a slight bit. I haven't noticed any change in PJ. PJ is not receiving the salve or the liver cleanse. She does get the free choice kelp with herbal blend. I decided to kind of use PJ as my control goat. I don't want to experiment with her anyway, since she belongs to someone else, so that works out nicely.

I know that Tigger and Una have not been eating the minerals I have had out all Spring and Summer. I've replaced them several times, but they just aren't eating them. I think the whole bag is stale. All three goats have been gobbling up the kelp like they are starving for it, but especially Tigger and Una. I've gone through five pounds of kelp since July 20 with just these three little goats. I think Tigger and Una especially were mineral depleted and that may have been what caused the drop in milk. Una never really got up to where I would have expected her to be, she's still at her maximum production. Tigger is now, according to the charts I've seen, about where she should be when starting her sixth month of lactation.

So, I'm thrilled with these results. I'll continue the liver cleanse through the Fall, as Kat has instructed. I've used up all of the mastitis salve. I'll continue with the kelp with copper and selenium herbs. Kat has also made some other suggestions about feed in answer to my questions. When I get rolling on that I'll post that too, but enough for today.

Today's Menu:

Breakfast: Uncured Bacon, Eggs Scrambled in Butter with crumbled Ricotta Salata, Gogurt with Blueberries
Main Meal: Fresh Garden Tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and crumbled Ricotta Salata; grilled Red Peppers, Carrots, Onions, and Eggplant; Marinated and Grilled Sirloin Steak
Evening Snack: Fresh Garden Melon, Manchego Cheese dipped in Tapenade, Wine, Dark Chocolate