Since my youngest has to have lunch prepared for her and we were out of mayonnaise, I decided to make some. With the aid of the food processor and a recipe from Root Cellaring, the recipe is as follows:

Two eggs yolks (I doubled the recipe)

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablesp00n honey

 1 tablespoon white vinegar (though other vinegars could be used to create a different taste)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup salad oil (I used grape seed oil--though canola oil and other oils will work as well)      

The result: a finished product to make a sandwich fit for any peanut-free facility:



Tomato Sauce

Since a friend offered me half a pig which she had nurtured with goats' milk at a price I couldn't refuse, I found myself having to clean out the chest freezer to make room.

Much of what the freezer held were bags of frozen tomatoes: fruit of the 134+ tomato plants grown from seed the year before (it was an accident).

After researching how to handle frozen tomatoes (most sites recommended letting the tomatoes defrost by letting them sit, undisturbed, on the counter), I sought a recipe for a great-tasting tomato sauce, and settled on the recipe from Preserving Summer's Bounty which called for garlic (though not enough), carrots, onions, and more. The added bonus was the carrots and onions that went onto the sauce came from this year's garden.

The end result was a fragrant and delicious sauce for dinner that night.

Putting the defrosted tomatoes though the food mill

The sauce as it's cooking

There's more bags of frozen tomatoes waiting to be turned into sauce or something else delicious...


There is something magical about cheese--all the better when you can make it yourself. This is an endeavor in which you will need to invest, as it will require more than what can be found easily one's kitchen. However the investment is more than worth the effort and expense.

My foray into cheese-making grew from my father's Christmas gift: a cheese-making class held by a woman who happens to be a poodle fan and a maker of incredible cheese, Barbra Skapa, of Echo Ridge Farm Organic Cows Milk Cheese. If you can take a cheese-making class, it allows you the opportunity to actually see how cheese is made, make cheese yourself, and ask questions of the cheese-maker--far more interactive than working from a book or an online site. Thanks to Skapa's influence, I began to collect the tools for cheese making. They are as follows:


If you are working with raw milk:
The Cheesemaker's Manual by Margaret Peters-Morris

If you are working with pasteurized milk:
200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes by Debra Amrein-Boyes

The distinction between the two milk types is very important, as raw cows' milk acts far differently than pasteurized milk during the cheesemaking process.

If using pasteurized milk, use ONLY whole milk.

(by cheese)

Brie/Camembert: MA4001/4002*, Rennet**, Penicillium Cadidum Powder***

Cheddar (Farmhouse): MA4001/4002, Rennet

Fromage Blanc: (a soft, French cheese) MA4001/4002, Rennet, spices and herbs of your choice

Mozzarella (Cultured): MA4001/4002, Rennet, Lipase****, Citric Acid

Queso Blanco: (semi-soft white cheese) White Vinegar, spices and herbs

 *MA4001/4002: mesophilic starter

**Rennet (either vegetable- or calf-based): curdles the milk

*** Penicillium Cadidum Powder: produces the white mold found on Camembert, Brie and more

****Lipase: according to Merriam Webster, is "any enzyme (as one secreted by the pancreas) that catalyzes the breakdown of fats and lipoproteins usually into fatty acids and glycerol "


The Dairy Connection This is my go-to source of most of my cultures and equipment. It was recommended by Barbara Skapa, and has proved, time and time again, to have excellent prices and excellent customer service.

The Cheesemaker A good source cultures, enzymes and moulds.

New England Cheesemaking Supply Another good source of cultures, enzymes and moulds.


Cheese Moulds
used to give cheese their shape


The mould pictured is 7 inches in diameter with 4.5 inch sides. These moulds come in various sizes. Note the open bottom. Large moulds available at the Dairy Connection and small moulds available at all three listed above.

The mould pictured is actually cut from a length of PVC pipe purchased at Lowes. It is 6 inches in diameter and has 8 inch sides (post-cut). It must be lined with a plastic bag before use.

The moulds are 4.5 inches in diameter with 3.5 inch sides. To allow free drainage of the cheese (whey is visible in the bottom of the pot), the moulds should be placed on a platform which also allows unfettered drainage--in this case, the basket from a salad spinner turned upside down. When working with pasteurized milk, the moulds MUST be lined with very fine cheese cloth or an equivalent fabric. The moulds are available at the Dairy Connection, The Cheesemaker and New England Cheesemaking Supply.


Any fine-woven natural cloth made from cotton or linen will do and can be found in many stores. Some examples are:

Cheese cloth: Defined by Webster as a "very lightweight unsized cotton gauze" which has been associated with cheesemaking since the 14th century. Only very fine cheese cloth will do. The stuff draped on trees at Halloween is far too loosely woven, and will allow the curds as well as the whey drain away. It can be found at many stores and health food stores and the cheese suppliers listed above.

Flour Sack Towels: This was a fine discovery I made at the Dollar Tree stores--for they cost only a dollar (unless you were to buy them by the case) and work very well for cheesemaking.

Linen or Cotton Handkerchiefs: These are available for less than a dollar at thrift stores. Their smaller size makes them perfect for lining moulds when making soft cheese using pasteurized milk. 


Pots from the cabinets will work. Ones that are of a heavier gauge work best as they will heat more slowly as well evenly. However, if your pots are of a thinner gauge, you can compensate by adding water to a large pot and putting a smaller pot inside it, essentially creating a double boiler. Six quarts hold a gallon, ten or more hold the necessary 2 or 3 gallons if you are making Brie, Camembert, or Cheddar.  Tall pots also make great places in which soft cheeses can drain.


Thermometer: This is must--the more accurate the better. A digital thermometer with a probe works very well as the base can be set on shelf at eye-level while the probe can hang into the pot. Note: these thermometers do not take well to being dunked in hot whey and refuse to work afterward.

 Salad Spinner: Another must--especially when making soft cheese that must drain. The basket inside the spinner makes a perfect platform on which to set the cheese moulds.

Turkey Baster: A must when making Camembert or Brie for these cheeses generate a lot of whey which must be constantly drained while settling into the mould. 

Cheese Mat: These are available at the above cheese suppliers and can be cut to whatever size you need. They are useful when draining Cheddar as well as Brie and Camembert. 

Storage Boxes: These are quite useful stand-ins for cheese caves. The thicker ply of the storage box is essential to create the mini-environment in which the cheese can ripen. They are also essential for keeping air-born particles from the cheese as it goes through its initial draining--especially when making Brie or Camembert. For draining, the box needs to be tall enough to accommodate the height of the mould as well as its width. 

Cheese Press: These are available at the above suppliers. However, it is possible to create your own press. I used this article for inspiration: Setting up a Homemade Cheese Press.   

The Beginning

I was listening recently to one of the episodes of Fresh Air with Terry Gross which was called "'Test Kitchens' Talk about the Science of Savory", and I was struck by something one of the chefs said: "But getting back to the broth, you know, we try to use ready-made ingredients or convenient ingredients. So we're not going to ask people to make a homemade stock for this."

I thought to myself, why not?

Making broth from scratch is not difficult, and it creates a product that is free from ingredients that is found in pre-packaged chicken broth by Swansons, which contains "chicken broth, salt, monsodium glutamate, dextrose, chicken broth, salt, yeast extract, chicken flavor, flavoring, corn syrup solids, autolyzed yeast extract, chicken fat, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken broth powder".

But this blog is not just about broth, though it is a staple in so many recipes.

It's about making things from scratch.

With equipment that one might have in one's own kitchen, such as pots, pans, salad spinners, bread machines (we found ours at Goodwill for $7.99), a bamboo steamer (another Goodwill find for $5.99), crock pots and more, it is possible to make good, nutritious food from pure ingredients from the local grocery store, farms, farmer's markets or even one's own garden.