Ferment-nation

What does “8=====D” mean?

I was sexting my close friend Tootie the other day, and she said something that really made me think.  “Ziggy,” she said, “There’s a time you got to go and show that you’re growin’ now, and you know about the facts of life.” And you know what? Tootie was right! I realized that suddenly I’m finding out that the facts of life are all about me!  And science!

For instance, when I mix some fresh vegetables with salt and other fun stuff in a jar and let it sit on the counter for a few days, microorganisms show up and make the kitchen smell like ass.  However, that butt smell is slowly turned into funky flavor and in a week I’m eatin’ pickles like a Korean farmer!  I guess I could tell you all about  the process of water evaporation, whereby the essential enzymes and bacteria are formed and create delicious flavors, and to be honest, most of you would find it interesting, but you can google it, same as I did.  This blog is not for recipes and science facts.  It’s purely an outlet for my gangnam style.

Kimchi and turnips fermented in miso stankin’ up the place.

Also, I’m glad this election season is over.  I’m happy to no longer see campaign ads that didn’t tell me what you’re going to do right, only what the other guy was doing wrong.  And regardless of who you voted for, I’m sure most of you feel the same way.  How about some platforms and ideas everyone!  Let’s concentrate on the future, and more importantly, lets find me a job.  As much as I love sitting in the kitchen all day preparing elaborate meals for my amazing fiance and trying to figure out what 80’s jam Upstairs Bobby is listening to by analyzing the beats coming through the ceiling (Hint: It’s almost always Phil Collins or Cory Hart), it’s time to head back into the land of paychecks.

Do you like kimchi or other weird fermented things?  Did you ever try to make them yourself?  Did you know it only basically requires a bowl and some salt?  Do you have a job for me?  Does it pay more than unemployment does?  Did you know I was thinking about volunteering?  Is it still rewarding when I’m not working, or will it be more like research in case things get real bad?  I fixed a broken shelf today too.  That’s a skill, right?

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Gummiberry Jews

I hope everyone’s weekend was rad. Mine definitely was! It consisted of, in no particular order (and mind you, I’m only listing the high points. Nothing mid-grade, like seeing Cloud Atlas, which also happened): steak tips, farmers market, winning pickles, drunken Guitar Hero, pizza and hot dogs at the same time like a middle school birthday party, loungin’ around all lazy style, Nam Yaa, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and a urinary tract infection.

From the freezer to the afterlife, via my tummy.

As fun and exhausting as all that sounds (I’m STILL drinking cranberry juice!), the  highlight was definitely the Gummy Bear blind tasting.  What?! I know, right! I was totally stoked too! Everyone knows my fave candy is frozen gummy bears.  And I finally had the opportunity to  put my tasting skills to the test.  Most assume that as a gummy bear steward, I was classically trained in the premiere gummy program at Schwarzwald Fachhochschule in Eastern Germany. But SURPRISE!- I’m completely self taught.

Now, there are several ways I could go about documenting the challenge, which took place Friday night, but I decided the best way would be visually.  The pictures are fun, and the real payoff comes at the end where I have posted all of the judges comment cards…

Yes, I’m fully aware that my collage skills are bullshit.

I don’t remember who won, as I was somewhat inebriated by the end of the tasting, but perhaps the cool kids upstairs can recollect, as they orchestrated the event.  In the end though, It doesn’t really concern me which bear won, because hey, FREE GUMMY BEARS! (Anyway everyone knows Albanese 12 Flavor are the best!)

Here’s something fun: For some post Halloween/pre-Thanksgiving entertainment, you can help fund a horror movie called The Giant Spider by horror movie maven Christopher Mihm, and get sweet jams in return! Now, I know what you’re thinking and yes, this is THAT Christopher Mihn who is also behind the 2008 masterpiece Cave Women on Mars!

Click here to buy the “Tribute to the Mihmiverse” by super cool band Bad Horse (Think One Direction meets Tom Petty meets Three 6 Mafia). Details here:  www.giantspiderfundraiser.bandcamp.com

Do you like music? How about schlocky horror films? Do you like gummy bears? What’s your favorite brand? Flavor? What rad shit did you do this weekend?  Also, since not enough people entered the photo caption contest, there was no winner.  Instead, I sent the prizes to my friend Gwyn, and she didn’t even enter! Maybe next time you’ll all try harder instead of constantly disappointing your parents.

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Surviving Sandy

After all the warnings and advice I’d received going into the latest meteorological herpes flareup, the only thing I knew was that the giant tree branch that fell and blocked the driveway during Hurricane Issac last year sure as shit wasn’t going to try that again.  However, Super Storm Sandy remained hopelessly devoted to me and breezed through my neighborhood with nothing more than some wind and rain.

(Credit: Tom Hale/Jezebel)

After I pried all the boards off the windows and put the galoshes away,  I finally got around to trying something I’ve been planning on doing for awhile-making cheese!  I made me some fresh ricotta cheese with just a gallon of whole milk, some vinegar, and an 80’s movie montage.  And it was delicious!

“Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?!”

But after the cheese was done, Sandra Dee was still wreckin’ shop all over the East Coast, and everything was closed, so I took it a few steps further.  I took some of my new cheese and made fresh ricotta gnocchi with sage brown butter, mushrooms, and the leftover lobster from Saturday.  You now, the kinda thing that the personal chefs of billionaires or unemployed food enthusiasts do all day long.

And then for dessert, the blood of the middle class.

But enough of me telling you how awesome I am, since we both already totally know it. (Also, I’m cuter than a ragtag bunch of orphans with adorable button noses singing Christmas carols.) At what point did people decide that they liked open-toed beach shoes so much that they let it represent their whole family.  I have never been a fan of car decals that let potential pedophiles know which bus stop to scope out, but seriously, FLIP FLOPS?! Hakuna Matata, dude! You love the beach and just chillaxin’, and so does the fam.  How can you best demonstrate this to everyone in the mall parking lot?

“We go to the shore once a summer, and we want everyone to know!”

Do you have decals on the back of your minivan? Are the stick figures? Are there pets too? What did you do to survive Hurricane Sandy?  Are you OK?  Did you lose power? A tree? Something worse? Have you entered the photo caption contest in my last post?  Do you think your post is clever enough to win?

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Farm Fresh Stormageddon

Not one to miss an opportunity to get stranded in a Frankenstorm during Halloween weekend (and hopefully lose power so I’ll have to eat and drink everything in the fridge at once so it doesn’t go bad),  I decided to head to New York this weekend to get drunk and piss in the glass eye of Hurricane Sandy.

“Bring the ruckus, Hogan Family!”

More than three quarters of the way through Connecticut, all out of snacks and having to pee, I pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of the supermarket mecca known as Stew Leonard’s Farm Fresh Foods.

If you’ve never been privy to visit a Stew Leonard’s, let me explain.  Dubbed “The Disneyland of Dairy Stores” by the New York Times and “The World’s Largest Dairy” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, it generates the same feelings of immense joy and hatred I normally reserve for IKEA. In fact, imagine if IKEA got all drunk and ended up in a 3-way with Trader Joe’s and a farmers market.  Then that mutant offspring grew up in a giant labyrinthian barn full of animatronic milk cartons and tri-state area yuppies.

This Milk band recorded a track with Big & Rich called “America’s Teat.”

Fresh baked bread, a great cheese selection, and sampling like they muthafuckin’ Costco – hellz yeah!  A parking lot full of German automobiles and slow-ass old folks with giant shopping carts clogging the ONE aisle, which has the same layout as the corn maze at your local pumpkin patch – Boo!

However, when it comes right down to it, my love of food, just like my love of sleek and modern yet cheap build-it-yourself Swedish furniture, always wins.  Also, they had lobsters on sale for $3.99/lb.  And isn’t that what the NEW American dream is all about?  Steady jobs and home ownership is now out of the picture for most people, but a close second is definitely shoving your face full of AFFORDABLE sea-bugs slathered in warm melted butter, that your parents paid for.  And you know what? I’ll take it!

“A lobster in every pot and check out my arms!”

What did your parents buy you for dinner? How are you decorating their basement, now that you live there? Did you notice the amount of hyphens I used in this post? It’s definitely a record and more hyphens than I’ve even used in anything else I’ve written… ever! To celebrate, let’s have a contest! Whoever submits the best caption in the comments section for the milk carton band photo above (known as The Farm Fresh Five to Stew-heads) wins a prize of my choosing! Rules: you must submit your entry by November 4, 2012, and there must be at least 10 entries from 10 separate people (but you can enter as many times as you wish!).  Now, go crazy America and Israel (because according to my blog stats, those are the only 2 countries reading.)

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Mustarded

One of the hobbies I’ve added to my repertoire this past year has has been the 1940’s Midwest art of making pickles.  Normally, much of the produce I buy at the farmers market or receive as part of a CSA ends up in an airtight jar of vinegar. But more on that another time.  Today’s post is about another vinegar infused airtight jar of yum.  Here is my newest culinary experiment, and strangely enough, the current best seller on Zetsy, the Etsy in my mind. So bring your tired, hungry, huddled masses of naked hot dogs, and peep my newest creation, Bourbon & Honey Whole Grain Mustard.

“I make ham and cheese sandwiches taste like booze. Now you can feed the beast at your desk.”

Yes, it’s delicious.  Yes, I’ve already posted it to Instagram using a cool ass 1970’s filter.  And finally, yes, one day you may be able to buy it at a local market or online.  Maybe.  One day.   Also, get it? Mustarded! Hilarious, I know.  Ann Coulter takes the heat while I get the laughs.

In other news, unemployment isn’t as fun as I thought it would be.  That first week I was all about movies and museums while thinking about road trips and flights and all the time to do whatever I wanted.  But I forgot that requires an income.  But it’s getting better.  I’ve   gotten on a schedule. It doesn’t have exact times, but it goes a little like this:

  1. Wake up
  2. Go for a jog
  3. Shower
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Look for jobs
  6. Feel worthless and overwhelmed
  7. Cry
  8. Go for a walk
  9. Eat lunch
  10. Look for jobs
  11. Cry
  12. Make dinner
  13. Watch 2 episodes of Sons of Anarchy
  14. Go to sleep

Maybe that’s an exaggeration ( I don’t actually exercise), but it’s getting rough over here.  Even the homeless people don’t spange me anymore.  It’s like they know I’m one of them now, except I have a place to live, and I rarely pee myself.  At least when I’m sober anyhow.

I did have a phone interview today though, and another one tomorrow.  So in honor of that, please enjoy this representation of me at a business meeting being tested for radiation.

“Your right nipple is exuding mad gamma’s, homey.”

What gets you through the rough days? How much internet porn is too much when it’s still daylight out? What should i pickle next? Any suggestions for mustard flavors? I’ve already made a delightful herbed one as well with some thyme I stole from the neighbors garden.

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Where the shit have I been?! or How I’m currently unemployed so lets do this!

Greetings friends! I’ve been away for so long, but here’s a brand new post for you. So turn off that weird internet porn and check me out!

I’ve done a lot these past few years, and I can’t wait to tell you about it along with all of the super neat new ways I’ve learned to keep myself occupied.

Here’s a picture of me meeting some famous people! I was so nervous!

But first and foremost I need to let you know something.  I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but this blog is going to take a hard turn away from cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the stuff, but I’ve had to curb my habit. I’ll still feature it every now and then, but I’m mostly going to post about other things I’ve cooked or baked or pickled or eaten or dranked (drank, drunk, drunked, drinken, etc.). And some posts won’t have anything at all to do with food, as I have been known to think about at least 3 other things. So, my apologies, cheeseheads, but I hope you’ll stick around and see what else I have to say.

Why won’t she write me back?

For my first post back, and in lieu of my nonworkingness, I’d like to offer my services to you and your single friends.  This may come as a shock to you, but I write amazing online dating profiles!  I am basing this on the fact that I’ve done it awesomely- twice.  After my own OKCupid pussy-magnet experience (by pussy-magnet, I mean real live girls actually talked to me via an online dating site!) almost 2 years ago, I was able to recently volunteer my services to someone else.   A friend of my lady was sick of dudes saying “Yo beautiful, what’s up.” This is not how you start a conversation, especially when the proper response is “Nothing much, what’s up with you?”

Ladies, you’re bound to get a few of those, but hopefully they’re scattered among some other interesting emails. If not, hit me up!  Out of respect for the young lass, I will not share too many of the edits I made to her profile, but i can tell you it  included amazing lines such as:

-I have killer equestrianism skills which will come in handy if we ever go back in time, or if all the cars suddenly stop working like on that TV show Revolution.

-I’ve had a laid back attitude even before Jay-Z told me that ladies are, in fact, pimps too, and that I should go and brush my shoulders off.

-I have engaged a bear in fisticuffs, and seen The Perfect Storm 37 times (the ACTUAL storm, not the Wahlberg movie).

-But, next thing you know I’ve defeated you and absorbed all of your powers. There can be only one!

Needless to say, she had like 7 messages by lunchtime, though oddly, none of them mentioned the Highlander.  I’m doing this pro bono for now while I perfect the craft, so hit me up now while you can.  I can write for dudes too. Hey, it got me a fiance, and I’m an asshole! Just imagine what it can do for nice people like you!

Have you tried online dating? Was it a success or a failure? Did dudes text you dick pictures after the first date? Answer my questions as you await my next (food-related) post.  Also, since this blog is now open to everything, tell me what you want to read about that is not cheese-centric.

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more than a year later

I began taking pictures of the cheeses I was eating thinking I was going to start this up again, but I’ve started taking sailing lessons instead. No joke!

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Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog


Heck yes! This is the post I’ve been planning on writing for 2 weeks. That’s because, this is currently my favorite cheese. Seriously, i want this inside of me all the time. The texture, the smell, the taste; it’s not as pretty as your girlfriend, but it sure can cook, and it knows way more dirty jokes.

Humboldt Fog is a chevre (goat cheese) made by Cypress Grove Farms in northern Cali. I’ve tried quite a few of their goods, and while all delicious, I always come back to this one. The grayish white, bloomy rind and the layer of vegetable ash in the middle give it some character and make it more interesting to look at than your regular chevre log. The middle is a bright white and is creamy and chalky, like the goat cheese on your salad, but it’s surrounded by a gooier ivory colored layer , then some more ash and the rind. Humboldt Fog has an aroma that reminds me of a tangier, goatier buttermilk. Goatier? Eh, makes sense to me.

And the best part, the taste. It’s got some tang, but the vegetable ash adds a bit of sweetness to it. The aftertaste sticks around a bit, making me crave more. I’ve enjoyed it on crackers with some preserves, and all by its lonesome. Let it sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before you dive in as well. I think this enhances the flavor a bit more and gives the outer layer some time to ooze.
I rarely buy a cheese more than once or twice since there are so many I haven’t tasted yet, but I’ve purchased this 4 times already. That’s got to say something. So go and try this one. If you don’t like it, send it to me. I’ll totally eat it. In one bite. And chances are, you may even get a nice thank you note on your Facebook wall.

And while I’m at it, I’m taking constructive criticism. Things you would like to see in this blog, things you would like me to add, etc. I’ve never written a blog before, so I’m easing into it. But I will take all your ideas into consideration. So far, readers have suggested I categorize the types of cheese I taste, and have a stinky cheese scale. I’m still working on the scale, but I have added the category option to this post. I hope this is what you had in mind.

In other news, my last post about St Pat had 90 views. That’s big time, bitches! Most likely though, my mother read it 67 times, 5 people glanced it in their Google Reader, 10 people clicked through on my Facebook link, and 8 people stumbled here accidentally while trying to find EX-ZI Gloves for cycling.

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What happened!?

Remember when I was super excited about this blog and trying to update frequently. When was that, like 2 weeks ago? And you were all encouraging me and suggesting cheeses for me to try and offering constructive criticism about how to improve my postings?

And then I didn’t post for over a week, so now I’m kind of a dick. Sorry! But life happened, and I got caught up, and the next thing I knew it had been a while. I’d like to tell you about the amazing cheese adventures I was having, but alas, that didn’t happen. My sister visited, but there was no cheese involved there, just matzo. I actually did grate some pepper jack on tortilla chops the other day, but it was hardly worth blogging about. And since this is a cheese blog, you don’t want to know about what I did at work or having my suit tailored.

But I didn’t forget about you, my 50-90 readers. Please don’t lose hope in me! Add me to your Google reader or however you keep tabs on such things, and get ready for a post or 2 this week. I swear its coming!

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Cowgirl Creamery St. Pat

Cowgirl Creamery is at the top of their game right now, as far as being a “must-try” brand. Everywhere I look, people are singing their praises. By everywhere, I mean cheese people. So without researching which cheese to pick up, I chose St Pat. I checked the package, and it mentioned it was wrapped in nettles. Nettles? Do thorns get stuck in your mouth as you eat? Is it like licking Pinhead? I am not a masochist, but I needed to know. So this round came home with me.

Upon unwrapping, the rind was white, with bunches of green from the leaves peeking though. No sharp parts though. I learned that the leaves are frozen and the stickers are removed before the cheese is wrapped.

The bloomy rind cut very easily. The cheese was runnier on the outside and cakier in the middle. The flavor was real mellow with a satin like texture. A mixture of sweet and nutty, with a vegetabley taste. I assume this is partly from the leaves. Delicious, but subtle. This would be a great cheese for beginners, a gateway cheese that your Health Ed. teacher warned you would usher you into the harder stuff. However, since I’m a grown ass man, I’m already into the hard stuff. So as delicious as this is, it was kind of a disappointment. Not because of the flavor or the texture or the smell or because of my distaste for western wear, but because I wanted some of the good shit. The smellier stuff. If you plan on making a cheese board, I would pick this up as a first course. Or if you plan on tricking your boyfriend who eats like a 5th grader to try something other than Kraft slices, this may work too.

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