I'm not going to lie, folks, I've not done too well on most of them. But instead of letting that get me down, I decided to make the best of the two days I had left in the year and knock one of the four off my list. And you know what, I feel pretty good about that.
Stellar, actually, because the result was delicious enough to make up for the lack of any progress on the other three resolutions.
I. made. cheese!
It turns out that to make cheese, you need a couple of ingredients that are readily available online, but sort of hard to find in the stores in my tiny town. I'd used that as an excuse to procrastinate for far too long. Almost 12 months, to be exact.
So my mom got me this kit made by Urban Cheesecraft from Williams-Sonoma for Christmas, which comes with everything you need to make ricotta and/or mozzarella. Or some of both.
Mozzarella was my top choice for my foray into cheese-making, so it was perfect.
Now, I've often heard the claim "you can make mozzarella in thirty minutes!" That may very well be true...if you're a more skilled cheese-maker than I am. Or if you don't try to make the cheese at lunch time while also trying to feed a houseful of guests. Even still, it was pretty easy. Maybe next year's resolution will be to get myself below the 30-minute mark on the mozzarella making...
The thermometer in the kit comes with a handy tool thing that lets you tighten or loosen the thermometer to get it to read 212 degrees in boiling water.
You also dissolve 1-1/2 teaspoons of citric acid in 1 cup of non-chlorinated water.
You'll see the curds (the chunky white part) start to separate from the whey (the yellow part).
use it for lots of things. I didn't, but I might next time.
Anyway, back to the microwave-safe bowl. You heat your curds in the microwave thirty seconds at a time at half power. After each heating session, you pour off the whey in the bowl and fold the curds over a couple times to distribute the heat.
I had to do this about three times before my curds reached the optimal stretching temperature of 135 degrees.
Then, you add some cheese salt (I used a little under 1-1/2 teaspoons, but you can use more if you like saltier cheese). Once the salt is in, you stretch the cheese to make it come together. I really doubted that stretching this blob of curdy things was going to do much of anything, but it's like magic. All the curds turn into cheese. (I didn't get any pictures of this since cheese-stretching is very much a two-handed job).
And what do you do with a glob of mozzarella cheese? Why you grate it up for homemade pizza of course!
It looks like...mozzarella. Which was the point after all.
Then you make the super secret pizza sauce. I love this sauce: it's a little tangier and thicker than just plain tomato sauce. Mix a can of tomato puree and a can of tomato sauce together. That's it. Add some dried or chopped fresh basil or oregano if you're feeling really fancy.
Then put it all together with your favorite pizza dough recipe. Or one out of a can. I won't tell.
So, with 26 hours left of 2012, I've accomplished the most important of my New Year's resolutions.
What about you? Are you making any resolutions for 2013?