This weekend was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.
Actually, it was mostly pretty good, except for some scones that I ruined this morning because I was being sloppy and not paying 100% attention to what I was doing. And by "ruined", I mean "not perfect", not "inedible". I was on the phone while I was mixing my dough, and I misread the recipe and put too much milk in. That made my dough too wet, and when the scones baked they spread out instead of staying in a mounded up muffin shape:
They taste fine, but they're more like a scone cookie than a scone.
I decided to make scones because I had leftover whole milk from one of the things that went well this weekend: I made cheese, in my kitchen. Following a recipe in Food Network Magazine, I made ricotta cheese in three easy steps.
1) I brought milk, cream, and salt to a simmer in a nonreactive pot.
2) When it was simmering, I added lemon juice and vinegar, and stirred until it appeared fully curdled.
I thought I did that part wrong, because when I started stirring all I could smell was vinegar. All of a sudden, though, the curds got bigger and it smelled creamy, like cottage cheese. Excited by sudden success, I...
3) Poured it into a strainer lined with paper towels and let it drain.
I poured it in too fast, so the paper towels got pulled down into the strainer a little more than they should have. A long, slow pour would have kept them in place, but it wasn't really any trouble. The recipe said to let it drain for five to thirty minutes, depending on how firm you wanted it, so I went for thirty:
Homemade whole milk ricotta, with no additives or preservatives. My mom asked how much it cost, but the ingredients only came to a dollar or so more than buying a similar sized tub of ricotta at the store would have been, and this way I get to say that I am a cheesemaker. I used most of it to make a calzone today, and it was damn good.
Today I also used my new camera, a Lomography fisheye camera that I saw on a clearance table yesterday while Kristin was looking at sunglasses. I'd looked at the camera before, when we were in that store last spring, but sixty dollars seemed like a lot for a trick camera. Clearance prices, on the other hand, suddenly seemed tolerable, so I bought it and then today I walked around town with it.
There were some hits:
and some misses:
The misses aren't terrible photos, but they just don't really make the most of the format and the fisheye effect. I bet if I was closer to Ayres (the second picture) or the saloon they would look more dramatic, but as it is this just makes the space in front of them look huge and the building look far away and unimpressive.
On the other hand, the same effect made the closed lawn at World's Fair Park look enormous:
so it can be a good effect in the right circumstances.
Obviously, I need more practice, but I think it's off to a good start.