Monday, January 21, 2008

Saint-Andre and Alpine Rose Rustic Swiss

Saint-Andre: 75% butterfat, mild, creamy, lovely. Too much of this would kill you quick, but what a lovely way to die. Yay for triple cremes!

Alpine Rose Swiss: a raw-milk Alpine? State-side? At a Byerly's? No way. But Gourmet Retailer says so, and also says
The Von Mühlenen family has been producing and marketing traditional cheeses in Switzerland since 1861. They were instrumental in the creation of the AOC labels for Le Gruyère Switzerland and Emmentaler Switzerland products. Centered near Fribourg, the company relies solely on pure raw milk and traditional ripening methods that date back 140 years. They have now released a magnificent new cheese called Alpine Rose Rustic, a genuine raw-milk Alpine cheese that is matured inside a thin wooden rind of spruce for a full five months. In that time, and with the help of the pine rind, it develops a spicy flavor with a gentle note of evergreen. It has a creamy texture and strong character that is well-suited to fondues, soufflés and gratins, as well as rich red wines and port.
One doesn’t really notice the spruce so much while eating, but if you sniff, it’s definitely there and not at all unpleasant.

Accompaniments: nicoise olives (ok) and balsamic marinated onions (perfect with the Saint-Andre).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Istara Chistou

Or, cheese experiment #1.

Googling informs us that this is a French Basque cheese. The Cheese Lady says:
Known for cheeses made with milk of sheep, Chistou is created using an interesting twist; it is a blend of 50% cow and 50% sheep, both pasteurized and BGH-free. The two milks combine for an exceptional taste. The semi-soft / semi-firm,
supple body is encased with a natural rind, typical of Basque cheeses. The flavor is tender with fruity nuances, smooth and pleasing, and will delight both novice and connoisseurs alike.

My novice palate didn’t pick up the ‘fruity nuances,’ but it was indeed semi-soft, smooth, and pleasing. Mildly tangy, but easily accessible for those who are suspicious of stinky cheeses. We’d both eat it again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

why I love teaching on an Ag campus

I've been grading client memos all day. One of my Dairy majors is proposing a study on new mattresses for her family's cows. After describing their third-generation farm and operations, she wrote
I feel I need to do this proposal because one of my own cows is lame at the present time and I think that if we get new mattresses in the stalls that she might get better, and not be in so much pain. It will also assist the other lame cows we have in the barn as well.

This breaks my heart, language issues aside. She's a very fresh-faced redheaded girl who looks young for her age. Skinny and in love with cows. I love having kids around who really care about something.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Every time I'm writing something that proves significant in my life, I end up hurting my eyes or hands. It’s never on purpose, but evidently my subconscious plots against my progress. When I was working on my master’s thesis proposal, which ended up as part of my PhD writing samples, I managed to accidentally pour contact cleanser into my right eye instead of saline solution. That put me back in my glasses for a week. That same semester, I was working on a seminar paper that also became a writing sample, and I burned my fingertips right when I needed to be typing the most.

Since then, I've become accustomed to such things to the point that they don’t really stick in my memory. But these past two weeks, I’ve been working on what might become my first published article. It’s certainly the first article anyone has invited me to write based on a conference presentation. Last week, I managed to run into a doorjamb and whack my left pinkie, which is still vaguely unhappy. And earlier this week I somehow slept on my eyelids wrong, with the end result being that I woke up with my eyelids more or less turned inside out and one eye pressed directly against the cotton pillowcase. Much unhappiness and grossness has ensued.

(This also explains why I only went swimming on Tuesday this week. There’s no way I’m getting chlorine in that unhappy eye.)

I’m choosing to believe that maybe all this nonsense means that this piece of writing will also prove significant for me. We’ll find out.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

some days, you surprise yourself

Today I swam for 30 minutes without stopping, 14 full laps. It was an awesome swim, and I just never felt like taking a break, so I didn't. I alternated crawl and my funky, wildly inefficient backstroke.

I don't really understand why I was able to go almost double my previous distance without the breaks that I was taking before, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth either. I had protein for breakfast instead of yogurt and fruit, so that's one thing that was different. And it suddenly occurred to me to make sure I was breathing all the way through, which is, you know, helpful. And I was burning off energy from a concert last night.

Whatever. It was awesome.


Friday, August 03, 2007


Also swam Wednesday (30 minutes, not sure how many laps — 6?) and today (7). Would have gone further, but for the fact that I bruised the hell out of my left pinky and the resistance irritates it, and I need the finger to type the article that's due in 10 days.

I ordered goggles. It was time.

In other news, all the lab results came back and it turns out that I’m healthy. My cholesterol has dropped 45 points since we moved three years ago, down to 161. Blood pressure is good, blood sugar is good. No thyroid problems, no elevated hormones. That still doesn't explain the joint tenderness and general fatigue, so I need to have more blood drawn for more tests, but there's nothing Big and Systemic the matter.


Monday, July 30, 2007


It’s been about six years since I last swam, but I went down to the campus pool this morning and started right in back and forth across the lap lanes. It feels good to know how to do something, even badly.

Lots to learn, starting with how to breathe. But I got over my fear of buying a suit, of the campus gym, and of running into colleagues while dressed in said suit, since that happened as soon as I rounded the corner into the shower room. I have a membership for the rest of the summer and a locker.

I liked it. The pool area isn't as pretty as my old pool, but it has big windows and enough lanes. I went back and forth for a little more than 15 minutes, which was about 8 laps times (I lost count for a minute), mostly my funky backstroke. The ankle doesn’t hurt, but the hip does. I’ll have to remember to stretch quite a lot.

I feel much looser, which is good. I don't feel energized, though. I feel very, very tired, much more than 15 minutes worth of tired. This has been getting progressively worse over the past few weeks, but the lab results should be in on Thursday. I’m looking forward to finding out what the hell is up.