January Heat Wave

We are having a heat wave in the Czech Republic.  It was 50F (10C )yesterday.  In January, that is unheard of in these parts.  I took our dog, Bo, for a long walk in the forest.  It seemed like a spring day.  The sun was bright and the air was warm.  I saw wild flowers blooming and mushrooms.  I found enough mushrooms for dinner.  It was a delightful surprise.  Between our garden and what I collect from the forest we eat pretty well, without having to go to the store all the time.  Meat is about all I buy for dinner.  Naturally, I have to buy flour, sugar and milk. 

Today I decided to start making my own yogurt and cheese again.  I have to go into Chrudim for yogurt.  They don’t have it at the little store in our village.  Now that we have the heaters on, the window sill above the heater is the perfect place for the jars of yogurt and curd.  Our friend, Gregory, brought me some really special cheese from Moldavia.  It is a type of blue cheese, farm made.  This week-end I am going to try to make a culture from it and make my own.  It is a natural cheese that hasn’t been process or pasteurized so I think it will turn out well.  Maggie’s mother visited over the Christmas holiday.  She brought Maggie some Vermont natural Cheddar cheese.  Maggie was good enough to share a piece with me.  I am in cheese heaven now.  I am going to try to make a culture of the cheddar as well.  The worst that could happen is I could end up with cottage cheese.

 Although it has been warm, it has rained almost everyday this winter.  So it hasn’t been nice to be outside.  I do run out to the garden each day.  My garden is still growing.  We have kohlrabi, kale, radishes, carrots and arugula in the garden.  I didn’t realize that they all were so hardy.  We have had some snow and temperature in the 20’s but it hasn’t hurt them.  Next year I am going to plant a fall garden.  It is so nice to have fresh salads in January.  I would have never believed it.  Yesterday I fixed a nice pasta with Gregory’s blue cheese and arugula  I cooked the penne pasta then I put some olive oil in the same pan and wilted the arugula  Then I put the pasta back in and tossed some blue cheese on top and stirred it all together.  It was easy and so very good.