About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Caramel Dipping Day

Candy Season is moving into full swing here on the Ranch and I'm starting to get a lot of orders in from our regular wholesale customers.  The early part of this week was very busy on the Dairy/Cheese Making side of things (totally sold out again) and then we had some friends come up from Phoenix for a visit and to bring us our new Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) puppies (more on them soon).  Anyway, the end result is that I'm completely IN THE WEEDS with candy making for the week and will have to work double-time to get caught up between now and our next shipping day which will be next Tuesday.

Got some really good candy production in today.  Cut and hand-dipped about 850 caramels in dark chocolate and dipped another couple hundred apricots.  It's days like this that make us toy with the idea of getting a small chocolate temperer/enrober.  Now, I know that it doesn't sound like all that much production compared to what some shops put out but it's not like that was all we had to do today…
With the goat cheese dairy being our core business we had to do all of that work today and some general Ranch work  too.  That included milking the 30 goats twice (morning and evening), make a batch of cheese (today was fresh goat cheese), ladle and hang the curds from yesterday's cheese making, work with the feta from the previous day.
It's also breeding season so we had to cycle a few girls through with their designated bucks. 
We also worked outside on some more winterizing the compound area - it going to get into the teens tonight, so all the auto waterers had to be disconnected etc. 
The new puppies (just their third day here) needed an expanded run so we puppy-proofed the rest of the goat kid pen area for them.  The kid pen barn camera (a closed circuit video link we have run into the dairy and our living quarters) was not working right so we had to trace a wiring fault and repair that so now we can watch the pups and make sure they don't get into too much trouble in their expanded digs.  Moved a couple tons of feed for the does and got the bucks some more grass hay. 
Oh yeah, and do some candy work.

Cutting one of the caramel slabs

Some of the caramels, ready to dip

Dipping the caramels

Caramels ready for boxing

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