I can’t believe the miracle of Ree’s invitation being for a Saturday when my kids were gone on vacation and my boyfriend was busy working and my house wasn’t having a tantrum. She told me to be sure to bring a friend and I called up my aunt who almost peed herself when I told her where she was headed on Saturday. It was a wonderful drive up and a (bleary) wonderful drive home as we got really good and caught up on life.
We got lost, of course, because I thought I could remember how to get there even though I’d never come in from the east side of the ranch. Upside, I got to meet Walter briefly as we stopped at the main house.
Shortly after we arrived cooking class commenced. Rebecca from Foodie with Family was our teacher and she bestowed upon us three new items for our kitchen: Fresh Mozzarella, Braided Semolina Bread and Roasted Red Pepper Jam.
I volunteered to work up a batch of boccaccini, which are little mozzarella balls. I figured turning milk into cheese would be strenuous but getting cheese into cute little balls would be a cinch. It was opposite. Overall, though, it was a surprisingly simple procedure. From the time the gallon of milk was open until we had a finished ball of cheese was 30 or 45 minutes.
TOTALLY making a homemade pizza with the kids from complete and total scratch sometime soon. Realized this morning that in Oklahoma right now we can source every single ingredient locally, too.
I’ve made a lot of bread in my life, but it was cool to pick up a new recipe and learn about a couple of ingredients I haven’t ever heard of or thought to use. Malt powder instead of sugar and whey instead of milk/water. (Many, many, MANY whey jokes were made, too.) Rebecca pointed out early on that whey contained a lot of protein and she uses every drip of her leftover whey in all sorts of kitchen projects.
Roasted Red Pepper Jam was made AND canned like a boss!
Just like last time on the ranch, it was an unbelieveably awesome day. Last July was a macaron lesson and a food styling/photography lesson. Notice last year’s photos were much prettier… Last year was more of a meditative day as we focused on our cameras and our French sweets. This time was more lively and chatty, likely because all the women there knew each other from the blogger universe. I was a stranger but it was so much fun to meet so many new people at once. In the evening before dinner, we loaded up for cattle gathering.
That’s Marlboro Man getting Georgia squared away on her horse.
She’s probably in this pic, too. MM and kids rounded up some cattle that were being picked up by a shipper. They bravely let three horseback bloggers at a time tag along on the round ups (there were two).
Ree posted a lovely recap of the ride: Chocka Mocka Locka Wocka
Afterwards, we rode back to The Lodge for dinner, convo and goodbyes.
Ree asked me that night who “Ninny” was to me after we explained where she fit in my family. She’s my dad’s sister, technically. But she’s our matriarch who organizes family dinners and makes sure that her brother gets all his doctor appointments scheduled and attended. She’s my kids’ grandma as my mom has been gone since I was 14. She’s my aunt and I can talk to her freely without any of those Mom politics I often hear others speak of. And she’s my friend. I was thrilled to be able to bring her to meet a woman she admires.