Sunday, February 15, 2015

Funky Cheese Madonna or How I Used a Candy Mould to Shape Cheese... Like a Boss

What the heck?

Many years ago when Eric and I went on our very first overnight trip together we spent three weeks traveling around the Czech Republic in a rented Skoda Fabia. (yup)

Neato thing: I never noticed the reflection of a human man walking hand-in-hand with a bear cub in Eric's sunglasses before this filter was applied.  Why the filter? Ask the self-proclaimed poopy face (right).  

Of course this economy model didn't have a way to plug an iPod into the stereo, so we listened to Czech radio stations and of course there were the occasional English-language pop songs played... over and over.  Like radio stations do with pop songs. There was one that really sounded like the chorus (and title) had to be "Funky Cheese Madonna."  We learned on one of our last days in country that it was actually something like "she thinks that she's Madonna" ("She's Madonna" by Robbie Williams).

Sooooooooo, I decided to try to make a Funky Cheese Madonna for Eric for Valentine's Day.  Now what?  Well, I found a Virgin Mary chocolate mould on Ebay (like ya' do) and ordered that up in, like, October or November.  What can I say, I'm a planner.  Or prefer to be, anyway.

Then I set about to find Eric's favorite cheese, Cambozola, in Missoula or the Bitterroot.  Not so easy. This is a cheese you can get at Fred Meyer in our old neighborhood in Portland, but Toto, we're not in Portland anymore.  So every different grocery or super market I was in I would stalk the cheese section to no avail. Then I remembered that there was a wine/cheese type shop in downtown Missoula that we'd been recommended for wine.  So I looked them up on the magical interwebz, found their website and emailed their "contact us" address asking if they carried it and if not, is it something I could order.  Well, lo and behold, they replied on a weekend night! And yes they had Cambazola!  WOO!  So I went the pre-Valentine's Day Monday morning after hand therapy and bought two wedges.

I packed them in a brown paper bag and hid them in the back of the "extra" fridge in the top shelf shadows.  Then on the pre-Valentine's Day Thursday, I brought them out in the morning to warm/soften.  After they were what I thought was soft enough, I got out the mold, washed & dried it, and set about packing that funky cheese into Madonna. As it were.

I was able to get both moulds filled with one wedge with just a little extra. For the most part I removed the rind, but there's a little in there for flavor and for lack of interest in fussing with it too-too much.

When they were filled, I double checked for voids on what would be the top surface, filled any I could, then wiped most of the smeared cheese off the non-Madonna part of the mould.  Then I covered that with parchment paper, put the whole thing in a freezer bag and hid it in the crisper in the "extra" fridge.

I let it chill for many hours... like 24-ish... then I was able to pop/coax them out onto a serving stand (a wooden sushi server in this case) and re-refrigerate them until gift giving time. I am sure just a few hours would have been enough, but that didn't work for my secretive schedule.

I am so pleased with how they turned out!  First, that they turned out at all and second that they look like slightly crumbly and mossy old marble.  I had to include a shot that better shows the relief, just because.

Speaking of planning, sometime in early 2014 I was shown this material and I knew I had to make Eric boxer shorts out of it for Valentine's Day.  And luckily, I had reorganized the office/studio in November so one of the moms could stay in there over Thanksgiving weekend. I found the material and remembered/realized why I had it.

  This was also a nice backup should the Funky Cheese Madonna fail.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Funny Valentines

As far as post-worthy things going on here on the side of the mountain, their just hasn't been much.  In one of those household accidents you here about, I ended up breaking my right hand so I am busy recovering from that which includes hand therapy and a splint.  It's a time consuming process both because if I did the exercises as prescribed I'd be looking at 5-6 hours/day of that and because with my right hand limited everything takes longer - including typing*.  All that said, I did manage to dig up most of the Valentine's Day decorations and throw them up!

Mavis is sporting the arrow antlers I made her last year, but has added some bling!  She needed the extra bling, because this year the weather has been decidedly Portland-esque: rainy and overcast (as much as that can be accomplished here).  I bring this up because the dark sky and my skill level with the camera combine to make the shot dark and grainy, but at least that's pretty much what it is like in real life.

Ramon: King of Hearts, Baby!  He gets the overly bright flash treatment.  I really need a reflector for my indoor photo-taking. I say "photo-taking," because "photography" sounds too advanced.

Last year, I received this sparkly piece of awesome in the mail!  This year it hangs in the main floor bath.

I did a Valentine's Swap with some crafty friends last year, too, and got this super-cute mailbox! It's on a shelf in the kitchen this year.

And this adorably charming little nosegay!  Someday I'll find the perfect little sweet thing to put in it for display. Something dogs won't care about.  

 I also received a lovely embroidered tote that I use all year as my reusable shopping bag for the craft store.  SO much love!  I made a Valentine bunting last year, but don't really feel like climbing up the loft ladder with 1.5 hands to retrieve it or on a step stool to hang it.

Despite my limitations, I was able to manage some making for my own Valentine and hopefully I can get some pictures to share that with you after they're received by my Valentine.  For one gift I have assembled the materials, but still haven't attempted the "construction."  This project is uncharted territory, perhaps for anyone. I could not find any information on the interwebz about how to do this with the greatest chance at success.  I hope that means that no one has bothered to try or share, rather than there is little chance at success.

*This entry may be even worse for typos than usual.