I’m the kind of home cook who rarely addresses recipes and when I do, I tend to ignore a good amount of the ingredients and directions in favor of my own experimentations. My trained-chef mom likes to say that you should always make the recipe as it is printed first, but it’s from her that I learned to go buck wild in the kitchen, so really it’s all her fault. Once I mastered the feta-making at The Institute of Domestic Technology, I immediately came home and started throwing whatever herbs I had on-hand into the jars and was pleasantly surprised that it worked!
I have been relatively obsessed with goat cheese since I was a little girl. I spent my first five years in Marnes la Coquette, a village about 8 miles west of Paris. My mom, a chef trained at Paris’ now-defunct La Varenne cooking school, always fed us very well. I remember chowing down on powdered sugar-dusted gaufres at the Parc Monceau and one of my favorite things in the world was crotin — a small bloomy rind goat cheese, which my mom would broil on toast and serve with a light salad. Yeah, I was spoiled.
I always saw cheese as a magical food product, created by happy geniuses. It never really occurred to me that I could be such a happy genius, until I bought a Fresh French Goat Cheese Kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. Though basic, the kit included 4 cheese molds, which are usually pretty expensive and I continue to use today.