<![CDATA[Sharon Giesfeldt van Ruiswyk - Blog]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 12:33:31 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[Finally--Spring is coming! ]]>Tue, 01 Mar 2016 17:10:20 GMThttp://www.sharongiesfeldt-vanruiswyk.net/blog/finally-spring-is-comingBeen a busy couple of months.  Finally updated the recipe page with the 1 pound quark recipe-
a much more reasonable size cake.  Been working on some variations for flavors and crusts; but I hope people experiment with their own flavors.

Started the year off with the trip of a lifetime-- singing with the Milwaukee Choristers in Cuba!
This was a rare chance to see the country before it is changed forever as the relationships between the US and Cuba thaw after a 50 year freeze.  You still can't legally go as a tourist there, but you can as an ambassador of culture.  We saw a good part of the island-- the weather was beautiful, the people are friendly and at the  food and rum were amazing.
If I get a chance to go back, I hope things have changed for the better economically.  The architectural remnants of the deco era are literally collapsing. 3 houses a day crumble out of sheer neglect.  An influx of cash might help some homeowners to turn their homes into B&Bs and help restore Havana to its former glory days. But i also would not want to see the rampant commercialism of the US overtake the wonderful little shops and restaurants that serve up what is special about Cuban cuisine and culture.

February- my least liked month is over and now I can look forward to March and warmer weather.
Going for my pasteurization license in a couple weeks- -one of the hurdles to becoming a real cheese maker here in Wisconsin.  If things work out, I will go finish the coursework at UW-Madison or UW-River Falls during the summer.  
Then I will have 240 hours of apprenticeship- if John will take me on!  In the mean time, I am giving up my retail hours to spend more time in the make room doing production alongside our cheese makers Mark and John.  

The most famous choral director in Cuba conducting the Choristers's concert at the Hall of Marriages
Vintage cars at Revolutionary Square- customized and lovingly restored are tourist favorites
<![CDATA[December 31st, 1969]]>Thu, 29 Oct 2015 03:46:50 GMThttp://www.sharongiesfeldt-vanruiswyk.net/blog/july-2015 NOVEMBER 2015
Been a long time since I have had the time to update this blog. Been pretty busy teaching and working at Clock Shadow Creamery.  I give tours, do tastings and talk about cheese-- a lot!  But its fun work and I love the products-- makes it easier to sell that way.  
So many great things are coming up --starting with NOVEMBER.  
On Saturday Nov 21- the seventh annual Milwaukee Ukefest will take over Sunset Playhouse for a long and crazy day of fun and ukulele playing.  
Sometime between the beginning of the month and Thanksgiving- I will teach an Easy Cheese class at Clock Shadow Creamery.  Chèvre, Paneer, Labneh and of course, my favorite -- Quark cheeses will be the subject of that class.  It went over well last month at Maker Faire- so we are going to try it in the shop.
Just finalizing the specifics on my next trip-- going to sing in CUBA!  with the Milwaukee Mastersingers.  Finally, getting away from WI in the dead of winter for a sunny climate.  Can't wait to see all the old cars.
Not getting too much of my own artwork done-- just binding for other artists right now and doing the occasional baby hat.
Thats all I have time for...
JULY 2015
Life is funny sometimes.  Been looking for a job for a while now- and just in the last week, I ended up with three.  None of them are great money makers, but they all satisfy a certain need in my soul. 

One is teaching art, one is working at the Jewelry counter at Kohls and one takes me back to my foodie roots -- working at Bits & Peaces Natural Food Coop in Waukesha. 
 I loved working at the coop with Mark Judkins and learning about the different food products and how to use them.  I learned to cook from my grandmother who made everything from scratch.  The folks who came into the coop were going back to that mindset-- giving up the preservatives and the pre-cooked foods and making tastier alternatives - often meat free.    As I have mostly given up meat and completely given up gluten- I have been looking at those cookbooks I bought so many years ago for inspiration.  Tofu, yogurt and cheese are my main sources of protein now-- and I have been making them from scratch.   
So the new job that I am most excited about is working for the Clock Shadow Creamery-- Milwaukee's only cheese making facility.  They specialize in quark and fresh hard cheeses like  colby, cheddar, muenster and the like. They make cheese curds twice a week so they always have fresh squeakers in stock.  And they rent out their facilities to other local cheese makers  who make their own speciality products.  Not ready to do that yet myself, but I like the idea....
Looking forward to giving tours, maybe teaching some cooking/ cheese making classes and contributing to the organization!

Speaking of my cheese-- finally took the red wax off the cheddar at the Morgan's Solstice Jam-- and it was pretty good. Didn't melt on the burgers, but it was great with crackers and cheese.  And the quark cheesecake was a big hit-- need to make another one for the Ives and Ivy jam in a couple weeks-- not sure what flavor to make yet.
Guess I need to start another one or two cheddars- one for the Kitchen Pickin' Picnic and one for Steve Yeo's Labor Day jams.  Too late to get one for the Coffee house picnic-- so I guess I will make a batch of mozzarella and cheese curds for that.  
Got a new used Autoharp-- fun to play, getting used to the peculiarities of the pushing buttons and strumming.  
Life is getting better.  Gotta keep a positive attitude! 

<![CDATA[JUNE -  New cooking experiments]]>Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:57:58 GMThttp://www.sharongiesfeldt-vanruiswyk.net/blog/june-new-cooking-experiments
Sweet Onion Jam as a condiment
Roasted Strawberries to top fresh Greek yogurt
Honeyed Whiskey Strawberries for desserts
Strawberry, baby Kale and Chia seed smoothies
Cucumber, Red Onion and Ginger root refrigerator pickles
Fresh Soy milk made into a block of soft Tofu
Momofuku's Marinated Eggs
Trying to get more probiotics and fresh fruits and veggies into my diet.  
So adding in pickled vegetables and preserved foods using traditional recipes and new recipes to my tool box of cooking techniques.   
Whey fermenting and canning will be the next things to try.  

Meanwhile, my first hard cheese is aging quietly in the studio, ready for tasting on  the Summer Solstice.  
<![CDATA[May 2015 --Not the best at keeping up with blogging]]>Wed, 13 May 2015 23:51:45 GMThttp://www.sharongiesfeldt-vanruiswyk.net/blog/may-2015
Mrs Partlet from the Gilbert and Sullivan "The Sorcerer"
Roasted soy nuts seasoned with Penzy's Spices. With 14 Pounds of organic soybeans to use up making tofu and okara and things like nuts to snack on.
Home made Cheddar cheese curds and fresh Mozzarella cheese
My new two quart yogurt maker. Making a batch a week and barely keeping up. Seems like I go through it faster than 7 days. But it is so much fresher and cheaper to make your own with out all the additives and corn syrup and fructose laden fruits.
Going to take a millenery class from Kate at the Hen House in BayView. Got inspired to jazz up my summer hat with some silk ribbon flowers. These are just practice ones with narrow ribbons.
Home made is best- Making yogurt, converting it to greek yogurt and then making good things to eat. Next step- taking the left over whey and fermenting veggies to add to the pickled ones I already have canned.
End of the semester.  Finally checked my grades to see how I did. Pleasantly surprised to find that I got two As and a B+.  I wasn't expecting the B+ at all.  The As were in Opera  for my work as Mrs. Partlet and costumes and props.  The other was in Mastersingers.  I need to post the sweatshirt I designed for the Messiah members.  
My jury papers all came back with Bs and nice comments, in spite of my disastrous second song.  Not sure why I blew it- but the Italian went right out of my head.  The Consul's Lullaby went very well.  What a  lovely but peculiar song- strange chords and lines but as one of the jurist put it- it suited my voice very well.  I still got a B+- so that was an improvement.

Keeping busy looking for a job.  Not easy here in WI - even minimum wage jobs haven't gotten back to me about the applications. Very frustrating.
When I get depressed I try to keep my mind occupied with some new puzzle or task.  So I have been learning to make cheese, and tofu from scratch.  And looking at hats for ideas on embellishing them.  And knitting baby hats for Childrens Hospital-- I have 11 done, my goal is 30 by August 1.  Looks like a very do able goal.
<![CDATA[February 2015]]>Fri, 06 Feb 2015 02:15:26 GMThttp://www.sharongiesfeldt-vanruiswyk.net/blog/february-2015
New semester, new year...
Same problems-- what to do?
Still looking for a job, still fighting my way through music theory and learning my lines and recitatives for the Sorcerer opera in April.  
But on the other hand-- new interests make me happy.
  • Learning to make goat cheese and milk based cheeses
  • Spinning both on a spindle and on my new used Ashford spinning wheel
  • Knitting new more complicated pieces
  • Lino or wood engraving a week print challenge
  • Sock orphans handouts- maybe I will do an online kickstarted to publish a  booklet
  • Open mikes -- time to get over my fears
  • What else?  Who knows what the future holds- going with the flow...

<![CDATA[Fall 2014]]>Fri, 06 Feb 2015 02:04:57 GMThttp://www.sharongiesfeldt-vanruiswyk.net/blog/fall-2014Starting on a new semester and so many new experiences this fall.  There are times when I wonder why I would even want to do this at my age.  My age?  
Wait a minute--what am I? some old lady who should be home watching soap operas and knitting baby clothes?  I think not!  There is time enough for that down the road. 
Old is when you stop learning, when you no longer find the world interesting, when you can say "enough is enough" and you want to shrink your life down to only those few things that are familiar and comfortable.  
No way am I ready to shrink down my life, my waistline maybe --  
              I have too many things on my bucket list to complete.

So I will struggle on with new things I have chosen for this semester:  
  • Learn more difficult music. 
  • Get over my fear of performing in public.
  • Sing excerpts of the Messiah-a bucket list goal!
  • Master new computer software.
  • Study music history and see where it overlaps with art history.
  • Learn to write professional articles.
  • Conquer my fear of music theory.
  • Attempt to play piano properly.
  • Try ear training again and learn sight reading of music.
  • Plan multi-media art/music exhibitions.
  • Teach more workshops in bookbinding.
  • Put all my experience as an educator into my newest teaching opportunity