By Cateland White
(Note: Cateland is a writer (and a cheese maker) who lives in Las Vegas with her husband and her daughter, Bugsy. For more about her – click here.)
I’ve known Miranda Bradley since before she became Miranda Bradley – back when she was my adorable little niece, Miranda White. She always loved animals so when she grew up to become a vet tech it was no surprise. Level-headed and sensible, it was also no surprise that she:
A.) Chose Mr. Right, aka Josh Bradley.
B.) Became ‘Mom’ to an equally adorable son, Cole, age 2, and step-daughter, Aliya, age 6.
C.) Settled onto a rural five acre farm in tiny Toledo, Washington surrounded by all manner of critters. Can you imagine working full-time, raising a family AND five dogs, three cats, 19 chickens, two alpacas, three ducks, two goat, a pony, a cockatoo, a bunch of bunnies and a cow? Whew!
There was, however, a BIG surprise when my shy, quiet niece became ‘Kizzma’, queen of the Rainy City Roller Dolls!! Wow!! She was still Miranda White back then so perhaps you can figure out why she chose that particular moniker… 😉
We don’t get to see each other often so I was thrilled when Miranda came down to Las Vegas for a veterinary convention this month and we had a chance to catch up. True to form, she surprised me once again, taking a nighttime helicopter tour over Sin City.
While we’ve always had a lot in common (roller derby obviously isn’t one of them!) I was so tickled to discover that her cheese-making skills put her old aunt’s to downright shame! Here’s a little of that conversation:
How did you get into making cheese?
It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Three years ago for Christmas, my husband, Josh, bought me a kit – from the New England Cheese Making Company, of course! (laughs). I got some raw milk from a friend who had it and jumped right in making cheddar. It failed miserably, but I wound up with a really tasty batch of cheese curds.
Where do you get your milk from?
From my own personal goats. I have two goats that I milk every day. And, I have a Highland cow that will come into milk in next April and I’m so excited to use that milk to make cheese! I currently make all my cheeses from the goat’s milk. I think I’ve only used cow’s milk a couple of time previously.
What kinds of cheeses have you made?
I make lots of cheese actually; we eat lots of cheese at my house. So I regularly make mozzarella and feta because they are fresh cheeses. I make a raw cheddar cheese and cheese curds. I’m currently aging cheddar, pepper jack and parmesan.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting to make those aged cheeses?
I’ve learned through experience that you can’t rush it; you have to take your time. Really, with the recipe from start to finish it takes a lot of time. I have a fridge that I use to age them – in the crisper drawer – but my plan is to get a wine fridge for just the aging process because it will control specifically the humidity and temperature.
And you have cheese making helpers?
I do! Two year old Cole loves to be in the kitchen when I’m stirring the curds and getting them up to temperature. I taught him how to hold the spoon and we stir our curds slowly and he just loves that. So does Aliya. My husband, Josh, made me a round cheese mold that I love because it comes in so handy and I use it so much.
What’s next on your cheese horizon? Is there something that you’re just dying to try?
I really, really want to make Swiss cheese, I haven’t done that yet. My husband really wants me to make Swiss cheese. I’m going to try it with goat’s milk first.
Being ‘Aunt Cate’, I have to ask about the roller derby, Miranda, because having known you your entire life, that’s the last thing I ever thought you’d do…!
I’ve played roller derby now for about five years. I really love it and it’s just really exciting. It’s a complete, full contact sport with a group of really fun, empowered women that get together to (chuckling) hit each other on the track. (Author’s note: She still has all her beautiful teeth.)
Speaking of empowered, I think Miranda is certainly that and I couldn’t be prouder of this wonderful young woman. Can’t wait to see where she goes from here!