Monday, December 23, 2013


Kathy V. is a friend I've never met.  In one of those round-about ways of the universe, we were introduced online by an in-person friend to us both, Kit, because Kathy V. (I always think of her with initial included) and I raise goats.  Kathy V. and I rise early and we frequently connect on Facebook before dawn for a quick chat.  The other day Kathy V. gave me the recipe for cajeta, Mexican goat milk caramel.  It didn't sound difficult and I'm overloaded with the main ingredient.  What the heck, I'd give it a try.  The directions said to "simmer for an hour," and then an additional half-hour of careful watching and stirring for the final reduction.  Simmer apparently means different things to different people.  My first batch "simmered" for nearly eight hours on Saturday and by the time it was caramelizing I was falling asleep and had to turn off the stove to stave off calamity, planning to continue the process the next day.  After consultation with Kathy V. yesterday, I was game to try again with the day's fresh milk.  An hour of what I call a low rolling boil brought the mixture to the correct stage (where eight hours had brought me before).  I had jars ready.  I was on the verge of success.  I heated the first batch and added it to the second in the interest of saving time so the caramel could thicken to perfection during the last critical half hour.

The phone rang.

Once scorched, there is no way to rescue a ruined pan of candy or caramel sauce; that burned flavor is in there to stay.  A double batch of cajeta and two days' work down the drain.  I reject the term "stubborn;" however, having tasted the almost-finished product, I am determined to make this happen.  (I will not, by the way, answer the telephone.)

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