Making Butter

Butter

Butter

Butter

Butter

Is there nothing better?

I don’t think there is.

Salted. Unsalted. Mixed with herbs. Mixed with honey.

You name it, I’ll eat it. YUM

Despite my ongoing love affair with it, and my constant claims to be the next Paula Deen, I swear to you here and now that I don’t use butter nearly as much as people think.

It got me thinking, sure, I cook and bake all the time. I usually make things from scratch, I rarely use food from boxes or packages. I use pure ingredients like butter, whole blocks of cheese, and loaves of artisinal bread. But then I got the idea in my head – what if I MADE those pure ingredients myself?

After reading Urban Homestead (Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City) by Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen, a book which my darling roommate brought home for me from the library, I realized just how simple it is to make butter, cheese, bread and so much more all from a home kitchen.

I mean, duh, of course those things are easy to make…a home kitchen is where they all started and those kitchens didn’t have industrial sized mixers and ovens. Shocking, I know. I think that living in today’s society and in a city especially creates a real divide between these old practices and the modern cook. It’s been my mission this summer to bridge the gap in my life, and I am now ready to share everything I’ve learned with you all.

So I’m starting with the most basic, butter.

What you’ll need:

1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream, at room temperature

Glass quart jar with tight fitting lid

Salt, if you want salted butter

What to do with it:

Pour cream into jar, fill a little less than halfway. You’ll have to do this in two batches. So why not use a bigger jar? Because you might not be able to securely hold a bigger jar in your hands

Screw the lid on, make sure its really closed

Start shaking

Shake until your arms feel like they are gonna fall off

Shake up and down, side to side, between your legs, over your head. Your choice, get creative. Make it a workout, put on some music, shake to the beat. This is your opportunity to get creative, churn to your heart’s content. Don’t let me down folks!

Seriously, I think that anyone trying to lose weight (or not gain weight) but who still wants to eat butter should make their own. I swear you will burn more calories making it than there are in the amount you will consume! Should I patent this butter workout idea? Probably, huh?

When you first start shaking, the cream will make tons of noise sloshing around

After 3-5 minutes of shaking, it’s gonna stop making noise. At this point you have made whipped cream (minus the sugar)

Keep shaking, you’ll start to notice the cream clumping and sticking to the sides of the jar. You’re almost there

You will know you have butter when you start hearing sloshing again. About 7-10 minutes in, if you make butter with frequency after this, this sloshing noise will be your saving grace, the finish line at the end of a race

Just…a…few…more…shakes…

Take a look inside the jar, you should see a big ol’ clump of pale yellow butter surrounded by a bunch of milk (buttermilk, to be more specific)

You’ve made it, my friends

Next you have to do what’s called “washing” the butter to remove any tiny pockets of buttermilk still trapped in the ball of butter – this step is VERY important. If you don’t wash the butter, the little buttermilk pockets will sour and spoil your butter

To wash, take the butter and run it under cold water gently squeezing and pressing the butter in your hands

Once you stop seeing little drops of milk coming out you can now add salt, if you want salted butter.

Per pint, I would say a sprinkle of salt is sufficient – no more than 1/4 teaspoon

When all is said and done, you will end up with 1 cup of butter (essentially 2 sticks) and 1 cup of buttermilk

Note: This buttermilk is not the buttermilk you buy in stores. This is authentic buttermilk and it is delicious. It’s basically milk with teeny tiny flecks of butter still left in it. I love using it in my coffee especially.

As cliche as it sounds, homemade butter just tastes better than store bought. It has an unadulterated fresh butter taste that I have never before tasted.

Since discovering the ease of butter making it has become my party trick of sorts, as I suspect it will become for you. If I’m going to my friends house to make dinner, I make a point to pick up some heavy whipping cream and impress everyone with my suave churning skills.

This is the butter you will want to use in simple recipes

Like on top of some homemade bread?

Maybe with a little fig jam?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go eat some of that fresh luscious stuff.

Advertisements

Raw Almond Milk

On this Raw Food Challenge I’m on I’m allowed to drink milk. Only milk that has been unpasteurized aka still raw. I considered doing this until my friend, John, sent me the link to an article on USA Today regarding the risks of raw milk.

According to the article, “Unpasteurized milk, touted as the ultimate health food by some, is 150 times more likely to cause food-borne illness outbreaks than pasteurized milk, and such outbreaks had a hospitalization rate 13 times higher than those involving pasteurized dairy products, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.”

After that, I changed my mind. No raw milk for me. Thank you very much.

What are my other options?

Rice Milk

Soy Milk

Nut Milk

I went to a few different health food stores in search of some non-dairy raw milks and my search proved fruitless.

I quickly moved on to Plan B. I decided to make my own milk, then further narrowed it down by choosing to make Almond Milk. Which is actually a lot easier than people may think.

I started with 2 cups of raw almonds that I soaked overnight in water. I’m coming to find that a lot of raw recipes start with some variation of that formula. Good thing I have tons of mixing bowls!

I left the almonds in the water for an extra 8 hours because I wasn’t home, it may have made the nuts a tad softer or allowed them to soak up more water, but I don’t think it made a significant difference.

This recipe calls for 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of almonds.

So I blended my 2 cups of almonds with 8 cups of water.

I have a 30 dollar blender, that isn’t high tech at all, so I had to do my milk in batches because there was so much of it

and I let my milk blend for about 4 minutes each time.

The recipes that I’ve seen say you can make your milk taste like vanilla almond milk by adding some sun dried dates. And wouldn’t you know it, I had some sun dried dates! So I popped those in too.

Essentially the recipe looks like this:

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight

8 cups water (not the water you soaked the almonds in)

12 sun dried dates

I love dates! One of my favorite recipes is dates stuffed with goat cheese or brie, topped with a walnut, wrapped in bacon and then warmed in the oven. OMG

However, that’s not on the menu today for so many reasons.

If you bought dates that haven’t been pitted, like I did, make sure to take the pits out before you put them in the blender

Date pits may look similar to almonds. But they are not the same, so take ’em out!

This is what your milk will look like if you decide not to strain out the almond meal. You could do this, I tried it, it’s not bad, just very thick!

I opted to strain mine, which is extremely easy.

All you need is a pitcher, bowl, or large deep jar, some cheesecloth, and a heavy duty rubber band.

The milk will strain on itself pretty quickly, you might just want to prod it will a wooden spoon when you get to the last bit since the almond meal will be plentiful at that point.

I think its a great idea to save all that wonderful almond meal, I did. My batch of milk yielded roughly 2 cups of it, and that stuff is great for making raw desserts (recipes on how to use it coming in the next few days)!

Straining the almond milk reminds me of when I made goat cheese because like the cheese, its important to use to your hands to squeeze the last bits of moisture out of the cheesecloth.

When all is said and done, you’re gonna have about 8 cups of delicious milk to use. Because it’s raw though, it will only stay fresh for 2-3 days in the fridge. But since its so tasty, I doubt it will even last that long!

The dates that I added were a great way to impart just a touch of sweetness to this overwhelmingly refreshing milk, without being too cloyingly sugary.

Just this morning, I’ve already used about a third of my milk making a Banana Nut Smoothie! This is definitely a recipe I will continue to make, even after this raw food challenge is over.

Cardamom Rice Pudding with Pistachios

I have this fantastic friend, Chenoa. We met about a year ago I would say, and I every time we hang out I always have a blast. Most of the time we watch the British show Skins – before the American version came out – the Brits do it better. Trust me. When we aren’t holed up in her house watching hours upon hours of that we shop or eat in the Mission where she lives. Sadly, because of our ridiculously busy schedules we haven’t been able to hang out in quite a while. Kristina was not a happy girl.

Then out of the blue on Friday my phone alerts me to a text message. Since my phone is essentially an extension of my left hand I slid it open and am greeted with this, “What are you doing this weekend, woman? I miss your face and your food blog keeps making me super hungry. We should cook together soon <3”

First of all, I was super excited that she was free over the weekend and then I got super excited ’cause SHE HAS BEEN READING MY BLOG.

SCORE!

I text her back and let her know that I am beyond down to hang out. I ask her what she wants to make. Her response? “Anything gluten free.”

I have heard that term before, but I was like what the hell does that mean? How do I cook without gluten? What is gluten in? Crap.

It is only now, as I write this that I am looking up the definition. I am a crazy girl who likes to fly by the seat of her pants and do keyword searches in Google for “gluten free recipes” rather than look it up. Can you handle that? Anyway, for those of you who just want it out in the open, gluten is “a protein that is found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut, but NOT in rice, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, or millet. It is a more common allergen than most people are aware of. The condition in which the body creates an immune response to products containing gluten is called Celiac disease.”

Ok. Sooooooo wasn’t totally positive what to make. I looked online for some recipe ideas and found an abundance of mouth watering dishes. I started with dessert first, ’cause I had already had dinner that night. Rice pudding seemed to keep cropping up in my Google searches which got me thinking about my options. Then I saw the combination of of Cardamom and pistachios. WOW. Pair it with some Basmati rice, and baby, you got yourself an Indian inspired dessert. I’ll take it.

I started with 5 cups of milk and put that in a pot and turned the heat to medium. I then took 1 1/4 cup of Basmati rice and washed it.

The water will get kinda milky, when it does that – drain it. Then drop in in the pot of milk.

Continue reading

No-Bake Nutella Bites

While stalking friends on Facebook, I came across this beautiful recipe for a dessert including Nutella from a fellow food blogger. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Nutella. And so do my roommates.

I thought I would give it a shot.

Start out with a sauce pan and melt 1/2 cup of butter aka 1 stick

Once melted add 1 & 3/4 cups of white sugar

Next you wanna measure out 1/2 cup of milk. I used 2% milk cause I gotta watch my figure!

Last but not least, add 1/2 cup of cocoa!

MIX MIX MIX

Continue reading