Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For friends and family :)

Some friends and family members have emailed or commented a want to know some of the recipes we have been using. So here are some of the easier ones...

Some people have laughed at how we came to doing this in this family...but, oh well! 

Butter...so very simple. :)  This was just something I wanted to try at first. We have made several batches by now. It gets easier each time. I use heavy whipping cream. I have used ultra-pasteurized, and organic, with the same results. We made butter for cooking and used the fake vegetable oil spread stuff for many months. One night there was left over fake stuff on the spoon and I threw it in the sink to go to bed and to deal with the dishes in the morning. I left them in the sink to soak. In the morning when I got up, the fake butter was still in solid form on the spoon after soaking all night in hot, soapy water. It made me think about my arteries and how the stuff did not break down. Yuck! So, I became committed to having to use real butter from then on out and not the fake stuff.

In the mountains, we bought some 'real butter' at the grocery store. Later, I read the ingredients and oh...I could not even pronounce some of them. Hence, we are back to making all the butter...the main ingredient - cream. So, this one is really easy. Beat the cream until it makes whipped cream and then keep going. After about 10 minutes, it becomes more difficult to beat and the buttermilk separates from the butter. A few more minutes and then you drain the buttermilk away from the butter chunk. Wash the butter. Squeeze any additional buttermilk away and then lightly salt. I froze the extra buttermilk into an ice mold to make buttermilk cubes to keep for cooking later - like for biscuits, bread, pancakes/waffles.

Mayonnaise  - this came about from the overabundance of eggs we had a month or so ago. Now, that it has gotten colder, the chickens have cut back on egg production. Mayonnaise consists of one whole egg, beaten with the electric mixer and slowly dripping in one cup of EVOO very s-l-o-w-l-y. Did I mention the EVOO has to be dripped in --s--l--o--w--l--y--. If you do not do so, it will flop! In the mayonnaise I add a dash of salt, a teaspoon (or so) of  ground mustard seed and a pinch of sugar. If you add whey to it, about a teaspoon to tablespoon, and let it sit out for about 7 or 8 hours, it will allow it to become lacto fermented naturally and the shelf life in the fridge can be extended a little beyond a month. Without the whey, it needs to be used within a week or two.

I tend to like the flavor better than store bought mayonnaise. The child tends to like it better as well. It is incredibly easy to make. And, I know where the ingredients come from. It does tend to have a yellowish color...probably because the color of my egg yolks is a vibrant yellow. :)

The mozzarella is always a tough one. Now farmers cheese is so easy...it is nothing more than heated milk base with vinegar added to forms the curds and the simply separating the curds and saving the whey. You can add a bit of salt to it for flavor. I also a bit of EVOO to keep it flavored lightly. Farmers cheese will last about a week or so in the refrigerator and tastes a bit like something between cream cheese and a soft white ricotta. It is great on toast, bagels, and crackers. It is also good in lasagna and on spaghetti. I like to eat it on tomatoes with fresh EVOO and fresh basil.

Mozzarella is much the same process, but includes the addition of rennet and citric acid. The curds have to form slowly and then be brought to a temperature capable of being handled. Then the curds are drained from the whey and drained in cloth. You microwave the curds to help them form elasticity for about 30 seconds and then remove them from the microwave and knead the excess whey from the curds. You do this several times and salt it after the second or third time. After it begins to become able to be stringy and stretchy and shiny, you can knead it tightly into a mold and press with a weight. I used an older plastic cup and weighted it with cans from the cabinet.

This is the leftover whey. I decided to freeze some into cubes for use later. We use it for many recipes of baking. The cubes makes for about a tablespoon each for measurement purposes and store well in baggies in the freezer. The other is all the whey still left after one ice cube tray full. I will fill up more later and freeze it tomorrow. :)

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