Monday, February 1, 2010

Recipes as promised: Butter, cream cheese, Mayo, Meringue, Lox, Kim Chee.

What a wonderful weekend I had! 
Saturday was depressingly spent shopping at a zillion different places to get a bunch of stuff we needed. Luckily i started off the day with some yoga/tai chi to even my sanity for the rest of the day.
Sunday, however was spent making making making stuff stuff stuff.
On our list of to dos on Saturday was stop by our local milk host and  pick up two gallons of raw milk= one for me, one for a friend. I tried some new things with the milk this week and skipped making the herby cheese i'd planned, that will be back on the menu in two weeks.
And what better way to start a productive sunday but a delicious brunch of turkey bacon and freshly laid eggs.

Without further adieu (this is quite a long post with several recipes, so if you bookmark it for one of the recipes you might want to rename the post in your bookmarks bar):

Homemade Butter
Is so easy to make. I must reiterate one last time that i'm using RAW milk, and so some of my recipes may not work for that homogenized/pasteurized ultra white wierdness in the stores. Though i think butter does work like this.

Separate the cream from the milk. Raw milk, or 'cream line' milk separates itself after about 24 hours. I pick my milk up on the day after its been delivered to our host, so it's already separated. Irritatingly the milk comes in narrow mouthed milk jugs so i can't properly "skim." I am the scrimcoacher, though and am not deterred. I use my new baster to suck the cream off the top. I end up with a little milk mixed in, but not much. You can also just start with cream that's separated for you - raw milk cream will make a much yellower butter.

Pour the cream into a jar and either start shaking now or let the cream sit out overnight to sour a bit. I did that as i prefer a tangier butter. It's best if there's about 40% cream to size of jar. I had a bit too much cream per the jar size, but it still worked - just a little more difficult.

SHAKE. Shake rigourously. Shake this way and that. Watch the cream turned to 'whipped cream.' Shake in agony for half an hour or so waiting for that butter to break. Jump with joy when it's finally happened! When the butter separates itself from teh buttermilk, pour off that milk into another jar for later use. Pour water over the butter and shake some more and pour it off again. Repeat until the water runs mostly clear. Put your butterball into a bowl and 'cream it' by pressing  a spoon down and popping the little air bubbles that hold more secret water and buttermilk. This will make your butter last longer. I add salt at this stage as i like salty butter and we don't use butter very often (salt will help it store longer).

Ta da!  This morning's delicious toast with homemade butter:

Cream Cheese and Whey
This isn't really a recipe, more just a tip. This exact technique is only applicable to raw milk.

Put milk in a clean jar. Put jar on counter, well covered. Ta da. That's it. Leave the jar out until the curds and whey separate. Pour the curds out into a cheese cloth over another jar and drain out all the whey. Hang until no more whey is dripping out. Use the whey for all sorts of lacto fermenting things or feeding your chickens or self. It is said that drinking a tablespoon of whey a day helps to balance the digestive system. I think it's kinda tasty, almost sweet. I have plans for this cream cheese, if it works. Homemade bagels, lox and cream cheese - plus some capers for the caper loving husband. Can't wait!

Homemade Lox (Gravlox aka Marinated Salmon)
This recipe was actually taken from Nourishing Traditions so i won't give out specific specifics, but should give enough of a jist.
  • 2-3 pounds salmon. I got Atlantic farm raised because the wild caught (which was cheaper!?) looked nasty and old. Next time i hope to get wild caught, and SOMEday we'll live in salmon country again and catch our own.
  • Mixture of half and half Rapadura (post describing this sweetener coming soon) and sea salt plus cracked green pepper.
  • 4 T whey
  • 2 sprigs snipped fresh dill plus some garlic chives and parsley
Wash the salmon and pat dry. I was supposed to 'scale it but leave the skin on' but didn't know how to do that, so i'll have to avoid scales when serving. I'm fine with that. Pull out the little bones with a needle nose plyers (that i washed first, don't worry). Cut the salmon in two evenly sized filets. Rub the flesh with the seasoning and sprinkle whey about followed by the dill and herbs. Lay the filets face to face and wrap well with plastic wrap then foil. I awoke to salmon drippings invading the fridge, so i'd suggest putting the packet into a ziplock as well. Place salmon packet between two cookie sheets and a weight or brick. Flip every 12 or so hours for 3-6 days. I'll update when i open this up and see how it went. Let's hope well, as we're talking $18 of salmon - which is still way cheaper than buying ready made lox at about $12 a pound.

Homemade Mayo:
See my previous post for the full recipe here.  This time i used a blend of safflower and olive oil. Last time i used all olive oil, some of which had roasted garlic. This version tastes much lighter, less nutty, more tangy. I think next time i'll try more olive oil again. I can't wait to make my own mustard from homegrown mustard plants and have this recipe be completely homemade.

I bought smaller jars - perfect fit for the amount of mayo!

Meringue Cookies/Candy
This recipe failed but still tastes great. I'll spare you the after picture - ha. I plan on trying this every time i make mayo until i perfect it!

After making the mayo I was left with an egg white and half a lemon. This just seems too obviously something yummy waiting to happen. I whipped up the egg white with my immersion blender and whisk attachment (not a one trick pony, Foy!) with the lemon and a bit of sugar. It never quite made a hard peak, but the soft peak was good enough. I dolloped them onto parchment paper and attempted to bake them by turning the toaster oven to 400 then turning off when i put them in. I don't think that was enough heat, so i tried to heat them up again and burst them. They deflated and singed a bit, but still a tasty treat. Next time i'll try 100 degrees for many hours instead.

Kim Chee (Korean Sauerkraut)
This is the third time I've made Kim Chee. You can read my first attempt here. This time i added some purple cabbage for color and texture. We'll see how i like it.
Kim chee is easy to do and personalizable depending on your taste preferences. I learned after my first batch that i wanted more spice, so for me lots of hot peppers and a little ginger are essential.
The basic ingredients are:
  • 1 head napa (chinese) cabbage
  • bunch green onions
  • hot peppers to taste - fresh or dried
  • garlic
  • about a cup of shredded carrots
  • a few radishes
  • ginger
  • 4 T whey
  • 1 T sea salt
This time around i used 2 fresh red jalapenos and 2 habaneros, plus a little dried cayenne. The purple cabbage is making everything very purple indeed.
To make my life easier i used my cheese grater to shred as many of the ingredients that would shred. 7 cloves ginger, three radishes, the carrots and soem of the cabbage. The rest got chopped up finely and the whole lot, with the salt and whey, got bashed to bits with my new meat pounder. I started in a bowl, broke it, and moved on to a large, flat casserole. Worked well.
I used one big jar this time, verses the two pints I used the last 2 times. You MUST leave 1 inch of room at the top and make sure there is liquid covering all the veg (the liquid is released by the pounding and then the squishing-into-jar). I didn't have enough room at the top and found some had leaked out by morning. I simply removed some of the veg to another small jar.
It is very fun to watch, and hear, the fermenting process. When the jar stops bubbling, in about 3-7 days I'll transfer to the fridge in pints.

Phew! I think I'll save dinner's mac & cheese recipe for a little later as this post has grown to mammoth proportions.
I do hope to be making kim chee consistently enough to offer small jars for sale occasionally. And i can't wait to try out my lox and cream cheese when they're ready!

Have you tried a new recipe recently? Did you fail, succeed, or are you waiting to find out?

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Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!