Buttermilk

What’s up everyone? Hope you are having a fantastic Sunday. Today I’m gonna tell you about buttermilk. Lots of recipes call for buttermilk, from breads and pancakes to salad dressing. But what if you don’t happen to have any… Before you run to the store think about this. You can make a sufficient substitute with just two ingredients. Milk, and lemon juice.

For this particular recipe, you need just 1 cup of milk and just 1 tbs of lemon juice or white vinegar. You stir the lemon juice into the milk and just let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Then use it as you would buttermilk. The milk might begin to separate, that is ok.

That’s all there is to it. Let me know how it goes or what recipe you use for buttermilk.
All my love.

Homemade Mayo

Welcome to another exciting edition of Kitchen Adventures!  (Insert theme music of your choice) Today, we’ll be exploring home made condiments, specifically mayonnaise. Yep mayo, the most boring of Goop Group. Mayo isn’t actually as bland so you might think. If you make it yourself… This recipe for homemade mayo uses just 5 ingredients that you probably already have.

You will need
3 Eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup oil
A blender

How to
Add all of the ingredients to the blender except the oil. Combine well. Add the oil slowly while the blender is running. Blend until thick. Takes 10-15 minutes. Scrape into a jar with an air tight lid and place in the fridge. Makes just over a pint of mayonnaise.

That’s all there is to it, folks!

A few notes
I used a stick blender, a regular blender will work also, and a food processor, but you will need to stop to push down the sides. Also, be mindful of the heat of whatever appliance you use. If it becomes too hot, stop and allow it to cool.
You can change the spices you put in per your preference. I have made this recipe with vegetable oil and coconut oil. I noticed no difference between the two. You can use whatever oil you choose… Though I would recommend against the motor oil.
This mayo will not be as thick as what you by in the store, but it is plenty thick for spreading on sandwiches. I haven’t tried it in a salad yet, but I’ve already decided to switch to homemade mayo completely. It will keep for several weeks in your refrigerator.

Lotza Mozza

Mozzarella that is!

Hey everyone!  Been a while, huh? How have you all been?  Well, I hope.

So, I’m going to tell you about an experiment of mine.  I made some mozzarella cheese.  It is fun, easy, and quick.  Like ridiculously quick.  It is going to take longer to type up this blog post that it took to make cheese.  I got the recipe online from a food blog.  Most of the recipes that I found were very similar; equally easy and simple.  Find one you like,either online or in an old cookbook, or wherever.

Now, about ingredients and equipment:

Equipment:

  • An instant-read food thermometer
    • Any kind will do.  I used a meat and vegetable thermometer.  As long as it is calibrated, it will do.  To calibrate, stick the end in a glass of ice water.  Most instant-read thermometers have a nut or wheel on the backside of the scale.  After a few seconds in the ice water, the thermometer should read 32°F.  If it does not, twist the nut to adjust the needle until it rests on the 32ºF mark.  And you are done!  Your thermometer is calibrated! Yay!
  • A large, cool nonreactive, straight-sided stock pot.
    • This means no aluminum.  Stainless steel is best.
  • A strainer or colander
    • I used a strainer, I think it saves time later.
  • A couple of large microwave safe bowls
  • A large slotted spoon and a long handled straight spatula.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole milk
    • It has to be whole milk.  Raw milk is best.  However, it can be difficult to find raw milk.  Here in WS, the closest dairy farm is over 100 miles away.  That is a bit too far to drive for a couple gallons of milk!  Pasteurized milk (Which is what I used) works just fine.  Just DON”T use ultra-pasteurized.  It will not come together properly.  I have heard it said, in my area at least, that some health food stores will special order raw milk for you.  I am sure it is outrageously priced, but if you really want raw milk, you can try that option.
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Citric Acid combined with 1/4 cup warm water.
    • You can get citric acid from most health food stores.  I had to buy mine from Amazon.com.  I looked around to see if I could use lemon juice or vinegar in place of citric acid but I could find no information on substituting them.  The next time I make cheese, I plan to make two batches, one substituting lemon juice and the other using vinegar in a 1:1 conversion.  Citric acid comes in loose power and tablet form.  Either will work, but if you buy the tablets, you’ll have to crush them up first, so it sames time to buy the powder.
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vegetable Rennet combined with 1 Cup cool water.
    • Rennet comes in liquid form or tablet form.  I used liquid rennet purchased from the New England Cheese-making Supply Company website, via Amazon.com.  Here is a link to their homepage.  http://www.cheesemaking.com/  They sell cheese making equipment and ingredients.  Do not use Junket rennet as it is weaker, more diluted form.  It is fine for making yogurt, I believe, but no good for cheese-making.  Rennet is available as animal rennet (which comes from the stomachs of calves, how I don’t know) and vegetable (which is a vegetarian substitute.)  I used vegetable rennet but there is n o functional difference between the two.  You can get organic rennet for a dollar more.

Steps:

  1. Place citric acid in the bottom of the stock pot with 1/4 cup warm water.  Stir to dissolve.
  2. Add milk.  Stir to combine.
  3. Heat to 90ºF.  Use medium heat, so as to not scorch the milk.  Milk will begin to curdle.  It will look like tiny white flecks in the milk.  This is what you want.  The liquid that the flecks are floating in will begin to look yellowish in color.  This is supposed to happen.   This is the whey.
  4. Remove from heat.  Add rennet, mixed with water.
  5. Stir continuously for 30 seconds, then use the spoon to still the movement of the liquid.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Do not touch it.
  6. After five minutes, the curds (solids) will have separated from the whey (liquid).
  7. Cut the curd into 1 inch cubes using the spatula, making sure to reach all the way to the bottom.
  8. Return to heat and heat to 105ºF, stirring constantly.
  9. Once it reaches 105º, use the slotted spoon to scoop out the curd and transfer it to a strainer or colander set over a bowl.  By this time, it will definitely taste like (unsalted) mozzarella and begin to look like it.
  10. If you are using a strainer, this step isn’t needed, it you are using a colander, it is.  Roll the colander around to allow as much of the whey to drain off as possible.
  11. Pick up the curd and squeeze it together to drain off more whey.
  12. Move to a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute.  (I found this to be too much time in my microwave.  If your microwave is more powerful, you can adjust the time as you think fit.  I halved the times given in the original recipe. )  If you don’t have a microwave, or would prefer not to use it, you can allow the cheese to sit in hot (not very) water (you can also use the whey for this) for the time indicated.  You want to keep the cheese malleable but not melt it entirely.
  13. Squeeze out more whey, heat it, squeeze it, and so on.  All subsequent sessions in the microwave or hot whey should be about half the first time.  Be careful during this part of the process, the curd will be hot.
  14. Press the curds together and squeeze out as much whey as you can.  If you use a strainer, you only have to heat and squeeze twice to remove all the whey.
  15. Knead the curd in your hands (not on a surface as you would bread), pulling and stretching the cheese until it is smooth and soft.  At this time, knead in any salt or spices that you want to add.  Roll edges under to form a neat round ball.
  16. Let sit in an ice water bath and allow to cool completely.  This only take a few minutes.  Then it is ready to eat.

Mozzarella should be eaten fresh. But if you don’t want to eat it all in one sitting, it will store for a few days, up to a week, in the refrigerator.  Make sure that it is wrapped completely in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

The whey that is left over, and there will be A LOT of it, has many uses.  I’ll make a separate blog post about all of those.  Store the whey in the fridge until you use it.  it will keep for at least 2 weeks.

There! I hope you enjoy making and eating this cheese.  It was so tasty between slices of my mom’s amazing homemade bread.  A wonderful treat.

Oodles of Noodles

How is everyone doing today?  Its an amazingly beautiful day here.

I am a huge fan of pasta.  Penne and Farfalle are my favorite shapes, and I dislike elbows immensely.  Not the taste, because they basically all taste the same.  I find elbow macaroni really difficult to eat.  Sorry, I’m on a tangent, I’ll get off.

I found a great recipe the other day for egg-less pasta.  Egg-less pasta is great for people who need to watch their cholesterol, or for one reason or another, don’t eat eggs.

I found the recipe on food.com here: http://www.food.com/recipe/basic-pasta-dough-no-egg-360234, posted by someone called JoeyV.

I followed the directions and the pasta came out wonderfully.  I didn’t have the full 3 cups of flour that the recipe calls for, so I reduced it.  I also used regular canola oil, instead of olive oil.

I’ll paste it here, for anyone who can’t follow the link back to the original.

Basic Pasta Dough (No Egg) Recipe

Total Time: 2 Hours

Prep Time: 2 Hours

Cook Time: 0 mins

JoeyV‘s Note:  This recipe yields the equivalent of about 1-1/2 lbs of dry pasta, and can be used to make 4 dozen raviolis.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Servings: 4

Directions:

  1. Put flour in large mixing bowl, making a well in the center.
  2. Add wet ingredients to well and very slowly mix together with a fork, incorporating only a little flour at a time so it mixes smoothly and evenly. Trust me, the more patient you are with this the better it will turn out.
  3. Continue kneading by hand for about 10 minutes, let rest for a half hour covered with a towel. Repeat a couple times until dough is smooth and silky, and just slightly sticky.
  4. Shape by hand or with a machine.
  5. Note: Boiling fresh pasta takes significantly less time than dry pasta. Depending on the shape, cook for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
 

 

 

The ingredients gathered.

The ingredients gathered.

A ball of dough, ready to be cut and shaped.

A ball of dough, ready to be cut and shaped.

It came out beautifully.  And tasted delicious, which is the more important thing! 

I plan to make a bunch of this dough and freeze it for when I’m running low on money and groceries.  You wrap the dough in plastic and put it in an airtight container.  It will keep for several months.  When you want to use one, just take it out, thaw it and use it as you would fresh dough.  You can use this dough as a substitute for any store-bought dough.

When you first start to knead, it will be lumpy, but soon it will smooth out and feel soft, silky, and only slightly sticky.  Make sure you coat the work surface and your hands with flour while kneading or it will stick to them.

If you try it out, let me know how it comes out.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  Have a wonderful day!

 

Tomatoes, Peppers, and Onions… Oh My!

Hey peeps! I hope your lives are going great!

I know I promised you a post about crochet, and I fully intend to come through. I am, however, suffering from technical difficulties.  So in the meantime, I’m going to talk about something else.

Salsa. Yes,  salsa. Why salsa? You may ask. Well, simmer down and I’ll tell you.  It’s because I made some just 20 minutes ago with veggies that I grew myself in my garden. There is nothing quite so satisfying as cooking with the fruits of your labor.

My garden produce is ripening a few at a time, which is nice because it means that I don’t have to try to store a bunch of tomatoes at once. I just use them as they ripen.  Anyways… I had tomatoes, a green bell pepper, and sweet banana peppers. Of course, when thinking of what to do with these ingredients, salsa immediately sprang to mind. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes
1 medium bell pepper
1 small-ish yellow onion (this was store bought. I never seem to have much luck with onions…)
3 banana peppers

I chopped everything coarsely. You can dice the vegetables if you want a smoother salsa.  Then I added the veggies to a pot with a quarter cup of water. That’s 1/4 cup.   I added salt, parsley, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper to taste. I don’t like very spicy foods, but you can make it as fiery as you like. I stirred the pot and let it cook, covered for about five minutes. Just enough to soften the onion basically. Everything should still be sorta crunchy.

I took it off the heat and ladled it into a clean glass canning jar. You can use an old jelly jar or any container with a screw on lid. Even old pickle jars. If you use a glass jar, make sure to run it under hot water. If the glass is cold and you pour hot salsa into it, it could very well crack. Allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge.

image

Just under a pint of homemade salsa

Be careful when working in the kitchen. Enjoy your salsa!

Amber, Out.

Amber, over and out.