Monday, August 22, 2011

making staples

Lately, I have been trying to make more pantry staples at home. Well, maybe not lately, this is sort of a morphing process over the last few years. I wrote about making yogurt a few weeks ago, and I have been doing that for a few years.

For example, Saturday, I ran out of mayonnaise, looked in my cook's companion book, and saw that it was incredibly easy to make mayo. And eh, voila, in a few minutes (literally less than ten), I had a whole terrine full of mayo. I will post a how-to make mayo next batch, if anyone is interested, I know some people get nauseated just looking at a dang picture of mayonnaise, but I don't. LOVE. MAYO. I only have a finished product picture.

Honestly, I think it is a combination of the fall-like lack of humidity, the open windows and the fact that the baby is not quite a baby anymore, and running and playing. I have time to do some extra weekly things. Most weeks, I hit the market, come home and make a sort of weekly batch of staples. I make yogurt every second week or so. But I get home with fresh eggs, I hard boil a dozen of them while I am unloading the market bags. I eat eggs, but no meat, so it serves as a quick protein source for me during the day. I also roast eggplant at the same time for baba ghanoush. It lasts, perhaps, two days in this house, since it is a favorite of mine. Maybe in the next few weeks, I will post my baba ghanoush recipe, since it is so delicious it will blow your freakin' mind, like this video.

One day, I popped over to my sister's house and she was making butter. She picked up a dairy cookbook--like how to make cheeses, sour cream, butter, etc. We ate gluten-free toast and homemade butter, and then another, and then another. Fresh butter is amazing. So, even though I don't have a standing mixer, or a blender (smoothies killed my blender and I am searching for a new one), today, I decided to give it a whirl. I figured it would only cost me the pint of organic heavy cream. The price differential between heavy cream and butter isn't significant, but the taste is worth it.

Making butter is so incredibly easy, I am a little embarrassed that I am writing about it, but I thought that for people out there like me, who thought it was magic, would like to know that it is easy and how to go about making it.

First, one pint of heavy cream in a bowl, like so.  (Yes, I bit the pint of heavy cream open, because I am such a bad ass mother...shut your mouth.)

And you just start mixing it. This is hand mixer, but apparently standing mixers are easy, less fussy. I took my netbook into the kitchen and read some blogs while it was going.

It passes through a stage where it kind of looks like whipped cream, which I suppose it technically is, and then it gets a little lumpier. At this point, I was doubting it would ever be butter,

I'm still there. I forgot to mention NPR was on, so that helped. Alice Waters is going to be on Fresh Air today. Awesome. It was not too long, but I should have been better at timing it. I think this was about ten to fifteen minutes.


my wet heavy cream turned into butter with buttermilk pooling in the middle. I mixed it a little longer. Apparently, this whole process would have taken less time if I had let the cream come to almost room temperature. Whoops.

 No worries. I strained it. In the bowl is fresh buttermilk. As in the expensive milk you can bake crap with, yes. You have to knead the butter at this point. You get slightly slimey, but in the name of butter, so it is totally worth it. I also cut in some salt, because I also love salt. It helps the liquid come out.

One pint of heavy cream made 3/4ths of a crock of butter. Yum.

Final product. Wee bit of buttermilk and a crock of butter. Perfection.

Hope you liked this. My next staple piece will be about making sofrito, which is a staple of Latin American cooking and is so friggin' awesome you will want to roll in it.


HereWeGoAJen said...

I have a recipe for making ricotta cheese that I've been meaning to try. I've done butter before too, it is good. Actually, I should probably just start making all our butter. Did you know you can do it by hand in jars too, just like you did the ice cream the other day? You might want to start shaking at the whipped cream stage though if you want Bea to not get bored. We used to make butter in baby food jars at summer camp for Farm Week and the elementary school kids were starting to get a little bored at the end.

still life angie said...

I have seen one too. It looks very easy. Of course! I have seen that shaken method too. I totally forgot about that. What an awesome idea to let kids help. Next batch, Beezus at least is getting her own jar to make. I think she would love that.

Curls O Fred said...

These are my new favorite posts! I was hoping you'd do a post in the butter making...thank you! Can't wait til the next one :)

Sara said...

I've only made butter accidentally (by getting distracted when whipping cream).

Hope's Mama said...

You and I so need to hook up right now. You free this weekend?
You see, we're right in to making our own bread right now (when I say we, I mean Simon - but I'm offering him lots of moral support!) He's working on a sour dough starter right now and he's been "feeding" it for days, getting it ready to bake with. Your butter would go so well with a warm slice of it!
The last time I made butter was in primary school. Given our hook up is not very likely in the near future, we might have to try our hand at making it once again. We've already mastered our own mayo and like you I. Love. Mayo! The home made stuff rocks.
There is simply nothing quite like making things from scratch and going back to basics like this, makes it even more appealing I think. Keep these posts a'comin!