Monday, January 19, 2009

As I Hope for Signs of Spring

I started some seeds for some veggies to go in my spring garden - yeah, yeah, I know it's a little early. I get anxious. So anyway, some of my little baby plants have already sprouted! I present, for your viewing pleasure, some pictures!

My Cauliflower:

My Little Cherry Tomato:

My Roma Tomato - which I plan on making lots and lots of homemade pasta sauce with:

Oh, and that little hair on my tomato plant? That would be a little gift from this cat. She likes tomatoes, too.:

And, last but not least, my Okra plant. Okra and Cauliflower are both new to me. I'm really excited to try both of them!:

I'm still waiting for my jalapeno, serrano and banana peppers and my early girl tomato plant to push through the soil. I'm sure I'll post more pictures as they come up.

What are you planting this year?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Guess It's A Phase

This past weekend I decided to make yogurt. That's right... yogurt. I guess I'm going through a phase. I decided that I want to learn how to make all of these things that I take advantage of in the grocery store. SOMEONE has to make all of these things that we consume so I thought that if they could do it, there was no reason that I couldn't, right?

On to how I made homemade yogurt.

I put the following into a large saucepan:

4c. whole milk
1/2 c. dry milk

Stir to dissolve dry milk powder and slowly heat milk to 180 degrees. You do this to kill off the bacteria that prevents the milk from firming up. Turn off the heat and let milk sit at room temperature until it is between 110 and 120 degrees. Take a ladle full of milk and add it to 1/4 - 1/2 c. of plain yogurt WITH ACTIVE CULTURES. I used plain Fage greek yogurt. Whisk together and then whisk the mixture into the warm milk.

Now you put the mix into the containers that the yogurt will be processing in. I used glass mason jars. There are several ways to let the mixture process, but i used my crockpot. I poured my yogurt into my mason jars and put them into a preheated (on the "warm" setting) water bath in the crockpot and put the lid on. Every couple of hours I would turn my crockpot on and off to try and keep my crock pot at about 110 degrees. In about 6-8 hours my yogurt had firmed up and I put the jars in the fridge to chill overnight. Now I have yogurt! This morning I drizzled it with a little bit of wildflower honey and it is GOOD!

Try it, you'll like it!

Tomorrow I'll tell you how I used some of my yogurt to make yogurt cheese.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Making Butter

So... I made my own butter. Why, you ask? Because it sounded like fun! It was SO easy, and it tasted GREAT! The process really was simple, so I'll share.

I poured 4c. of cold heavy whipping cream into my stand mixer bowl and flipped it on. I kept increasing the speed until I got it up to 9. Then, I waited. The cream got super thick (whipped cream) and then, after a few minutes, it all just kind of collapsed and I had this grainy yellow stuff (butter) and liquid (buttermilk). I stopped the mixer and drained as much of the buttermilk off as I could - I saved it to use in my bread I made the other day. Then basically you just add cold water and "knead" the butter to get out more buttermilk. I did this about 3 times, until the water was pretty clear. Then I salted the butter slightly and formed it into 2 balls that were probably roughly 1c. of butter each. I wrapped each ball in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to firm up a bit.

I'm telling you, I'm never going back to store bought. If I could just get my hands on some raw milk and cream. Mmmmm.....