DIY Butter Making

I am really into making various dairy products from one carton of dairy. Given the rising prices (two increases this year alone!) of dairy across the board, it made sense to me to start making my own butter, cream cheese, and soft mozza cheese. All of these are staples in our fridge.

First up, buttah! Made in my KitchenAid mixer. Just like the pioneers did. Ahem. 🙂

The process of making butter is simply whisking (or churning) the cream long enough with enough force to separate the cream’s fat solids from the whey liquid.

And before you ask, yes I lightly salted the butter. Tastes so good. Can’t wait it use it. *swoon*

In a nutshell, this is what I did:
1. Ran 1 cup of 35% whipping cream in my mixer machine with the whisk attachment on a very high speed for about 8 mins. I scrapped the bowl down once before finishing up.
2. I dumped the butter mix into a mesh strainer over a bowl. I pushed the butter down into the mesh but quickly realised I should have put a cheese cloth between the butter and the strainer, so I gloved up and started squeezing it in my hands.
3. While still holding the butter lump in my hand, I moved it around in a bowl of cold filtered water to clean out that last of the whey liquids before squeezing it dry again. I had to be gentle because the butter was so soft at this stage. It kept trying to ooze out between my fingers, so I wrapped the lump of gold up in some Bounty. That helped.
4. While holding the butter in my gloved hand, I shook some salt on the blob and on my glove, and then proceeded to massage/knead the two together. I did a quick taste test, and then wrapped it in plastic film.
5. I formed it into a small brick and tucked it in the fridge so it can firm up.

In the end, this is what I was left with:

It weights 74g, and it measures out to 5″ x 3 1/4″ x 1 1/4″. All from 1 cup of cream and a bit of salt + time. This is good. I will do this more in future.

We don’t normally use a lot of butter day to day, so there is always the worry that our butter would go rancid in the fridge before we get around to using it up since I don’t do a lot of baking anymore. This will be a good money saver (hella expensive even for the low-end store butters) and a very real time saver (I typically wait for butter to go on sale, buy a few bricks, and store it in the freezer. I would then have to wait for it to thaw in the fridge over night, and then again on the counter as it comes up to room temp to use it.)

I can make a small batch in about 10 mins, and have it ready to use in a few more mins should I need it to be soft, or butter in 30 mins should it need to be firm. I hate that I didn’t try this years ago. Grr.

And now I finally have some pretty handmade butter to put in my late MIL’s cute glass butter dish with this cute cow embedded in the design.

Better Weed Killer

It’s that time of the year. It’s finally killing season!

And by killing, I mean killing pesky garden & grass weeds, of course. I’m not a monster, but I hate dandelion weeds pushing out grass, plants and flowers that I am taking care of. Since I didn’t plant these weeds, I figure I don’t have to put up with their bullshit. Here is how I do it without using hard chemicals that bug my lungs and nose. And it’s cheap!

Better Weed Killer:
4C Distilled Vinegar
1/4C Salt (any)
1 1/2 teaspoons Dish Soap (any, but I always use blue Dawn)

Dissolve the salt in the vinegar fully before adding the dish soap. Pour directly on the weed at the base so it has a chance to go right down to the root. Feel free to give it a second go if I doesn’t wilt and die in an hour or so.

Tea Sandwiches

I’m already thinking about cold tea sandwiches during the hot months, and we barely got out of a surprise frost day yesterday. (snort) But, yeah… cute, tasty tea sandwiches are lovely any time, but I really want to eat them this week. I might have to make some this weekend.

L – R: Deconstructed BLT, Radish Crown over cream cheese, Cheese & Sausage with a spicy mayo, and the classic Cuke in butter.

These tiny sandwiches are very tasty, but they are also very artistic when you them all laid out perfectly on a platter. I cannot resist these babies. I want them. I want them right now!

Sugar-Free Fudgy Pops

What do you think of this? Is this something you can eat? This might work for you during the hot summer months.

I forget where I found this online last year, but it seems like it might work for you. Xanthan gum can be bought at grocery stores in the baking aisle, or you can buy a small amount from a bulk store.

Instructions:
In a saucepan on med-high, whisk milk / cream / Swerve / cocoa powder together. Bring to boil; cook 1 min, stirring often.

Off heat, add peppermint and xanthan gum. Whisk in well. Cool mixture on counter 10-15 mins. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze 1 hour before adding wooden sticks. Continue freezing another 4-5 hours.

Run pops under hot water 30 seconds to release them from the molds.

Anti-Pasto Platter

A throwback picture to when I worked in catering and we’d have to make these huge anti-pasto platters for 100+ guests from time to time. To make it easier for us to make these on the fly, and for the times when only one of us would work on it because the other was too busy with another order, the catering manager standardized the look of the platters.

These boards really only changed minimally depending on what and how much of an ingredient we had on hand that day. I still like making these, but my husband isn’t into charcuterie boards. At all. Despite it being mostly meat. It’s baffling to me. 🙂

Baking Hacks – Cookies

I’m a big fan of food hacks. I don’t have a lot of time and mental bandwidth to think of these myself, so when I come across them, I take a screencap for the future when I know I’ll be looking to cut corners. But, a food hack has to be a clever hack. The hack can’t ruin the final product. And it has to make my life easier. Like this one.

DIY Sauerkraut

I’m currently making a micro batch of sauerkraut at home. I have always wanted to do this. I love sauerkraut, but I’m the only one in the house who does, and stores only seem to sell big jars of it. The second I open a jar, it goes brown within a week in my fridge.

I figure this way, I can play around with the flavouring and the amount of cabbage on a shoestring budget. And if it turns out tasty, I and eat it all before it turns bad, that will be a win my books.

You might be wondering about the glass pebbles. Well, turns out they are easy to sterilize, and heavy enough to keep the cabbage submerged in its own juices as it ferments on the counter for the first three days. From there, I can let the sauerkraut finish its thing in the fridge. In two weeks, I should be able to dig in. 😀