Homemade Marshmallows

These have been a long time coming.

Homemade marshmallows

I got on a marshmallow kick eons ago. I have this absurd love for baking deliciousness to enter into our local county fair. I noticed there was a marshmallow category and couldn’t resist. I made vanilla and strawberry ones leading up to the fair then made the grave mistake of making a new (never tested) chocolate batch to enter.

They never set up. It was also blistering hot in August so that didn’t help much at all. I did get a ribbon but I think it was for the lack of entries in that category more than the quality of my candies.

Homemade marshmallows

The chocolate marshmallows were so incredibly delicious despite how soft they were. They tasted like hot cocoa all by themselves (mental note: go find that recipe…)

However, given the awful cold snap we have been having around here these past few days, homemade marshmallows to go in our homemade hot cocoa were completely in order.

Homemade marshmallows

How do you feel about candy making? There is very little candy making I actually embark in. Marshmallows and caramels are about where I draw the line. it is incredibly intimidating to me. My dad loves divinity so I might attempt that this year? Who knows. Marshmallows however are quite easy.

Homemade marshmallows

And how can you resist this little marshmallow fiend?

He was totally over the moon. He is reaching that super exciting/maddening age where he wants to help with E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. ” I do it myself mama” is uttered about every other minute around here. Mercifully he was entertained while I was making these but he was quick to the kitchen as I was finishing up. “I need a taaaaaaaaste.” And I obliged. Maybe three times. I plead the fifth.

Homemade marshmallows

This recipe makes a great big batch and if you cut them up small you wind up with lots and lots. I think these would make sweet presents tucked into a basket of Christmas goodies.

Or just eat them out of hand. Like we have been doing a lot of.

Homemade marshmallows

Don’t judge.

Homemade marshmallows

One year ago today: Sugar cookies

Homemade Marshmallows (makes 1 9×13 pan)
From Food Network

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a well oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Homemade marshmallows


Challah Rolls

Book giveaway winner– Hannah E! (I will text you about getting you your copy of the book!)

What are your Thanksgiving staples?

Around here it is a given that we have stuffing made by my brother-in-law, these rolls and chanterelle mushroom gravy made by Nathan, and then turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pies made by whomever. But those are the requirements for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year was the first year we had Thanksgiving at my house. It was such a wonderful time and it was our first dinner around our new dinning room table Nathan made for me. This year we are lucky to have three meals with those we love. One with my mama tribe, one with our friends, and one with our family.

Challah rolls

Happily all of the complicated dishes have become dishes Nathan is an expert at making. And he is particularly good at these challah rolls. It is just a plain challah bread recipe that he simply makes in to rolls. He has been making them for years now and is a bonafide challah making expert.

I can’t remember the last time he actually this recipe into a challah loaf though. Always always always they wind up at rolls and are trotted out at the holidays.

Leftover rolls make the BEST leftover turkey sandwiches by the way. Just sayin.

Challah rolls

One year ago today: Oatmeal butterscotch cookies

Challah Rolls (makes 64 small rolls)
From Nathan 

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (2 lbs 4 oz)

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into 32 smaller rolls (for a totaly of 64 rolls). Roll into balls and place about 1/4 apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about one hour.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over the rolls. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour eating.

Challah rolls

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

Shut the front door.

I can make curry paste.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

I guess I have made curry from scratch before (as in not from a purchased paste or powder). Nathan pointed out you don’t know that though because all the curries on here are yellow curries. I have this delicious green coconut curry I make…. yum.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

But to make an honest to goodness curry paste was something else. I still have enough left over in my fridge to whip up another batch of these delicious spicy lentils.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

And I know I don’t have to tell you this but lentils are SO good for you. Chocked full of vitamins and fiber and so terribly cheap. If they aren’t part of your diet you should seriously add them. And this recipe is any easy way to do it.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

Sure the making the paste is a whole extra step but the flavor is unmatched. Plus you get the satisfaction of enjoying a delicious dish you made. I am contemplating making this paste just to gift to friends and family. Wouldn’t you love to get that as a Christmas present?

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

One year ago today: Brownie cookies with a salted caramel frosting

Lentils and Spinach in a Masala Sauce (serves 8)
Adapted from Naturally Ella

3 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoon coriander seeds
2″ piece ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons garam marsala
2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons peanut or other nut oil
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup masala paste
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cup red lentils
4-6 cups spinach

To make paste, toast cumin and coriander seeds in skillet until fragrant. Use a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) to grind spices. In a small food processor, add ginger and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, garam marsala, and salt. Give a couple pulse to incorporate. Next, add nut oil, tomato paste, and cilantro leaves. Pulse until paste forms and everything is well incorporated. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and add diced onion, cooking until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in stewed tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir together and bring to a boil. Add in lentils and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring often, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in spinach. Serve with your favorite grain, extra cilantro, and a dollop of greek yogurt.

Lentils and Spinach in Masala Sauce

Chocolate Eclairs

Ah Master Chef….

These were featured as a pressure test this past season and while many of the pressure tests might have made me sweat I would have won this one. Sorry, I don’t mean to brag, but seriously these are not hard at all.

Choux pastry is so terribly versatile and a breeze to make. I feel like I say this at least once a month but… while these may be a tad time consuming, they are very very easy to do.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

You do not need to have to piping skills to make these beauties. Mercifully they are covered in ganache so no one really cares what they look like. Besides I am more concerned about getting these in my mouth than if they are less than perfectly shaped. Also eclairs are one of those incredibly forgiving dessert.

The one technical part to these is filling them. I do have a filling tip for my pastry bag and that made it go so smoothly. Also I cheated a bit and made mini eclairs (about three bites) so getting the filling all the way through wasn’t that big of a challenge. If you make bigger eclairs I would encourage you to pipe the pastry cream in both ends and do so slowly. If you pay attention you can clearly tell where the filling is in your pastry.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

And the smugness factor is huge. Friends come over to play board games and you can serve up homemade eclairs. I like feeling smug when it comes to baking. But mostly I just love feeding my friends and family delicious food.

P.S. I didn’t just make eclairs on a whim. I made a batch to donate to the March of Dimes Signature Chefs dessert auction. It was an honor to participate. I support the March of Dimes and their goal of working towards a day when all babies are born healthy. To learn more visit www.marchofdimes.com/oregon/

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

One year ago today: Rosemary lemon BBQ chicken

Chocolate eclairs (makes about 2 dozen small)
From Martha Stewart

Pate a Choux (Choux Pastry)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white

Pastry Cream
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Make the pate a choux- Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides and a film forms on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium; add whole eggs, 1 at a time, until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If peak does not form, lightly beat remaining egg white, and mix it into batter a little at a time until it does.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip with pate a choux batter; pipe out oblong shapes, about 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, onto prepared baking sheets at 2-inch intervals. Transfer the sheet to the oven. Bake 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Raise heat back to 425 degrees and repeat process with remaining batch. If serving immediately, fill eclairs while still warm so they can take more cream; if filling at a later time, insert a skewer into one end, and move it around to expand opening for cream; set aside.

Make the pastry cream- In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, egg, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add cornstarch and flour; whisk until smooth and pale yellow. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Stir over medium-high heat until milk begins to steam. Whisking constantly, add half the hot milk to the egg-yolk mixture. Stir until smooth; add combined mixture back to remaining hot milk in the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking rapidly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Place over ice bath and let stand, stirring frequently, until cool. Remove from ice bath, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface until ready to use. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Assembly and ganache- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and filling tip with pastry cream. Insert tip into one end of each eclair; fill. To make the glaze, heat cream in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand until chocolate is melted, stir until smooth. Dip top of each eclair into glaze; let excess drip off before turning over. Transfer to a wire rack to allow glaze to set.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

Homemade yogurt

I feel like I am late to this party.

Homemade yogurt has come up in conversation a few times over the past couple of months. We have been getting incredible raw milk from a local far and I know several of the mamas have made yogurt with the milk as it was just turning sour (a great alternative versus pitching it).

Homemade Yogurt

I however have pitched the little bits of milk here and there that have soured on me. This past weekend I had three extra quarts of milk and I knew the time had finally come to make my own yogurt.

Why on earth did I wait so so so long!?

Homemade Yogurt

The process was absurdly easy. Milk, sauce pan, heat, allow to cool slightly, add a little bit of yogurt with live cultures, let sit. The result? The most amazing rich and thick yogurt ever. I am beyond impressed.

Add yogurt to the incredibly long list of things I never ever want to buy again. Also I can’t believe it is cheaper than store bought yogurt. The stuff we get from Trader Joes is $2.50 per quart and this came out to right around $1.75 per quart. Plus I know the cow it came from.

Homemade Yogurt

What do you think? Is making your own yogurt for you? I promise you that you wont be disappointed…. Now I just need to get around to making some granola….

(Oh! You know what else you can do when you have three quarts of yogurt in your fridge? Make frozen yogurt. Coming next week!)

Homemade Yogurt

One year ago today: Cherry Pie

Homemade Yogurt (makes 1 quart)
From David Lebovitz

1 quart whole milk (I used raw)
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt

Sanitize a clean a 1 quart jar by pouring boiling water in it and letting it stand 5 minutes. Drain the water (carefully, as the water and the jar will be hot), and let the jar dry.

Heat the milk in a saucepan fitted with a thermometer, or use an instant read thermometer, until the milk reaches 180 F. Remove from heat. When the temperature drops to 115 F (This took about a half an hour), stir in the 1/4 cup of yogurt, then pour the mixture into the jar and cover it. Put the yogurt in a slightly warm place, and leave it undisturbed for 10 to 12 hours. The longer fermentation will yield a more tart yogurt. Chill the yogurt thoroughly, at least three hours. The yogurt will thicken up once cool.

Two notes: First- I simply tripled the batch and made all three quarts at the same time with great success. So double and triple with confidence. Second- make sure the yogurt you add to the warm milk is yogurt that has live active cultures. Just read the label. It will tell you.

Homemade Yogurt

Strawberry Jam

The last three post have been about strawberries. Four if you count this one.

The next post after this one- also strawberries. Do you still love me?

I can’t help but just be totally head over heels in love with this fabulous season we are having. The berries are incredible and plentiful this year.

Simple Homemade Strawberry Jam

The past couple of posts have been using up last years jam. This one is all about the fresh berries. Well it is about how to keep the fresh berries around all winter.

The summer I got married I had a friend take me under her wing and teach me to can. We didn’t do any jam but we put up lots of peaches, cherries, green beans, corn, and applesauce. I loved it. My pantry looked so beautiful with all those jars I had loving taken the time to prepare.

It took me a couple of years of canning with her before I was willing to branch out on my own. Now my house is where my friends and family come to can. When my sister got married I bought her cases of jars and promised to teach her.

Simple Homemade Strawberry Jam

I love canning. I love the community aspect it is here at my house where I am not only putting up food for myself but food to share too. I don’t think I have ever canned alone and these past few years my sister Tiffany has always been in the kitchen with me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tiffany was actually the inspiration for branching out our canning last year. We added peach jam (the best ever) and pickles to our repertoire. This year we are talking about pickling green beans and carrots too in addition to the usual suspects- green beans, peaches, jam and more jam, dill pickles, and applesauce.

In case you are wondering tomatoes aren’t on that list because I freeze mine.

So strawberry jam. We went berry picking on Saturday morning. Little ate more berries than was probably prudent. We went home with about 12 quarts of berries total. We froze a few, used a few for pie, and then made five batches of jam. All in all 28 pint jars full..

Simple Homemade Strawberry Jam

Don’t let the quantity I can in deter you. You can do a much smaller batch or just enough for your little family.

Ok on that note I have something to make clear to you. I do NOT want to be your authority on canning. Not here on the blog not in person. I consult my books and read read read every time I can. Canning is serious business to get right because not doing it right is downright dangerous. My resource is my Ball Blue Book. Also our local extension service is a great place to call and ask questions. They have master preservers on hand to take your calls. Lastly, as a brief overview into the world of canning this post at Crackers on the Couch is a great place to start.

Just go get yourself a Blue Book and come over and can with me. That is really probably the easiest way. Plus it is fun. Loads. I promise.

Simple Homemade Strawberry Jam

One year ago today: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Jam (makes 5 1/2 pints aprox.)
from the label on the Ball Real Fruit Pectin Bottle

6 2/3 cups mashed strawberries
7 1/2 tablespoons Ball Real Fruit Pectin Flex Batch Classic
5 cups sugar
1 tablespoon butter

First read all the directions on the bottle.

Put a small ceramic plate in the freezer. Place the mashed berries in a large pan over medium high heat. Stir in the pectin. Bring to a boil. Add the butter. All at once add the sugar and stir well. Bring back to a boil. Once at a full rolling boil set timer for 1 minute. Once time is up turn the heat off and skim off any foam. Take the plate out of the freezer and spoon a bit of jam on to it. You are checking that the jam will jell. Run your finger through the jam and if it doesn’t run then you have perfect jam! Ladle the hot jam into hot jars (I keep my washed and still wet jars in the oven set to 180 F). Wipe the rim of the jar, place a lid on, then gently screw on the band. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes as a boil. Remove to a towel on the counter. Allow to sit on the counter till complete cool. Store in a cool dry place.

Simple Homemade Strawberry Jam

Homemade pasta

Homemade pasta and I have had a love hate relationship.

The first time I made it it came out beautifully.

Homemade pasta

The second time I was extremely pregnant and attempting to make homemade lasagna noodles. The afternoon ended with me going to the grocery store covered head to toe in flour to buy noodles because the lasagna HAD to be made and we couldn’t get the homemade version to cooperate. While at the store I also picked up ice cream. So, while covered in flour, in yoga pants, extremely pregnant, and holding ONLY lasagna noodles and ice cream, I ran in to my boss. That wasn’t awkward or anything.

Homemade pasta

Since that incident the pasta roller has mostly been in the closet. Recently I pulled it out to make my first batch of homemade pasta with duck eggs. Again it was a disaster and I think that is putting it kindly. What the hell was I doing wrong?

Homemade pasta

However, last week I was gifted with two dozen duck eggs. Albeit delicious fried or great for baking I so wanted to try my hand at pasta again. So the day after the humongous party I did what any sensible person would do- I made homemade bolognese sauce and homemade pasta.

Guess what? I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Maybe my wine to food ratio that afternoon helped me not stress out so much or maybe I just finally figured it out. Either way I am now convinced making homemade pasta is easy peasy.

The trick? Don’t force it. Trust it! The flour we are using is a bit on the spendy side so I was determined to not waste any (you need super fine “00” flour- don’t skimp on this). Big mistake. Let the dough take the flour it needs and the second it comes together enough to be able to kneed it get rid of the rest. It’s ok. Err on the side of too little flour. This is how much I threw away when I made this batch- a little more than 1/4 cup.

Homemade pasta

So what is the deal with the duck eggs? You are more than welcome to use chicken eggs but I have just had access lately to some duck eggs and had heard what great great pasta they make. The yolks in duck eggs are much bigger and tad richer. The final pasta is so yellow and when cooked has a more toothsome al dente texture. I am quite pleased.

I hope you make homemade pasta. If not come on over I’ll make another batch for you. Seriously. Just bring the wine.

Homemade pasta

Homemade Pasta (serves 4)
Adapted from about 6 different recipes

2 duck eggs (or three chicken eggs)
2 1/2 cups “00” flour
1 big pinch of salt

Mix the flour and salt together then place in a pile on the counter. Carefully make a well. Crack the eggs in to the well. Gently take a fork and start mixing the eggs. Use one hand to whisk and the other to carefully keep the well together. As you mix pull flour in from the sides. Slowly it will come together into a dough ball. As soon as the dough ball starts to form stop whisking and use your hands to kneed it. Once you have a kneedable ball remove the rest of the flour. Kneed on the counter for 4-6 minutes or until elastic and smooth. Allow to rest on the counter for at least an hour before rolling. Roll with a pasta roller and then cut into your desired shape (we did tagliatelle) making sure to add lots of flour to keep pieces from sticking. Carefully drop into a large pot of salted boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Homemade pasta

Beef with Broccoli

Remember a few weeks ago when I made chinese take out at home? Delicious baby bok choi and mushroom in a not so chinese beer sauce. Yum.

Here is my most recent foray into chinese cooking.

Easy quick homemade beef with broccoli

When I was working I had a weakness for Panda Express. There was one within walking distance of my desk. Plus I always ordered steamed veggies instead of rice or noodles so I had a delicious almost all veggie lunch for cheap.

Come on. Everyone has that one fast food (or fast foodish) restaurant that you have a weakness for you would rather not admit right? Right? Don’t leave me hanging here.

Thankfully a slim budget isn’t allowing for eating out so I am learning to recreate these dishes at home.

Easy quick homemade beef with broccoli

I have been craving beef with broccoli for some time now but for some reason I have put it off. It was incredibly easy to throw together even if it did dirty an inordinate number of dishes. Like 30. Or maybe fewer but it felt like 30.

This recipe made a huge batch and I was hoping for leftovers. No dice. Even Little, who normally turns his nose up at everything, inhaled a huge bowl full.

So we were left with a kitchen full of dirty dishes and no leftovers. Thankfully our bellies were full of delicious homemade not too bad for you food.

Easy quick homemade beef with broccoli

Ps. The one year anniversary party is swiftly approaching. May 18th from 10am-1pm I will be hosting a light brunch here at my house for anyone brave enough to admit they read this blog. I’m taking requests of favorite recipes. If you need the address leave a comment and I will email it to you!

Beef with Broccoli (serves 4 and a Little)
Adapted from Food.com

3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb boneless round steak cut into thin 3-inch strips (grass fed pasture raise happy please)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 bunches of broccoli cut into florets steamed in the microwave for 3 minutes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
hot cooked brown rice

In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder until smooth. Add beef and toss. In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, stir-fry beef in 1 tablespoon oil until beef reaches desired doneness; remove and keep warm. Stir-fry broccoli in remaining oil for 4-5 minutes. Return beef to pan. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve over rice.

Easy quick homemade beef with broccoli

Homemade Butter

Don’t make this.

After one taste of homemade butter on fresh out of the oven artisan bread I am ruined for life. You have no idea how good this is. Unless you have made your own butter in which case you do.

Homemade butter

I recently have had the privilege to purchase some raw milk directly from a local farmer. She has just one sweet Jersey cow who produces the most amazing milk. I skimmed the cream off the first gallon I purchased and made ice cream. The last time I got milk from her she also happened to have an extra quart of cream. Um. Yes please. I knew it was destined for butter.

Problem is I had no idea how to make butter. I asked my husband and brother in law if they had made butter before both of whom replied with “yes but only on accident.”

Homemade butter

I too have whipped cream too long on accident but never have I made real butter. What I learned in making butter this week is that getting from the whipped just a bit too long to actual butter take a LONG time.

Butter, I have decided, is best made when you have other things to do. That is if you have a stand mixer. Just pour it in and walk away. I suspect that if you have a smaller amount of cream it wont take nearly as long but whipping the whole quart in to almost butter took nearly 15 minutes plus then there was draining and mixing more after that. I spent a lot of time staring at the mixer waiting and waiting.

It was totally worth the wait and effort. At first I thought “I’ll never do this again” and grumbled but one taste, yes straight plain off the knife, and I was hooked.

Homemade butter

And the color! It is so incredibly yellow. For comparison here is my butter next to store bought Tillamook. I have always thought Tillamook was SO yellow. Not anymore! Granted I used raw grass fed cream so I’m sure that helps….

Get your hands on some really really good cream and whip it in to butter. You wont regret it.

You might have to buy the next size up in pants but it will be worth it..

Homemade butter

Homemade Butter (makes 8 oz of butter)
Followed the directions from Joy the Baker

1 quart of cream (you can make it with less)
1/4 tsp salt.

Place the butter in your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn on to a medium speed and whip it. First you will get silky whipped cream (below). Keep going.

Homemade butter

Then it will start to break.

And finally it will separate after about 10-15 minutes.

Homemade butter

Drain off the buttermilk (save for pancakes!) then return the butter to the mixer and whisk again.

Homemade butter

Drain one more time and return to the mixer.

Homemade butter

Add about 1/4 cup of ice cold water and whisk for a minute.  This is called washing the butter and will help it last longer. Drain the water and repeat. After the second washing press out all the water you can out of the butter. Kneed in the salt. Store covered.

Best eaten on homemade bread. Yum

 Homemade butter



Spicy whole grain brown mustard

It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that I made my own mustard.

I cannot believe how incredibly easy it was to make my own mustard. It is as easy as throw things in a jar, let sit for a day or two, and blend. That’s it.

Spicy whole grain brown mustard

Add this to the long list of things that is ridiculously easy to make. Although I need to try making another batch with yellow mustard seeds. Perhaps they will be a little less spicy.

When I first made this batch of mustard it was tongue numbing spicy. Seriously. Tasting it so I could adjust the seasoning was painful. I had to enlist Nathan’s help with the tasting.  After two tastes he surrendered and abandoned the kitchen. However, given a few days to mellow it was incredible. Still spicy and tangy but in a really really good way.

Spicy whole grain brown mustard

I can’t wait to put it on straight off the grill sausages. Yum.

Homemade mustard I feel would also make a really lovely gift. Especially tucked into a gift basked full of other lovely homemade treats. Or just take some as a hostess gift to the next cookout you are invited to.

Spicy whole grain brown mustard

Spicy Whole Grain Brown Mustard (makes about a pint)
Adapted from Two Tarts

6-oz. stout beer of your choice
3/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1⁄8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄8 tsp. ground allspice

Combine ingredients in a glass mason jar. Cover with a lid and let sit at room temperature for 1–2 days till the mustard seeds have absorbed most of the liquid. Transfer the mixture to another container and blend with your immersion blender. Alternatively you could use your  food processor and process. Process till most of the seeds are ground and the mixture has thickened. It takes about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a clean jar and cover. Refrigerate and use immediately (if you are brave). Keeps for up to 6 months.

Spicy whole grain brown mustard

(So last week when we had our fun morning of shooting recipes we made sandwiches with this mustard and some incredible rye caraway scone. That recipe is coming next week but here is a teaser. Yeah. Betcha you can’t wait huh?)

Spicy whole grain brown mustard on rye caraway scones