Archive for the 'Dairy Information' Category

Recipe: Homemade pizza, ricotta cheese

|November 8, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I made some pizza dough to make a nice old-style Napolitan pizza.

Dissolved my yeast in warm water in a large bowl, added just a tiny bit of sugar, water, oil, flour and salt.

After the first rise, I separated the dough into portions. One went into a large (food grade) plastic bag – leaving plenty of room at both ends for it to rise in the refrigerator; placing a  twist tie at the very end of the bag for closure. Gently place on a tray and slide into the refrigerator and DO NOT DISTURB at all. That is for tomorrow's pizza.

Since it is dough for pizza – it doesn't need to rise a second time. So I spread my dough in my tin (today I used a jelly roll pan), greased (grease for a soft-bottomed crust, do not grease for a crunchier bottom), and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top.

I opened a large can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them with diced onions; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, and a bit of marjoram. Simmered to thicken a bit; cool before spreading on pizza. The rest is in the refrigerator for tomorrow's pizza. A light sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs.

Now that is the way pizza is supposed to be made!

While that was being made, I made my ricotta cheese. Look – I couldn't beat the price. I found whole milk for $1.68 per gallon at WalMart. I didn't have buttermilk so I used about 1/4 cup of white vinegar; stir and bring to simmer. By the time the temperature of the milk hits about 175 to 180* F. you will see the whey and the curds separate. Transfer curds to a cheesecloth-lined strained (several layers of cheesecloth) – drain off liquid but don't press the curds. Place over bowl and bring up ends of cheesecloth and tie; allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to have a deep bowl so that the liquid is not touching the cheese). I'll have about 4 cups of homemade ricotta cheese for tomorrow's lasagna.

You can't beat homemade and you can't beat the price!

Since the oven will be on tomorrow, I'll make my homemade bread in the morning and time it so that it comes out of the oven just in time to slide the lasagna in. A large salad of greens with a nice homemade vinaigrette and we will be happy. I have our big meal planned for some time between noon and 1 in the afternoon; pizza for the later meal with chicken wings. Hey – it's a great way to watch a football game!

Recipe: Lazy Eggplant Lasagna

|June 25, 2011|read comments (6)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

We've all heard about Lazy Pierogie – so why not try Lazy Eggplant Lasagna?

This didn't take long to make at all – it's so hot and humid that I took a jar of my homemade meat sauce out of the freezer the day before to thaw so that I could use it and not need to have a pot of sauce simmering on the stove! 

 This is a smaller eggplant than I would normally use because I made a smaller lasagna than normal. – – 

 

First, I combined my whole-milk ricotta with my chopped spinach.  You can wilt fresh spinach – but I chose to use frozen, cook and drain well and chop.  I used barely half the box – saved the remainder for another meal.  Allow to cool before adding to the cheese.  Seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine to use) and mixed well.  Cover and refrigerate.

 

 

Wash and peel your eggplant.  Normally I would slice my eggplant – but this time I diced it instead.  I wasn't using lasagna noodles so why go for the slices?

 

Dip in beaten egg and dredge in seasoned bread crumbs – dry bread crumbs, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic, onion powder, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine to use).

 

Well – you know the routine – heat your skillet, add your olive oil, heat your oil, and THEN add your breaded eggplant.  Fry until tender/light golden.

Meanwhile, I placed my pot of water on the stove to boil to cook my macaroni.  While waiting, I transferred the cooked eggplant to a dish to cool for just a bit, sliced my brick of mozzarella (which could easily have been grated – I sliced by choice) and I spooned about a half a quart of my sauce into a bowl.

Once again – you know the routine – pot of water comes to a rolling boil, add your salt and wait for the water to return to a full rolling boil, add your macaroni and cook al dente.  Drain well and do not rinse.

I used a few handfuls of medium shells, rotini, and cut ziti – a great way to use up macaroni!  And since they all cook at the same time – it was easy.  Once thoroughly drained, I stirred the cooked macaroni into my bowl of sauce and coated well.

 

I placed a couple spoons of sauce into my baking dish and topped with half my macaroni; spread my ricotta/spinach mixture over the top.

 

Then top this with cooked and partially cooled eggplant.  At this point you can sprinkle with grated mozzarella if you want.  I didn't do it this time.  Top with remaining macaroni, added a bit more sauce to the top of that and spread sliced mozzarella around the top.

 

Even though it was so hot and humid – I still preheated my oven to 350* F. and placed the lasagna in for 20 minutes – because this is not a big casserole dish.  A larger dish would take longer.

 

Enjoyed with a nice salad of greens and some onion bread.

If you didn't read my post about Chinese Meatballs then you missed my onion bread recipe – it's right up there with garlic bread – if not better:

Combine softened butter, fresh minced parsley (dried is fine), a bit of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of onion powder, and fresh grated onion.  Slather on thick-sliced Italian or French bread.  Placed on a baking tray (can be done in the broiler or toaster oven as well) and in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes while the lasagna was heating through.

Mangia!!!

and so simple – did not take long at all to make!

I hope you try this one!

 

 

 

Recipe: best dang grilled cheese sammie –

|June 25, 2011|read comments (5)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Okay – you may say it's "just" a grilled cheese sammie – but htis is one of my favorites! 

There is so much you can do to make your grilled cheese sandwiches extra special.  Try adding a cooked breakfast sausage patty, or add onions, or tomatoes, or peppers, or ham, or chicken, or turkey, or bacon – the list is just endless.

I used a nice hearty bread – these cheap white breads that disintegrate before they hit your mouth just don't cut it with me.  I used Schwebel's Italian sliced.

A light coating of butter and then I placed my cheese slices on each slice.  Since this bread comes in wider and larger slices than other white breads, I needed to use 1 1/2 slices on each slice of bread.

I scrambled (softly) a couple eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle onion powder.  I transferred the hot eggs to the bread, and closed it up, buttering the outsides and frying until golden.

Soft eggs, cheese slowly oozing out – absolutely one of my favorites.  And definitely a filler-upper!  Add a glass of orange juice and you're good until dinnertime!

Recipe: Low-carb Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe

|June 10, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It's summer and it's hot.  Cold and refreshing treats feel so good and taste so good on a hot summer day.  If you are counting carbs – this recipe makes 8 servings with only 6 grams of carbs per serving. 

Many of my friends are on low-carb diets, and this is a real treat for them.  Been making this for years!

 

In saucepan, combine:

1 1/2 qts. half-and-half

1 qt heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups Splenda

6 egg yolks

1/3 teaspoon salt

and bring to a gentle boil.  Remove from heat; chill; add 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and approximately 30 ounces blackberries.  Let your ice cream maker do the work for you.

 

Best part – you can use raspberries, blueberries, a mix of berries – whatever you want for this.

 

Refreshing and delicious – and you can have seconds without feeling guilty.

 

Recipe: BUTTER VS MARGARINE

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Please see below – this is very good information. Leave off the margarine from now on, I know it's cheaper but it's not healthy for you.

Subject: Butter

Pass the butter ~ ~ ~ ~ This is interesting.

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings.

DO YOU KNOW…the difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end…gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories.

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of! butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

And now, for Margarine..

Very high in trans fatty acids.

Triple risk of coronary heart disease.

Increases! total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.

Lowers quality of breast milk.

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here's the most disturbing fact…. HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..

This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

You can try this yourself:

Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

Share This With Your Friends…..(If you want to "butter them up")!

Recipe: Homemade Cream Cheese

|March 12, 2011|read comments (1)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Since I live in the "snowbelt" there are many times we cannot get out to get to the supermarket – either because we are buried in snow or there is a driving ban.


And of course, there are times I don't feel like driving that far (my favorite markets are not close to hone at all) on 12 to 18 inches of ice-packed streets.


In a pinch – you can easily make your own cream cheese – and like I always say – "there's noting like homemade!"


1 gallon whole milk
1 quart cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt


Pour milk and buttermilk into a large pan and suspend the thermometer in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the temperature reads 170 degrees.


Keep the mixture on the heat and the temperature of the milk between 170 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes, the mixture should start to separate into curds (the lumps) and whey (the liquid).

Line a strainer with several layers of moistened cheesecloth and set it inside a large bowl. Then lift the curds from the milk mixture and lay them in the cheesecloth. Pour the remainder of the whey through the cheesecloth and save the whey for other recipes (buttermilk). Let curds drain at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours.


Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and place in blender with the salt. Blend until creamy. Store the cheese in small containers with tight fitting lids and refrigerate.


The cheese can also be frozen, thawed and then beaten again in blender until creamy.

Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo with Beet/Bean Salad

|February 23, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

One thing I can honestly say about Italian cooking – you don't have to spend the entire day in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove.  Although with all this cold weather and all the snowstorms we have been getting – standing at the stove all day sounds good!


We enjoy Alfredo sauce on macaroni – it's quick and easy to make and we always have the ingredients in the house – butter, milk, cheese – and of course, plenty of macaroni – all different kinds.  Having macaroni in the house is a lifesaver.


It doesn't take long to make at all – waiting for the water to boil to cook macaroni is the "long" part of this meal making –


Fettuccine Alfredo


1 lb. fettuccine
1 stick butter
Milk
Fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Fresh minced parsley


While I was waiting for the pot of water to boil for my fettuccine, I assembled an easy bean/beet salad and grated my cheese.


For the Beet/BeanSalad


1 can sliced beets, drained
1 can cut green beans, drained
1 can cut wax (yellow) beans, drained


Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and season with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper; toss to coat.  Sprinkle with fresh minced (or dried) basil; toss to coat.


Once my water boiled, salted my water, added my fettuccine and cooked al dente. Drained well. To the same pan, melt a stick of butter and add a bit of milk – about ½ cup or so. Add the cooked fettuccine back to the pan with a few handfuls of grated cheese and toss well to coat. Season with just a bit of Kosher salt and a some cracked black pepper; sprinkle with parsley.

Couldn’t be simpler! And clean up was a breeze!

Recipe: How to whip cream

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

For best results, make sure that the cream is very cold when it is whipped.

Chilling the bowl and beaters or whip in advance also aids in achieving full volume. Placing the chilled whipping bowl in a larger bowl lined with ice also aids in achieving full volume.

 


Begin by whipping the cold cream, by hand or with a machine, at a moderate speed. Soft peaks will mound when dropped from the whip. This is the correct time to add sugar or other flavoring ingredients.


Medium peaks retain marks of the whip and will hold a soft peak that droops over slightly.


Stiff peaks will form distinct mounds that hold their shape.

 


Similar to egg whites, cream can be overbeaten. Overbeaten cream first develops a granular appearance. Eventually lumps will form and, if whipping continues, the cream will turn to butter.

 

 


Rules for Whipping Cream


Chill the cream, bowl and beater in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Beat until it is fairly stiff.


If cream is beaten until it is warmer than 45 degrees (F), it will turn to butter.


Should cream start to turn buttery, whip in two or 3 more tablespoonfuls of cold milk.


If you wish the cream to keep stiff for a day or two, add one teaspoon gelatin soaked in one tablespoon cold water.

Dissolve the gelatin over hot water; allow to cool to the consistency of egg whites before adding to the cream and whipping.
Use medium speed when whipping cream with an electric beater.


Cream, when whipped, almost doubles in bulk.

Recipe: Milk and cream information

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

After receiving a comment/question – I thought I would put this together for everyone –

 


Milk and cream information:


First of all – the only difference between whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, and fat-free (skim) milk is the amount of fat and calories.

The more fat milk has, the more calories it will also. Most of the fat in milk is in the cream. Skim milk has all of the cream removed while increasing amounts are left in 1%, 2% and whole milk. Skim and 1% milk have the same amount of protein, calcium and vitamins A & D as whole milk.


In all cooking and baking, I prefer using whole milk. Even though it contains roughly 3.5% milk fat, I find that in cooking your sauces, soups, etc. will not only taste better, but will be creamier. Whole milk also withstands heat better than the lower-fat milks because of the higher fat content.


You can use a lower-fat milk to lower the fat content of foods but trying to use fat-free (skim) milk is usually not recommended because it burns so easily. It is preferred for use in hot or cold drinks – coffees, cappuccinos, low-fat hot chocolates, milk shakes, etc.


When cooking with milk, never boil the milk. When milk boils, a tough layer of “scum” forms on the surface. And even though you may not boil milk – it can still scorch. Always use low heat when heating milk and whisk or stir frequently.


Another secret to heating milk and you don’t want it to scorch – rinse the pan in very hot water before adding the milk or cream to the pan.


Sometimes you will see that your milk has “curdled” when cooking. This is caused by cooking milk with other dairy products that have acid ingredients, salty foods, and even certain vegetables. This curdling can be avoided by using gentle heat and not overcooking.


You can also use evaporated milk to prevent curdling or make it less likely to curdle.** (see below)


Heavy cream (known as whipping cream and in Britain it is called double cream) has a high fat content of anywhere from 36 to 40%. There is no replacement for this cream (such as light or single cream) that can be used in recipes that call for cream to be whipped or cooked for a long time. This cream doubles in bulk when whipped. Double cream in Britain is heavier and has a milk fat content of 48%.


Light cream (known as single cream) has a milk fat content of about 10 to 20%. This cream cannot be whipped. This cream is best used in drinks like coffee or creamy cocktails. If used in cooking, it is best added at the end of the cooking process to prevent curdling. If you can find light cream with a 30% butterfat content, it will whip but it won’t be very stable.

 


NOTE: Real cream NEVER contains any additives, preservatives, coloring, or emulsifying agents.

 


For many older recipes that call for light or medium cream – substitute half-and-half.


Half-and-Half had about 12% milk fats and is a mix of 1/2 whole milk and ½ cream, typically used as a cream in coffee. Half-and-half does not whip, but it can be used in place of whipping (heavy) cream in many recipes for less fat cooking.


**Evaporated milk and condensed milk are milk concentrates made by removing (evaporating) water (using high pressures and temperatures).


Evaporated milk is milk concentrated to one-half or less of its original bulk without any sugar being added to it.


Condensed milk (known as sweetened condensed milk) is basically evaporated milk with sugar added.


And then there is non-fat dry milk. Here are the conversions:


If a recipe calls for: Use:


1/c fresh milk – use – 1/3 c. non-fat powder and 3/4 c. water
3/4 c. milk – use – 1/4 c. non-fat powder and 1/2 c. plus 1 T. water
1/2 c. milk – use – 2 T. plus 2 t. non-fat powder and 1/4 c. plus 2 T. water
1/4 c. milk – use – 1 T. plus 1 t. non-fat powder and 3 T. water
1/3 c. milk – use – 2 T. non-fat powder and 1/4 c. water
1 T. milk – use – 1 t. non-fat powder and 2 1/4 t. water

 


Buttermilk – there is no butter, per se, in buttermilk, and it is lower in fat than sweet milk. Old-fashioned homemade buttermilk is the slightly sour, residual liquid which remains after butter is churned, ie. milk from the butter or buttermilk.

 


Some additional milk information:


To make sweet cream sour – add 2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1 teaspoon vinegar to each cup of cream.


To make sweet milk sour – add 2 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 teaspoon vinegar to each cup of cream.


Some prefer to add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to heavy (whipping) cream and refrigerate thoroughly before whipping.


If whipping evaporated milk, place the can in the freezer until partially frozen; pour into a very cold bowl, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to 2/3 cup milk and whip as cream.

 


And while I am at it –


Clotted cream has a 55 – 60% butterfat content (known as Devonshire Cream or Devon Cream). It is a thick, rich, yellowish cream with a scalded or cooked flavor that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream sit on top. The milk is cooled and the layer of cream is skimmed off.
Traditionally served with tea and scones in England.

 


Mock Devonshire Cream


3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream


In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt; stir until well blended.
Stir in whipping cream.
With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in refrigerator.

 


Crème fraiche is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream.


It is used as a dessert topping and in cooked sauces and soups, where it has the advantage of not curdling when boiled.

 


Homemade (mock) Crème Fraîche


1 cup whipping cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon buttermilk or 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature


In a jar with a lid, place whipping cream and buttermilk or sour cream; cover securely and shake 15 seconds. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours or until very thick. Stir once or twice during that time.

NOTE: Cream will thicken faster if the room is warm.
Stir thickened creme fraiche well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 


Variations:


Whipped Creme Fraiche: Beat creme fraiche until soft peaks form (it won't become stiff).


Sweetened Creme Fraiche: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered (confectioners) sugar before shaking the cream.


Vanilla-flavored Creme Fraiche: Stir 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract into creme fraiche just before refrigerating.

 


Pasteurized and Ultra-pasteurized: Creams will generally be labeled pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized.


Pasteurized cream will provide a better flavor, will whip up fluffier, and will hold up longer.


As ultra-pasteurized whipping cream has been heated to above 280 degrees F. to extend its shelf life, it is more

temperamental when it comes to whipping. Ultra-Pasteurized Heavy Cream "will not work" if peaks or frothing are required in your recipe.


I hope this helps!



Recipe: Butter or margarine – which is better for baking?

|February 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Butter or margarine??? Which is better for baking?


I have a lot of people asking me questions about baking with butter and margarine and shortening and oils. Today I will tackle the butter versus margarine questions.


“Family recipes that had been made for generations are not turning out“…… which is what most are saying.
Of course they aren’t.


How about if we take a step back in time.
Most likely your grandmother or great-grandmother used lard in her baking.

During the war, oleo was popular. You got a little packet of a yellow colored powdered substance that you had to knead into the oleo to make it yellow.


Then margarine came around.
Butter is an edible emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt – made from the churning of cream; used as a spread as well as in baking and cooking. Basically made from dairy and salt.


Margarine was the inexpensive alternative to butter – made from oil or a combination of oils through a process called hydrogenation which helps the animal fats/vegetable oils emulsify (corn oils, sunflower oils, soybean oils, etc.) Years ago – it was primarily made from beef fat – known as oleo fat or “oleo“ especially during WWII when butter was scarce as well as expensive and oleo was the best substitute. At first oleo was made from beef fat, and then it was supplemented by pork and other animal fats as well as vegetables oils – coconut oil, olive oil, and cottonseed oil.


Margarine is to be at least 80% fat, derived from animal fats or vegetable oils, or the blend of the two. Approximately 17% is liquid – either pasteurized skim milk, water or soybean protein fluid. The remaining percentage is salt which is added for flavor. During World War I coconut oil was favored; in the 1930’s, cottonseed oil was used; in the 1950’s, soy was used.


In the 1960’s tub margarine and vegetable oil spreads were starting to hit the markets – and it’s been down hill since. The animal fats have been eliminated in most cases and now margarine is no longer the margarine we know from years ago. The processes they have come up with for making margarine have changed dramatically – it’s more of a chemical process than a food process – number one reason we stick to butter.

 

 

I’ve got an interesting article for you to read:


Pass the butter ~ ~ ~ ~ This is interesting.


DO YOU KNOW…the difference between margarine and butter?


Read on to the end…gets very interesting!


Both have the same amount of calories.


Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.


Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of! butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.


Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.


Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!
Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.


Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

 


! And now, for Margarine….


Very high in trans fatty acids.


Triple risk of coronary heart disease.


Increases! total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)


Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.


Lowers quality of breast milk.


Decreases immune response.


Decreases insulin response.


And here's the most disturbing fact…. HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!


Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..


This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).


You can try this yourself:
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

 


Years ago we were able to buy "real" margarine that you could easily substitute for butter in any recipe. Times have changed, everything is different, now the government has their nose in everything that has trans-fats or fats in it. Oils are used – making up well over 65% of the margarines made today.


That is the reason we are butter people in my house.


That plus the fact that margarine is one step away from becoming plastic.
You cannot bake with today's so-called margarines and have anything turn out the way you want.


Depending on the recipe – if baking – you can use applesauce in place of fats – or you can just use butter in place of margarine.


Whatever our opinion is on the above article – it’s your opinion. I really didn’t need that article to say that I prefer butter – and that I prefer it even more now because of the change in margarines.


I used to be able to find a decent margarine up till about 8 to 10 years ago. It held up well in cooking and baking – but as all things – it changed and is no longer as good as it was.


I don’t do spreads or soft margarines – I don’t need more over-processed foods in my system.


Yes, I realize that butter is more expensive, but it does give the results you want.


And, I still enjoy making my own butter – it’s so simple and it is so good. Sometimes I make it lightly salted; sometimes I make it unsalted. If making salted, I add the salt at the very end – I want that buttermilk for baking! I look for heavy cream on sale and then I make my butter.


A few years ago I lucked out – if you want to call it that. I went grocery shopping and of course, I needed heavy cream. To my disappointment, all the cream (and there was a lot of it!) was going to expire in 2 days. Here I am standing in front of the dairy cooler looking at dozens of pints of heavy cream – all with the same date. Sure, they say you can still use a dairy product 7 days after the expiration date but why should I chance it? I don’t believe it and I am not about to find out if it’s true.


Lucky for me – the manager was having a walk-through with the big heads from the main office. No better time to approach him in front of his bosses and ask if they have any heavy cream in stock that is not going to expire the next day. It did not go over too well – and the whole entourage waltzed into the cooler to check it out. There was absolutely NONE and I needed 4 pints to make my butter for a dinner I was having.
One of the heads asked what I needed it for – and I told him. He asked me if I make butter often (which I do) and he asked if I ever freeze it. Which I do. So he made me an offer I could not refuse! Each pint I bought (took off their hands) they would give to me for TEN CENTS EACH! They were kind enough to stack them neatly in a crate and carry them to the register for me and inform the cashier that I was to pay a dime for each because of the date.


The cashier had no idea what I was doing with it – but she did say – I hope you use it all before tomorrow is over with! I sure did. I made butter for my dinner and I froze the rest. I used the buttermilk for biscuits for my dinner and I also baked other goodies with it. All that for $3.50 – that’s right – 35 pints of heavy cream at ten cents each.


The store was glad to get rid of it – I was glad to have it. What can I say? I still check out the dates on the heavy cream when shopping – hoping for another break.

 


The Tollhouse Chocolate Chip recipe has been popular for decades! Many make the cookies and they just “schmooz” all over the tins. It’s the margarine. Use butter – you’ll get better results.

 

 


Some butter notes:


Butter Measurements:
1/4 stick = 1/16 lb = 1/8 cup=2 tbsp = 6 tsp = 28 grams
1/2 stick = 1/8 lb = 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp = 12 tsp =57 grams
1 stick = 1/4 lb = 1/2 cup = 8 tbsp = 24 tsp = 113 grams
2 sticks = 1/2 lb = 1 cup = 16 tbsp = 48 tsp = 227 grams
3 sticks = 3/4 lb = 1-1/2 cups = 24 tbsp = 72 tsp = 340 grams
4 sticks = 1 lb = 2 cups = 32 tbsp = 96 tsp = 454 grams

 

 


How to clarify butter:


It's the milk solids in butter that cause it to brown and burn. Remove them and you've got clear, golden oil.


To clarify butter, melt it in a small saucepan over very low heat. Let stand, off the heat, until the white milk solids sink to the bottom of the melted butter.
Carefully pour off the liquid butter and strain through damp cheesecloth.
Store in refrigerator in a covered jar.

 

 


Making ghee (used in Indian cooking):
Usli Ghee


In a large frying pan, melt 1 pound unsalted butter over very low heat; this should take about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium. White foam will begin to form on the surface and the butter will start to crackle.
This indicates that the moisture is beginning to leave the milk solids. Cook for 10 minutes without stirring.
When the moisture is completely gone, the crackling will stop and the foam will subside.
Using a wooden spatula, stir the liquid constantly until the butter solids begin to brown. Immediately turn off the heat and let the brown residue settle to the bottom.
When the melted butter is cool, pour the clear liquid into a jar through a double layer of cheesecloth.
One pound of unsalted butter will yield 1 1/2 cups of usli ghee. Ghee will keep in a well-sealed jar for about 2 months at room temperature and 5 months in the refrigerator.

 


And do I still use lard? Yes I do. But throughout the years – even that has changed!