Fresh Ricotta

Yesterday I went Googling around looking for good ideas for using the onion jam and clicked on a smittenkitchen link.  It’s always a good idea to take a look at whatever she puts up over there.  She was using some onion jam on a pizza, along with home made ricotta and some prosciutto.  Hmm…homemade ricotta.  It looked easy enough.  We were going out Saturday morning anyway, so we made sure to buy the whole milk and some buttermilk the ricotta recipes were calling for.

Add 2 cups of buttermilk to 2 quarts of whole milk in a heavy sauce pot.  Turn the heat up high and scrape the bottom to prevent scorching.

Keep at it until the temp reaches 175 degrees, you will want to use a thermometer of some sort.  Candy making thermometer works fine.

When you hit 175, turn off the burner and quit stirring for 5 minutes so the curds can assemble themselves on the top.

Dip the curds out with a slotted spoon, skimmer, or some other utensil.

Dump the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander or strainer so the water (whey) can drain.  Give it 15 minutes or so.

Then gather the edges of the cheesecloth with a rubber band and use a skewer or something to let it hang over the sink or a bowl.  Anything to catch the liquid as it drains out. Discard the liquid, don’t squeeze the cheesecloth to hurry it.

After an hour or so it should be looking like this.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Home made sauerkraut

We started some shredded cabbage soaking in brine mid August, trying out one of the dozens of recipes for sauerkraut found online.  We had hoped to make some from our own cabbages but ours never grew.  Mrs J went to the store and came back with a dozen or more heads.  I set to work shredding them with the food processor’s slicing blade-the blade that cuts things you stuff down through the top feed tube.

It took a while, I’d fill a large bowl with cabbage and salt it down, then toss it a bit before I tamped it into a clean 5 gallon plastic bucket.  We had the bucket about 2/3 full when the last head was packed in.  A dinner plate fit pretty well as a top for a plastic jug to sit on as a weight.  We added some brine to ours without waiting to see if it would make enough on its own.

(…a month passes…)

Yay!  This stuff is really looking and tasting like sauerkraut!  We processed about 10 quarts of tightly packed ‘kraut in a water bath.

Broke a jar out last night to cook with a stick of venison sausage a friend had given us.

This is good stuff.  It’s the real thing.  We are delighted with the outcome after fearing we would end with nothing more than a bucket of rotten cabbage.

Mmm…cheese crackers

Mrs J so admired the cheddar crackers that Tes made she just had to try her hand at them.  We don’t have any of the multi-grain flour that Tes used but made do with a mix of white flour and whole wheat in a 2:1 mix.  Mrs J also added some garlic and onion powders, 1/8 t each.

After tediously transferring the cut dough from the mat to the baking tray, I remembered a lesson that I had learned the last time we made crackers–use a silicone mat in the tray and cut the rolled dough out right on the mat they will bake on.  D’oh!

We did depart from Tes’s recipe significantly with the sprinkles we used to top them before baking.  We tried two different batches, same dough but different methods on the sprinkles.  In a small food processor, we whirled some cheddar and dried herbs (Mrs Dash’s basil and tomato) along with some seasoned salt and a little fresh black pepper.  Alas, the mixture was a bit too moist to sprinkle evenly although we did manage.  The second batch we sprinkled the leftovers from the first mix and then added salt and the dried herbs separately.  Don’t forget to poke them with a fork lest they balloon out like little pitas!

First batch:

And the second:

And let’s not forget our furry friends:

Mmm…crackers

Stef over at the cupcake project took my butter cracker recipe and ran with it.  She tweaked and fiddled and came up with a recipe that I tried this morning.  Yay!  Good tasting crackers!  I ground some kosher salt onto mine to go along with the salted butter they were brushed with while still hot from the oven.

I had the best luck with those that were rolled the thinnest but they were all good.  Note that the empty mayo jar can be used for things other than sourdough starter.

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