Thursday, January 7, 2010

Homemade Fun Vol. 1

My friend, Jennifer, has started a new blog... she's making something homemade everyday of the year. I told her I'd play along, but I'm a bit of a late-starter, so I began on January 4. (and don't expect pretty pictures... it's enough for me to actually DO these things, pictures are beyond my capability)

Here's the progress so far...

January 4 - Day 1: butter, calzones with homemade ricotta
Homemade butter might just be the most delicious food on the planet. I skimmed the cream of of a gallon of raw milk (you could use store bought cream, just be sure it isn't ultrapasteurized). Put it in a mason jar and let it sit on the counter for a few hours to ripen. Shake shake shake shake shake. By the time you think your arm is going to fall off, you're close. You can try pawning this job off on the kids, but they will suddenly become incredibly tired. :) Eventually you'll notice that the jar is now full of beautiful yellow butter and milky white buttermilk. The new butter needs to be rinsed thoroughly to remove any of the leftover buttermilk (to keep it from going rancid). The best way I've found to rinse it is to pour off the buttermilk and leave the butter in the jar. Add ice cold water to the jar with the butter, shake, rinse, repeat until the water stays clear and there is no more buttermilk to shake out of the butter. (I got these tips from my new favorite book... The Urban Homestead... this book changed my butter-making world)

For the calzones, I used my favorite pizza crust recipe, separated it into 8 rounds, and rolled it out super flat. I filled it with a small amount of mozzarella, some chicken sausages, a dab of tomato sauce, and lots of fresh homemade ricotta.

To make the ricotta, I follwed directions from the Urban Homestead book. I used a gallon of raw milk, mixed with 1/2 cup of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. Bring the milk to 185, at which point the curd will begin to separate. Turn off heat and let it sit about ten minutes. Ladle the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth. When it is cool enough to handle, gather the cheescloth up into a sack and hang to drain, about 30 minutes. I know this isn't TRUE ricotta, which is made with fresh whey, but man, it is SO yummy!

(NOTE: I edited the original directions for the ricotta because, well, trying to type them from memory was A BAD idea! Sorry if you tried it out and it didn't work. The corrected directions should work beautifully)

January 5 - Day 2: lemon kefir soda
(this is sort of cheating (right at the beginning, I know) because I am always in the process of making lemon kefir soda... it's a multi day process, and every day there is something to tend to. But yesterday, I bottled a new batch, so I'm gonna let it count)

January 6 - Day 3: whole grain pancakes for breakfast
I usually try to start my pancakes the night before, letting the flour soak overnight in kefir. But today's pancakes were a spur of the moment decision to make a big breakfast for the Epiphany. J was my kitchen helper this morning... he is an expert at pancake making and a champion flapjack flipper!
While they're not as nourishing this way, they are really delicious! Here's the recipe, adapted from a recipe in the LLL cookbook, Whole Food for the Whole Family:
2 C milk
2 eggs
1/4 C honey
1/4 C melted butter
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 C whole grain flour
a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and/or whatever else strikes your fancy

mix, ladle onto a hot griddle, cook until bubbling, flip and cook a bit longer. Eat with lots of warm maple syrup and fresh butter!

I'm looking forward to (many) more days of homemade yumminess! Thanks for the inspiration, Jennifer.


  1. I just found your blog this morning through google alerts. How nice! How do you make lemon kefir soda? I have been brewing kefir now for over a year and have found it to be such a versatile and healthy product. I keep two milk goats. I used to be a home schooling momma too! I think you and I would probably have a lot in common. I recently started a new blog and on there, if you'd be interested, I wrote 6 "chapters" about kefir.

  2. That homemade ricotta sounds interesting. I bet your calzones were VERY good!