Yogurt Cheese

Okay, so who likes themselves some expensive creamy soft cheeses to put on a cheese platter, smear on a bagel, eat with a spoon? (Oh, just me on the last one…awwwwkward). Round these parts if you want such a cheese, you’ll grab David Wood’s Goat Cheese. Also known as Salt Spring Cheese. Those babies run you $8-$10 for a 1/2 cup thingy! (I mean, the presentation with flowers, herbs, garlic, etc is amazing…buuut) I just can’t pay that for something other than a special treat! Did you know you can make your own?

That’s right! If you make your own yogurt? then dang, this would cost you just a couple bucks instead!

We start with straining yogurt,

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After it’s strained for 24 hours it goes into the fridge to firm up…then I use a 1 tbsp portion scoop/ice cream scooper to make balls and roll in herbs…

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Then I put the balls in a jar (8, 1 tbsp balls fits in a 1/2 pint ‘salmon jar’) and covered in olive oil.

yofurt cheese

 

 

Don’t worry! That olive oil isn’t wasted! It always needs to cover the balls, but as you use the balls, use that oil for salad dressings, it’ll be pre marinated and so flavourful! If you’ve got your own dairy animals, this is a great way to make an age-able cheese without fancy equiptment!

I get a high yield because I use a high fat milk to make high fat yogurt, so I’d guess I got about a fat cup of yogurt cheese per litre of yogurt. Here’s my math for my area on what you’ll save.

4 litres organic milk; made into yogurt, $6

Strained into 4 cups of yogurt cheese.

4 cups yogurt cheese equals 8×1/2 c containers of the fancy goat cheese.

8 goat cheeses=minimum $64.

A few dollars of Olive oil+Herbs= savings of atleast $55! Thats no laughing matter folks. Thats big savings.

 

Herb Rolled Yogurt Cheese

1 litre full fat yogurt (please don’t use skim. Just, just don’t.)

Salt

Dried Herbs (I used an italian herbs blend)

Olive oil (it’ll be less than 1/2 c)

Wet a thin tea towel and squeeze out the extra water. Line a strainer or colander with this towel. Pour your yogurt in and let sit in a pot or bowl (for whey to drain) for 24 hours, stirring a few times. (Or 20 if you OCD like me) After 24 hours, scoop out the yogurt cheese into a bowl, salt to taste, then chill til cold, most likely the next day. Scoop out 1 tbsp sized balls (portion/ice cream scoop works great!) onto a plate/pan, and then roll in dried herbs. Put balls in a wide mouth mason jar, and pour olive oil overtop to completely cover. I moved the balls around a bit to make sure there was no air space. Put in fridge and use as needed! I’d say leave them a week for the flavours to meld. This can be kept for months! The flavour will get stronger and the cheese more flavourful.

The Extra Whey: Use this in smoothies, as the base to lemonade instead of water, to soak your grains or in a soup stock.

The Extra Olive Oil: As you use the balls, you an leave the olive oil in, or pour off to use in salad dressings and marinades! No waste here!

 

 

 

 

Steakhouse Butter

I figure I should just inundate you with venison recipes for the next bit. For those who are recipe whores *cough*  I mean those who really like new recipes, this can be your way of getting excited for hunting season! Fresh meat! Yes! Don’t know about you…but we sure eat lots when its fresh. Whats the point of packaging and freezing when I can eat it now?! Then after a couple weeks I’m all oh my goodness I need chiiiickennnn

So! Steakhouse butter! Last hunting season after Marius asked if we could please pretty please have steak and potatoes again, I pulled out my best these-are-such-first-world-problems pout and said steak? again? I like to appease him though, because when I do special things for him, he’s more likely to jump up and do the dishes after dinner. (kidding! He doesn’t jump up after dinner, he’s way too pooped. He does put clean dishes away after boys are in bed though). I’d seen this in my Chef at Home cookbook and decided to give it a try.

Well let me tell you! It was a winner! The following week we had impromptu dinner guests and I whipped out these on some basic grilled steaks. Lets just say I wowed them.

You can roll this up all fancy in a log to have slices…orrrr, just put it in a bowl and everyone takes a smear for their steak. I like that better, because when in a log, it has to be cold, and I’d rather have it room temperature to start melting right away on my steak!

steakhouse butter

Steakhouse Butter

1/2 c room temperature butter (Make note of whether it’s salted or unsalted because it will effect how you season this)

2 tbsp finely minced shallot, red onion, sweet onion, green onion, you pick!

1-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced, depending on potency (cheap supermarket or fresh homegrown?) and preferred garlicky ness.

1 tbsp finely minced parsley (you can switch this up for another green herb)

1 tbsp finely minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme

1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar (start with smaller, as sometimes it doesn’t want to all mix it. I don’t mind having a bit not mixed perfectly in)

Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Done! Now top it on your grilled, pan fried or broiled steak and wow some people! Alternatively, you could put herbs, onion, garlic, vinegar in food processor, pulse until smooth, then add butter and pulse until combined. I’d have to own a food processor to try that, but I’m sure it would work fabulously.

Homemade Mozzarella!

It’s easier than you think to make!

Please realize that I am making this with raw milk from our milking cow, and have no experience with using pasteurized milk. The recipe says if you are using pasteurized to not use  ultra-pasteurized as it won’t react to the rennet and acid. I believe the the amount of cheese I get from the milk has to do with the fact that our milk is about 6-8% versus the 3.5-4% of whole milk bought from the store. I get 3- 3 1/2 lbs of mozzarella out of 2 gallons, but I think you’d get about 1 lb per gallon with store bought milk. Detailed recipe will be at the bottom!

We start out by adding the citric acid (diluted with water) into the slightly warmed milk. I’ve put all the photos into black and white, because the lighting in my kitchen was horrible and the photos had a bad tinge I didn’t know how to remove. I like the look of how they are, but you don’t see the real yellow of our jersey milk!

Stirring in up and down motions to fully distribute

Repeat with rennet once the milk warms up a bit more. Then this magic thing happens. Notice how the milk has gone solid, and is resisting the spoon being pushed down?

I love it. It sits for a while so the rennet and citric acid can pull more solids out of the milk. It’ll be seperated into white solids and yellow whey at this point! We scoop them up and put about a cup or so up curds into a microwave safe bowl. I’ll give an alternate way to doing it other than the microwave but so far this has worked for me as an easy and fast way to do a bunch.

Squeeze out as much of the whey as you can, pouring it back into the pot.

Microwave a minute, squeeze out more whey. Microwave 30 seconds, add salt if you want and then start stretching or folding it over on itself. It’s almost like inverted kneading.

When it starts to not want to stretch, microwave 30 seconds again, and as it starts to get near not wanting to stretch, form into a bowl and put on a plate to cool.

Beautiful beautiful being. This is a 6 oz ball. This time the recipe made 3 lbs 6 oz.

It won’t melt the way you’re used to with storebought mozza. It also won’t grate at fridge temperature, so you’ll need to freeze it for 10-20 minutes for it to firm up.

Homemade Mozzarella

1 gallon/4 litres whole milk (raw or pasteurized, NOT ultra-pasteurized)

1 1/2 tsp citric acid, dissolved in 1/4 c cool water (bought in grocery store bulk bins or pharmacy. 10X more expensive at pharmacy)

1/4 liquid rennet, 300 IMU strength. This is a strong rennet, bought here.

Heat milk on low heat to 55F. Add citric acid stirring in up and down motions. Heat milk to 88F, add rennet stirring in same way. Heat to 100F, turn off heat and move pot off heat. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then scoop the curds out and put them in a microwave safe bowl. You’ll want to do it in two batches. Squeeze out as much whey as you can pouring it back into the pot. Microwave one minute, squeeze out more whey. Microwave 30 seconds, and do an inverted ‘bread knead’ to work and stretch the mozza. Add salt to taste here if you want. I don’t, I like a bit of crunchy sea salt and cracked pepper scattered over the top of my pizza and in anything else, you’re probably adding salt anyways. When it gets hard to work, microwave 30 seconds and stretch until you can’t work it anymore, making your final stretches getting it into a smooth ball. Put in the fridge or freeze if not using it within a couple days. It won’t melt the same as storebought mozza and if it’s at fridge temperature, freeze for 10-20 minutes for it to firm up a bit.

What do I do with all that whey? You can make ricotta! Here is a great recipe.

You want to buy ricotta but not sure what else to do with it? I’m aiming to give you a cottage cheese tutorial soon and all you need is milk and rennet for it!

 

Have you ever made cheese? Wanted to make cheese? Tried someone else’s fresh cheese? Tell me about it!

Fresh ParsleyGarlicGreenOnionYogurt Dipping Sauce

So I showed you the Apple Ginger Chutney?

 

And I told you You just have to make this right now because it’s so tasty and it’s going to go with a recipe I’ll share later this week?

Well this sauce also goes with that recipe I’m sharing. With just a little bit more lead-up to the amazing “way to use ground meat that isn’t boring, is frugal, kind of exotic and doesn’t include the word casserole” recipe, I share with you this delicious sauce that it amazing with it.

 

Or course, when it comes to the recipe I’m yet to share, you could just buy chutney (or skip it) and buy tzatziki, for a really fast meal. I obviously missed the train on “30 minute meals”. I freak out when I know I’m not home until 2 and ohmygoodnesshowamIgoingtomakedinner.

 

Welcome to the real world. Also, with working at a preschool 3 out of the last 7 days, I’ve realized just how overrated working outside the home is for me. It’s the whole having to get Mac and Poppa in appropriate clothing, feed them breakfast, make lunches, and then leave the house. (Poppa can dress himself but would happily wear the same shirt and pants everyday, so it takes some coaching). I joked to my Mom the other night, I said “Mom, I might homeschool just so I don’t have to be out of the door by 8 am with multiple people fed, dressed and packed a lunch.” She laughed, and then she stopped because she realized I was kinda serious.

 

I love the preschool, but I really love being home with Mac. It’s my calling, it’s the best job in the whole world.

 

I’d also like to point out that I worked 13.5 hours in the past 7 days, which may go up as my most payable hours ever worked in a 7 day period. I’m not joking either. Cowboy just laughed, because before he had a family, it wasn’t uncommon for him to work 12 hour days, 6 days a week.

 

I went from high school student to 5 weeks later giving birth, to stay at home mom, followed by college student and well, I’m still a stay at home Mom and college student!

 

What it has given me though, it greater appreciation for how much Cowboy wants to just sit down when he gets home, and on the weekends how easy going he wants to be for the first half of Saturday. (Unless it’s hunting season in which case he’s up with the sun) He was pleased when I told him that.

 

We were talking about dip though, right?

Whoops

Yogurt Green Onion and Parsley Dip

1 2/3 c full fat yogurt

1 c finely chopped parsley

3 finely chopped green onions

6 cloves homegrown garlic (which packs more punch than store bought. Also, this makes a smokin’ spicy dip, tone down if you want)

Salt and Pepper to taste.

 

Mix it all together, put in the fridge for atleast half an hour, stirring a couple time. Delicious as a chip dip, or pitas, veggies, or the recipe that is shared tomorrow…

 

Amy Hargrave’s Pie Crust

I’m taking part in Foodie Friday!

 

 

This is by far, my favourite pie crust. The method is unique, but it’s a good thing, it makes it waaaay easier!

You start by beating together the lard and butter. Oh yes, I love animal fats. I would rather use naturally occuring fats and oils than heavily processed ones such as shortening and margarine. You with me?

Next, you mix in the flour and salt. I used fresh ground soft white wheat from my Nutrimill. Mix it in well too! Then form a well in the center for the water, and stir the water in well. It’s going to be sticky. You can use it right away, or put it in a bag in the fridge for upto 10 days. I used half right away.

It will make one double crust, or two single crust pies.

I made a lemon meraingue pie! At 10 pm! What was I thinking!

Cute plate though, eh?

Amy Hargrave’s Pie Crust

1 cup lard

1/4 c butter

3 cups fresh ground soft white wheat (or whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat, or half and half white and whole wheat flour. Or All white! But I like whole wheat…)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c COLD water

Beat together soft lard and butter with a wooden spoon or spatula. Mix in salt. Then gradually add flour. Then mix water in until well mixed. Divide in half and put in plastic bag, flattened to 2 inches and into the fridge for up to 10 days. Or use right away. A little harder to use right away as it is sticky and you won’t roll it out, but press it into the pan. Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes, then use according to your pie filling recipe.

Marg’s Maple Walnut Fudge.

Can I get an Aaaa-men! If you know this fudge?

Oh how I love fudge. I eat way too much of it when it’s around! This is the only recipe that meets my standards. It’s your lucky day too, because this is also called “No Fail-Easy Fudge”. Just what you want to hear, right?

Start by melting butter, adding brown sugar, cooking for a couple minutes, then adding evaporated milk.

Bring that to a boil and (sort of) constantly stir for 1 1/2 minutes!

Then cooling until lukewarm. I prefer to pour it out of the saucepan to do this, because the saucepan is heavy bottomed and will hold heat for a while. Gingersnap can relate, as she gets a wee bit heavy bottomed if she eats too much of this!

(I can already predict the e-mail I’m going to get about that one!)

So I move it into a bowl, and put it within a bowl of cold water, because I have no patience whatsoever and want my-gall-darn-fudge-right-meow.

“Hi!! Good thing you can’t see toddler snot trails on my shirt through a reflection on a bowl!!”

Once it’s cool, put your bowl into place on your mixer. See how I thought ahead and prevented double dishes? Wahoo. You can also do this by hand, as my Grandma Marg does, but honestly, this is why KitchenAid mixers were invented. 🙂

Can I get another Aaaa-men?! 

Oh right, if you’re adding walnuts, chop them up!

By the way, do you have the ability to put icing sugar in a mixer without getting it everywhere?

I don’t.

Now mix your icing sugar into the boiled sugar mixture…it’s starting to look like fudge!

By this point your nuts are in there as well, and you’re wanting to eat it with a spoon.

I’m not going to stop you!

Now spread it into a 8″x8″ buttered pan and chill. For a couple hours if possible.

I stress the if possible, because usually I just can’t handle it anymore, and slice a piece of still warm, soft fudge!

Here is the recipe!

This is the recipe straight from my Grandma Marg. Please only use Butter! Aaaand, I just made it with heavy cream instead of evaporated milk and it was even better. Didn’t know that was possible. After adding nuts, I whipped it in the KitchenAid for 3-4 minutes on medium high, which gave it lovely little air bubbles. Didn’t know this recipe could be improved, but it just was. Yes! Oh, and I ran out of walnuts, so I used pecans. Also, if you don’t have brown sugar, use white sugar with about 1 1/2 tbsp molasses. Right, and I never sift my icing sugar. The KitchenAid beats it up for me 🙂

Homemade Convenience- I love a good dip.

**Update July 2013…this post is badly in need of some new photos and it’s on my to do list! Bear with me if you’re reading it before then**

I’d say it’s almost a bad thing. I’ll eat it with my finger!

Whoops. Did it again.

And I decided it isn’t a bad thing. Especially when you make it yourself!

Yogurt, herbs, garlic, dried onion…perfection.

And Home made Dilly Dip was born 🙂

Truthfully, I originally made it to cover up the ucky taste of salmon the other night. Then I used the leftovers to dip carrots in.

And I was hooked! You could add some mayo for a thicker dip as well. Or strain the yogurt so that it’s thicker.

Do you ever use that trick? Straining yogurt in a colander or strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel for a couple hours to overnight makes your yogurt thick and tasty for tzatziki, frozen yogurt, dips or ummm, eating.

Ready for some healthy additive free dippin’?

I am!

Oh, and here is how we had it with salmon

Yech.

Unless you’re into that kinda thing like Cowboy. Then you’ll think it’s “sooo delish you should make this more often daaahrlink.”

Okay so he’d never say that. He’s just say “This is good. Eat your fish.” Hah. Men.

p.s. Like our plates? We have blue ones too! And a matching set of beautiful red and cream that’s not so great and some of the plates break when you put hot food on them. Isn’t it great to be young and have everything hand me downs or thrift store found. Yes!

Yogurt Dill Dip/Sauce

3/4 c plain yogurt

2 tsp dried dill

2 tsp dried minced onions

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

Mix all together and let sit atleast 30 min to let flavour combine.