Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making Homemade Butter from Raw Cream

I have been making homemade butter from raw cream for more than a year now.  And I've actually had this post sitting in my drafts for that long.  I'm not sure why I never posted it... I think I just forgot about it.  I thought I had posted it, actually.  I didn't realize I hadn't until recently when a friend asked about making homemade butter.  I went to direct them to my blog post... and couldn't find it anywhere.  So... here is my post on how to make homemade butter... finally! 

Making Homemade Butter from Raw Cream

Begin by skimming the cream from the tops of your jars of real, grassfed milk.  I use half-gallon mason jars to store my milk and purchased a small stainless steel gravy ladle to skim the cream.  The fresher your cream, the sweeter your butter will be.  But it is not harmful at all to use cultured (or soured) cream… your end result will just be cultured butter, which is filled with healthy probiotics and has sort of a sweet and sour taste to it.  

I make both cultured butter and sweet cream butter.  I like them both quite a lot.  Kevin prefers the sweet cream butter and I do like the fact that I can also always use the buttermilk from the sweet cream butter for baking or in smoothies (or for soaking grains when I used to make things with whole grains).  You can use the buttermilk from the cultured butter at times, but if it smells stinky at all, you need to throw it away.  This is quite a common occurrence when making cultured cream/butter in the warmer months, especially, since the cultured cream can get quite ripe.  So I do tend to make sweet cream butter most often.

I tend to make butter every other weekend since I get my milk on Fridays... although I do skip it at times and only make it once a month if I've found too many other uses for the cream.  It all works out, though, because I always have a decent stash of homemade butter in the freezer.  I’ll skim the cream from each jar of milk during the first week and place it into another half-gallon jar.  Then when I get my milk in the second week, I skim the cream and add it to the half-gallon jar I have reserved last week’s cream in.  I usually end up with 2 to 2 1/2 quarts of raw cream if I don't use the cream for other things during the weeks.  Each quart of cream will yield about a pound of butter. 

When you are ready to make your butter, you will want to use chilled cream.  Pour the cream into your stand mixer bowl with a wire whisk attachment on your mixer.  Turn your mixer to a medium to medium-high speed and just let the mixer do the work. 

Go unload your dishwasher, call your grandma, throw a load in the washing machine… while your mixer does all the work for you.  Your butter should be done in about 10 minutes or so.  (You can also use a food processor to make butter, but you don’t want to use anything that will warm the cream as it churns (some blenders will do this).)  

I want to also note that you should not try to make too much butter at once.  The cream will expand and turn into whipped cream through the process of making butter, so you want to make sure you have plenty of room in your mixer bowl for this to occur.  Once the butter and buttermilk start separating, it can also get kind of messy if you have too much (and sometimes even if you have too little) in the bowl as the butter splashes around in the buttermilk.  (Note:  I normally make much larger batches of butter than are pictured here... on this particular week when I took pictures, I had used most of my cream for the two-week period in coffee and other items... so I didn't have much cream to make butter with.)   

Once your butter has formed and the solids have separated from the buttermilk, pour everything through a strainer.  The liquid milky stuff is buttermilk.  It won’t look like the buttermilk you buy in the store – it won’t be thick – but you can use it as you would buttermilk… in baking, in smoothies, for soaking grains, etc.  I often will freeze mine if I don’t have a use for it that week.  

Transfer your butter to a clean bowl.  Now it’s time to wash your butter.  Sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it?  Well, you need to wash it to make sure you extract all of the buttermilk.  This will make your butter last much longer. 

To wash the butter, you will need to add cold water to the butter.  Don’t add too much so your not splashing all over the place, but add enough to wash.  Use a wooden spoon to press and fold the butter.  This will extract the buttermilk.  Pour the water off (don’t save this stuff).  And add more cold water to repeat the pressing and folding.  You will need to repeat this step until your water remains totally clear.  At that point, you’ve removed all of the buttermilk from the butter.  Remember – the cleaner the butter, the longer it will last.  

Pour off the clear water.  Press and fold your butter a few more times to extract any remaining water.  Pour that off.  Now you can mix in salt, if you want.  I don’t, as I find it more convenient to add salt when I use the butter.  

If you have a butter mold, transfer your butter to the mold.  I don’t have a mold, so I just plop the butter onto a sheet of parchment paper or natural wax paper and shape it into a rectangular cube.  I usually use natural wax paper now... even though that is not what is pictured here... but these pictures were taken more than a year ago.  Then I fold up the sides to seal it and place it in the refrigerator or freezer.  I freeze most of the butter I make fresh for later use, but if I know I’ll be baking or needing a lot of butter during the week, I’ll keep the fresh stuff in the fridge.  It will keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Nothing beats homemade, fresh butter.  And it’s honestly a very simple, very low-effort, economical thing to make!  People always laugh at me when I tell them I make my own butter because they think it’s going to be some super labor intensive task (think back to the butter churn days).  They are always surprised to hear how effortless it really is with the use of modern technology (a.k.a. my stand mixer).  So, if you don’t already make your own butter – I challenge you to try it some time.  I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it really is!  

** NOTE:  If you do not have access to real milk, you can follow this same process using the cream you skim from non-homogenized, pasteurized milk, or from a carton of good, quality heavy cream.  

This post is linked to: 
Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager
Traditional Tuesdays @ Delicious Obsessions
Real Food Wednesday @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Monday, October 24, 2011

PB&J Pork Tenderloin

My copy of Paleo Comfort Foods arrived while we were in Tennessee a few weeks ago. So, I was anxious to try some recipes when we got home. I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer, so I decided to thaw it and try out the recipe for P, B & J Pork Tenderloin since I had everything on hand for it. So I made this for dinner a few nights after we got home. Pork and apples go so well together, I figured it had to be good. And it was so delicious! It reminded me of some other pork and apple dinners I've made in the past, but this was even better with the nut butter sauce. The recipe in the book calls for pecash butter (pecan-cashew). I just used homemade cashew butter - made with crispy cashews. Any nut butter would work, though. If you have some homemade chunky applesauce, you could just sub that in and make this prep even simpler.

This is definitely a keeper. We all loved it. Kevin had seconds and thirds and fourths and finished off the tenderloin at dinner that night. So much for leftovers on nights when he's hungry. :) I have another pork tenderloin in the freezer that I think I'll be making again in the near future.

P, B & J Pork Tenderloin

2 pound pork tenderloin
2 apples, peeled and cored, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup nut butter, homemade with crispy nuts is best
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup hot water

Butterfly the pork tenderloin lengthwise and fold out into one uniform piece of pork. Use a meat mallet to pound out the tenderloin a little.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place apples, cinnamon, lemon zest, and honey into a food processor (I used my stick blender processor attachment) and pulse until it looks like a chunky applesauce. Pour the apple mixture onto the tenderloin and spread evenly. Roll up lengthwise and place into a baking dish.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until internal temperature is 150 degrees. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

Mix nut butter, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add hot water until you reach your desired consistency.

Place pork on a serving platter and pour about half of the sauce over the tenderloin. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paleo Beef Chili

Chili is a perfect dinner for a cool, fall day like the ones we've been having lately.  It's especially good on a night of watching the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS series, or some good football games - Go State!  It's also a very easy meal to prepare.  Normally, I make a big batch in the crockpot, but on this particular day, I made it on the stovetop.  However, this would be perfect for the crockpot, as well. 

I have made paleo chili before, but this is the best one so far.  The bacon adds a wonderful flavor and the carob powder adds a uniqueness to it.  It is so delicious!  I used a recipe that a friend of mine posted on her crossfit facebook page and tweaked some things to make it my own (added butter and mushrooms, more onion, more broth, more spices, carob for cocoa, and used beef instead of bison).  I had about a cup of leftover roast beef that I diced up and threw in here, too... but I don't have it listed below since it won't be a normal thing ton include. 

Paleo Chili

2 Tablespoons grassfed butter
3-4 slices chopped, uncooked bacon
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound grassfed ground beef
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon carob powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In a large stainless steel saucepan, melt butter, then cook bacon for a few minutes over medium heat until some fat has been rendered.

Add onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook another few minutes until onions and mushrooms have softened.  Add garlic and cook a minute or two more. 

Next, add ground beef and brown it a bit.  You don't have to cook it through since it'll continue cooking, just brown it. 

Next, add the spices, broth, tomatoes, and carrots.  Stir.  Cover and simmer over low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Add vinegar and carob/cocoa powder.  Stir.  Cook another 20-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with sliced avocado and enjoy! 

Note:  If you want to make this in a crockpot, you can still cook the bacon, onions, and mushrooms before tossing it all in the crock.  Or you can just toss everything in together (except the carob powder and vinegar) and let it cook on low all day.  Add the carob powder and vinegar about 30-60 minutes before serving.

This post is linked to: 
Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade
Fresh Bites Friday @ Real Food Whole Health

Friday, October 14, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak in a Bowl

Kevin and I love a good philly cheesesteak sandwich.  Carson does, too.  But since I’m not making much/anything with bread these days, this means no philly cheesesteak sandwiches.  That’s ok, though.  Because we found out that they’re actually just as tasty sans bread and served in a bowl.  I’ve made them several times.  Sometimes I’ll have cheese on them (primal), but usually I don't have cheese on mine to keep it paleo.  I'll take some out in a bowl for me and put cheese on the rest for Kevin and Carson.  Either way they are super tasty.  And very easy if you have some leftover beef.  That’s usually when I make these – when I have leftover steak or pot roast.  I’ll chop up the veggies ahead of time and this makes for a very quick work-night meal.  

Philly Cheesesteak in a Bowl

2 Tablespoons butter
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
Leftover grassfed beef steak or roast works well, too
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Good melting cheese

In a large, ovenproof skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  

Add peppers, onions, and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are translucent and peppers and mushrooms are soft.  

Meanwhile, turn your oven broiler on low. 

Next add the leftover beef.  You can use raw beef if you want, too.  Saute for a minute or two.  

Then add the stock/broth, Worcestershire sauce, coconut aminos, and hot sauce.  Saute for a few minutes more. 

Now sprinkle some shredded cheese or lay some cheese slices atop the beef mixture.  Place in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Remove from broiler and enjoy! 

This post is linked to:
Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade
Fresh Bites Friday @ Real Food Whole Health
Pennywise Platter Thursday @ The Nourishing Gourmet
Simple Lives Thursday @ GNOWFGLINS
Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Crispy Squash/Pumpkin Seeds

Fall to me always means fresh squash from the garden or farmers' markets.  I love squash.  Kevin doesn't like it pureed (it's a texture thing for him), but he likes it cubed and roasted.  Carson likes it some days, other days not so much.  But all three of us always love the seeds.  I save the seeds from any kind of fall squash or pumpkin.  The method of preparing them is always the same.  And they are all equally tasty.  So the next time you are cleaning out the seed cavity of a squash, set the seeds aside... they make a wonderful, healthy, paleo snack and are a great to addition to granola, trail mix, or baked goods.  So here's how you make them.

Crispy Squash/Pumpkin Seeds

any fall squash or pumpkin of your liking
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons salt

You'll start by cutting your squash in half and cleaning out the seed cavity. 

Place the seeds and stringy squash "guts" into a bowl.  Once you've got your squash baking in the oven, take the time to clean the seeds.  This can be time consuming, depending on the type of squash used, but it's worth it, trust me.  I often will clean them to the point of the second picture below, set them aside for a bit. Then work at cleaning them again to get all the squash goop off. 

Once you have your clean seeds, place them in a clean bowl and cover with warm water.  Add salt and stir it up a little.  Then cover with a plate or cloth and let it sit on your countertop overnight, for at least 7 or 8 hours, but preferably for 24 hours.  (Sorry I don't have pictures of these steps from here on out... I swear I took them, but they did not upload onto my computer...).  This soaking step is necessary to reduce the seeds' antinutrients and help make them more digestible. 

After the seeds have soaked, spread them out evenly onto a dehydrator tray or cookie sheet.  Dry them until crisp and dry.  Dehydrating the seeds helps to preserve the enzymes, which helps with digestion.

Now your seeds are ready to eat!  You can leave them plain, or spice them up.  They are great either way.  If you leave them plain, they'll be nice and crunchy with a salty flavor to them - yum!  I usually fill glass quart jars with just plain crispy seeds to use throughout the year. 

This post is linked to:
Simple Lives Thursday @ GNOWFGLINS
Pennywise Platter Thursday @ The Nourishing Gourmet
Grain-Free Food Carnival @ Real Food Forager