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Sunday, 9 June 2013
A Chicken in Every Crockpot ???
Topic: Recipes

All my readers know how enamored I am with the slow cooker (aka crockpot) so it might shock you to know that I have never cooked a whole chicken in one before this past week...then I did it twice.

 

I think I didn't believe that you could put a chicken in the crockpot, whole and without any additional sauces or liquid and have it turn out juicy and moist.

 

My first experiment was cautious. I spray-oiled my crockpot and smeared barbeque sauce on the chicken, put it on "Low" and actually left the house. The next time I looked at the chicken it was fully cooked at 8 hours and sitting in about 2 inches of natural juices.

 

My second experiment was going as liquid-free as possible. In my first experiment, I did use barbeque sauce. The second experiment--simply an herbal rub blend. And the chicken was a free range chicken from a friend's farm so I knew there was no added juices hidden under the skin or injected into the flesh.

 

Here's a picture of the chicken going into the crockpot with just a herb rub.

 

 

 

And here is the chicken 8 hours later, in its natural juices that extruded from the whole chicken.

 

 

 

 

This chicken was moist and delicious--and the huge bonus I got was this amazing chicken stock--not broth--but true roasted chicken  stock. Notice how little is fat in this picture of a container of the juices, after refrigeration.

 


 

Finally, after eating the chicken for dinner one day, I easily removed the remaining pieces of chicken from the bones and reserved to cook with some onions, mushrooms, a bit of stock and cream and some pieces of asparagus --then toss into oat bran pasta and top with a little Parmesan--  A chicken in every crockpot indeed!

 


 

 

 

 


 

 


Posted by Karen at 16:30 CDT
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Thursday, 6 June 2013
Miscellaneous Farm Updates
Topic: Harvest Hills Farm activity

I know I risk  criticism by starting blogs with--"it's been really busy around here" more than once a year. But it seems to be a repeating theme.

Below is a picture of "Orange Tag 102"--a 3 year old Black Angus cow who had one successful pregnancy last year and just delivered her latest calf...literally about 2 hours before this picture was taken 

 

We're just about done calving. Free range animals give birth in their pastures. And, we don't ever interfere with the natural process unless there's a problem. Instead we "round" on the herd multiple times a day looking for any behavior changes or problems with calves.

 

For instance, when we checked on the herd this morning, we saw Orange Tag 102 grazing away from the rest of the herd. She was several acres away from the rest of the cattle, eating contentedly and, as we would find out, waiting for the impending birth. So we inspected her closely, noted distended udders and returned a couple of hours later to find her with calf born, and placenta pending. We left her privately and returned an hour later to photograph Mama and Baby--the picture you see above. Though again--since everything was fine--we stayed back far enough to not create any anxiety in the mother with her newborn. Everything was fine so there was no need to interfere. We'll re-check the cow and calf pair again in a couple of hours.

 

On another one of our inspections a couple of weeks earlier, my husband noted that another calf was not gaining weight as anticipated. A call to the vet ensued, the calf and mother were examined and it was determined that the mother was not producing enough milk for the baby. That baby is now in our barn as a "bottle calf" which we will feed until she's ready for weaning and will re-enter the herd.


 

Cute thing, isn't she? Thankfully it's a girl, so we CAN get attached because she will be with us for her whole life. Another bottle calf we had a few years ago was also a female and is in the herd. Little Ma, as we called her, really can't be distinguished from her cohort group of (now) cows.

 

Other great news on the farm: we have two amazing summer interns working and learning with us this Summer!

Nguyen is an Animal Sciences major and Jack is a Crop Sciences/Agribusiness major, both are University of Illinois College of Agriculture students. Our cattle, chickens, vineyard, garden and hayfields are going to be spoiled with their attention!

 

 

 

 


Posted by Karen at 17:45 CDT
Updated: Thursday, 6 June 2013 18:18 CDT
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Saturday, 25 May 2013
Sweet and Savory Kale
Topic: Education and Values

It has been busy around this Farm the past two weeks--but the garden is finally planted and the new calves are being born on schedule.

Last night after spending the entire previous day-- several hours-- non-stop planting transplants and seeds and diligently watering them all in, we stopped for about 10 minutes to watch the amazing full moon rise  No, I didn't get a photo, a slow motion video would've been more interesting. It was a great conclusion to weeks of prep work by the tractor and my husband and then both of us finally planting everything.

 

So, the cattle are busy eating THEIR greens.

 

 

 

But, MY greens are still twinkles in my eyes. I had to resort to the fresh market for a package of kale. And, I'm so glad I did. I found this great recipe that I am sharing below "Sweet and Savory Kale".

 

If you'll recall in my last post, I mentioned that certain people should not eat raw food, because no matter how well it is washed, it is not sterile, so there are still organisms on the surfaces. For those with weakened immune systems or low white blood cell counts, they shouldn't take the chance of getting infections from raw foods. But EVERYONE can eat this cooked kale recipe, because the food is heated through, above the so-called "temperature danger zone" (41-135 degrees F) where bacteria multiply best. Because it's a cooked food, you should refrigerate leftovers promptly and then re-heat leftovers (this "previously heated food") to 165 degrees.

 

Wow! Lots of food safety rules but worth the read--keep everything safe for everyone!

 

Sweet and Savory Kale

 


 

(Nature's Greens Recipe)

 


 

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

 

½ medium onion, chopped (I used a red onion)

 

3 large clove soft garlic, minced

 


 

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic, until soft.

 


 

Whisk together:

 

2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

 

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

 

1&1/4 cups of chicken broth

 

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add:

 


 

12 cups of washed and chopped kale leaves (1 lb bag of pre-prepped kale greens)

 


 

Stir in the greens and cook until the kale leaves are wilted.

 


 

Add: 1/3 cup dried cranberries, stir and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, at least 10 minutes.

 


 

(The recipe also calls for ¼ cup sliced almonds sprinkled on top but I omitted this, favoring the cooked greens right at this point.)

Doesn't this look good???

 


 

 


 

 


Posted by Karen at 21:36 CDT
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Friday, 10 May 2013
Baby Greens, Lettuce & Food Safety in the Garden
Topic: Education and Values

About those baby greens...


We all know how nutritious and appealing those dark green, colorful baby greens, lettuces and herbs are in a salad, don't we? And, of course, how pretty they are in edible gardens, raised beds, and container plantings. Most everyone who plants a garden will plant an assortment of greens and lettuce.

 

 

 

 


Today's post is a reminder of how to best harvest and then prepare those raw greens.


This container of triple-washed, properly refrigerated organic baby mixed greens is safer eaten directly from its carton than if you were to wash it again in your kitchen sink!

 

 


 

 

 


In fact, you should not risk any unintended cross-contamination to this product by putting it anywhere other than your refrigerator for continued cold storage OR directly into the salad bowl for mixing and eating.


The standards in the industry for this food product is to harvest in the coolest part of the day and immediately field cool, then cold water wash and “spin dry” --meanwhile assuring that all equipment involved is sanitized and human handlers adhere to hand-washing standards at frequent intervals.


Greens are not “sanitized” but pathogens are minimized. Techniques include mitigating field contamination (flood waters, runoff water, contaminated irrigation water, bird droppings, animals, etc) , mitigating human contamination (proper instruction and handling), rapid and continuous cooling below 41 degrees, adhering to “good agricultural practices,” and quality monitoring of practices.


But, even with great techniques, raw greens are not recommended for people who have low immune defenses such as low white blood cell counts, on chemotherapy, etc. If in doubt, double-check with your doctor and ask if they advise restrictions in eating raw foods.



How can you improve your food safety practices with baby greens and lettuce that are home-grown in the backyard garden?




Pathogens grow best at room temperature so we want cut greens and lettuces to be kept at refrigeration temperature, below 41 degrees (but not below freezing of course!). Remember this counts for those cut greens and lettuce leaves you are buying at a Farmers' market or produce store, too! They should be in coolers or refrigerated cases when they're sold to you and ideally, you should keep a cooler in your car for transport back to your house especially in the Summer.


Another way to reduce pathogens on your raw leaves is to dress salads with acid based dressings, think about vinegar-and-oil and lemon juice-and-oil. In general, all salads should be served immediately after dressing, or return back to refrigeration.


Now that you've harvested, cooled, washed, and refrigerated your baby greens, how about a nice salad?


Here's my salad from last night:

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


Baby kale, Swiss chard, spinach dressed with equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil—whisk into an emulsion and toss with the greens 40 times. Then add some toasted walnuts and goat cheese crumbles.


Finally—did you notice from this post that I gave you at least 3 great ideas for Mothers' Day?




Posted by Karen at 16:21 CDT
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Saturday, 4 May 2013
Limoncello: The Rest of the Story

Limoncello- the rest of the Story


In my post on April 20, 2013, Lemons-Part 1: The Zest, I talked about making an Italian liqueur called, Limoncello. The recipe is included in that post. And I promised pictures when my final product was done.


I first had Limoncello by accident during a tour in Italy. I say “by accident” because the waiter asked our group of diners if we wanted some after dinner. Now, we were sitting with two very comical sisters from New York (we later nicknamed them the “Andiamo Sisters” because they were always up for anything). Already over-tired on day one from a transatlantic flight, it was our first group orientation dinner out. The wine with dinner had gone to our heads. We all thought he said “lemon jello”. Looking at each other quizzically, we all said “sure.” Why they served lemon jello in Italy was beyond all of us—we were soon educated to our mistake.


My sister, Kathy, reminded me that she first heard about the beverage in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” I'd forgotten about that part in the movie where Diane Lane's character falls in love with an Italian man whose family business is making “Limoncello.”


So—here is what my 50 lemons of zest peelings incubated with vodka yielded: 3.5 liters of golden, lemon-infused vodka.

 


 

 


Having multiplied the recipe by 3.5 times, I had to make the simple syrup in a stock pot to accommodate the volume. After it cooled to room temperature, I added the vodka. I can tell you at this point my kitchen smelled like a bar in a Summer resort just lacking the odor of tanning oil--(and I was getting loopy just from the aromatics. I turned on the exhaust fan).


I then bottled the results in sanitized glass containers (you can sanitize using detergent and the “hot wash” in your dishwasher.) The Limoncello needs to incubate another 2 weeks at room temperature. Then I will decorate and label the bottles—I plan to give away most to friends, but I'll reserve that ½ gallon one for the Summer Reunion dinner parties—remember it makes a nice cocktail diluted with seltzer water and over ice—kind of a sparkly vodka lemonade.

 


 

 


So, that's the rest of the story...


Posted by Karen at 08:18 CDT
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Friday, 3 May 2013
Oatmeal Apple Walnut Muffins (and a side of cheese)
Topic: Recipes

Oatmeal Apple Walnut Muffins (and a side of goat cheese)


Sometimes you need a comforting warm muffin for breakfast, especially when it's cold and rainy and you just got back from opening gates to change pastures for cattle. But try to make your own and avoid the over-processed, highly sugar-y commercial muffins. This recipe has very little prep time and can bake while the coffee is brewing (and you're changing into dry clothes).


Here's a quick recipe for 6 muffins, no added sugar, and you can substitute oat or rice flour for wheat flour if allergic to wheat. It's more like a quick bread than a sweet roll and is complimented by a wedge of simple cheese (and a mug of steaming coffee or tea!). If you feel you want it sweeter, I'd suggest just drizzling a little honey over the muffin when it's served.


Oatmeal Apple Walnut Muffins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep a 6 muffin pan with spray-oil.


In a small bowl, combine the following :


Ingredients:


½ cup oatmeal

½ cup whole wheat flour (or can substitute oat or rice flour or even almond flour)


½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda


½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon


1 beaten egg

2 tbsp. Vegetable oil


4 oz. applesauce (if not using your own, this is the snack pack size)

¼ cup walnuts


Bake about 25 minutes at 350 degrees until muffin springs back. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan, loosen as needed with a butter knife and lift out. You can serve immediately, nice and warm. Just add your choice of beverage.

 


 

 


Posted by Karen at 10:41 CDT
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Saturday, 27 April 2013
Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup
Topic: Recipes

Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup

 

 

 

Over the past two weeks, eight new calves have been born. The weather has turned from rainy to nearly Summer-like and I have the strong desire to plant in the garden. It's no wonder since the increased hours of sunlight and balmy breezes have that effect on you.

 

But even the ubiquitous mint is still asleep. Only the tiniest of little mint leaves are starting to protrude (I went out to check yesterday). And I have been burned by thinking, “this is an early Spring, maybe I should plant early this year”--only to find frost at the end of May and replanting of vegetables a second time.

 

It's better to stick to the rules for one's Zone and not try to mess with Mother Nature.

 

Looking on the bright side—here's an exotic recipe that uses root vegetables and legumes—foods you probably have around the house right now. And, it adds some exotic spices and seasonings which you may have to run out for—but won't regret having around the house for future recipes.

 

The original recipe “Moroccan Chickpea Soup” comes from Mary Karlin, author of "Artisan Cheese Making at Home"—a book I recommend you adventurous cooks might want to check out.

I emphasize "Chickpea and Lentils" in my title because the green (or brown) whole lentils are just as important a legume in this soup. I also made a few taste adjustments. Feel free to modify the recipe to accommodate your preferences, too. The reason the recipe is in a book about cheese-making is because the author suggests to add a dollop of yogurt cheese when serving. This can be eliminated, however with no change in the richness of the soup.

 

I made my own vegetable stock by cooking 1 small potato, 3 medium carrots, 1 onion, 3 stalks of celery—all scrubbed, then chopped –cooked in 8 cups of filtered water about 30-40 minutes until the stock is golden. I then drained the vegetables to yield the stock. I did not add any other seasonings or salt because I intended to adjust seasonings in the soup itself. The cooled vegetables went to the chickens as a treat.

 

 

Homemade Vegetable Stock

 

 

Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup

 

1 onion, chopped

2 large carrots, diced

 

Saute together in 3 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch Oven- cook until onions are soft, translucent.

 

Add:

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp cane sugar

2 (14.5 oz) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and the juice

8 cups of vegetable stock

 

Bring this to a boil, then cut back the heat to simmer.

 

Add:

2 cans (15 oz) rinsed and drained chickpeas

¾ cup dried whole lentils, either brown or green

 

Cook at a simmer until the lentils are al dente about 25 minutes.

 

Add the following spices:

 

1 tsp dried mint leaves ( or some baby mint leaves chopped !)

1 tsp toasted cumin seeds (I toast these in a small frying pan for a few minutes)

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp tumeric

 

Note: you may want to prep your spices and measure in a small bowl, adding to the soup together. Here's a photo of the spices in a bowl before adding to the soup:


 

Cover the soup and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Then add :

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Adjust seasonings and salt as desired.

 

At this point, you can serve it—the author suggests offering Harissa, a garlic and hot pepper seasoned sauce—OR, since I will be taking this soup to a group—I elected to add ½ tsp of dried hot chili powder directly to the whole pot of soup and that gave it just enough kick—Your choice here.

 

 

 



MOROCCAN CHICKPEA AND LENTIL SOUP


Posted by Karen at 09:55 CDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 April 2013 09:58 CDT
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Sunday, 21 April 2013
Lemons Part 2--The Juice!
Topic: Education and Values

Lemons- Part 2

The Juice


So, now that I have zest peelings incubating with vodka and lemon oil extracted from others, I can work the juice extracted from about 50 lemons, yielding this half gallon of juice and pulp. Because I used a juicer on seeded, peeled lemons, I have some residue pulp and stuff which can easily be skimmed off or run through a strainer.


 


Then I have wonderful, healthy, truly organic and fresh lemon juice.


Must try a classic lemonade first. In fact, I have been craving a glass of lemonade since I woke up this morning. And you know the kitchen wisdom that says —if your body craves a particular food, it must need one of its components.


 


 

This tall glass of lemonade is made from 2 ozs. Fresh lemon juice, and 8 ozs. of pure and chemical free-water. Add your choice of natural sweetener (pure cane sugar, honey, Stevia extract, agave nectar, etc)


Proportions again are 1 part lemon juice to 4 parts water. Add in sweetener to taste.


Remember drinking my glass of lemonade above is equivalent to eating 1&1/2 lemons. I must have needed the natural vitamin C, citrus bioflavinoids, potassium and calcium that lemons have or, maybe just hydration--


Of course, last night I needed to make a Classic Lemon Meringue Pie.


 



I used the Fannie Farmer Cookbook recipe since I was feeling very “retro” having just worked with all that zest. But, mind you, I hadn't made anything meringue in maybe 2 -plus decades. So, I consulted the book, put the meringue on the pie and placed it under the broiler as directed. I turned the broiler on “high” and, following the directions, intended to wait for 3 minutes.


I peeked at one minute and, thank God! My meringue had just ignited and was a flaming marshmallow surface

.

I quickly put out the fire—only a few moments' worth of blaring smoke alarms and no witnesses.


Then, I peeled off the black skin (just like when you ignite marshmallows on a stick over a fire). I still had sufficient meringue to send the pie back under the broiler, now on “low” and several inches below the heat source. It was ready in about 45 seconds.


You know what happened, right? My double oven is electric—the last time I made meringue it was under a gas broiler whose flames were no where near as hot as the high setting on an electric one.


Moving on...



Two other great ideas for lemon juice are in marinades and salads.


For MARINADES:

Mix equal parts of olive oil with lemon juice. Whisk until emulsified and add whatever seasonings your heart desires.


 


 


Example—the marinade for Chicken Oreganato ( or Greek chicken) has dried oregano, fresh garlic and chopped onions added to the lemon juice-olive oil mixture. The chicken is then grilled.


The strip steaks from last night's dinner were marinated in lemon juice and olive oil in proportions as above, but I added fresh garlic and some Italian blend mixed seasonings.

 

The possibilities are endless for seasoning combinations. Use your imagination.


For SALAD DRESSINGS:

Mix lemon juice and olive oil in either equal parts OR 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil, according to your acidity preference in your final product. Whisk briskly! Add spices and seasonings according to your final product, salt and pepper, whisk again. Pour over your vegetables and toss forty times (never forget that rule ) so that your lemon juice-olive oil dressing is completely distributed (from the French—fatigue le salad).


Here is where true creativity really stands out—you need to use your resources and adapt according to local food availability and don't be afraid of trying the truly old grains and legumes in your final salad. Definitely, think beyond lettuce greens alone (although, no question here that chopped kale, spinach, and broccoli love lemon juice-olive oil dressings)!


We are going to a party later today. So I wanted to throw together a light, salad-y lunch for us. I made some bulgar wheat, added rinsed chickpeas, drained chopped tomatoes, my equal parts lemon juice and olive oil with garlic powder, lots of parsley and cilantro—whisked and then tossed.  Rice, quinoa, pasta noodles, beans and lentils--all LOVE a lemon juice and olive oil based dressing.


 


Another salad that I love to make is Cannellini Bean Salad (White kidney beans). It really goes well with grilled meats in the summer. This salad with its lemon juice and olive oil based dressing, has chopped celery, carrots, green onion in addition to the rinsed and drained cannellini beans and the seasoning besides salt and pepper is...dried dillweed--whisk into the lemon juice and olive oil mixture and toss into your vegetables 40 times. 


You can see that lemon juice and olive oil based salads, because of their high acidity, are among the safest foods for picnicking and al fresco dining. But always try to remember the food safety principle: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold—as much as possible.


And enjoy that lemon juice!


Posted by Karen at 15:36 CDT
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Saturday, 20 April 2013
Lemons--Start with ZEST
Topic: Education and Values

Lemons- Part One

Working with ZEST

 

You know the saying—when life hands you lemons, make lemonade--

 

But think again—and start with the zest first. You'll get to the juice soon enough (in Part Two).

 

My very “organic” friend in California, Betty Cahill (delishytown.tumblr.com), sent me this huge box of organic lemons this week. She's an avid organic gardener and garden designer, sustainable ag aficionado, cook, creator of multiple products, etc—and she knew I'd appreciate the gift.

 

 

 

The sheer volume of these beautiful lemons allows me to try some projects I had been thinking about. Let's start with lemon zest in this post.

 

Lemon oil, extracted from the zest is a very interesting product. It's a beautiful fragrance enhancer, useful in aromatherapy, candle, soap making, potpourri and diffuser fragrances, facial scrubs and shampoos, combined with oil soap as a leather cleaner and softener and furniture cleaner , and further diluted useful as a wood and laminate floor cleaner. It's a natural insecticide. And diluted in a spray bottle, can be used to disinfect countertops.

 

Pure lemon oil, commercially extracted requires 100 +lemons to create 1 oz. of pure lemon oil. But you can extract lemon oil from peeled zest directly into olive oil and have a very concentrated lemon oil-in -olive oil final product, very intense, that can be substituted into any recipe calling for lemon oil. And you'll only use about 10-12 lemons and 1 cup of olive oil to yield 8 oz. of final product.

 

Please note: lemon oil is very potent and the small portions called for in recipes should be respected.

 

Here's a 6 hour extraction process using a mini-crockpot, 1 cup of pure extra-virgin olive oil and the zest peelings of 10-12 lemons, basically one cup of zest peelings.

 

Measure 1 cup of peelings, place in the mini crockpot and cover with olive oil. In the mini crockpot, it will totally cover the peelings.

 

 


 

 

Turn on the crockpot (the mini is a low setting) and cover, allowing to cook for 6 hours.

 

Line a colander with cheesecloth or pour over a large strainer into a bowl, capturing the oil in the bowl. Discard the peels. Transfer the oil into a glass oil bottle, storing in the pantry or cupboard out of direct sunlight. Your one cup yield will last for many, many potpourri refreshenings, fragrance projects, and cleaning/disinfecting activities.

 


 

 

But, maybe you'd like a totally different approach to zest.

 

Here's my second project from zest—and one that my friends will appreciate because I intend to bottle this up as little gifts.

 

Have you ever had Limoncello ???

 

Limoncello is a liqueur, inspired by the lemon groves of southern Italy. It's usually served as chilled “shots” in really cute little lemon colored glasses. But it's also great as an appertif over ice or mixed with tonic or seltzer or maybe an icy Limoncello-martini? —a summertime treat...

 

Here's an easy recipe with the proportions that can be adapted to the amount of lemons you have, and how much you want to end up with—especially note if you are thinking about giving this as a gift to friends.

 

I was lucky to have lots of lemons still left after the oil extraction above—so consequently, I will have lots of Limoncello to share.

 

First, peel the zest part of the lemons—this means minimizing the white—and place into a measure-able container . You will add 2 times as much good quality, unflavored vodka to the container.

 

Limoncello

 

The basic recipe I'm using calls for 10 lemons, 1 liter vodka—so if you're starting from scratch, you can us this starting point for proportions. (It's from allrecipes.com and got 4.5 stars.)

 

So, I had close to 2 liters of zest peelings and I am adding 2 (1.75 L vodka) or 3.5 total liters.

 

Cover and put in your pantry for 1 week. Nothing will grow in it—it's all alcohol.

 

(BTW- this wonderful, food grade Rubbermaid container with cover was purchased at Sam's Club. I don't mind referencing Sam's Club because I have purchased some of my best cooking utensils and tools --Restaurant quality and sized-- at very reasonable prices. )

 

One week later...

 

Boil together—3 cups of pure cane sugar and 4 cups of water. Boil 15 minutes and it'll be syrup-y. Let it cool.

 

(because of my volume, I will have to increase the amounts by 3.5 times, right?)

 

 

Stir the strained lemon-infused vodka into the cooled syrup. You can now bottle it into sanitized glass bottles and cork it, or into sterilized canning jars and seal them. The liqueur should further age for 2 weeks at room temperature. Then it can be refrigerated and served chilled.

I promise photos in a couple of weeks of the final limoncello--

 

Meanwhile I am off to test my lemon oil and water in a spray bottle around a barn office door to see if the box elder bugs will avoid it !  And, I admit that I did make a shampoo with lemon oil that I have to try later today (lemon oil is great for blondes, but avoid in brunettes)

 

And, of course--I still have about 50 lemons to juice in the refrigerator!!!

 

 


Posted by Karen at 11:01 CDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 April 2013 19:03 CDT
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Thursday, 11 April 2013
Yogurt and Yogurt Cheese--Part 2
Topic: Education and Values

Making Yogurt Part 2


I have some more additions and caveats about making yogurt at home.


First,


You can maintain a warmer temperature for incubating yogurt, if you put your incubating yogurt in the oven and simply turn on the oven light. It will bring the temperature up, but not too high, as would occur with turning the oven on. You must keep temperature warm but under 112 degrees.


Second,


Try to find real milk. By law, milk must be pasteurized—but it does not need to be homogenized, which transforms the essential properties. And NEVER use ultra-pasteurized for yogurt or cheese.


Here is what non-homogenized, not-ultra-pasteurized, natural (but pasteurized) milk looks like when it's transformed into yogurt. See the beads of cream? This batch of yogurt is made from grass-fed dairy cattle milk and is higher in conjugated linoleic acid—a healthy fatty acid!


 


 


Third,


If you are stuck with pasteurized, homogenized milk—then you must add some rennet to create your yogurt. Add 2 drops (yep, that's right)2 drops of liquid rennet dissolved in a couple tablespoons of filtered water for every quart of milk. You can buy rennet on the net (my source was over Amazon). An ounce or two will last a lifetime (really).


Here's a photo of yogurt cheese made from homogenized milk.


 



I first made yogurt. Then put it in a muslin-lined colander, in a stainless steel bowl, in the refrigerator overnight.

 

 


 

 


Whey--yogurt --and-- yogurt cheese



Reserve that whey for another cooking project. (I'm going to make my carrot soup recipe for a sick friend and add the whey.) Refrigerate.



The lovely, creamy yogurt cheese is the consistency of a spreadable dip or soft cream cheese. You can add kosher salt and dried herbs stirred in—or try dried fruits and roasted, chopped nuts and seeds-- and spread on warm toasted English muffins or crispy crackers? If I can get through the swampy, rain-soaked side yard to my garden, I will harvest some mint and wouldn't that be nice in this yogurt cheese???



Posted by Karen at 20:00 CDT
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