Monday, February 20, 2012

Making Cultured Buttermilk

Continuing on my "living like a peasant" kick, as my son calls it, I have tried my hand at making cultured buttermilk. Buttermilk runs about $2 a quart and milk is $4 a gallon. It just makes sense to make it myself.

It is EASY!!

I buy cultured buttermilk about every other week to make pancakes, mostly, but I also use it in cakes and biscuits. One week, I decided to replace what I used with regular milk. By the next weekend, I had a somewhat thinner version of what I had started with - but it was still very much buttermilky.

I did a little research online and found that to get the thick buttermilk, you had to let it culture at room temperature for about 24 hours after adding the milk. This thickening is called clabbering. The cultures get their best activity at about 70F, which is why it was thickening so slow in the fridge.

I was a little nervous about leaving dairy out for that long, but the website I was visiting, created by a chemist, assured me that it would work and that he had done it for years. So I poured a little buttermilk in a quart jar and filled the rest with 2% milk (because that is what I had - he recommends whole milk). I put the open jar in a crock pot, put the lid on the pot, and waited 24 hours.

And it did work!

What you should be seeing here is the thickened buttermilk pulling from the side of the glass. Can you see how thick it got? And it smells so good!

I can't wait to use this in blueberry pancakes tomorrow!
Now I will always have fresh buttermilk and it will cost half as much!

Monday, February 06, 2012

I Am Not Myself...

I have no idea what has come over me, but I have become obsessed with tea cups!

I was in a thrift store and they had a bunch of tea cups in the display case at the register. I saw one that really struck me, and the guy in line ahead of me said that he had been thinking about buying it too. I didn't have the money to get it then, so I left without it -- physically, but it was with me mentally as I couldn't quit thinking about it!

So I went back the next day and bought it and two others, since there are three of us in the family.

My husband suggested that we have "high tea" that weekend. We have an old fancy silver tea service and now had cups to go with it. We set up the table for tea, threw in some Vivaldi -- because nothing says hoity-toity like Vivaldi. My son thought it was so weird that at first he couldn't quit giggling. But everyone had fun and we decided that we would try to make it a regular thing.

Then I started trawling eBay sneaking peaks at other tea cup and saucer sets. You know, just to see if I got good ones.
But then before you know it, I had placed bids on 5 sets!! Agh, what was I thinking? I openly said that I probably wouldn't win them all. Yet secretly hoped that I would.
I did! So, in a few weeks I will be the proud owner of way more tea cups and saucers than I have room for!

Here are the three I bought from the thrift store - the last one is my favorite.
I will post pictures on the ones I just won as soon as they arrive!