The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “recipe”

Homemade Sour Cream! How to Make Creme Fraiche

Chef John (in San Francisco) of foodwishes shows us how he makes sour cream/creme fraiche.

Very straightforward – The ingredients are cream and cultured buttermilk at room temperature (no heating necessary, though the culturing will go faster the hotter the environment).

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How to Make Paneer

Paneer is a fresh, non-melting, pressed cheese of Indian origin. It’s usually used in chunks.

Here Bhavna shows us how she makes her paneer using full fat milk, cream and lime juice (to curdle the mixture). She emphasizes weighting the cheese curds heavily to express as much water as you can.

She notes that if you want to grill or barbecue the paneer you may want to add flour to the curds as you are making the paneer, so that the cheese is bound more firmly and won’t fall apart on the grill.

You can also flavor the paneer by adding herbs or spices to the cheese as you add your citrus juice to the milk.

Bhavna says that the paneer will keep in the freezer about 3 months.

How To Make Cultured Butter

Melody Kettle shows us how she makes cultured butter at home. She used Greek yoghurt to culture cream and then her hand mixer (first with whisk attachments and then with paddles) to “churn” the butter. She rinses the butter in ice water and then uses her hands (she could also have used butter paddles) to knead and squeeze the butter.

I’m guessing that the taste of the butter will vary depending on what you use to culture the cream.

In this video Kali Lilla makes unsalted butter and a flavored butter (garlic butter).

Kali Lilla makes her cultured butter in a blender (with a chilled blender chamber/cup). She also used yoghurt to culture her cream but says that the cream can culture on its own but that it will take longer without using the yoghurt as a starter. She saves the buttermilk she presses out of the yoghurt for other uses.

Kali Lilla mentions that the culturing of the cream helps make it easier to digest.

The What, How and Why of Sourdough Starter

From Wardeh Harmon in Oregon. She discusses the science and the benefits of sourdough:

No need to buy your yeast – the wild yeasts and lactobacilli in sourdough starter are everywhere in the environment, you just need to encourage them.

Sourdough breads don’t stale as quickly.

-Sourdough starter is more versatile and resilient than store-bought yeast (for example, sourdough starter can tolerate a wider range of temperature and ph than storebought yeast).

How To Make Clarified Butter

Clarified butter is butter from which the milk solids have been removed. Commercial operations may use a centrifuge or decantation to do this.

The traditional ghee method involves melting and heating the butter so that its water evaporates and some milk solids rise to the top of the melted fat (to be skimmed off) and others sink to the bottom (to be filtered out later). If the butter is cooked long enough the milk solids caramelize and give a nutty flavor to the butter fat.

Advantages of clarified butter over fresh:

Clarifying butter preserves it. As the water and milk solids in the butter are removed, butter prepared this way can last indefinitely without refrigeration in an airtight container.

– Clarified butter’s smoking point is higher than that of fresh butter, which makes it useful for sauteeing and frying.

– Since you’ve removed the milk solids the clarified butter is low in lactose and so can be tolerated by many people who are lactose intolerant.

Here titlinihaan in the UK shows us how she makes ghee on the stovetop. Using 500 grams (so, about one pound) of butter the process takes her about an hour and a half:

Titli didn’t mention this, but you want to be careful that you don’t burn the solids on the bottom of the pan, because that can ruin the taste of the whole batch.

Here David Bruce Hughes in Santiago, Chile shows us how he makes large batches of ghee. “The time that you spend to make a large quantity of ghee is not going to be much more than to make a small quantity, so you might as well stock up, ” he says. He mentions a lot of the technical aspects of the process.

A hands-free method of making ghee is to use the oven. In “The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking”, Yamuna Devi writes “This is the best method for making a stockpile of ghee. Because the heat surrounds the ghee, rather than contacting only the bottom of the pan, the cooking is slower but almost effortless. More of a crust will harden on the surface, and the solids at the bottom of the pan will remain soft and somewhat gelatinous.”

Yamuna uses a baking pan deep enough to allow about three inches (approx. 7.5 cm) of pan above the surface of the melting butter and bakes her ghee at 300 F (150 C).

If you are processing a pound of butter you may need to leave your pan in the oven for an hour before you can skim and filter.

Instead of skimming off the solids as the butter cooks, as Titli did, you skim after you’ve removed the pan from the oven. Then you filter the mixture – either with a clean tight-woven cloth, layers of cheesecloth or with a coffee filter as Titli suggested.

Yamuna writes that you can save the milk solids for use in dishes or to spread on bread.

For flavored ghee, you add herbs and/or spices (added by themselves to the butter or you can put them into a sachet you’ve made with cheesecloth and add that to the butter) to the ghee as it cooks.

Other terms for clarified butter: brown butter, beurre noisette (French), samna/samneh (Arabic), ghee (Hindi-Urdu), butterschmalz (German), manteiga da tierra (Portuguese), manteiga de garrafa. Spiced clarified butter is known as niter kibbeh. Smen(North Africa) is spiced, cultured clarified butter.

About Hominy and Nixtamalization

Daniel Delaney talks about hominy and nixtamalization and gives a pozole recipe. The mistake he makes though is the one I made of associating hominy only with Southern and Mexican cooking.

It turns out that making hominy is something that Native people throughout N. America (examples, Chippewa, Iroquois, Cherokee…) did/do — not nixtamalizing corn (which increases the nutritional value of the corn and makes the niacin in the corn available to us), for those tribes that used the grain as a staple, would have been disastrous.

There are a few different methods of making hominy using “field” or “flint” corn.

Here the derelictepistle shows us how to make hominy using the wood ash (lye) method. [I’ve read that the wood ash actually gives a mix of a larger percentage of potassium hydroxide to sodium hydroxide. The lye you buy in the store will be pure sodium hydroxide.]

In this video, Culinary Institute of America Chef Instructor Iliana de la Vega demonstrates the traditional Mexican method of nixtamalization (using lime or calcium oxide), making masa for corn tortillas.

Chef Iliana mentions that the calcium oxide becomes calcium hydroxide as it mixes with the water – so a caustic substance, similar to the lye.

Here’s Howard Kimewon on the Fond du Lac Chippewa reservation in Minnesota talking about making Hominy Soup (Banagaziiganaboke). He uses dried sweet corn that he grows himself and wood ash to make his hominy.

Howard soaks his corn in a solution of hardwood ashes and cold water for two or three days. He stirs it periodically. Then he dries the treated corn slowly so it doesn’t shrivel up. Howard says that the benefit of preprocessing the corn in the wood ash solution is that the cooking time in the lye solution is lessened (so three hours cooking time for the “preprocessed” corn versus six or seven hours cooking time for unprocessed corn).

Apparently, you can also make hominy with other alkali solutions. I found a tutorial on making hominy with baking soda. The author notes that processing the corn takes longer (you soak the corn overnight in baking soda and water and then simmer for four to sixteen hours in the solution). The advantage the author writes is that baking soda is less caustic than lye so there is little risk if you don’t rinse your hominy properly.

Making a Fermented Soda/Pop

Kimberly Gallagher shows us a method for making a homemade fizzy drink. These first two videos are about making the culture (to which you’ll later add flavored syrups to make your drink):

Here she uses her culture to make a fizzy ginger beer (fermented soda/pop):

Interesting, because I know one of the traditional ways to make ginger beer is to grate ginger, squeeze water through it to extract the flavor, add a lot of sugar to the liquid and let it sit bottled (covered loosely) to get fizzy.

Someone who’d seen the video commented that they used honey instead of white sugar to create/feed their culture and that it had not taken a month to get to the right stage for soda/pop making.

Kimberly didn’t mention this, but I assume that there is alcohol in the beverage (but at what level I don’t know) since it was a sugar solution and was fizzing and wasn’t vinegar.

The Useful Basswood/Linden/Tilia/Lime Tree

The basswood, also known as the linden, tilia or lime tree has a ton of uses, grows widely (in different varieties) throughout North America and Europe and is easy to identify.

I’d been reading about its use by Native Americans to make fiber and cordage/rope: From NativeTech

“Fibers were stripped from the inner bark of the basswood tree. After long pieces of bark were removed from the tree the sections were soaked to facilitate separating the fibers from the inner bark. Basswood fibers could be used immediately for simple lashing, or the fibers could be dried and stored for future use. Other items made from dyed basswood fibers include tumplines or burdenstraps used to carry heavy loads, fine twined storage bags and closely woven mats used to strain maple syrup. Sheets of basswood bark were also used as winter coverings for wigwams. Iroquois found the wood ideal for carving, the grain being soft and light.”

It’s flowers make a pleasant, medicinal herbal tea.

According to Wikipedia:

“Linden flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.”

The basswood/linden’s leaves (especially the young, tender leaves), fruit and seeds are also edible.

In the following video Green Deane gives us the low-down on the linden; how to identify it, some of its uses, how to prepare it (he adds young leaves to a salad) — he also points out other edible plants he comes across growing nearby.

Caleb Musgrave in Ontario, Canada who has Ojibway heritage goes even more deeply into the many qualities and uses of the basswood. He says “Very few people look at these trees and think, ‘Wow, you’re really useful.'”

But of course those people would be wrong.

In this video, he covers more of the edible uses for basswood. He also confirms what Green Deane said about basswood tasting like lettuce — tree lettuce.

HerbMentor talks to Lexi Koch in Washington State about how to grow and harvest linden for herbal use (there doesn’t seem to be much to it).

Here Whitney Gerschke talks about linden (basswood) as a useful herb and shows us how to make linden basil ice tea.

How to Cook Squirrel

Brian of mountnman shows us how to cook squirrel. He says that often people end up with a squirrel dish that is far too tough and chewy. He’s done a perfect job dressing the squirrels. They look like rabbit that you’d see at a butcher’s.

Strangely he didn’t add any onions, garlic, sauces or spices. But I think his aim, anyway, is to show the basic method for stewing the squirrel.

Here’s a ’50s style squirrel stew recipe from the Missouri state government’s Department of Conservation, complete with floured squirrel and cream of mushroom soup:

A recipe from the same folks for Squirrel Country Sausage:

Country101living brines and then deep fries his squirrel:

How to Make Sugar Beet Molasses

Brian shows us how to make molasses sugar out of sugar beets.

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