If you are standing near my mother (the saint), you might want to have some smelling salts nearby. MOM, guess what I did?! I MADE BUTTER!!
"Where did this interest in food come from?" my mother was asking me a week or so ago, when she was in town for my grandmother's 90th birthday (happy birthday!). I've decided that it stemmed from the moment I decided to make cream puffs, and I did. They were tasty.
If, when I was a 16-year-old grunge goddess who hated everyone and everything (feelings which were, for the most part, reciprocated), you would have told my mother that I would one day turn into someone who, in one week, would put something into a dehydrator, seriously consider purchasing a sewing machine, make butter, record a rhubarb-related short for community radio, continue the hunt for the much-loved raw milk (Jersey, please) of my childhood and plan an educational, all-local dinner, it might have caused her to fall either into fits of hysterical laughter or perhaps some sort of shock-related coma.
Nonetheless, the other day I had a dinner-planning meeting at the North Market, and I stopped by the Greener Grocer for some heavy cream. The Greener Grocer sells the very tasty Snowville Creamery milk in many forms, including heavy cream. It only comes in 1/2 gallon cartons, which is a little daunting if you aren't planning to make ice cream or eat a lot of strawberries with whipped cream (all of which are good ideas, by the way). Partially inspired by Lorence's post a few months ago (minus the shaking bit), I had this idea that I would make butter.
I came home and poured a little cream into my mixer and whipped. For some reason, I was a little afraid this cream wouldn't whip very well. Silly waitress. First of all, the cream whipped to soft peaks in about 23 seconds flat (on medium speed with the whip attachment). At this point, I stopped the mixer to add a good, soft dollop of the cream to my coffee (seriously good), and then I kept going. And going. In about 3-4 minutes, I had butter! The butter solids naturally separate from the buttermilk, which I strained through a fine mesh sieve and then I returned the butter to the mixing bowl. Then I added lots and lots of expensive, crunchy Murray River Salt Flakes. Because when you make your own butter, you can add all the expensive crunchy salt to it you want. The cream itself is slightly yellow, but the butter is insanely yellow. it's very interesting. Unfortunately, we've eaten all of the butter, so there's nothing to photograph.
I even - wait for it - made herby buttermilk dressing with the buttermilky byproduct. Seriously. Home schooling is next. Wait, I don't have any kids. Does litter training count?
So I made butter, and then proceeded to eat pretty much nothing but homemade butter on toast for the next 24 hours.
All of that to say, you should make some butter. It's really easy. It's so easy that I started thinking of all the other things I could do - I'll make cheese! If I can make butter, and I've already made yogurt and ice cream, I can make cheese, right? Husband patted my knee and said "well, one day, when we have a farm, you can make the butter and cheese and I'll make the cider and the calvados." Don't worry, that will be after our restaurant. In our restaurant, I've decided, I will make my own butter. And, if you are coming to my dinner this weekend, you can have homemade, complete with crunchy salt (or not).
And now you have my entire past, present, and future, as seen through butter.