by Joe

Homemade Butter

December 31, 2013 in Recipes by Joe

What do you get when you combine whipping cream, a mixer, and 10 minutes? Homemade butter!!

I don’t recall where this stemmed from but several weeks ago I got it into my head that I wanted to make butter (I swear I was meant to be born 100 years ago sometimes). Whenever I come across a food or meal that I really like, that I didn’t make, even before I take a second or third bite I’m already feverishly searching google for the recipe on how to make it. I must have seen something on tv or read an article somewhere about butter and of course my brain lights up and starts convincing me that I should probably make butter.

Couple weeks ago while at Costco I picked up a half gallon of heavy cream and was ready to try making some butter! The holidays got in the way so I had to put off my Suzy homemaker experiment until today.

homemade butterKitchen Aid mixer out and I’m ready to go!

The whole process takes about 10 minutes and 2 cups of cream. Which I believe equals out to about a half a pound of butter as your end product. Oddly enough I found that the warmer the cream, the faster it becomes butter. Which is weird because when you make whipped cream the colder it is the faster it comes together.

Watching cream turn into whipped cream, and then transform into butter was fascinating. If you blink or look away for too long you’ll practically miss the change. Just a note of caution. When you reach the butter stage, things start to get messy. It’s a good idea to have your splash guard handy and a towel to cover the mixer bowl. Otherwise you will be painting yourself and probably your walls with buttermilk splatter. Of course you could use a food processor as well and contain all the flying buttermilk but I opted for the mixer as it just seemed easier to work with.

After you create the butter you then have to put it through several ice cold water bath mixings to get as much of the buttermilk out of the butter as possible. If you don’t  get the buttermilk out the butter could go sour quickly, and we don’t want that!. Drain and repeat until the water is clear. I then squeezed the rest of the water out with my hands (oooh silky soft hands!) and then put it in a container in the fridge.

I don’t know if this could actually be a money saving idea, making butter at home, but it sure is fun! As I write this post I’m actually eating a bun with my yummy new butter on it, and it is fan-freaking-tastic! Forgot how much I paid for the cream so next time I do some homemade butter I’ll have to calculate it out on the actual amount of butter made versus buying it already made.

By the time I was starting my second of 3 batches I was already contemplating throwing some herbs into the mix and create some fancy butters. However I thought it better to wait on that until I have a use for some herbed butters. Basil butter, now that sounds delish!

So who’s going to make homemade butter now? Let me know how it goes and if you have any favorite butter herb blends I should try.

 

by Joe

Grilled Peppers Recipe

July 28, 2013 in Recipes by Joe

Aside from eating sweet peppers raw, my next favorite way to eat them is cooked on the grill. The heat really brings out some great flavors in peppers when cooked.

grilled peppersSummer is the time for grilling, and with the high temps we’ve been having this month, who wants to heat up the house with the oven running. Get that grill going and put some color and pizzazz in your barbecue spread with delicious grilled sweet peppers.  So simple but packed with lots of flavor.

This really isn’t really a recipe as there are no “rules” to follow, more of a starting off point for you to try out your own ideas on grilling peppers. All you need is some olive oil and seasonings of your choice, or no seasonings at all. Grilled peppers are just as good grilled when only coated in olive oil. I like to experiment though so I’m always adding new flavors to things.

I like to buy the bags of mixed color sweet banana peppers for this but you can use any type of pepper. The banana peppers are good because all you have to do is cut the tops off, rinse and they’re ready to go.

  1. Seed the peppers and toss with olive oil
  2. Add seasoning of your choice and toss to coat
  3. Add to hot grill and cook for about 5 mins each side
  4. Remove from grill and enjoy!

I could seriously just eat a plate full of these grilled peppers as a main course. They’re that good!

 

 

by Joe

Peach Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

July 16, 2013 in Recipes by Joe

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I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for useful kitchen gadgets. We don’t have many but the few that we do have get used a lot. I’m usually not impressed with most of the gadgets out there since they’re usually made for people who don’t like spending time in the kitchen. A banana slicer? Really? Is it that hard to take a knife out and cut up a banana? Lazy, sigh…

cuisinart-blenderA couple of weeks ago while making chocolate shakes and cursing at the air-locked blender, like it always is, I said to myself “self, it’s time for an upgrade”. I was thinking about getting one of those blenders that ice cream places use to make shakes, you know the ones with the shiny stainless cups. There’s a restaurant supply store not far from here so I knew where to get one.

One day while Barry was at costco (just getting one thing, right? Never!) and he sent me a photo of something the made me very excited. No, it wasn’t a dirty pic. Pigs! It was something else I’ve wanted for a while but was so much better. A hand blender! But not just a hand blender, it comes with a food processing attachment too! Sign me up!

Let’s just say I’ve been having some fun in the kitchen the past week or so. I feel like an evil scientist concocting up all sorts of recipes to use with my favorite shiny new toy. Where it took at least 10 minutes to make a chocolate shake in the good ole blender, my new hand blender whipped out creamy chocolate shakes in less than a minute.

With the very hot weather we’ve been having here this week I thought now would be a great time to experiment with make some refreshing fruit smoothies. I’ve been making yogurt based smoothies for breakfast ever since we bought the hand blender but with the heat wave sweeping through, the ice based smoothie I came up with is more appropriate to share at this time.

Need to relax and cool off? Try my peach strawberry smoothie.

Peach Strawberry Smoothie

Serves 1-2
Prep time 2 minutes
Cook time 1 minute
Total time 3 minutes
Meal type Beverage
Misc Child Friendly
A great fruit smoothie for those hot and humid days.

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Peach (pitted and losely chopped)
  • 1 cup Strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup Ice

Note

This recipe will give you a refreshing summer drink that tastes great and is great for you! For a twist add some fresh mint.

Directions

Step 1
Place the stawberries and chopped peaches into blender or cup if your using hand blender. Puree until smooth.
Step 2
Add the honey and mix some more.
Step 3
Add the ice and blend until fully pureed where there are no more ice chunks.

Step 4
peach-strawberry-smoothie-recipe
Now grab a seat in the shade and enjoy!

Have a fruit smoothie recipe that you think I should try? Post a link in the comments and I’ll take it for a spin!

by Joe

Ripe Avocado Test

July 13, 2013 in Recipes by Joe

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a bag of avocados from Costco only to have them go from not ripe to moldy in what seem like a day. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration.

I always have the best intentions to use them to make guacamole, but if I have to wait for them to get ripe I usually forget I even have them. One day a light bulb will go off in my head and I’ll go to check them only to find out I missed them by one day and all I have is a mushy baby poop mess. Yuck! By this point I’m now hungry for guacamole and already bought the fixings to make it when I bought the avocados, and now I have no avocados. So out the door I go to by new already ripe avocados from the grocery store. You’re probably wondering why don’t I don’t just do this in the first place? See when you’re at Costco and that big bag of green heaven is staring at you and you think “hey, let’s make some guac!” it sounds like a good idea. Knowing fully that you’ll have to wait several days to use them and swearing you won’t forget this time but of course I do. Not always but often enough.

avocado-ripeSo when you go to the store to buy avocados and you find yourself wondering if they are ripe or over-ripe, use this handy explanation I saw on Facebook today that will help.

Most of the time you can tell just by squeezing the avocado but sometimes a nasty one will sneak in on you. Now you can be sure what you are buying won’t be thrown right into the trash or compost pile. You’re welcome :)

Need a good guacamole recipe?

Send this to twitter: How to tell if your avocado is ripe.

by Joe

Guacamole Recipe

February 6, 2013 in Recipes by Joe

I’d like to think a person could live on guacamole alone. I’d at least be up for trying it.

Growing up I use to look at this pasty looking slop on people’s plates and thought it was the most revolting looking “food” ever. It wasn’t until I started to appreciate the different foods available to me besides the good ole meat and potatoes I grew up on that I decided to try my luck with this strange green stuff. All I need to say is after that first bite I felt I’ve been betrayed my whole life! This stuff is pure heaven!

I’d like to think its a pretty healthy snack as well. This way I don’t feel so bad when I look down at my bowl and realize I just ate half the batch.

If you try this recipe let me know what you think.

Best Guacamole

Serves 2-4
Prep time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party
Region Mexican
Great for a healthy snack!

Ingredients

  • 2 Roma Tomatos (seeded and diced)
  • 4 Ripe Avocados
  • 1 Lime (Juiced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1/2 medium Onion (Diced)
  • 1/2 Jalepeno (Seeded and diced)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Cilantro (Chopped)
  • 1 clove Garlic (minced)

Directions

Step 1
In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne, and mash with fork. Fold in onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Let stand for an hour, then dig in!