Homemade Butter

BUTTER !!!!
Butter is one of the best words in the English language because it starts with “B”. (Think for yourself all of the greatest things on the planet that starts with “B”.)

I saw a recipe in the newspaper for making homemade butter. Really pretty simple. Pour cream into a food processor, turn it on until it turns to butter. No one could screw that up, right????
The recipe suggests using “Heavy cream without stabilizers (agar or carrageenan). The stabilizers are often used in “Ultra-pasteurized” heavy cream and gives the butter a flat taste. Now in America, the Storm Trooper Food Police make almost all dairy products be super dooper pasteurized (for our own protection). I did not have time to look around for non ultra-pasteurized cream so I bought what I could at the local grocery store.

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Again, pretty simple, just two items.

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The recipe said one quart of cream would make one pound of butter, so I poured all of the cream in.

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Do you see the “Liquid Max Fill” line on the food processor???
I never knew there was such !!
Apparently most people only notice that fill line until after it has been over filled.
I was too busy cleaning up to take a picture of it. I removed about half of the cream and did two batches.

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There it is !
Butter!
The liquid that separated would be considered buttermilk.
I used the buttermilk in the mashed potatoes that I made on Thanksgiving

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If you have only ever had industrially manufactured butter, this might look kind of funky.

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I made a patty out of each batch and pressed it in cheese cloth to remove most of the liquid.

Well, there it is. Pretty simple indeed and I learned about the “Max fill” line.

From what I was told, the butter tasted good. (Except for putting one patty in the mashed potatoes, I did not eat the butter or even taste it plain.)
Unless you want to make a special compound or flavored butter, I don’t think there is any need to make your own butter. The quart of cream I bought was almost $8.00 and the day before, I bought a pound of butter for $3.00.
But, this was kind of like a cool science experiment and I think I will do it again !!!

Yet Another Major Obama Scandal

http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/big-profit-pritzkers-costly-chicago-fbi-deal/sun-09142014-330pm

 

Big profit for Pritzkers on costly Chicago FBI deal:

 

A deal involving the federal government’s most expensive lease in Chicago produced millions of dollars in profits for a development group that included Penny Pritzker, a top campaign fund-raiser for President Barack Obama who is now his commerce secretary, a Chicago Sun-Times / Better Government Association investigation has found.

 

Shocking and appalling, but it’s what to be expected.

Hey Libs, how’s that “Hope’n Change” working out?

Smokin’ !

SMOKIN’ !!!!

Things that have been on the smoker.

 

Smoking

 

Turkey Wings:

I’ve bought smoked wings before when they were marked down at the store before and I saw these wings were marked down as well.  I shredded the meat and had them with rice for my lunch for the week.  They turned out really well.

 

Lamb Shanks:

I’ve bought lamb shanks before on sale and thought they were fine when I cooked them.  Thought I would try smoking them.  They turned out “OK.”  I haven’t eaten a lot of lamb in my life but I do like my lamb rare and theses were well done.  Shanks also have a lot of tendons and connective tissue and makes a bit of work to eat.  They tasted fine, but doubt I will smoke shanks again.

BACON :

Yep. another slab o’ bacon.  The last one I made had too much brown sugar on it so this time I went with a bit less.  Also, I had to use table salt instead of kosher salt and I did not use enough.  No salty flavor at all.  But, the good thing is even if the bacon is a failure, I still have smoked pork !!!

Food Review

I had the occasion to stop at a McDonald’s on the way home one day and thought I would try one of their new items:

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Well, the item is called “Jalapeno Double”.  I was presuming that the double meant “double beef.  I don’t recall tasting any beef, I thought I was eating a jalapeno/jalapeno sandwich.  There was no shortage of “HOT” in this item.

VACATION !!!!!

Well dang…. vacation is over.

I do have to say that for not having spent the week on a exotic,remote, tropical location being waited on hand and foot by a never ending stream of Polynesian woman (Fletcher Christian knew what was going one there !!!), it was on of the best vacations that I have had recently.

I ended up doing quite a bit of things and I think the biggest reason was that I got up everyday and went to the gym. It’s a good way to get the day started and prevents me from lollygagging the day away !!

Went for four nice little bike rides.

 

I had a gift card for Chili’s and we had a late lunch there one day:

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I was not impressed with this burger.

 

It was my daughter’s birthday which meant FREE SUSHI at JuRin:

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For me, this was sushi dinner “B”.

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Also got a nice “Caterpillar Roll” .  (Eel) YUM !!!

 

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Also being my daughter’s birthday, she had an sleepover with three of her friends.  I got to go out at 6am and get them doughnuts.

 

Vacation_005Did a little smoking on the smoker !!

Did another hunk of homemade bacon.  This time it did not turn out as best as it could.  I think that I had the heat too hot for a while, but I am getting close to getting to the perfect recipe and process.  Also tried smoking some salmon.  That also was not the best because of the high heat but it was still very good.  For good measure I put a slab of beef ribs on as well.

 

The doctor said I could have one beer while on vacation:

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You’d be surprised at how quickly this was emptied.

 

We put a fence around our backyard about 13 years ago and I still had some leftover parts that I finally wanted to use up and get out of the garage.

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TADA !!!

A new planter box !!

 

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I think it will last 3-4 years before it goes onto the burn pile.

 

And now, another project:

I have some good skills with concrete and there are several things I can make: Bowls, plant stands, specialty bricks and some various do-dads.  The wife had a friend that she had previously given a brick to and she requested several more so we took the time to whip some out:

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Combination of a sand mix and a pea gravel mix.

JUST ADD WATER !!!

How much more simple can it be??

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If you have a backyard, every proper house should have a wheelbarrow.

 

 

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The wife has a kit of plastic molds and letters that are used to stamp letters/names/words on the bricks.  Even though the molds are plastic and the concrete doesn’t stick to it, it helps to give them a little spray of WD-40 to help release the bricks. (Helps with the clean up too.)

 

 

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Like the bag said, just add water and mix !

 

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While the concrete is being mixed, the letters are being arranged for stamping.

 

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Concrete goes into the molds.

 

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Have to wait for the concrete to set to just the right condition and then it gets the letters pressed in.

If the concrete is too wet, the letters blur and if the concrete sets up too much, it too hard to press the letters in.

 

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Finished product.

 

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This is one of my specialties.

Just trowel a fern leaf on the top and when it’s dry, peel off.

 

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And of course, the clean up.

Compost Day

The recent Memorial Day weekend was fantastic weather !!

After a very cold winter and a cool wet spring, this was the first real set of consecutive great days of weather.

So, I took advantage of this weather and used it to clean out my compost pile. (WOOOOOOOOOOOO, I’m a wild man !!)

 

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There she is !

This pile has been there probably since the end of last summer.  I put my household food waste into the blue garbage can and let it cook in there for a time.  I drilled some holes in the garbage can for drainage and ventilation.

I mow and bag a lot of my garden waste, and that gets tossed in the can for cooking as well.  I try not to put too many stems and stalks from plants as they don’t breakdown well enough.   In the fall, I mow/mulch my tree leaves really fine and that gets tossed on the pile and cooks there over the winter.

The pile that was there last spring was GREAT for digging huge worms out for fishing. (Mental note.. buy new fishing license)

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If you have a yard, you need to have a wheelbarrow.

About ten years ago I made the homemade sifter.  Just galvanized screen with 1/2 X 1/2 openings.

 

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Two good sized shovels full of the compost at a time.

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Give the screen a good shake, toss out the chunks and repeat until the wheelbarrow is full.

 

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All gone !!

I got over two full wheelbarrows of the sifted compost.

I can either use it straight up in planters or mix it with store bought potting soil or just mix it into the garden area.

 

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This is how much didn’t go through the screen.

 

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The current compost in the cooker gets dumped into the cleaned area.

 

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Getting it ready to go again.

 

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I put the chunks in a bucket and chopped it with a shovel, and after re-sifting, this is all that was left that will get tossed.

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Composting is really pretty simple, but it does require a little bit of work if you want it to come out the best it can.

Here, I took the extra time to chop/slice/dice our watermelon rind.

Also helps quite a bit if you turn it with a shovel every couple of days.

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And the process begins again !!!