Monday, December 22, 2008

A Merry Christmas to All

Well, here's a little something for now— a Christmas greeting until I have time to post more. We were supposed to be in Phoenix right now. Our flight was on time. We, however, were unable to get there. I will explain more later.

We're trying again and hope to be in Arizona for Christmas Eve. Hurrah!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prairie Muffin Moment

Thanks to my otherwise useless accumulation of airline miles, I receive several free magazine subscriptions. Among them is Bon Appétit. I usually enjoy flipping through it and sometimes even have the guts to try a recipe or two. But the latest issue has to be one of my favorites because most of the recipes in it can actually be made from cheap ingredients that are readily available in small town Idaho.

That said, I must admit that I am loath to attempt anything at home that is better—and usually less expensive—left to professionals (lip balm, formal wear, surgical procedures, etc). And until now this also included cheese, although I have, inadvertently, created something akin to feta by accidentally leaving one of the kids' sippie cups full of milk under the seat in a warm car for several days. So yeah, sometimes "just like homemade" is not the compliment you want to garner for your efforts.

I digress. I saw this recipe in the latest Bon Appétit, and it was so simple I had to try it. And whaddyaknow! It worked! Homemade ricotta—in less time than it takes to make a box of mac n' cheese! I felt just like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I did let it drain a bit too long, so it's more crumbly than I'd hoped, but I'll definitely try it again. (It firms up a lot in the fridge.)

Their photo, not mine.

Ricotta is technically not cheese, since it doesn't involve a culture, but I am still amazed that this is so easy to do at home. And here's the extra-frugal Little House on the Prairie bit: I couldn't let all that whey go to waste (I paid too much for all that milk to just let it drip down the drain!), so I did a little Googling on how to use it and discovered that you can put it in most recipes that call for buttermilk. Therefore, I made a loaf of Buttermilk White Bread plus some rolls, substituting whey for the buttermilk, and they turned out great. Yea! And bread is definitely one thing that is inarguably better when produced at home.

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