Creme de le Creme


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Categories: Cooking

Check out the cream line on these jars of milk. EmmaLouMoo is not ALWAYS this generous, but I do get a half gallon of heavy cream from her every day.

As I bump along in my life, it occurs to me how much nicer a lot of homemade products are and how expensive it is to buy them. 

I can’t help but think how throughout my lifetime they vilified butter and pushed margarine, only to later discover margarine is very unhealthy for you, whereby real butter actually has many health benefits and as a complete product is good for you. I have to be suspect of something that never goes bad...I heard margarine is 1 molecule shy of being plastic and I suspect its true. Cool whip is another product I find disturbingly stable.

The same vicious and biased battle has been waged over Crisco and Lard (look up the history of it, Crisco was not even meant to be food.) The egg has been victimized as well as real milk, grains and just about everything else. I just can’t bring myself to eat substitutes. There is nothing like the real thing and I believe God knew what He was doing when He put it all together for us. I don’t think you can improve on raw ingredients.

 

I for one, cannot survive eating just vegetables and even if I could, there would not be much satisfaction in it for me. I have to consider that no matter what I eat, if its not done in moderation and  balance, even WATER can be toxic. Yes, there is a woman who died from drinking too much water. She did it all at once but none the less, it proves my point. The food is not the problem. Our appetites and behaviors are the problem.

I had to chuckle some years ago, as I read a post from a woman who wanted some ideas of meals she could make for her Grampa. Apparently Grandma had passed on some years before, leaving him alone and in his 90’s. He still lived alone and stubbornly refused help from anyone for anything, doing his own house work and even gardening. She thought maybe he would accept some pre-made dinners. She made the comment “he doesn’t eat healthy like we do, he just eats things like meat and potatoes and such.”


...and yet he is 90, and lives independently. That says something about so called ‘healthy eating’ to me.

So much of our life is centered around food. We have ‘dinner parties’, meet people at restaurants, have folks over for meals, plan dates around food, fond memories and character are built around the family dinner table and it’s the gathering place for most all holiday celebrations. It’s just a very important part of life and sustenance, there is no getting around it. 

To me, if it’s real food, its ok to eat. Everything from wood pulp to human hair is being processed and added to our daily food chain in order to increase profits. Factory farming injects everything from growth hormones to unimaginable stuff into our meat products to increase the weight. Nearly everything you buy in the store has things you cannot even pronounce, much less spell. Nothing is done to increase value, just profit. There was once a time when turning out a superior product was the goal of most companies, now it’s frequently to see what they can get away with.

Along with all the processed and synthetic foods there seems to be a rise in autoimmune diseases (I know, as I am a victim), heart disease and all kinds of other maladies. If we think this is not linked to the way we eat, we are kidding ourselves. I really think my diet in my younger years contributed greatly to the problems I suffer from now. I do know that even though Randyman and I consume an AWFUL lot of ‘unhealthy’ animal fats, because I cook only with real butter, lard and use lots of milk products, we raise lamb, chicken and beef and I feel better than I did years before. I believe this is because our food is more natural and other than his addiction to soda pop and chips, we don’t eat anything processed. I make our bread, our broth, our dairy products and just about everything else. 

I am a raw milk advocate, because I know firsthand, the benefits it has brought me personally. I do, however, understand the need for pasteurization of commercial milk, because of the often incredibly unsanitary conditions it goes through during processing. Not everyone is in a position to have their own goat or cow. Never the less, there are things you can do at home, to improve the quality of your dairy products, even if you cannot get good clean raw milk. You can make your own milk products, saving money, producing a superior product and controlling what goes INTO your body.

So, even if someone is not fortunate enough to have a goat or cow, there are things that can be made better and cheaper without much work, from (ugh) commercial milk and cream. 


Now, bear in mind, I DO have a cow...and goats, so I have never made anything with commercial milk. But you can. 

Some of these things are just plain decadent. You may not need them often, but when you do, why not just make it yourself? WE can still take pride in producing a superior product, even if commercial manufacturers do not. Our friend the chef, lauded the flavor and quality of my butter, cream cheese, sour cream and other stuff, which made me smile pretty much all over. He has asked me to freeze it and ship it to him, as he loves it.

Cream Cheese is almost sinfully easy to make. It’s one of my favorites, as it is practically foolproof and I do so love a good cheesecake. It’s also great to mix up with some powdered sugar for blintzes, or to dump some jalapeno jelly, or chili sauce with crab over for a great dip and let’s not forget cream cheese icing on top of carrot cake or homemade cinnamon rolls.

I use 3 quarts of heavy cream to 1 quart of milk, or even half and half. Warm it to 86 degrees, stir in 2 TBL of live cultured buttermilk, using an up and down motion to stir, not round and round, then put 2 DROPS of rennet in 1/4 cup of cool water, mix it into the cream , cover with a clean cloth and let it sit for 12 hours. I put the cream pot in a larger pot of hot water to do this, so I don't burn the cream with direct heat.

 

 

 

After 12 hours you should have a curd mass, so carry it to the sink, and CAREFULLY ladle it into a muslin lined colander. 

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