Tag Archives: cooking

These days everyone seems to be talking about pumpkins. But I’m here to talk about butter. I like butter much more than pumpkins.

One day a couple of months ago I had a little bit of heavy whipping cream left over after using some for a recipe. I often find that I have heavy whipping cream taking up space in the fridge only to sadly spoil or to find it’s way into my coffee.. which is probably a bad choice. I did what any average person with a question does these days: I googled it. I found a little tutorial on how to make butter from heavy whipping cream by shaking it vigorously in a jar for 10 minutes. I tried this jar thing and after about 30 minutes of shaking and a significant amount of arm fatigue I sort of had butter. Which proceeded to spoil the following day.

It was suggested that I try a blender instead (what an ingenious idea!). However we don’t have a normal blender. I tried out our immersion blender the next time I had some heavy whipping cream around and with a little more effort than would be needed with a typical blender.. I made butter.

I am now a butter making machine and I would like to share for you my means of making butter. It’s shockingly simple. It will save you money. It’s probably better for you than many store bought butters. It’s fun. And it gives you lots of buttermilk. Who doesn’t want lots of buttermilk?

I started with this half gallon of Horizon organic heavy whipping cream that I bought at Costco for $6.99. I made my butter in smaller batches as needed so I cannot attest to the accuracy of this.. but from a bit of Google research it seems that a half gallon of heavy whipping cream will yield 3-4 lbs of butter. Depending on what type of butter you purchase, where you purchase it, and in what quantities your purchase it your actual savings when making your own butter will vary. I had not been purchasing organic butter because we use so much butter.. it was just too costly. This gets me organic butter, in large quantities, for a little more than one package of butter at the co-op.

I poured some into one of the mixing containers that came with my immersion blender.

I started blending it on the highest speed setting.

Pretty quickly you’ll notice that the cream is doing it’s job… it’s turning into whipped cream. Keep blending past this point. When using an immersion blender you have to lift it up and down to keep the blended cream circulating.

Depending on the speed of your blending apparatus your whipped cream will start to turn a bit chunky and slightly yellow after 5-15 minutes. If you feel like you’re getting nowhere it’s possible that your cream warmed up too much. Simply place it back into the refrigerator for a bit and try again later.

Blend a bit more until you notice a liquid separating from the chunky stuff. The chunks are the butter and the liquid is the buttermilk. My blender starts to give some resistance at this point.

Take a somewhat rigid spatula and press the butter into a big glob.

Switch spatulas when you realize you’re using the IKEA spatula that falls apart and gets stuck in the butter chunk.

Pour out the buttermilk into an awaiting receptacle. I use an old honey jar. Try to get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible by squishing it a bit more. If buttermilk is left in the butter it will spoil quickly.

I prefer to use a clear container so you can see what’s going on at this point. This part of the process is called ‘washing the butter’. It helps get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible.

Add some cold water to your container of butter. Use the spatula to press the butter into the sides of the container and fold the butter over and press again. Pour out the water. The butter should stick in the container when you pour and not fall into the sink.

Add cold water again. Notice it is less cloudy but not clear. This means there is still buttermilk in your container. Repeat the washing process.

Repeat the washing process until the water poured out after washing is nearly clear.

Transfer to the container(s) of your choice. And there you have it! Homemade butter!

You can do plenty of things with your butter. I use it when I bake bread, I put it on bread, I butter pans, I add it to recipes which call for butter. Use your buttermilk for things like buttermilk pancakes, and biscuits, and coffee cake like this!

And if you have an 8 month old baby something like this may happen while you’re making butter…

I suggest you give butter making a try. Homemade butter smells and tastes better and is much more rewarding to consume.. at least to me. It’s one of those things that I never knew was so easy! Like making pie crusts. Or bread. Or rice pudding. Why do people buy those things anyway? So stop buying butter.. and make it! Yay!


This year Olive and I are doing a work-share at McKinley CSA. It’s an urban farm in north Minneapolis.

Ideally there will be a post each weekend with a photo of our CSA share, a list of what we received, and some ideas of what I’ll use it for. Our first pick up date was Friday, June 17th so I’m clearly behind!  In order to fit everything into the photo I put it on our kitchen table, stand on a chair, and hold my camera up really high.  So please don’t judge my photography skills based on these photographs.  Please.  I know I could easily put on a difference lens but I’m too hectic of a person to take time to do that.

Week 1 : June 17 2011

Spinach, salad mix, eggs, breakfast radishes, mint, fresh onions, spinach, and maybe more but I don’t remember.

Week 2 : June 24 2011

Our good friends Brooke & Scott picked up our share this week since we were in Chicago. I know I’m forgetting things but I think this share included strawberries, lettuce, salad turnips, pea pods, pea shoots, and more.

Week 3 : July 1 2011

Dill, red onions, broccoli, kale, tiny potatoes, salad mix, and probably things that you can’t see because this photo is terrible.

Some things I’ve made using ingredients from our CSA:

Pea shoot pesto w/pasta & shrimp.

I don’t remember. With tofu and rice. And a cinnamon stick.

Egg & mushroom & bacon thing.

I haven’t been photographing our dinners lately and I’m a little disappointed. For the past few months I’ve been making lots of new things – I have rarely repeated a recipe. It’s been nice to try new things rather than getting stuck in the rut of uninteresting staples. When I started dinner last night I grabbed my camera and made sure to photograph nearly every step.

I made Chicken Biryani from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman (which can be found in my Amazon store). With some tiny variations.

For this recipe you’ll need:
2 T butter
1 onion (chopped)
salt & pepper
1 cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 T ginger (minced or grated)
1.5 cups basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock
A whole chicken (cut up) or chicken pieces

Take an onion..






Chop chop chop it up. Messy chop.



Melt two Tablespoons of butter. I often cook in dutch ovens… so I suggest that.



Add the onion and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Cook until the onion is soft and brown (5-10 mins).



While the onion cooks grab your spices…



Make a funny face with your spices…



Make a pretty picture with your spices…



Mince some ginger.



In a little bit you’ll need the chicken stock so if you have any prep in that area do it now. Thanks to Brooke I now use this (which I suggest you use, too!).



When the onion is soft and a little browned at your spices. Wait about a minute and then…



Add the rice.



Mix together until the rice is coated and shiny (2-3 mins).



Add the stock and the chicken.





Cook for about 25 minutes – it’s done when the rice and chicken are both tender and the liquid has been reabsorbed. If you need more cooking time add a bit of water if necessary.




Put it on a plate and eat it up! :)

If you’re anything like me the smell of the cardamom pods and the rice will make you think of kheer. And then you’ll really really need some kheer. So you’ll make some.

Simmer 8 cups of water with two cardamom pods for about an hour or until the milk has reduced by half.
Add 1/2 cup of rice and cook for about 20 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar (or a little less.. 1/2 cup was kind of sweet for me) and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Make sure you’re stirring often and the milk does not begin to boil.


I’ve made this recipe a few times in the past but rarely use fresh spinach let alone spinach from my backyard!

I sauteed some scallops in oil, garlic, and basil (from the garden). I added some spinach leaves (from the garden) about 1/2 through the cooking process and kept adding some every 30 seconds or so. I smushed up quite a lot of spinach leaves and basil (both from the garden) as well as some garlic in my chopper thing. Tyler cooked the pasta. I added the smushed stuff to the pan, cooked it all together briefly, and then mixed it into the pasta. And… yum! :)

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