Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being Cultured...

Long time, no blog.

Although exams and papers have kept me from logging my local food adventures, my schoolwork hasn't halted my creativity in the kitchen! In fact, I performed a few daring experiments that went surprisingly well.

The other night, I was avoiding my English paper at all costs and went on good old Amazon.com. Oops... well, I had been thinking earlier that day about my staple food products and how a lot of them besides produce are not local to SC. That is, my yogurt is shipped from far, far away. I recalled a little "how-to" from a book I'd read the summer before called No Impact Man by Colin Beavan about homemade yogurt, and decided I wanted to give it a shot. Two purchases were made: the first was two packets of yogurt cultures and the second was a strainer for yogurt to make Greek-style yogurt and yogurt cheese! Here's why they were FANTASTIC investments...

First of all, I had so much stinkin fun making this stuff that I was giddy and dancing around stirring my yogurt cultures. I decided to use the crockpot-overnight method for making my yogurt. All it required was my mini crockpot, milk (I chose organic skim), my yogurt cultures, and some big bath towels. I heated the milk to about 180 (total guess, I just let it heat on low for 3 hours), let it cool to 111 (again, just guessed and waited till I could stick my finger in it comfortably), stirred in my cultures, and let the crockpot sit in thick bath towels overnight (homemade incubator!). When I awoke, I had YOOOGUURRRT! I poured half of it into a big Mason jar and the other half into my strainer contraption. Four hours later, I had thick Greek yogurt.


The contraption worked amazingly, and my yogurt tasted great too! I stirred in some pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and maple agave - tasted like creamy pumpkin pie filling :)

I ended up straining the Mason jar full of plain yogurt too and making a key lime pie. WHAT? KEY LIME PIE? Yes, and it was sugar-free, fat-free, and high protein. I guess I'll share the secret: Sugar-free lime jello mix... and some truvia. That's it. Everyone raved about it being the best, creamiest key lime pie they'd ever had, and their jaws dropped in disbelief when I gave them the nutritional lowdown.

Need to find a local farmer to get some milk. Found meat, now need milk.

My boredom also got the best of me today and I made some blondies instead of brownies, this time using chickpeas. I also got funky with it and added peanutbutter, making heavenly little peanut butter blondie cakes that disappeared instantly (okay, I ate a little more than half of the batch, shoot me).

Before game day, I did a little more creative baking and made some tailgate treats: corn dog muffins. SUUUPER simple. Corn muffin mix and hot dogs and happy tailgaters.


YUM.

Oh yeah, and I broke my kneecap at half time when I stepped up onto a bleacher. Sorry there isn't a good story; I was sober and well-behaved, and my clumsiness just got the best of me.



Homemade granola and banana chocolate muffins were the result of my bed rest imprisonment.

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