food isn't any good unless you have some fun!

come on in and enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Hey guys!
     Today is a good one- my fiancé finally did all the pushing and made me buckle down and actually commit to making homemade mozzarella cheese. I thought it would be easy, but still time consuming and a little difficult, and I was worried about getting all the ingredients too. Let me tell you- I was wrong! It was pretty easy to get the ingredients- citric acid is available in stores (just google it in your area), and you can order rennet online anywhere (got mine on Amazon- used animal rennet, make sure to refrigerate after receiving!). It was SO easy to make the cheese, and it only took maybe 30 minutes all together.
I'm going to link to the recipe we used, but show you the process through our pictures too, because we (but mostly fiancé J have made it twice now). It is so easy, and so delicious.
Most recipes around are quite similar, and the one the we used is here from The Kitchn.

The ingredients and most of the tools- milk, distilled water, citric acid, and rennet. You'll also need salt and  that thermometer at the back of the pic :)
Warm milk to room temperature, then add in your citric acid and water.
Heat to 90 F, then add rennet and water mixture.
Remove from heat, and stir for 30 seconds.
Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Gently run knife through curds, cutting into rough squares. (We used a plastic knife because this is a non-stick pot)
Return to heat and gently stir curds until the temperature reaches 105 F and the curds start to gather away from the whey.
Remove from heat, mix together curds for 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, and you have this!
Reserve the whey (on the left) for storing the cheese (among other uses) later. Put cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the cheese reaches 135 F, heating 30 seconds at a time. Strain off the whey.
Wearing rubber gloves (these were not quite thick enough for the heat), add the salt then gently knead the mozzarella and shape into balls, whatever size you like.
Here are the finished balls from the first batch of cheese. We made two larger balls from the second batch. Store the cheese in a bowl of the whey to keep it moist and fresh.
And here's the cheese over tomatoes and basil- just awaiting a little balsamic! yum! (The cheese from the first batch, kneaded a little more and stored not as submerged in whey, is on the left, and the more gently kneaded and stored totally submerged in whey, is on the right).

Savor it! (thanks again for all the help and work, J!)
love, rue

Monday, September 21, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Hey everyone!

I got an ice cream maker as a gift from my future in-laws quite a while ago, and could never get around to getting the core in the freezer and actually using it! So, finally, the other weekend, my fiancé J and I made this together- and it was killer. And so easy!! I don't have too much experience making homemade ice cream except lots of memories of endless cranking and ice and rock salt as a child! So this ice cream was easy to make, amazing to watch freeze up in the maker and change, and was so rich, creamy, and absolutely incredible. I can't share the exact recipe, but you might be able to find a copycat one somewhere- I used the first chocolate ice cream recipe in the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Desserts Recipe Book, so I can't just go writing it here. But I will also recommend the book- my fiancé's Aunt gave it to me as a gift after I got the maker and it has all the explanations and ideas and recipes, perfect to start with, easy to understand, and honestly a must-have in the end- Ben and Jerry's is among the best mass produced ice creams in the country. OK, enough babbling, let's get to some pictures!!

Melting some chocolate over a double boiler...
And making our dairy mixture in another bowl.
Once cooled, pour the chocolate mixture into the dairy mixture, and stir well...
Until it's nice and smooth like this. Chill several hours.
Right before making, take the ice cream mix out of the freezer, and add your peanut butter to  about 1 cup of the ice cream mix and mix well.

Then add the rest of your ice cream mix and blend together well.
The finished ice cream mix and the maker! (It's a Cuisinart, the kind with a core that you freeze and then it just turns automatically- no churning involved!)
The ice cream right after being poured in and turned on- pretty liquidy.
The ice cream starting to freeze up- you can see the ice crystals forming on the paddle there.
Then pretty quick you're dealing with some firm looking stuff!
And this is about what it looked like right before I turned it off.
The finished ice cream right out of the maker!
The ice cream an hour or two later- I set a timer for every 20 minutes and got it out of the freezer and stirred it well so it would freeze firmer but not get icy.
Our finished creating station- ice cream on the left, whipped cream on the right, and balls of PB cookie dough (J's idea!)  and chocolate chips in the middle.
So we made parfaits with layers of ice cream, cookie dough, chocolate chips, and whipped cream- YUM!

This stuff was out of this world good. Seriously, look for a good priced ice cream maker online or on craigslist and give it a whirl, or get yours out if you haven't used it in a while- it was so, so much easier than I thought. Hopefully soon I'll have recipes all my own of ice cream to share!

Savor it!
love, rue (and thanks for the help, J!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lemon Rosemary Syrup


This one I just got completely lucky with- like, so lucky that I didn't do any of the work and I didn't even plan on taking pictures- I just walked into the kitchen at the right moment where the amazing J was creating this gem to use in drinks, and I snapped a few pics! Let me show you...

Just boil your ingredients together, then let cool...
And strain well into a vessel!

Lemon Rosemary Syrup
-3 lemons, cut into 1/8ths, squeeze juice into water, then add peel as well
-4 medium sprigs rosemary, leaves only
-1/2 cup sugar
-1(+ maybe a little more) cup water
Heat all ingredients together over medium, boil for 5-6 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5-8 minutes, watching to make sure the water level does not get too low.
Cool slightly, then strain.
Just add water to make Rosemary Lemonade!

Then J used the syrup to make these drinks for him and his brother- alcoholic Rosemary Lemonade!!

So make some syrup, and see what you can make with it- it could flavor any number of things- this is all about getting creative! And it's super easy, to boot.

(thanks J!)
Savor it!
love, rue