Happy Holidays!

Christmas is upon us.
Claire and I are going to be BBQ’ing outdoors with the family tomorrow for our yearly ‘steak & eggs’ Crimma brunch. Present opening, meat on the grill and eggs and taters. We started the tradition a few years ago, but I think this is the first time we’re doing it on the grill.

I’m hoping to devote more time to the MI blog in 2011. It’s crazy times with Claire doing her Master’s work (in Social Work) and working two jobs. We don’t get as much time in the kitchen as we used to. Cooking is such a communal activity for us; we’re such social eaters/cooks that being in the kitchen, dancing around each other as one chops and one minds the frying rabbit/beef/what have you.. it’s an important part of our relationship and we’re going to try to get back into the swing of things as she starts her second semester.

Oh; the salumi in the update is a Musica from Criminelli.
From their website:

“Musica Salami, or Salame della Musica, is a regional specialty from an Alpine town outside of Biella. The name comes from the frequent requests for this salami from the local band. They insisted that its strong flavor, thanks to the addition of pork liver and clove, gave them energy to continue playing through the night. You can think of it as the original Italian energy bar. The flavor starts out like a salami and finishes like a liver pâté.”

They’re totally right. It does finish like a pate’.

Happy Holidays everyone; regardless of how you choose to spend them!

I can’t believe it’s…. butter

It’s been a while since the little Chef and I have had a good kitchen adventure; our schedules rarely line up these days. So we decided on a quick, inexpensive experiment that could be done with minimal ingredients/preparation. Something that could be done while dinner was cooking.

Butter. Smooth, creamy butter.
The ingredients are simple enough: Heavy Cream.
The preparation is simple enough as well; put the cream into the kichenaid mixer and whip until the butter solids have separated from the butter milk.

I ran the mixer on a medium/fast setting (six, I believe) and did kitchen busy work while it whipped. (ok; I sat there watching it like a hawk as it thickened) First came whipped cream; a familiar texture and color. But as it whipped the color and consistency started to change. White became yellow and fluffy became chunky. The butter solids were pulling away from the buttermilk which is when I knew that the whipping phase was completed.

The next step was fairly “icky”. I pulled all of the solids out of the buttermilk (which hasn’t been fermented like storebought buttermilk) and began expressing the remaining milk from them. The heat of my hands/friction started melting the butter as I “squished” out the excess milk. Once all of the liquid was expressed, we pulled it into two batches to be seasoned.

I used slightly more than 1/4tsp of sea salt in the first ‘butterball’ and a little over 1/4tsp of truffle sea salt in the second. Claire had stepped out to buy a loaf of crusty bread, so by the time the butter was finished we were ready to try it out. For our first attempt I’m happy to say that it came out perfect.