Category Archives: In my kitchen

Making tortillas at home

We love making everything from scratch. Lately, tortillas have been on our mind. I have many different recipes that we have used over the years however, we are trying out a new recipe this week for regular corn tortillas.  We had picked up two tortilla presses from years ago, but they are not necessary if you have a rolling pin (just a lot harder to get even and round tortillas.)IMG_20160818_121915 IMG_20160818_114735885_HDRIMG_20160818_114745408

These are extremely easy and are GLUTEN FREE if you use the masa harina that I have pictured below. 

IMG_20160818_125531957_HDRHere are a few tips to making tortillas…

  • Plastic wrap, Saran wrap or even a gallon sized zipper bag will work GREAT to prevent sticking on the tortilla press.  (TIME SAVER!)
  • If you are using a rolling pin instead of a tortilla press, make sure that you are 100% even on the rolling of the tortilla dough so that it doesn’t cook unevenly.  

The Masa bag says that this makes 18 – 6 inch tortillas – It makes more like 10 or so… and 8 if you counts the ones that kids keep snitching from the plate. We double or triple the recipe below to make enough for our clan. 

Ingredients
2 cups masa harina (we have found this at the local Mercado as well as our local Safeway)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( I use pink Himalayan Salt) 
1 1/2 cups hot water 

Instructions:

Prepare the tortilla press: Cut the zip-top bag open along the sides or wrap the base of the tortilla press with plastic wrap. Open the tortilla press and lay the opened bag on top. You will only need to do this ONCE during the process. You can reuse the plastic for all of the tortillas. 
  1. Mix the masa harina and the salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the water and stir to combine.
  2. Using your hands, knead the dough for a minute or two in the bowl or you can use a dough hook attachment on your kitchen aide. The dough is ready when it’s smooth, but no longer sticky, and easy forms a ball in your hand. The dough should feel a bit “springy,”. –  If the dough absorbs all the water but is still dry and crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time. If the dough feels sticky, or gummy, add more masa a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and rest the dough for 15 to 30 minutes. 
  4.  Pinch off a few tablespoons of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. This will make roughly a 6-inch tortilla. If you want larger tortillas, use more dough. 
  5.  Place the ball of dough on the plastic-covered tortilla press in the middle of the IMG_20160818_114753019press. Fold the other side of the plastic bag over the top of the dough. Bring the top of the press down over the dough, then press with the handle to flatten the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. If the tortilla doesn’t look quite even after pressing or you’d like it a little thinner, rotate the tortilla in the plastic and re-press.
  6.  Peel away the top of the plastic, flip the tortilla over onto your palm, and peel off the back of the plastic. Be careful that you don’t tear the tortilla… Although, they taste the same whole or torn. 
  7. You can either cook the tortillas as you press them, or you can press all the tortillas and then cook them. Keep both the dough and the stack of pressed tortillas covered with clean towels. If you choose to press all the tortillas and then cook them, be careful when peeling each tortilla off the stack — they can stick to each other or break around the edges, especially the ones on the bottom.
  8. Warm a large, flat cast iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. 
  9. Gently position as many tortillas in the pan as will fit in a single layer without overlapping. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges are starting to curl up and the bottoms look dry and pebbly. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. 
  10. Serve Immediately! You can also save these for a few days in the fridge. However, they never last that long in our house. 

 

Basic Muffins (plus a ton of “flavor add-ins”)

ABM_1467402580INGREDIENTS

Makes 12 muffins
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (we use goat milk in ours)
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted  (yes, you can use homemade butter in this)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sift, measure and then place the flour in a large bowl.
  2. Add the baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Beat the egg well in a small bowl.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla and melted butter to the egg and mix thoroughly.
  5. Put the above wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients.
  6. Stir just until the flour mixture is moistened.
  7. Fold in any optional add-ins gently
  8. Fill greased muffin tins 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  9. Bake at 400 F  for 20-25 minutes.
  10. The muffins should be golden brown in color and spring back when touched.

Optional Items: 

  • Blueberry Muffins. Use 1/2 cup sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of the flour, sprinkle it over 1 cup blueberries
  • Pecan Muffins. Use 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the batter. After filling the cups, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and more chopped nuts.
  • Whole-Wheat Muffins. Use 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour and 1 cup white flour.
  • Date or Raisin Muffins. Add 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or 1/3 cup raisins to the batter.
  • Bacon Muffins. Add 3 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled, to the batter.
  • Cherry or cranberry Muffins – 2/3 cup of cherries or cranberries, mixed with 2 Tbsp. of sugar 
  • Dried fruit Muffins – 1/2 cup apricots, currants, peaches, figs, prunes, raisins or dates
  • Nut Muffins.  – 1/3 cup chopped
  • Cheese Muffins.  – 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • Cornmeal Muffins. – 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour -change in main recipe
  • Banana Nut Muffins. – add 1 cup mashed bananas and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
  • Pina Colada Muffins. – add 1 small can drained crushed pineapple and 1/2 cup coconut.
  • Apple Spice Muffins. – add 1 peeled chopped apple, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash nutmeg.
  • Coffee Walnut Muffins. – add 1 teaspoon coffee extract and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.
  • Pumpkin Spice Muffins. – add 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices, 1/2 c. nuts.
  • Mincemeat Muffins. – add 1 cup canned mincemeat and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.
  • Date Nut Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped dates and 1/2 cup nuts.
  • Cranberry Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup nuts, 1 teaspoon orange rind.
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins. – add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, nuts if desired.
  • Cherry Almond Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins – add 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips, plus 1/4 additional milk.
  • Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins – add 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and  1/4 additional milk, 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Zucchini Muffins – add 3/4 cups grated zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Solar Oven cooking – DUMP CAKE

IMG_20160421_174700585_HDRDump Cake is one of those super simple recipes that we LOVE to make in this house. 

Dump Cake

  • 1 package of cake mix (or a homemade cake mix)
  • 3 cups of fresh fruits (berries, cherries, apples, peaches, etc)
  • ½ – ¾ cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

(Substitution – if you are using canned fruit rather than fresh, use one full can, including liquid and omit the water)

In solar oven pan, stir together cake mix and fruit. Add water and mix. It will be lumpy!! Do not over stir. Place 4 tablespoons pats of butter on the top of the batter. Cover with pan lid.

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  (This cake will not rise. It is a gooey cake, not a fluffy one.)

 

Solar Oven Cooking and Class for Oathkeepers

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Using a Solar Oven

If you are interested in one of our solar oven cookbooks, they are for sale on Amazon. Click here – http://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Kitchen-Full-Sunshine/dp/1479112305/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461516543&sr=8-1&keywords=kris+mazy

solarovenWhat is a solar oven?

A solar oven is an oven that you use outdoors to cook food while using only the sun as your power source. It is virtually an outdoor crockpot that has no need to plug in. The sun can heat the oven anywhere from 150-300+ degrees. There are no extra power or heat supplies needed besides the sun. And it saves money by not having to run your inside stove or your AC in the summer time. Free power!!!

Anything that you can cook in a crockpot or an oven indoors or even on the stovetop or in the microwave to reheat, you can cook in your solar oven (excluding frying). You also need a clear view of the south (when in the northern hemisphere.) You can cook for one person or for a dozen for a single meal in the solar oven.

When can I use my solar oven?

You can use a solar oven any day that you have 20-30 minutes of sunshine every 60 minutes and at least 5 hours of cook time. You can use your solar oven in the summer or in the winter time. Yes, it can be partly cloudy, however, rainy days, severe windy days and full cloudy days, you may not be able to get your oven up to heat enough to cook your foods. For those windy days, you can place your oven in an area that gets blocked by the wind, you will heat up sufficiently. You can use your solar oven even with snow on the ground. Be careful of the wind blowing and try to keep it out of direct wind while it is cool outside. That will lower the temperature inside your oven.

What can I use my solar oven for?

You can use your oven for slow cooking, heating and pasteurizing water, baking bread or sweets, roasting a chicken, dehydrating vegetables and fruits, heating canned foods, reheating leftover foods, making a quick sun tea, “pan cooking” hamburgers, etc. The only thing that you cannot do is fry your food.  

Setting up a solar oven.

Setting up you oven is very important to know how to do it. You have to make sure that you seal the oven to keep the heat inside.  The reflectors are very easy to put on and do help raise the temperature inside the oven especially in the winter time.

 

Pasteurizing Water to make safe for drinking

Pasteurizing water is important in a situation of needing fresh and healthy water. Poor water supplies causes 80% of all sickness and disease in developing countries. Pasteurization destroys all microorganisms that cause diseases from drinking contaminated water.  The goal is to get your water over that 150 degree mark. You need to keep your water supply at the 150 degrees for at least 10 minutes.

Microbe Killed Rapidly At
Worms, Protozoa cysts (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba) 55°C (131°F)
Bacteria (V. cholerae, E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella typhi), Rotavirus 60°C (140°F)
Hepatitis A virus 65°C (149°F)
(Significant inactivation of these microbes actually starts at about 5°C (9°F) below these temperatures, although it may take a couple of minutes at the lower temperature to obtain 90 percent inactivation.)

 

wapiThe Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) (pronounced wa-pee) capsule contains a special wax that melts at 65 degrees Celsius–sufficient to pasteurize water by killing disease-causing organisms including E. coli, rotaviruses, Giardia and the Hepatitis A virus. The WAPI now has the added benefit of a tough stainless steel cable and brass end caps, which allows it to be used over a campfire as well as in a solar cooker. The WAPI is especially valuable when camping or in situations where solar cooking is not an option.

It is reusable AND one comes with the solar ovens that I have with me.

 

Listing of some of the foods that can be cooked

 

  • Bread, dinner rolls, cornbread, biscuits
  • Breakfast Rolls, cinnamon rolls
  • “Hardboil” eggs
  • Roasts
  • Potatoes, including au gratin
  • Deserts like brownies, crisps and cake
  • Casseroles / enchiladas
  • Canned goods can be reheated
  • Beans / Chili
  • Rice and Quinoa
  • Chicken breasts
  • Whole chickens/rabbits/quail
  • Chops – pork, goat, lamb
  • Fish
  • Veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, butternut squash
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Meatloaf
  • You can use fresh, canned, dehydrated or frozen ingredients – you can even use your freeze dried storage meals and heat the water needed without the use of any energy beside the sun.

 

 

What are some basic tips?

  • Dark pots work better than light colored pots. No clear glass.
  • Short or shallow pots work better than tall ones.
  • Several small pots work better that a single larger one.
  • Foods cooks faster with a lid on the pot.
  • You do not have to use just the pots that come with the oven. Experiment with other items including cast iron, clay or metal loaf racks.
  • You can transform your solar oven into a dehydrator using home-made screen trays (and cracking open the lid.) Make sure that the screen that you are using is metal and not a plastic screen.
  • The more food and/or liquid, the longer it will take to cook your food.
  • Cutting foods into bite sized portions will allow the food to cook faster.

 

DO NOT let this oven just sit and collect dust. Please experiment and use it before there is an emergency and you HAVE to know how use it!  Know how to use before the time comes.

Pulled Pork

  • boneless pork loin or roast, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
  • bottled or homemade barbecue sauce
  • spice rub-  1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin

Rinse the meat and trim off larger pieces of fat.  Cut into thirds if desired to speed up cooking time. Liberally rub spices on all sides.  Place in a solar oven pan and refrigerate overnight.

 

Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.

Once the pork is cooked and slightly cooled, slice and hand pull it using a fork and knife. Mix in barbecue sauce to taste. To serve, place pulled pork on bun and top with cole slaw.

Whole Chicken, (or Quail, or Rabbit)

  • one whole chicken
  • one lime or lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Add chicken to solar oven pan. Juice ½ lime over side of chicken. Flip chicken and juice other ½ of lime over the other side of the bird. Sprinkle with garlic powder.  

 

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.
Stuffed Peppers

  • Mini bell pepper,
  • cream cheese or other soft cheese
  • aluminum foil

Slice the tops off of the mini bells. Spoon in cream cheese. Place peppers on aluminum foil, standing upright. (This will take 2 or maybe 3 hands!) Pull the sides of the aluminum foil up and twist corners to form a bundle.

Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.

Baked Potatoes

  • Large potato

Wash potato. With a fork, poke several times. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in solar oven. Let “bake” all day.

 

Chorizo Stuffing

  • 1 pound of beef or pork chorizo
  • 12 ounces of dried bread crumbs (packaged or home-made)
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cans of chicken broth

Break apart sausage into small pieces. In you solar oven pan, mix together all dry ingredients. Pour chicken stock over the top and cover pan with lid.

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  As always, check for doneness and adjust cooking time depending on oven temperature.

 

Dump Cake

  • 1 package of cake mix (or a homemade cake mix)
  • 3 cups of fresh fruits (berries, cherries, apples, peaches, etc)
  • ½ – ¾ cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

(Substitution – if you are using canned fruit rather than fresh, use one full can, including liquid and omit the water)

In solar oven pan, stir together cake mix and fruit. Add water and mix. It will be lumpy!! Do not over stir. Place 4 tablespoons pats of butter on the top of the batter. Cover with pan lid.

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  (This cake will not rise. It is a gooey cake, not a fluffy one.)

 

Roasted Garlic

  • 4-6 six whole garlic bulbs
  • ½ tablespoon of olive oil
  • Aluminum foil

Cut the top off of each bulb of garlic. Place garlic in center of foil sheet, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil on top of garlic. Pull up sides of foil and twist together.

Place foil packet into solar oven. Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  Serve on bread, crackers or spread on meat.


 

Herb Peasant Bread

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.

Slowly stir in yeast mixture into flour with wooden spoon. Blend well until dough forms. Place dough ball in clean bowl.

Divide the dough in half and place in bread pan. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for about 1 hour.  We use a clay bread pan. (the darker the better)

Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep.

Place in solar oven and seal. Cook in the solar oven for 4+ hours.  Serve on bread, crackers or spread on meat.

 

 

“Hard Boiled” Eggs

  • Amount of eggs that you want cooked. These can be quail, chicken, duck, etc.
  • Paper egg carton, lid removed

Place your eggs into the carton and place the carton in the solar oven and let cook for 90 minutes.

No water needed!

 

 

Making Cheese

I was honored to be able to be the guest speaker at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s meeting today. I demonstrated several different cheeses and showed how a cheese press works as well as cheese wax.  Below is my handout with some recipes. 

Click the button below to download the PDF handout for the class.

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ABM_1459011738Making simple cheese

On our homestead, we do not like going to the grocery store if there is a way for us to create our own products from scratch, using what we have on hand. Making cheese is a prime example of that. Using raw milk straight from our goats, we are able to recreate all types of cheeses that we eat daily at home. We can recreate everything from cheddar to soft chevre, mozzarella to cream cheese.  Along that line, we also make butter, sour cream, and cottage cheese.

Every morning, we decide what we are going to use our milk for during that day. 2-3 days a week, we make cheese, one day a week, we make butter. The rest of the week, we use it for drinking. Nothing gets wasted as the pigs are happy to drink anything that is left over. We have been making cheese weekly for about a year now when last season we picked up a goat in milk. Now, we have 4 in milk and 3 more pregnant for this season.

Our history: Our family has lived in the Chino Valley Area for over 25 years. We have 7 kids (ages 8 to 17) plus occasional foster kids in our home.  

We currently have a family garden which is about ¼ acre, 2 greenhouses one of which houses an aquaponics system growing fish and lettuce year-round, herb and berry walks. We raise our own meat including a steer, pigs, goats, quail, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.  We homeschool our children math, English, science, history and also teach them life skills that most kids have no understanding about including homesteading, cooking from scratch, solar oven cooking, carpentry, making soap and cheese, animal husbandry etc. We dehydrate and can our summer crop to use later and do all of this on less than 3 acres. We currently have 7 pigs, 9 goats and about 45 chickens, plus many rabbits and over 100 quail.  We have several cabinet incubators where we hatch our own birds. We do not go to the grocery store from May until October

We also maintain an active website and Facebook page for our homestead where we share recipes, tips and tricks for homesteading and preparedness and list animals for sale.

 

General list of items needed for cheese making.

Tools that you will need to make cheese

  • Strainer
  • Large bowl (that the strainer fits in)
  • Cheese cloth or flour sack towels
  • Large slotted spoon
  • Pot
  • Thermometer
  • measuring spoons that measure SMALL (I have ones that measure 1/64, 1/32 and 1/16 of a teaspoon that I picked up from homesteadersupply.com)

Certain cheeses need cultures. We purchase ours from www.homesteadersupply.com and from www.culturesforhealth.com

 


SIMPLE FARM CHEESE

This simple farm cheese can come together quickly. It tastes mild and sweet, and doesn’t require rennet, making an excellent cheese for beginners.

Serves: about 1 pound

  • 1 gallon milk, not “ultra-pasteurized” You may use raw or pasteurized
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or cheese salt

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. We use flour sack towels at our house.
  2. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed kettle, and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir it frequently to keep the milk from scorching. When it comes to a boil, immediately remove from heat and stir in the vinegar.
  3. The milk should immediately begin separating into curds and whey. If it does not begin to separate, add a bit more vinegar one tablespoon at a time until you see the milk solids coagulate into curds swimming within the thin greenish blue whey.
  4. Pour the curds and whey into the lined colander. Sprinkle the curds with salt. Tie up the cheesecloth, and press it a bit with your hands to remove excess whey. Let the cheesecloth hang for 1 to 2 hours, then open it up and chop it coarsely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or eat fresh.

 

NOTES

The whey from these 2 cheeses (lemon and vinegar cheeses) does not contain a live culture, so it cannot be used to create ricotta. However, you can recycle it to feed pigs or soak grains for chickens.


LEMON CHEESE

Serves: about 1-1/2 cups

  • ½ gallon goat’s milk (raw or pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • Sea salt or cheese salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Slowly heat the milk on the stove until it reaches 180 – 185 degrees. Gentle bubbles should be forming and the surface will look foamy. Turn off the heat.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice then let the milk sit for 10 minutes. The milk should curdle and become slightly thicker on the surface.
  3. Line a colander with two layers of cheese cloth. Gently pour the milk into the cheese cloth then gather the cheesecloth up around the curds and tie it into a bundle.
  4. Hang the bundle over a pot or jar so the liquid can drip out. (You can do this by attaching the bundle to a wooden spoon or a ladle and setting the spoon over the top of the pot or jar.)
  5. Let the cheese drain for at least 1 1/2 hours. Scrape the cheese into a bowl. Stir in salt and/or other ingredients to taste.
  6. Use your hands to pat and shape the cheese into a small wheel or log. A biscuit cutter works as well for shaping.
  7. The flavor and texture of the cheese usually improves a little bit if you refrigerate it for a few hours before serving
  8. The goat cheese should stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1 week.

 


Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese

  • 3 gallons whole milk
  • Mesophilic Culture (1/4 tsp Abiasa, 1/8 tsp Danisco, or 1/16 tsp Sacco)
  • 2 teaspoons calcium chloride (only needed for store bought milk or pasteurized milk)
  • 5 tablet rennet or 3/4 tsp liquid rennet
  • ¼ cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Combine milk, (calcium chloride) in 16 qt stock pot (double boiler to prevent scorching)
  2. Slowly heat mixture to 86 degrees. Turn off heat and stir in lactic cheese culture. (Different types of culture create different flavors of cheese)  Stir gently throughout. Cover mixture and allow to rest undisturbed at 86 degrees for 45 minutes.
  3. Dissolve rennet tablet or liquid rennet in 1/4 cup water.
  4. Keep the milk at 86 degrees.  Stir the rennet mixture into milk slowly but thoroughly. Allow milk to set undisturbed for 30 – 45 minutes or until curd shows a clean break.
  5. Using long knife, cut the curds into 1/2 inch squares, then stir gently just to break the strips of curds into chunks. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly heat the curds and whey to 102 degrees, raising the temperature 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Stir curd gently to prevent matting and reduce their size to half peanut size. A large whisk works well by placing it to bottom of pot and putting up right so curds break as they fall through the wisk. Hold curds for additional 30 minutes at this temperature
  7. Place pre-warmed with hot water colander over a pot and pour the curds into it.
  8. Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds onto the cheese pot. Cover top with cheese cloth and lid to keep in warmth. Allow curds to drain for 45 to 60 minutes. This is called the cheddaring process.
  9. Cut slab into pieces and press through french fry cutter or cut by hand.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Using your hands, gently mix the salt into curds. You can eat these curds now, or press into a wheel.
  11. Place the curds into cheese press and follow the directions for dressing with cheese cloth for 12 hours.
  12. Remove cheese from press, unwrap the cloth, place cheese on drying mat to air dry for 12 hours, creating a nice skin over the whole cheese.  Cheese is ready to slice and eat or you can wax and age for stronger cheddar flavor.
  13. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Use a corner of the cheese cloth to lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.

The farmhouse cheddar recipe above is from www.homesteadersupply.com.


Chevre

Chevre is French for goat. This is a simple cheese that is a great addition to your cuisine.

Serves: about 1 pound

  • 1 gallon goat’s milk, not “ultra-pasteurized” You may use raw or pasteurized
  • 1/8 teaspoon mesophilic culture, MA or MM
  • 1 drop rennet in ¼ cup water

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat milk to 86 degrees
  2. Add the culture and rennet into the milk.
  3. Cover and let set at room temperature (72 degrees) for 12 hours (overnight works GREAT for this recipe)
  4. Place colander into large bowl and line the colander with cheese cloth
  5. Ladle curds into cloth, tie ends and hang to drain.
  6. Drain for 6-12 hours or until the curds reach desired consistency.
  7. Store in a covered container for up to one week.

RICOTTA

  • Whey left over from making live culture cheese. (chevre, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Over direct heat, heat the hard cheese whey to 200°
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Place colander into large bowl and line the colander with fine cheese cloth
  4. Pour whey into colander (Slowly, it is HOT)
  5. Hang and drain curds
  6. When it has drained, place the ricotta in a bowl and add salt to taste. 
  7. Store in a covered container for up to one week.

 

Preparedness class at Oathkeepers

I was honored to be able to talk at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s Preparedness class this weekend! THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME!!! Click the button below to download the PDF of the handout of the class.

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We talked about getting your garden up and going. Yep, this can be essential to getting ready for any disaster or need.

krisandlarry.com - Being PreparedStart simple…. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash… and all of these can be planted on your back porch in pots and will provide fresh veggies for your family. – What you don’t eat, can or dehydrate.

Next, get a chicken or 2 for each member of your family.  (Or instead, 4 quail per person in your family will provide enough eggs for your family and can live in much smaller spaces. 

If you are able, you can add sheep or goats to the swing of things in order to get milk for dairy products and I was able to show what a cheese press looks like. Yep, It was a good day!

I was able to share 2 important handouts:

  1. My list of go to websites for many different homesteading products. THIS IS NOT COMPLETE and is a full working list. Here it is to share with you!
  2. My local planting guide from Yavapai Extension Office. Here is a link for their PDF: http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/publications/yavcobulletins/Yavapai%20County%20Vegetable%20Planting%20Dates.pdf

Here is my list for you: 

Planting Seeds

Cheese Making Supplies

Local Delivery for Grains Meat and Other Bulk Items

Homesteading

Food Dehydrators

Goat & Animal Supplies

Soap Making Supplies

Dried Herbs and Teas

Vitamins and Supplements

Survival Products

Blog and websites from general information:

Cheese Press by homesteadersupply.com

krisandlarry.com Farmhouse Cheddar
Farmhouse cheddar made from our goat’s milk on our homestead getting ready for the 12 hours second press.

I was so intimidated by the thought of making cheese and of curds separating from the whey. I mean… Think about it…. curds and whey look like rotten milk.  I promise you that it is not rotten and it is supposed to look like that!

I had no idea where to start, what to do. I ordered a kit to create soft goat cheese and then realized that it really wasn’t that hard. We have been making our own soft goats milk cheese for over a year now. 

(Trystan’s tummy can handle anything with goats milk too!!! YEA!!)

Krisandlarry.com Cheese Press
Elwyn getting ready to use her Cheese Press.

Then I started researching how to make hard cheese. I needed a cheese press? WHAT IS A CHEESE PRESS?!?!   I remembered that Homesteader Supply made their own and used to be a local business here in Arizona but have since moved to Tennessee.  www.HomesteaderSupply.com  is an AWESOME company and they carry one of the best presses out there. AND it is Made in the USA! 

Once you discover how easy it is to make your own cheese (and do not have to add dyes in it to make it yellow), you will see that it is something that you can do for your family.

Here is the recipe that we have been using for our hard cheddar from HomesteaderSupply’s blog:  https://www.homesteadersupply.com/blog/2014/05/farmhouse-cheddar-cheese-recipe.html

3 gallons whole milk
Mesophilic Culture (1/4 tsp Abiasa, 1/8 tsp Danisco, or 1/16 tsp Sacco) (We have been using Danisco because that is what I had on hand already)
2 teaspoons calcium chloride (only needed for store bought milk)
1.5 tablet rennet or 3/4 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup unchlorinated water
1 Tbsp salt
  • Combine milk, (calcium chloride) in 16 qt stock pot (double boiler to prevent scorching)
  • Slowly heat mixture to 86 degrees. Turn off heat and stir in lactic cheese culture. (Different types of culture create different flavors of cheese)  Stir gently throughout. Cover mixture and allow to rest undisturbed at 86 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Dissolve rennet tablet or liquid rennet in 1/4 cup  water.
  • Keep the milk at 86 degrees.  Stir the rennet mixture into milk slowly but thoroughly. Allow milk to set undisturbed for 30 – 45 minutes or until curd shows a clean break.
  • Using long knife, cut the curds into 1/2 inch squares, then stir gently just to break the strips of curds into chunks. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slowly heat the curds and whey to 102 degrees, raising the temperature 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Stir curd gently to prevent matting and reduce their size to half peanut size. A large whisk works well by placing it to bottom of pot and putting up right so curds break as they fall through the wisk. Hold curds for additional 30 minutes at this temperature
  • Place pre-warmed with hot water colander over a pot and pour the curds into it.
  • Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds onto the cheese pot. Cover top with cheese cloth and lid to keep in warmth. Allow curds to drain for 45 to 60 minutes. This is called the cheddaring process.
  • Cut slab into pieces and press through french fry cutter or cut by hand.
  • Add 1 tablespoon course salt. Using your hands, gently mix the salt into curds. You can eat these curds now, or press into a wheel.
  • Place the curds into cheese press and follow the directions for dressing with cheese cloth for the next 12 hours.
  • Remove cheese from press, unwrap the cloth, place cheese on drying mat to air dry for 12 hours, creating a nice skin over the whole cheese.  Cheese is ready to slice and eat or you can wax and age for stronger cheddar flavor.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Use a corner of the cheese cloth to lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.

Here is a video using the cheese press by GNOWFGLINS.com

 

Eating Quinoa – Avocado Quinoa Salad

ABM_14538606185 years ago we really took a jump on changing how we eat. We had already taken all of the dye filled foods out of our lives and then we started with all of the processed. No more boxed rice or pasta sides for us!!

We discovered that it is a ton easier to make it from scratch than to make the processed mixes. When we make quinoa, we normally make a double batch so that we have leftovers for the next day. 

What is quinoa? 

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) is a seed from the quinoa plant. It has been a staple food in Peru and Bolivia. 

To cook it, the ratio is 2 liquid to 1 quinoa – We normally make 3 cups for our family of 10… so 3 cups of quinoa to 6 cups of water or broth.  Before you cook it, rinse it. If you don’t it could have a bitter flavor. 

You can also add other things into the quinoa. We have added cheese, chopped veggies, even ranch dip mix, butter or soy sauce. 

Here is a favorite that we make with left over quinoa in our house. 

Avocado Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, chilled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 avocado cut in cubes
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoon diced red onion
  • 2 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and serve! Easy-Peasy

Easy Boule Bread – A Family Favorite.

eaBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

This is a GREAT recipe to make bread bowls as well!!! Divide the dough into 4 or 5 smaller rounds, shape and bake!

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too) – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see belowBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

Directions

    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
    9. (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos on their bread)
    10. Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
    11. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

I make the dough ahead of time and put in a super large container in my fridge.  I actually triple this recipe and take out enough over the week to make bread daily.

Roasted Butternut Squash

ABM_1453345765Growing our own fruits and veggies is extremely important to our family. We always plant extra and a variety of plants in our garden.

Butternut squash is a favorite in this house. Once cooked, it has a “creamy” texture. It can be used as a stand alone dish, a side or even a soup. My kids LOVE butternut squash. 

Butternut squash can be grown and stored for several months after you harvest. It is a fantastic winter squash. 

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary leaves
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place butternut squash in oven safe pan. 
  3. Add butter to top and sprinkle with rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper. 
  4. Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.