Thursday, June 18, 2009

Got the milk and supplies, now I have to make something with them!!!

After returning from our trip to Chilipo where I found all the supplies I had been whining about for quite a while... asking all over the place, talking to people and stores where most people would either say "Huh?".... or "Why do you want to do that for?..", I had almost given up when another expat mentioned to me "a strange place, you'll like it.." and so I did.

More and more I have found that the Mexico of old is being transformed into a bad copy of the US. I've always known that Mexicans are "Malinchistas", which means they prefer stuff from other places and they copy other ways of living instead of improving their own. Don't get me wrong, I love Mexico and being Mexican I am proud of everything we've contributed to the planet, BUT, this endless copying of everything NOB drives me nuts!

After the Phillipines I believe Mexico comes second to the record for pirated brands but this is just the tip of the iceberg and to some degree I can understand the copycat market. Who can afford to pay $5000 dollars for a purse or $130 pesos for a CD when you earn $90 a day? Sure, the bags are beautiful but I wouldn't pay that even if I did have it to spend. My beef is with the penchant for food of all kinds, like processed food which is just filling yet the nutritional value has been destroyed in the name of convenience.

Sure, sure, we're all running around trying to get things done. Guilty. But we're seriously damaging our health which then translates into illness and decay. Being on the other side of 50 (Eeek! it's all downhill from here I hear..) this worries me, not so much the number I keep telling myself but to act and feel my age. I can recall a neighbor of mine when I was growing up in Tijuana, she was 49 and I swear she was an old woman, stooped over and all. Used to smoke the smelliest cigarrettes which she would then put out on her tongue. EEwww! Do you wonder why I remembered her? People used to be older and grandparents were little old people that had trouble walking, remember?

But I'm happy to report that as life expectancies increase we're getting more time to be young or act young at least. My seven grandchildren (some are college age too) can attest to the fact that we can keep up, so my point being that watching what you eat and leading a healthy life does have it's rewards. Besides, using processed food might save you some time but if you're crotchety and ill, what does it matter? You want more time to vegetate?

Anyway, back to the point of all this. What to do with all the fresh dairy products I got. My main interest was raw milk, from there I turned some of it into a Buttermilk culture which will give me buttermilk for some time to come. Here's how:

    1. Allow a cup of filtered fresh raw milk to sit covered at room temperature until it has clabbered (usually several days).
    2. Place 1/4 cup of the clabbered milk in a pint mason jar, add a cup of fresh milk (does not have to be raw at this point), cover, shake to mix, allow to sit at room temperature until this is clabbered.
    3. Repeat this transfer of sub-culturing several more times until the milk dependably clabbers in 24 hours. Taste a small amount to confirm that it is tart, thickened, and has no off flavors. It should taste tart not bitter, for instance.
    4. To then make a quart of buttermilk with this culture, add 6 ounces of the buttermilk to a quart jar, fill with fresh milk, cover, shake to mix, allow to sit at room temperature until clabbered.
    5. Refrigerate.
I can tell you that this is most excellent! I use buttermilk for the best pancakes this side of the moon (you can ask Rene, my son) and for bisquits and other baked goods. My husband drinks it as is but tonight for dinner I didn't feel like a vinaigrette, so I turned it into Home Made Ranch Dressing which was fabulous!


1/2 cup mayonnaise (better if you make it fresh)
1/2 cup whole yogurt (I also made this, more of this later...)
1/8-1/4 cup milk (yes, some of the milk I got)
2 tsp chopped celery leaves, fine
1 tbl chopped fresh dill
1 clove garlic, from garlic press
2 tsp dijon mustard
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a bowl and whisk to combine. Chill for 30-60 min before using for best flavor.
Note: I would go easy on the milk starting with a few drops, whisking and checking the consistency until it's the way you like it, since some people like it thick for veggies or runnier for salad. Feel free to add extras like chopped red onion, different herbs, etc.

Another portion of the milk got made into Lebanese or Greek Style Yogurt, like a thick and tart cream cheese, like this: (You don't need raw milk for this at all...)


4 litres of homogenized milk (any kind)
1/2 cup of plain yogurt (containing active live cultures) without sugar kind
  1. In a large pot, bring milk to a boil. Reduce the milk to simmer and place a pyrex dish in the pot to prevent overboiling. Simmer for 15 min and turn off heat, leave uncovered.
  2. Allow milk to cool to a temperature between 110 - 115F (you may use a thermometer). Your milk should be warm enough to hold your finger in it for 12 seconds.
  3. Take some warm milk and mix it with your starter yogurt in another dish. Now add it to the rest of your milk and mix well.
  4. Turn your oven to "warm" or lowest setting. Your ideal temperature is 110F. Start pouring your milk into plastic containers with lids. You can put the containers of yogurt in the oven (oven off) or you can put a blanket on the table and put your closed yogurts on it and cover with another blanket. Yogurt should set in 8-12 hours.
  5. Refrigerate your yogurt for at least 4 hours. Your yogurt will be good for up to 2 weeks.
To turn this yogurt into LABNEH (the Lebanese cheese made from yogurt) all you need is 1 Qt. yogurt and 1 tsp salt.
Put a sterilized hankerchief on top of a bowl, pour the yogurt into this, leaving ends free for tying and add the salt, whisk to combine so it's smooth. Now bring up the ends of the hankerchief and tie together well, you will hang this in the fridge or outside for at least 24 hours. Put a bowl under this so it will catch the dripping whey liquid. After this time you can open it up and you will see a more solid form which you can make into a shape you like.
To serve Middle Eastern Style, make an indentation in the top and fill with olive oil, or you can top with mint leaves chopped really fine and surround it with Kalamata olives. Serve with Pita bread and Turkish coffee..... YUM!

I still had some supplies left so I continued on my most productive day having images of clotted cream and thick sour cream, so here goes:


1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
2 tbl active Buttermilk culture

Sour cream can be made with the same procedure as buttermilk and letting it sit for 12-24 hours at room temperature. The higher butterfat in the cream, the thicker the finished sour cream.

I also made Feta and Mozarella Cheeses, Ricotta and Clotted Cream, and by the time all this was put up, I was out of milk..... I can tell you that my fresh products will not last long in this house and so another trip to Chipilo is sure to happen soon or I won't have enough ricotta for Italian style Ricotta Cheese Cake...mmmm

BUTTERMILK QUARK - The word means "curd" and is commonly eaten by the German people. There are many varieties available in Germany but only a couple are found with any frequency in the United States. By definition:

"It is a soft, unripened cheese with the texture and flavor of sour cream, Quark comes in two versions — low fat and nonfat. Though the calories are the same (35 per ounce), the texture of low fat Quark is richer than that of low fat sour cream. It has a m
ilder flavor and richer texture than low fat yogurt. Quark can be used as a sour cream substitute to top baked potatoes, and as an ingredient in a variety of dishes including cheesecakes, dips, salads and sauces."

You will only need
2 quarts fresh buttermilk (which is why I'm making more...)

Pour buttermilk into an oven-safe container with lid. Let sit in oven overnight (at least 8 hours), at 150 degrees. Line a colander with a clean cloth, pour quark in colander, let drain in fridge. If it drains too slowly, can fold cloth over the top, and set a sealed Tupperware bowl filled with water on top. To use, you can mix in a little milk until smooth. Wonderful with a little fructose, and pureed fruit or over fresh fruit first thing in the morning.

So there you have it, a little primer on dairy products, a kind of Simple Cheeses 101... As you can see from the enclosed recipes there's nothing to it, anyone can do it and the results are so worth it, plus if you need to watch preservatives, additives, chemicals, etc. this is just the ticket and you can continue to have wonderful dairy without any problems, plus they can be custom made to suit your taste and make wonderful gifts too.

Well, that took care of my day....

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