Archive for the ‘make’ Category

I love Hugh Jackman.  I love every film, musical and play he’s starred in.  Even the not-so-good ones.  Take Kate & Leopold, for instance.  Standard fare romantic comedy on the brink of being disastrous if it wasn’t for Hugh.  His best line in the film, “Ah yes, you mock me. But perhaps one day when you’ve awoken from a pleasant slumber to the scent of a warm brioche smothered in marmalade and fresh creamery butter, you’ll understand that life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes”.

Fresh creamery butter.  Though my husband’s Irish, he does a pretty convincing British accent.  Especially when he mimics Hugh Jackman’s character of Leopold, an English baron from the 1870’s.

Fresh creamery but-ta.

Good stuff.  Go make this fresh creamery butter.  If there’s heavy cream lurking in the house, perhaps leftover from this weekend’s rice pudding, now you know what to do with it.  Whipping cream works just fine too.  Now, I must go start on that brioche.

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Homemade Organic Butter, yields 5.5 ounces

Though I normally buy unsalted butter, I’d definitely recommend adding a few pinches of salt to this homemade version.  Not only will it be tastier, the salt also helps the butter keep longer.

Music Pairing:  Sting, Until


  • 2 cups organic heavy cream or whipping cream
  • pinches of salt, to taste


Pour cream into food processor and process for about 10 minutes.  It will turn to a thick whipped cream, and then separate, leaving the butter and remaining liquid, which is buttermilk.  Strain the buttermilk into a jar, cover and refrigerate for later use.

Scrape butter from the sides and place into a clean bowl.  Cover with very cold water and pour into a strainer, discarding the liquid.  Continue rinsing with cold water until the water runs clear.  The cloudy water is buttermilk which will make the butter turn sour.  When the butter is clean, work with a rubber spatula to press out any remaining liquid.  Discard liquid.  Add salt to taste.

Transfer butter to a container for keeping, pressing with a rubber spatula to dispel any air bubbles.  Cover and refrigerate.

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French poet, novelist and playwright, Victor Hugo, once wrote, “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart”.  I dote on this lovely sentiment, even though, reality feels more like a quote from Welsch poet, George Herbert who said, “Every mile, is two, in winter”.  Cold and dark, winter is my fourth favorite season.  If forced to cast a ballot, I’d vote winter off the island.

Well…okay, I take that back.

satsuma sorbet

I adore, in particular, exactly two, things about winter.  One: the peak of the citrus season.  Two: dungeness crab, and more dungeness crab (but I’ll save that for another time).  Back to the citrus.  My parents sent us a gigantic crate of juice-filled oranges and grapefruits, from a grower in Texas they’ve been loyal customers to for years.  It landed at our doorstep the day before Christmas, and our juicer has been working over-time ever since.  Even a simple breakfast of toast and jam, feels like something special, when accompanied by a tall, handsome glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, tops my love for satsumas.  These miniature oranges, or mandarins, become the go-to snack around the house this time of year.  The bite of each wedge is like a small burst of sunshine.  A filled bowl, is quickly, an empty one.

For me, satsumas are perfect, just as they are.  So, imagine my excitement when I discovered their perfection could be pushed upward, yet, another notch.  Forget a burst of sunshine!  When I had my first spoonful of this satsuma sorbet, a supernova literally exploded in my mouth.  The operatic sweet-tart balancing act deserves a standing ovation, and with each spoonful, spring feels closer.  Who ever said icy treats should only be enjoyed in the middle of July?  (And who knew my affection for pineapple sorbet could be surpassed so soon)?  As far as winter is concerned, I won’t cast my vote – just yet.  She’s making a fierce comeback, and I suspect, Victor Hugo knew about this sorbet, long before I did.

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SATSUMA SORBET, yields approximate 1 quart
Tweaked from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Andrea Nguyen

Dial back on the sugar for the simple syrup, if you enjoy things more tart than sweet.  Likewise, you can leave the measurements as is, and stir in 3/4 of the simple syrup first.  Taste, and then proceed to add the remainder, a bit at a time, until your desired sweetness is reached.  Don’t forget to save a few satsuma peels, dry them in a cold oven for a few days, and once completely dried, pop them into a ziploc for future use.

Music Pairing: Aretha Franklin, Hello Sunshine


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh satsuma juice (about 14-16 fruits, depending on size)
  • 6 tbsp fresh lime juice


To make simple syrup, whisk together sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 30 seconds, or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Stir together simple syrup, satsuma juice, and lime juice.  Taste and add more lime juice if needed to create a strong sweet-tart balance.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve positioned over a medium sized bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours to chill well and allow for flavors to develop.

Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Eat right away if you like your sorbet on the softer side.  For an icier treat, leave it in the freezer for 3-4 hours before serving.

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2010.  My god, 2010:  the start of, not only a new year, but an entirely new decade.  *Gulp*.  Not so long ago, it seems, I was still daydreaming of running off to Japan with Ralph Macchio and mastering the art of catching flies with Mr. Miyagi’s chopsticks.  Decades later, I’m married to the love of my life, and mastering the art of….well, feeding him.  This guy, he likes to be fed, I tell ya.  Now, we daydream of someday retiring to the South of France, owning a small mas and tending to our garden.  All so, I can feed him….some more.  There would be lemon trees, rows and rows of vegetables, maybe even some grape vines, and a hen or two for fresh eggs.  After today, we’ve tacked on another necessity to the ever-growing daydream.  A goat.

We MUST own a goat.  Not only are they cute, but goats produce milk.  Which, in turn, proves useful when making something very near and dear to my heart.  Goat cheese.  Admittedly, I carry around a healthy dose of snobitude when it comes to cheese.  Especially, my goat cheese.  If you’re ever looking for me at a farmer’s market, make a bee-line for the cheese purveyors.  I’m their master sampler.  Have you ever noticed how spirited and sprightly these people are?  They surely have membership to some underground society, like the Freemasons, with secret handshakes and oaths, to guard the methods for producing those fine looking, artisanal puck-shaped discs and logs.  Well, well, well…turns out, there is no secret.

Basically, all you do is buy yourself a quart of goat’s milk.  Simmer it.  Add some lemon juice.  Tie it up in a little pouch.  Leave it out to dry.  And then….here comes the hard part.  Wait.  Drip, drip, drippity drip.  In a bit over an hour, you’ll have, at your fingertips, a batch of homemade goat cheese.  Making mozzarella in my own kitchen, which, I naively thought, was already pretty darn special, plays second, if not third, fiddle to this.  The distinct, clean and tangy taste, along side a hint of garlic, will blow your mind.  Your salads, crostinis, pizzas, omelets, cheese plates, the list goes-on-and-on, will take on  entirely new meaning.  And, probably much to their delight, I won’t be bothering my local cheese purveyors anymore.  This decade is off to a tremendous start.

homemade goat cheesehomemade goat cheesehomemade goat cheesehomemade goat cheesehomemade goat cheese

Tweaked from Over the Rainbeau, Living the Dream of Sustainable Farming

Feel free to experiment with your herb(s) of choice and any other flavor combinations that float your boat.  The sky’s the limit!  Be careful not to drain your cheese for too long, as it may begin to dry out and lose that supple, creamy consistency you’re going after.  If you do happen to lose track of time, reserve the whey “drippings” and fold, 1/4 tsp at a time, back into the cheese until you reach your desired consistency.

Please report back – as I’d love to know your favorite variations!

Music Pairing: Yann Teirsen, La Valse d’Amelie


  • 1 quart pasteurized goat’s milk (avoid ‘ultra’-pasteurized)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove freshly grated garlic
  • a few pinches herbs de provence
  • freshly chopped parsley
  • coarse salt, to taste


In a medium saucepan, slowly heat milk until it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Let stand until milk starts to curdle, about 15-20 seconds. If milk does not curdle, add a little more lemon juice.

Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.  Ladle milk into colander.  Pull up and tie the four corners of cheesecloth together and hang on the handle of a wooden spoon, set over a stockpot or very deep bowl.  Allow to drain until the consistency of slightly dry cottage cheese is reached, about 1-1.5 hours.  Transfer to a bowl and fold in salt, herbs and garlic.  Serve immediately atop warm crostinis.  Can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 1 week.

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