I made a bit batch of beef stew for dinner this weekend – enough to last for two meals. We rarely eat beef or pork (other than a small amount of ham or bacon to flavor veggie dishes), so it was a real treat for all of us. All day long, the kitchen was full of the aroma of leeks, smoked paprika, merlot, allspice, and cinnamon.
Ruth suggested we make butter and loaf of bread to go with dinner. I happened to have 2 cups of organic heavy cream in the fridge. Okay, let’s make butter!
To make butter
take a 1 quart mason jar, and add:
2 cups of heavy cream
a pinch of ultra fine popcorn salt (optional! I prefer mine without salt)
screw the lid on, and shake. And shake and shake and shake. For about thirty minutes.
(Ruth, concentrating hard on the jar, willing the cream to separate!)
It was a weekend morning, and Casey was reading books to the kids, so we just passed the jar around, each person shaking and swishing until s/he got tired, then passing it to the next person. After about 15 minutes, it was perfect whipped cream. Then after about half an hour, suddenly there was a large chunk of bright yellow butter sitting in buttermilk (top photo).
This was the perfect opportunity to get one of the antique butter molds Casey’s grandma, Ruth Young, had given me a few years back. I believe they were her grandmother’s. After we had squeezed all the buttermilk from the butter (exactly one cup of each), and chilled the very soft butter in the fridge for a while, we pressed it in the oiled mold.
(The cup of buttermilk was used to make the bread later in the afternoon.)
The butter smelled buttery and looked so beautiful, and the kids couldn’t wait to eat it. I never got a shot of the finished molded butter, because as soon as I turned to get some crackers (the bread wasn’t made yet), the children had already dug into it with spoons! Ah, well. Next time. It was absolutely delicious, though.
Great choice, Ruth! It was a fun activity, and went perfectly with the crusty bread and beef stew for dinner. Now, if only we had a neighbor with a cow and steady supply of fresh cream…