Friday, September 5, 2008


I am really having a hard time not working. I mean, I have some work...I spent 4 days cooking at the ranch in Camp Verde last week, but the Farmer's Market is over for the year and there is only one day of scheduled work the remainder of the month. I am taking a week off (a week off from what?) to visit my grandson (and his mom and dad) in Virginia Beach the end of the month and I am really looking forward to that!
So this week I tried to accomplish something every day, even though I felt bored out of my mind. Tuesday I ran errands in town and worked for about an hour in the garden. Wednesday, I went to the city early to see Natalie and then met with Ellie in the afternoon to take a knitting class. Although I have had some instruction before, I never really got it and my knitting was incredibly tight. I used to joke I could knit parachutes! With Ellie showing me how, it just clicked and I have become a knitting fool. After my class, I came home and made 4 1/2 quarts of yogurt. Thursday, I made a batch of chipotle sauce and a batch of chipotle BBQ sauce. I also worked in the garden again for about 2 hours. Today, I made a batch of ginger jam. I may go work in the garden again for a bit this afternoon and then there's the 2 loads of laundry staring at me.
Well, I guess I haven't been THAT idle, but it sure feels like it! Scott leaves for 5 days next week and I have to find some trouble to get into while he is gone. I usually start a remodeling job on the house while he is gone for his annual trek to the races in New Mexico. Last year it was the upstairs bathroom...I might work on the small bedroom upstairs this year...or maybe the kitchen!

I thought I would post here how to make yogurt because it is so darn easy and it tastes SO good. It's also considerably cheaper than yogurt at the store. I make 4 quarts at a time, so this recipe is based on that.
Set a large pot on a heat diffuser on the stove. Pour in one gallon milk (I use organic can use whatever you'd like) and heat on medium low heat until the milk reaches 170-180 degrees.
This takes a while, so go find something else to do for 30 minutes or more. Just check the milk every now and then so it doesn't boil.
Fill your sink about 1/3 full of cold tap water and set your pot of milk into the sink to cool it down. This will take from 10-20 minutes. Check the temp every so often-you want it to be between 105 and 110 degrees. In a measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup yogurt from your last batch or some storebought, just make sure it is plain yogurt with no additives such as guar gums or gelatin.
Add about 1/4 cup warm milk from the pot to the measuring cup and mix until it is loose and pourable.
Then pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the pot of milk and whisk it to make sure it is totally incorporated.
 Pour the mixture into 4 clean quart jars with tight fitting lids and put in a cooler. Boil 1 quart of water and pour it into a 1 quart or 2 pint mason jars, screw on a lid and put into the cooler with the jars of cultured milk, close the lid and that's it! In about 8 hours you will have yogurt. I usually do this in the evening and leave it overnight. By morning the cooler is still a bit warm and the yogurt is thick and delicious. Store it in the fridge. It tastes best after it has been refrigerated for a few hours.
I have a bowl of yogurt most every morning with a teaspoon of maple syrup and a couple tablespoons each ground flax seed and hempseed. If you like the fruit yogurt at the grocery store, stir in a tablespoon or two of good quality jam or preserves or, even better, fresh fruit (raspberries are my favorite!). Isn't that easy?

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