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Make Your Own: Ghee or Clarified Butter

January 7th, 2010

We’ve been trying to find local alternatives to things we buy from far and wide. One of the things I purchase regularly is organic olive oil from California. I won’t quit buying and using olive oil since it’s a healthy and delicious, but I have been trying to find something to replace it in some recipes. A couple years ago I read about ghee. Ghee is basically clarified butter or pure butter fat. Because the milk solids have been removed it has a higher smoking point (won’t burn as easily as butter) and it is shelf stable, so it keeps much longer than butter. It’s super easy to make and it’s a delicious addition to many dishes.

Since you’re all making your own butter after yesterday’s post, I figure you’d need a way to use it up. To make ghee you need unsalted butter, you can use fresh homemade butter or store bought butter. I’d recommend finding some good quality local pastured butter of course, but you can use the regular stuff from the grocery. The final flavor and color of your ghee will depend on the quality of your butter. I generally use at least a pound of butter, usually two.

Put the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, it will sputter a bit so you want some extra room and a taller pan. Then place the pot on medium heat and melt the butter without stirring.
When you first melt it, foam will appear. The butter will sputter a bit, this is the water boiling out of the butter. Gradually as you boil the butter the foam will disappear and you’ll end up with a beautiful golden liquid that smells wonderfully buttery! Keep an eye on your ghee, you don’t want to end up with browned butter ghee. It usually takes between 20-30 minutes depending on the temperature and the amount of butter you’re melting.

It’s time to remove from the heat when you see golden brown milk solids on the bottom of the pot. You can use a spoon to move some of the foam aside to keep an eye on the milk solids. You want to remove from heat before the milk solids become too brown. Pour through a strainer fitted with some several layers of cheesecloth to strain out the butter solids (which our pets love). Then pour the ghee into a jar or container of your choice, I prefer a wide mouth mason jar.

You’ll end up with the most beautiful golden liquid. This liquid will harden when it cools becoming opaque. Depending on the temperature of your home you final product can be between the consistency of a thick liquid that you can pour to a scoop able thickness. Your ghee does not need to be refrigerated, but you can if you want to. You can use ghee like you use oil, for frying eggs, making popcorn and sauteing veggies. It makes a wonderful addition to just about any dish.

Have you ever had or made ghee?

Handmade Gifts: Doll Bedding

December 22nd, 2009

My sister found this great doll bed at a garage sale this summer. She was planning on giving it to the girls for Christmas and asked if I’d make bedding for it for it. I had a great time at the fabric store picking out the perfect fabric. I picked out some bright colorful fabric that I thought the girls would love.

I found a remnant of black-out fabric that I used for the mattresses (it feels like the plasticky kid mattress fabric). I used an old pillow for filling the mattresses and the pillows.

The sheets were made fitted so they could be taken off and washed easily, as were the pillowcases.

Mr Chiots made afghans to go on the beds, he learned to knit just for this project. I made little tags that said, “Handmade with love by Uncle Brian” with a few photos. The girls were thrilled that he had made them. I almost forgot to get these photos, if you notice he’s on the last row of this blanket finishing it off.

He even made them in a striped pattern to match. I think he did a great job on the pattern! Now they’re dolls can sleep all cozy warm in their new flannel bedding.

My sister told me that on they way home my oldest niece told her that her doll bed was one of her favorite gifts. When I was young my dad & mom made us this big doll house. My dad built the house and my mom made lots of the decor. She even made framed art from magazine photos. It was on wheels so my sister and I wheeled in all over our house and played with it all the time. We loved it!

Do have a specific homemade gift that you remember as a kid?

Handmade Gifts: Superhero Cape for Kids

December 21st, 2009

My little nephew Orin requested a superhero cape for Christmas. Since I’m the crafty aunt, my sister asked if I’d be willing to make one for him. These are the kinds of gifts I love to make, it’s so much fun picking out fabrics, trying to figure out the perfect design, and adding those little touches that set it apart from a store bought item. I decided that a proper superhero should have not one, but two identities. So I made his cape reversible, so he could be super blue or super red.
One of the reasons I like making gifts instead of buying them is because they can be personalized. His favorite colors are red and blue and I decided he couldn’t be a random superhero. So I included his name on the back -BAM-.
It’s cut out of felt and stitched on, I know this cape will be getting lots of wear and tear since he’s an active little boy. I figured gluing wouldn’t last long enough, and beside stitching allowed me to add a little extra -ZOW- by stitching it on it a different colored thread.
The stitching around the edge is also alternating colors, the thread is blue on the red side and red on the blue side.
And since a superhero isn’t complete without a mask -POW- I made a mask and laser wristlets (which are also reversible).
Since we celebrated our family Christmas yesterday, Orin got his gift. Mr Chiots got this great photo of him seeing himself in his costume. This cape and mask will go beautifully with the wooden sword and shield his sisters made him for Christmas.
I spent about $5-$6 total on this gift and it took me about an hour to make. Mr Chiots has fond memories of his superhero cape as a kid, I’m sure Orin will have the same great memories. My favorite toy as a kid was a weaving loom, I made all kinds of wonderful things with it.

What was your favorite toy as a child?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.