Happy New Year, everyone! 2013 marks the return of Harmonious Belly. It’s been six months (just about) since I wrote my last post and I am hopeful that that long of a break will never happen again. So what have I been up to?
Well, my book – Food Lovers’ Guide to Queens – was published in December. Between the time I submitted my original manuscript in late June, there were bouts of additional editing. I enjoyed the process, and have learned a lot about book publishing during it all. It was released on December 4, 2012.
After it was released, I gave a number of interviews, which was a lot of fun. Some were on the phone, some were in person. I spoke to bloggers and reporters. Here are a couple of links:
I still plan to go on food explorations throughout Queens, but these days I’m cooking a lot more at home, and feeding myself more nutrient-dense foods.
Also, in August, I started working as the Editor of QueensNYC.com, a newish website all about Queens – food, real estate, evens, and news. I’ve learned an awful lot about blogging, writing, and Queens.
But back to the food. This weekend I tried my hand at making homemade ghee. This is essentially clarified butter that is cooked a little longer so that some of the milk solids brown and caramelize. That is what gives ghee the classic nutty flavor. It has a higher smoke point than plain butter, too, and can sit out on the counter without going bad, but I will likely keep mine in the fridge anyway (ideally, I like to keep my counters relatively free of stuff).
I used this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. I started with a pint of raw butter – look at how beautiful and yellow it is! If I hadn’t had the raw butter I would have used something like Kerrygold - using grass-fed butter is important to me.
Then I turned on the heat and let it go for about 15 minutes at a very low temperature. The butter melted completely in that time and started to separate into fat and milk solids.
Then I turned up the heat a little to get more separation going. There was mild bubbling and frothing going on. I scraped the bottom of the pan and felt that some of the milk solids had fallen to the bottom of the pan, as was expected, and they were a beautiful amber color.
I turned off the heat and removed some of the remaining milk solids with a big slotted spoon, discarded them, then poured the liquid through a sieve lined with a couple layers of cheesecloth. Here is what remained in the sieve.
And here is the end result! Sure, there is a little bit of froth, still, but I’m not worried about that.
It’s dark now but will lighten up as it cools. I have a whole pint to use. My understanding is that it will keep for a year in the fridge (I’m sure I’ll use it up before then). I tasted it and it is delicious – love the nutty flavor.
I’m really excited to use my ghee in cooking! I plan to make black eyed pea curry soon, so the ghee will be perfect for that. A lot of Ethiopian recipes ask for a spiced ghee called niter kibbeh, which I’d like to try next time. I adore Ethiopian food, and it is not available really here in Queens, so I’d like to try my hand at making it myself.
Overall, I would say that making ghee is pretty easy. The whole process took about a half hour from the time I put the butter in the pan to the time I strained it into the jar. It’s definitely worth giving it a try.