Friday, October 5, 2012

Making Ghee, and Mayonnaise, and a Quick Lunch!

Ghee is so much better than butter, and it's super simple to make.  I love to cook with butter, anything fried in butter is better, but the problem with butter is that it burns too easily, the milk solids in it is what burns.  When you make ghee, you cook out all the milk solids and the water, leaving just the oil with tons of flavor.  Another plus is that with the milk solids removed, ghee is fine for people allergic to dairy.  I recommend doing at least a pound or two of butter, the ghee stores great at room temperature and if your like me you'll use it fast.  Melt your butter in a saucepan, and let it boil for 20-30 minutes, keeping a close eye on it, depending on how much water is in it sometimes the foam will boil up pretty high, use a larger than you need saucepan just in case.  The batch I made today didn't boil up much at all, it was my own butter so I guess I did a good job squeezing out the water when I made it.  After 20 minutes or so the foam will be mostly gone,  watch closely at this point, you don't want to burn it.  Once the foam is gone and the oil is a beautiful golden color, it will also smell amazing at this point, you can remove it from the heat and let it cool a bit while you prepare a jar and straining cloth, I use a piece of birds-eye fabric, you could use linen or any other fine woven cloth.  Strain the ghee into your jar, make sure your jar is heatproof, an exploding jar and hot oil all over the place would be awful   The bottom of the pan is going to be covered in a brown sticky substance that is your milk solids, if you are okay with dairy they are delicious with a bit of honey mixed in, or there are several Indian recipes that use it.  Then find a recipe that calls for frying something in butter and try it out, it's amazing to watch it heat up smoothly without smoking or burning, it's perfect for me who tends to put something on the stove then walk off and return to find it burnt and smoking like crazy.  The smoke point of butter is 250-300F, ghee's is 485F, one of the highest out there for cooking oils.

Then I decided to make some mayo, store bought mayonnaise is made with soybean oil, there's a whole list of problems with soy products and soybean oil is very high in Omega 6's, which is a major cause of inflammation which then leads to chronic disease.  I'd tried to make mayo before with extra virgin olive oil... I had to throw it out, it was way to strong, then I found a recipe that everyone said was heavenly, using "light" olive oil.  So when I was in town a couple days ago I grabbed a bottle at the grocery store.  The secret to getting the oil, egg, and lemon juice to emulsify and turn into thick smooth mayo instead of separating is to add the oil ridiculously slow.  I used my little food processor which for some reason has a scooped lid with two little holes in it.  It was perfect for letting the oil slow drip while blending.  In about 4 minutes, I had fresh mayonnaise, and it tasted great as well!  I'm planning on making Ranch dip with it, as the main ingredient in Ranch is soybean oil as well, plus a bunch of other nasty things.  Did you know Ranch has MSG in it?  If you are not aware of the issues with MSG please read this .

Now after all of that, it's lunch time and I've no lunch prepared, pretty typical for me.  So I give the starving kids and myself a handful of almonds to pacify our stomachs for a bit and go to work.  I just got done reading "It Starts With Food", the book by the Whole 30 guys, and it has a few quick recipes, so I figured I'd try one.  One recipe is chicken with sun dried tomatoes, I bought a jar of them forever ago for a recipe then forgot what recipe it was.  So I quick thaw some chicken breasts in hot water, then chop it up, salt and pepper it, and fry in hot ghee until done.  Then scoop it onto a plate, throw in some garlic for a minute, then add balsamic vinegar and chicken broth and deglaze the pan.  Then finally, dump in a couple spoonfuls of the sun dried tomatoes and put the chicken back in and let it all mix together.  I was also supposed to add fresh chopped basil but I was in too much of a hurry to run up to the garden and pick some so I just skipped it, shame on me...  Meanwhile I chopped some broccoli and steamed it up real fast with some ghee and herbs de provence.  It turned out great, like everything I've made lately, I've been really lucky, or I'm just good at picking recipes, haven't had a bad recipe yet thankfully!

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