Dark Days – Potatoes Au GratinDecember 12, 2009
It is the end of the semester for the two family faculty members, plus the usual meetings, the occasional holiday concert, etc. etc. I am not whining, I’m explaining. Dark Days week 4 was in danger of sneaking by with nothing to say for itself. But we pulled our act together and my husband made potatoes au gratin.
We used the natural/ethical/local milk we are fond of and local cheddar cheese. I made butter from cream from the same dairy that our milk comes from. And the potatoes came from our own organic (and of course, sustainable and ethical, and needless to say, local) garden. A baked potato for the youngest and hydroponically grown local salad for the oldest (and any other takers).
My husband is a tad lactose intolerant and the milk in this meal put him over the comfort edge, so we probably won’t repeat it.
Butter making does not seem to be as straightforward as you would assume. Beat the milk until it cries Uncle has always been my recipe. This time I beat it and beat it and it got to the consistency of very very hard whipped cream or very very light butter, but never clumped together and separated from the butter milk. I don’t know the variables that might affect butter making. I don’t know if freshness of the cream matters, or how rich that cream is to start with, or the temperature, or the mood of the cow. I just don’t know. I suspect I could have/should have beat it longer. But then again my husband has declared this the best butter he has ever tasted. So perhaps I’ll aim for this consistency in the future.
Luckily, I have this cute butter dish to put it in. It is incredibly light (the butter, not the dish) and it is awfully tempting to spread it on bread like it is cream cheese rather than butter.
Next week? Who knows which direction the muse will send us.