I love creating in my kitchen and the convenience of having a well stocked pantry, yet I find some of my very best meals or most creative are the meals I make where I have to be inventive. If I don't have certain things on hand, it makes it very hard to be able to make a satisfying and appetizing meal for my family.
Items that are usually on hand in my pantry and refrigerator:
What do you keep on hand? Feel free to post a comment and share some of your must haves with me.
Now to my favorite staple of all ~ Buttermilk!... I love it. I love to cook with it. I love the flavor it lends to pancakes and biscuits,not to mention the way it makes cakes and baked goods rise. Have you ever watched the chemical reaction with buttermilk and baking soda? My grandmothers have used it as a marinade/soak for fried chicken.
My maternal grandmother, a precious gift in my life, would always tell me of the time her mom would save the buttermilk as a treat for her when they made the butter. I remember the first time she told me this, as I was making butter. I looked at the leftover milk and realized, this looks nothing like the buttermilk I buy at the store.
In reality, what we buy at the store is a cultured buttermilk, which has a lactic acid or something like a yogurt starter added to either a pasteurized milk or sweet milk. The culture is added to the milk, then left to sit till the milk becomes thick .
The milk my grandmother used to drink was thin and milky white. It was the left over liquid from the solids in the heavy cream. My grandmother drank it right away, but I have read that many like it chilled before consumed.
If you don't make your own butter or culture , but you are a frugal homemaker, you can make your own buttermilk at home using cultured buttermilk from the store. You can also purchase a starter and make buttermilk with fresh milk if you desire.
Basically, take 1 cup of cultured buttermilk then add 3 cups of milk. Seal, shake well, and let sit on the counter for 24 hours. ( 1 qt. of butter milk to 1 gallon of milk will make 5 qts of fresh buttermilk) The mixture should thicken in that time frame. Put in the refrigerator and use as you normally would.This website has a great tutorial on making buttermilk.
Here are some links with awesome recipes.
Some of my favorites are:
3 eggs, separated
1 2/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp soda
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. soft butter
1. Whip the egg whites till foamy peaks are formed.
2. Whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk and soda. Add in the flour, baking powder and sugar. Whip the butter into the mixture and then fold in the egg whites. Cook on a hot griddle. Tip I have found helps me to know when to flip. When the top of the pancake looks rubber and bubbles have popped, turn them over for just a bit. The heat of the griddle browns them quickly and they done w/in seconds.
2 1/2 c flour
1/8 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pkg. yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 stick butter
1 scant c. buttermilk
Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda and baking powder together in large mixing bowl. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Blend butter into flour mixture until the size of small peas. ( note: I put my flower in my kitchen aid and use the whisk attachment to do this! Easy !) Add buttermilk and yeast; mix until well blended. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 min. May be baked immediately or let rise before baking. ( This is a wet batter so I don't typically roll it out and cut the biscuits. Usually I drop them on the pan and bake like that.)
And this is my signature recipe. I take this to families when I bring food, I make it to take to potlucks or special gatherings and I often make it to take to holiday meals. My son has learned to make these because they are his absolute favorite. He decided the prerequisite for his future wife was to be able to make this brownie recipe. I informed him that "HE" needed to learn how to make this because I would not send him off to a new wife with an expectation to cook like his mom. He could bless them both by knowing how to make the brownies. :)
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. coffee or water
3/4 c buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. buttermilk
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix sugar and flour in mixing bowl and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, shortening,( if I don't have shortening, I use 2 sticks of butter) coffee ( or water, but the coffee gives an awesome flavor) and cocoa. Stir and heat till boiling. ( tip. I start by melting the shortening and butter first then add the coffee and cocoa, whisking till mixture boils)
Pour boiling mixture over the flour/sugar in the bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. ( Another tip: I mix the buttermilk and the soda together but do it in a bowl with extra room because it will create a chemical reaction which causes the buttermilk to rise.)
Mix well using a wooden spoon or high speed on mixer.
Pour into a greased or buttered jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400 for 20 min. or until done.
While brownies are baking make the frosting.
I use the same saucepan that I used above. When I dump the boiling liquid into the flour and sugar I then add the next stick of butter to the pan, w/o turning on the heat. The pan is already hot, so it melts while you are mixing the brownies. Then when I get them in the oven, I add the cocoa and buttermilk. Cook till it is heated through and take off heat. You don't really want this to boil, just till the cocoa is dissolved and changes to a dark brown color.
Rinse out your mixing bowl for the brownies ( I use my kitchen aid for everything but only have one so I have to keep up on keeping the bowl clean to use multiple times. It is so easy to just rinse it out well when first done and then it is ready for the next use) Put the powdered sugar in the bowl. Pour the warm mixture in and mix well. This should be of medium thickness, not too thin and not too thick. Add more powdered sugar if necessary. Then add the vanilla and mix well. By the time you are done, the brownies should be done.
Take the brownies out. Run a knife around the side and pour the frosting on the hot brownies. It will melt and make it like a glaze. It is phenomenal, almost like a fudge.
I found this on allrecipes.com.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 40 Minutes
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (16 ounce) packages shredded
In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, sugar, celery seed and black pepper. Fold in the coleslaw mix, and refrigerate until serving. This tastes best if it is refrigerated for a few hours before serving.
Enjoy your experiment with Buttermilk! :)
Blessings to you~