Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homemade Cajeta

What can I make with just shy of a quart of goat's milk?  It's not enough to make cheese.  It's too much milk to have hanging around my house.  I could make ice cream or...

3 1/2 cups fresh goat milk (traded from my friend, Mariah, who is part of a local goat co-op, for some of my backyard eggs)
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped seeds and pod
1/2 inch cinnamon stick (I would use proper Mexican canela if I had it)
slightly less than 1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon filtered or spring water

In a heavy (I use enameled cast iron) sauce pan, bring the milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat and add the dissolved baking soda.  It will foam up (baking soda is added to neutralize the acids and encourage browning of the milk solids, otherwise you get a really pale cajeta without the deep flavor).  Stir until the foam subsides, then return to heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently as you get close to the end and you get glassy bubbles), until it reaches a beautiful caramel color and it thickens (this takes an hour to an hour and a half).  Test thickness by putting a drop of cajeta on a cold plate.  The cooled cajeta should be a thick caramel-sauce-like consistency.

Makes a bit less than a pint.  Keeps about a month in the fridge.

Of course, it begs to be drizzled over ice cream, or berries, or an apple crisp, or pluot galette... also begs to be licked off a spoon.

Adapted from Rick Bayless' Mexico - One Plate at a Time

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DIY Hair Pomade

Ok, it's not food, but why buy products with a long list of ingredients I can't pronounce and probably are not good for my scalp anyway?

So I made up a test batch and it works great!  Is no one making organic, natural stuff like this to sell?

(all measures are by weight)
1/3 oz by weight beeswax, shaved (or 2 tsp melted)
3/4 oz by weight shea butter (or 1 1/2 Tbsp)
1/4 oz by weight jojoba oil (or 1/2 Tbsp)
several drops of essential oil (rose geranium, lavender, sage, or your favorites)

In a double boiler on medium heat, melt beeswax; add shea and allow to melt.  Remove from heat, add jojoba and stir to combine.  Pour into a small jar, add essential oil and shake to combine.  Allow to cool.

Adapted from mommypotamus