Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monkeys and Butter

I dream of one day owning a camera worthy of creating fantastic photos of food. Because maybe then I could branch out and just have a food blog. That would be awesome.

You see, the thing about this stage in my life: 'Limbo' as I like to call it, is that not much is going on that is blog worthy. I could bore you with stories about my classes. But...they bore me and I'd rather not discuss them. I don't have children so I can't hop on the Mommy-Blog bus. I'm not married, don't have a mortgage. I can't even there goes that marketable blog niche.

Honestly, I'm no longer an interesting person.

I don't drink, so there are no wild and crazy parties to write about. I have no juicy love life. If I had been blogging my actual 'life' over the last several weeks it would have gone a little something like this:

I went to class today, stopped by the grocery, made dinner for MY PARENTS (loser), watched CNN and went to bed. (Also, wah....why is my life going nowhere? *insert whine, and tears here*)

The end.

But I bake a lot. I do a lot of cooking. That I can write about. That might actually be interesting. Except that little detail: all the interesting food blogs are interesting because the photos are good.

And my camera is a lovely piece of shit.

Heck, maybe if I had a decent camera I'd be a food AND photography blog. Omg....creative juices are FLOWING in my brain right now. (Must continue to hint at camera for Christmas. Not too old to resort to begging my parents.)

For now I will suck up my pride and share the shitty pictures. Because I made butter. And monkey bread.


So, I took a small carton of heavy whipping cream and poured it into a bowl with a tight lid. And...I began shaking. And shaking. And then I handed it to Jon and he shook it some more. After about 10 minutes or so of shaking you hear a solid part begin to form and a lot of sloshing going on:

homemade butter

The butter is beginning to form and the liquid is....*drumroll please*...Buttermilk (Go ahead, tell me I'm a genius). You can either pour off the buttermilk and save it for baking (or drinking if you are like my late grandfather who loved the stuff) or pour it down the drain like I did.

Secure the lid again and shaking some more, you want to really remove all the buttermilk. If not, this will cause the butter to go rancid faster.

homemade butter

Keep shaking, keep pouring.

Eventually little is left to pour off. At this point cover the butter with a splash of cold water. Begin to 'massage' (mix around in the water) the butter with a spatula. This will help really remove all of the buttermilk. Drain off the water and repeat the process until the water is clear.

homemade butter

Pour off all excess water and spoon the mixture into a ramekin or other storage device. Add a little salt if you prefer salted butter.

Monkey Bread

I made the butter because A) I've really got nothing better to do and B) I had made homemade yeast rolls to go with beef stew and homemade butter sounded heavenly.

But the yeast roll recipe (the one I shared before) makes A LOT OF ROLLS. And I didn't really need a lot of rolls. So, instead of putting the last of the rolled balls of yeast dough into muffin tins, I used the remainder to make monkey bread.

I rolled each ball into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Layered them haphazardly into a greased bundt pan and allowed them to double in size:

monkeybread 010

Then I mixed up 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar and brought it to a boil on the stove. I poured that mixture over the risen yeast and baked it all at 350 for about 20 minutes.

monkeybread 015

After it was done cooking I immediately turned it out onto a plate. You don't want it to cool and stick to the pan.

monkeybread 024

And so then, as if there were not enough calories involved already I mixed up 4 ounces of cream cheese, half a stick of butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar and a tsp of vanilla to make cream cheese icing to dip the monkey bread in.

monkeybread 027

Sometime after that I stapled my mouth shut and burned my cookbooks.

The end.


Devin said...

the monkey bread looks great:0)Your not a loser,your one of the most smartest person I know, Your a awesome Friend and your writing is amazing.Your have accomplished so much in life don't stop know.Your the best April and thats all I can say:0)

April said...

Well, I wasn't meaning to fish for complements, but I'll take 'em. Thank you. You are pretty awesome yourself! ;) :D

SassyCassie said...

I can't cook AND my life is boring. I guess I could blog about having nothing to blog about.

April said...

I feel like we're having an existential blog crisis here. 'What is this blog, and why is it here?'

We must get to the bottom of this. ;)

But I didn't mean to imply anyone was boring. I was simply counting the ways in which my life is. But really just kinda sorta in an odd way pointing out that I sometimes feel self conscious for blogging about my parents or my brother. I always feel a bit inferior to you 'grown' people.

k said...

i had no idea you could make butter like that! who knew! i might have to try it...except i have no attention span and i'm afraid i'd stop halfway through, and then come home a few days later to discover a nice surprise in tupperware on the counter :)

p.s. i don't find you boring :)

April said...

You can also accomplish the butter by putting the cream in a bowl and mixing it with a handmixer. Which I imagine is a lot quicker and easier. I was just too lazy to dig out the mixer. Just when it gets to stiff peaks, whipped cream consistency, resist the urge to eat it and keep mixing. It quickly begins turning into butter.

k said...

oooh...i really do want to try that now! mmm...and i wouldn't have to feel bad about butter if it was homemade, right?!?! lol