Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book search help request.

I read a particular book a fair amount of time ago and i enjoyed it enough that i often think about it. I would like to find it again, but i don't remember the title and have no clue about the author except that the author was a man. As far as i can remember, the book was nonfiction and it was not really a journal, maybe it could be called a memoir.  It was probably written before the 1970's... possibly in the 1950's. 
It was an old hardcover book, maybe green fabric binding...  it was found at the local library, which has been rearranged to the point that i don't know that i would know where to look for it. I remember where it was shelved, but its not setup that way anymore. The Librarians there did try to help me find it, but after combing through the area where books on similar topics were kept, we didn't find it...  they said it is possible that if it hadn't been checked out in 8-10 years it may have been culled. *sniffle*  They could probably find it from another location if i can find Author or Title at least.
Anyway, it was about the author's decision to basically get away from society as it was then - rat race, impersonal, etc.  He had a few acres out someplace (maybe Ohio???)  i don't remember, but it was north where it snowed. He put some affairs in order, i think he bought some basic tools and off he went.
He either made himself a cabin from scratch or there was an existing structure that he had to repair...  anyway, i remember he had to dig a latrine and had trouble with his ditching system....   He came across as a cranky soul and i think he left a wife behind, but i'm not sure. But i do know that he didn't go with any family. I think he did have a neighbor stop in once or twice with some supplies from town. Things like lard, candles, maybe a spade....  maybe reading material?
I think his outhouse got washed out once as well.... 

....he may have had a pig at one time, or i'm confusing that with another  tale.... 
i think he had to make bread with acorns too--  or i am mixing that up too.  i read a lot of this sort of stuff, it gets confusing with this much time away.

It was  an interesting story. Much like the story i saw a couple times on PBS, the guy who went to Alaska and set himself up there. I'd like to find that too...  but they are different stories...(Alone In The Wilderness/One Man's Wilderness)... i actually saw the PBS one shortly after i read the book and thought for a few minutes that it was the same story, but it wasn't.

We found a few similar titles/themes from women and one geared toward kids... and on Amazon i did see one with Elk in the title and maybe another one about Alaska...

I notice a number of visits to this blog, but few comments....which is OK,  but if any one of you out there ever happens to come across or recognize the book by this skeletal description, please post a reply. I would be so grateful! :o)

Cultured Butter

Oh, yes.  I was reading something somewhere about my "French Breakfast"  radishes.  I understand that they are commonly served for breakfast (no real surprise) with butter (woah) on them...  i think i twitched when i read butter.  I usually have mine with salt.  Butter and fresh radishes never occurred to me as a logical combination, i'm still not sure. But since i live on a carbohydrate-controlled eating plan,  butter is my friend not my enemy.
So i did some research.  It seems that it is true, and its not usually just butter, (though that is acceptable) it is made into a sort of open faced sandwich. Bread is buttered and then thin slices of radish are placed on top to be enjoyed. Well i won't bother with the bread so i'm still intrigued and making  a mental note.  I figured there must be something particular about the butter because even though i want to like the idea, something is simply not clicking.

The key may be that the butter commonly used is not the butter we in the US are used to. Cultured butter seems is supposedly what is used and over here its unusual, over there it is apparently the commonest type.

So, up for a search for how to make this at home. It can't be that hard...

And it really isnt:

Full fat yogurt and heavy cream are all that is needed. Maybe some salt.

I have all that!

One quart of heavy cream mixed with 1/3 cup of full fat yogurt...

Mine is  frozen in cubes because whole, plain yogurt only comes in big containers and i only use it to make more yogurt.
Use a very clean container.  I'll be using the Pyrex measuring cup that i measured the quart of cream into.

Mix the milk and yogurt well (after it thaws), but don't beat it in.

Cover and let it sit someplace warm for about 24 hours.
I decided, since it was cool last night, to use my yogurt incubator. I understand anything over 70-75 degrees F is good enough.

It should look thicker the next day, like yogurt does after incubation...
Cut the thick top with a whisk and stir to make sure it is all smooth

Now its time to make butter. Well, not quite. I decided to chill the culture because butter gets really soft at warm weather room temperature and i have "churned" butter before. It goes easier if everything is at least chilled.
I didn't take a picture of that part. ;o)
So, on to the churning. 
Since i saved a large pickle jar for this, i can shake it and roll it.  It takes a while, but if you pawn part of the task off on your kids it will go faster. (You could use a blender set on low speed i guess, but what would be the fun in that?)

And, shake, roll, slosh until it starts to grain...once that happens things go faster and you might not even notice the grainy stage. I tried to get a picture, but i can't really see that the camera caught it.

The butter will happen suddenly. Its almost like a magic trick,  give it a few more shakes to compact the clump of butter.

Strain the buttermilk out and save that for other yummy uses. (hmmm, pancakes, biscuits...a soak for pieces of chicken destined to be battered and fried)
My hands were too buttery to photo this part...

Rinse your butter with very cold water until all the buttermilk is out- or the buttermilk will spoil and make the butter taste rancid.

Taste it and salt lightly if you like.

Cultured butter and buttermilk.... Now those radishes need to grow!!!

Since its another cool day, i'm going to be making beef jerky with ground beef.  I use ground beef because it is so much cheaper than any steak i can get, even chuck and london broil are ridiculously expensive.
But that isn't really an exciting or unusual enough activity to blog about. But that is the activity of the day.
I'm too achy to plant corn like i wanted to.

An interesting giveaway.

I don't normally do this sort of post, but this is a website and product resource that is well within my interests.  They are also giving away a fascinating looking  DVD set of Home Craftyskills lessons , aka: Homemaking , from

So i will share their site (giveaway) here:
Raising Homemakers