Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Homestead Eggnog: Two ways!

Welcome back to the homestead!
Before we jump into this glorious eggnog recipe, I need to thank Gary for helping me with the filming. I have been strugling with the notion of making more cooking videos but I don't have the room to set up lighting and recording equipment, in order to do it justice.(type A personality here, do it right or don't do it.)
It seems that Gary also wanted me to do more videos about the things we are cooking here on the Homestead, so we agreed something is better than nothing, and off we went, I do hope you all enjoy the video and do watch at the end for an out take....

I found the recipe that I used as my guide while scroling through Facebook. It was providence I tell you! I follow Alton Brown, you know from Good Eats? Too far back for you huh? How about his more recent Cut Throat Kitchen? Okay, well Alton Brown is one of my all time favorite chefs/cooks. He is smart, funny and matter of fact, and I love that!
He has this amazing recipe for Aged Eggnog on his site. I read through the comments section for the reviews for about 45 min. I kid you not, I am kind of a review geek! I decided that the reviews were just too good to ignore.

We set about gathering all the ingredients we needed to assemble the concoction that gets better over time. We went to the store to retrive from it the bottles of liquor they were holding hostage, only to find out that they didn't have one type we needed. But as I read through so many comments I knew I could replace the Congnac with Brandy. So we did.

I normally like to buy all organic if I can find it. In this case I was not able to get Organic cream. (Boo Hannaford)
So with the ingredients in hand we went home and prepared our first batch.
Because I am LCHF/Ketogenic, I decided I had to do my best to make a no sugar version. I followed the recipe to the letter, but used Lakanto Monk Fruit Sugar replacement for the sugar called for in the recipe.
Since making and trying it, I would adjust the recipe to only using half  of the Lakanto sugar. It is extremely sweet. It may just be my non sugar eating taste buds, but If you are sugar free as well, then that is my personal suggestion!
I do not know how it will affect the consistancy of the nog yet, but I am going to make a non alcoholic version soon and I will report back on how that turns out. 

So on to the recipe.

If you want to try to follow it I say go for it.

Homestead Eggnog Sugar Free Version

  1. 12 large pasture raised egg yolks (store bought pasteurized if you need peace of mind)
  2. 1/2 pound Lakanto Monk fruit sugar
  3. 1 pint half-n-half
  4. 1 pint whole milk
  5. 1 pint heavy cream
  6. 1/2 cup Jamaican light rum
  7. 1/2 cup Jamaican dark rum
  8. 1 cup French Brandy
  9. 1 cup Evan Williams Honey (kentucky straight burbon whiskey)
  10. 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
  11. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.
  2. Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid "ribbon."
  3. Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
  4. Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there's nothing that says you couldn't age it a year, but I've just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)
  5. Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.
If you would like to get the microplane that I use, I have linked to it in my Amazon store Here.

So this recipe is only slightly tweeked, and only because we couldn't find the congac. While we were shopping another shopper over heard us talking about what we were going to put in our eggnog and kindly mentioned the Evan Williams Honey as the best in eggnog. We figured we should give it a try and we think it was a great suggestion!

This is our first time making homemade eggnog and if we can do it you can too! It is easy (if a little expensive, ingredient wise) But for a nice holiday treat I think it is worth it!

The time it takes to prepare right now is minimal. And if you make two batches and store one away for next year, your job is done untill next year when you do it all over again, starting a new holiday tradition for years to come!

Give it a try and let us know how yours turned out! If you used a different combination of alcohols. Or if you went by Alton's or my sugar free recipe. We would love to hear from you.
As always, sending out love from the homestead,
Gary and Victoria

Cheers to great food and good health!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Homestead Crock-Pot Yogurt How To

I am relatively new to yogurt making. I just started a few months ago to be honest. But I think that is why I am so excited to share with you how easy it really is to make your own.

The reason I'm calling it Homestead Crock-Pot Yogurt is because we have a Dairy farm within walking distance from our Homestead. So our access to fresh raw whole milk is the basis to our yogurt. I get it for $3 a gallon. No It isn't Organic, but I know my farmer Ronnie and I know his philosophy and I know his cows are pasture raised most of the year and given grain at milking time only. I don't have a problem with that.
But if that is out of your reach, or budget, fear not. You can use store bought whole milk, as long as it is not ultra pasteurized.

Now I'll go over the list of supplies and ingredients you will need.

1. A crock pot.
You can use any size, but I suggest if you eat a lot of yogurt or have a large family, you need to have a large crock-pot. A 2 gallon/8 quart for a large family or 1 gallon/4 quart for a small family.

Here is my affiliate link to the smaller sized one I use, and one for a large family.


2. A thermometer.
I use a candy thermometer.

Here is my affiliate link to the one I use.
3. A couple of old bath towels or throw blankets that will cover the crock-pot to help it retain its heat longer.

4. Utensils: Whisk, Ladle, Scraper Spatula and Quart jar(s) to store your yogurt in.

5. Large bowl, flour sack towel and a large colander to
strain the whey from the yogurt.

Here is a link to the type of towels I use.
DO NOT Use Cheesecloth.

Ingredients for the Yogurt

1 Gallon of Whole Milk( raw if you can, butif using store bought never use ultra pasteurized)( you can use any milk, so long as it isn't ultra pasteurized, but why would you want a low fat yogurt?Bleck!)

8 oz. of greek yogurt per gallon of milk(try to get whole milk, organic, has to be plain/unsweetened yogurt)
This is your starter for your first batch. Each time you make your yogurt, you'll save what you need for your next batch.

Now that you are prepared with all of the tools and ingredients we are ready to start.

Here is the link to my Videos with the step by step.

Part 2
Part 1

Instructions :

1. Set your crock- pot to high.
2. Add the milk.
3. Set your timer for 2 hours.
4. Test your milk with the thermometer for a temperature of 165*F to 220*F. If it is in that range you are ready to shut it off and let it cool.
5. Set your timer for 2.5 hours.
6. Test yogurt again for 115* F. Keep testing till it reaches 115*F.
7. Once it reaches 115* F you can now add your starter culture Mixing it well with your whisk, cover with the lid, then cover with your towels or blankets. At this point I will leave it in a non drafty area, like my pantry and come back to it in the morning. 12 to 18 hours later.
8. It will be thick and have a watery looking liquid that is the whey. Drain off as much as you can now using a ladle and discard,( feed to plants, chickens , pets or put into smoothies)
9. Now you will place the yogurt into yogurt draining system.
 See mine below.

10. Now comes the part that is time consuming. If you like your Yogurt thick move to step 11. If you like your yogurt thinner and creamy for making recipes and smoothies and Yogurt pops, go ahead and jar it up now! You are done......
11. Okay so you like your yogurt thick. Me too. Not just Greek style thick but Mascarpone style thick. So thick it feels like your eating ice cream.  What you want to do now is set your timer for 1 hour. Now walk away.
12. Timer goes off, you now scrape down your towel sides and the bottom to loosen the thickening yogurt and allow the whey to drain. Set the timer for another hour if you want it to get thicker. Repeat this process until it reaches your desired consistency.
13. Now you put it in a jar and place it in the fridge.
Eat and enjoy!

I am really excited to share this process with you, and I know that if you like yogurt, and you eat it on a regular basis, you will want to try to make your own. It is healthier,and full of wonderful probiotics that you need. It is also one more cool thing you can do to save money and eat healthier.

Doctor it up with your homemade preserves or fruit and some homemade granola or cereal.

I love it, it is super easy and I know you can do it if I can do it!!

With Love from the Homestead
Gary and Victoria