I am trying to prevent this blog from becoming nothing but blather about the book. You come here to visit with me; we want to chat about things, not do book promotion!
So I will continue to break that iron rule of blogging, and talk about more than one thing at a time, and you will continue to indulge me, because you are good that way! Let’s take a little peek at Chapters 2 and 3 and also making yogurt, shall we?
I will credit the internet for this: it brings us together and it gives us visuals. I never really understood some things about how I could make my home pretty or expressive of our family’s interests. I lacked certain principles of functionality… and you know how important those are to finally making beauty possible. It’s the bridge from here – all the stuff you possess — to there — an orderly, lovely, and unique home. By unique I really do mean your very own, for your and your family possess a genius (in the sense of the prevalent spirit or character particular to you).
Expressing the character of your home (having developed it, of course) turns out to be vitally important to the project of our own journey to heaven, the making of our family into what Augustine calls “the domestic church,” and the bringing of the Good News to the whole world. It is the Plan that God instituted in the beginning and that Jesus put squarely front and center in Matthew 19. Chapter 2 is all about this relationship between the interior life, the Liturgy, the family, and the world.
It helps me a lot to see pictures. That is why I always try to include them here with all the words, and it’s why we have Chapter 3 on exactly how to set up your little prayer table — but also your whole home – and here the awesome drawings from Deirdre really help give you the idea.
David and I did a super fun interview on The Good Catholic Life which you can listen to again today at 4pm Eastern time or at your leisure here. We were gratified that both our hosts, Dom and Michael, really appreciated both the detailed instructions of this chapter and the drawings.
Michael was noting that fathers and husbands would like the systematic approach, in which we go through the whole house with you, discussing furniture placement and colors. Dom called it “Catholic feng shui.” Too funny, since David had wanted to call an appendix chapter by that name, but I told him unless he was willing to take the time to explain what feng shui actually is (and how we don’t actually subscribe to it)….
He demurred, but appreciated Dom’s recognition. (Editors can be so mean.)
Elizabeth and I will talk about the book — you can listen to the podcasts and read along. I hope this little series I’m doing over here whets your desire to learn more, and you will take advantage of her insights as well!
Okay, on to yogurt. I got some queries on my little reference to my venture in yogurt making.
Here’s what I do:
Heat up your milk and cream. I don’t buy anything but heavy cream, because half-and-half, if you really want it, can be made ever so easily by, you guessed it, mixing half milk and half cream! I’d rather pay for the cream outright.
So I mix 3 parts milk and 1 part cream (which amounts to half milk and half half-and-half, if you follow). In my case, I make a quart total, because there aren’t that many people chez moi. You probably should make two quarts total (same ratio).
Bring the mix to a simmer — up to about 185*. I got this candy thermometer on sale at my grocery store, and it’s really worth it when you are attempting tricky things like this (and most importantly, making custard for homemade ice cream).
When I last talked about making yogurt, I mentioned my tendency to let the milk boil over, due to my distractedness. In the comments someone suggested a timer.
If only things were that easy.
Here is my timer situation: I have an oven range from hell. The timer doesn’t ding like a respectable timer. It makes this truly diabolical “tune” noise that instantaneously sends me into a rage. Since the oven also produces that same “tune” (and it lasts several eternities, which, WHY, when you really need one little beep and that is all) and there is no way to disable it, I eschew the timer.
Believe me, I’ve tried everything, even to the point of getting an actual repairman into my house to try to figure it out. I’ve called and tweeted at LG. Nothing. Besides the objective horror of this “feature,” I would like to point out that one conceivably could be listening to actual music while cooking, in which case, one would lose one’s mind when the milk had reached the simmer.
There’s a timer on my microwave, but of course, someone might want to use the microwave and would go ahead and do so, without even noticing that it was already in use. And you wouldn’t notice they had done that. And so, your milk would boil over.
There’s a timer on my phone, but of course my hands are always at least damp when I’m cooking, so that’s not usually convenient.
So the milk just often boils over. The worst that will happen is that the finished product will have a little layer of butterfat at the top. (Update: Will got me an old-fashioned dinging timer for my birthday, so maybe things are looking up!)
Cool the mix down to 100* and add a little of your starter, which is some yogurt. I used a tablespoon of Stonyfield Farm Organic yogurt, which is maybe local-ish? because I like how it tastes. And I used a tablespoon of my store’s brand of Greek yogurt, because it was there. Between them I got maybe up to 11 different cultures (I suppose the cultures could overlap? I know very little about it). Now I use about 3 tablespoons of the yogurt I’ve made.
I have heard that you actually don’t need a lot of your starter — that less could be better. We’ll try it different ways.
Now pour the mix into super clean jars. I use my peanut butter jars (from the natural peanut butter we like –excellent jars).
Divide it evenly.
Here’s why I didn’t get a yogurt maker: I have no counter space. None. For the vast amount of square footage in my house, my counter space is truly not adequate. So I don’t need any more appliances. I didn’t even want to get out the slow cooker. Instead, I used this ancient cooler. It fits a six-pack of beer and some ice, so it’s just the right size.
Okay, it’s not wonderful on the outside. I assure you it’s very clean on the inside. And the handle locks it. So I put my hottest tap water in there and stick the jars in.
Here is the evidence of how old this cooler is and how free it was, and warm does it make my thrifty heart that I can put it to this use!
Keep the yogurt in the cooler (or slow cooker) for 18 to 24 hours.
Turns out it’s hard to take a picture of the finished product. But it’s tasty and thick!
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