Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bicycle-Churned Butter

Shvies celebrations began early here at Chez Chocolate. We rode up to Brattleboro, Vermont for the Dawn Dance and the 10th annual Strolling of the Heifers. This was Brattleboro's 10th Strolling of the Heifers, but it was a first for us. Every minute of the cow parade was beautiful. You think I am kidding, but I am not. I never saw cleaner, better-kempt cows, and the brilliant and skilled 4-H kids were just kvelling with pride and love for their cows. A heifer named Jellybean won the beauty contest, which was judged by the human Miss Vermont, but the beauty was just all over the place.

In keeping with the cow-themed nature of the ride, we indulged in milk, cream, and ice cream from Strafford Creamery, and brought a pint of heavy cream for coffee with us on the way back. Now, here's the most amazing Shvies recipe ever, and possibly the coolest thing I have done in my whole life. After we had gone about sixty miles, of which five were off-road, we stopped for coffee and had the following exchange:

Phisch and Chips: I think there is something wrong with this cream, Chocolate Lady; it's all yellow and lumpy.
Chocolate Lady: OMG! We churned butter!

It was the creamiest, most flowery, most ethereally delicious butter on earth. I realize this is not a recipe you might be able to try conveniently right away, but keep it in mind.
Bicycle-Churned Butter

Buy a pint of the most bodacious local heavy cream. Drink about four ounces (half a cup, 1/4 pint) with you coffee, and place the bottle with the remaining cream in an insulated pouch in your bicycle basket. Ride about 60 miles, five of them off-road. Spoon out the curds and salt lightly. Enjoy with bread, crackers, parsnips. Eat. Be satisfied. Praise the Lord.

אױסשלאָגן פּוטער
oysshlogn puter
to churn butter

rejoice, swell with pride

I just remembered the entry on Butter from Le Grand Dictionaire de Cuisine by Alexandre Dumas. After noting briefly butter's historic and literary relevance Dumas adds:

In a few countries where I have traveled I have always had freshly made butter, made on the day itself. Here, for the benefit of travelers, is my recipe; it is very simple, and at the smae time foolproof.
Wherever I could find cow's milk or camel's milk, mare's milk, goat's milk, and particularly goat's milk, I got some. I filled a bottle three quarters full, i stopped it up and I hung it around the neck of my horse. I left the rest up to the horse. In the evening, when I arrived, I broke the neck of the bottle and found, within, a piece of butter the size of a fist which had virtually made itself. In Africa, in the Caucasus, in Sicily, in Spain, this method has always worked for me.
(From Dumas on Food translated by Alan and Jane Davidson, introduced by Alan Davidson, London: The Folio Society, 1978, 83-84)
Bon Yon Tov Alexandre!

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Blintzes: The Leaves (Crepes)

2 eggs
1 egg white
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/ teaspoon salt)
3 ounces (3/4 cup) sifted flour
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons melted butter or oil
additional butter for frying

Whisk all the ingredients together to make a thin batter. Heat two cast iron griddles or skillets and butter them lightly. If you only have one skillet, that is fine; it will just take a little longer. For each crepe,pour about 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle and cook on one side only until golden on the bottom an dry on top. Stack the lintz wrappers in a loosely overlapping pile so they will be easy to pick up later on.

Blintzes: The Filling

2 packages (14 ounces) farmer cheese
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon salt)
1 or two tablespoons sugar

Blend the filling ingredients together with a fork.

Blintzes: The Assembly

Lay a blintz wrapper on your work surface cooked side up. Spoon about teo tablespoons cheese filling onto the nearest third of the crepe. Roll up the blintz, tucking in the sides as you go, so that it is raw-side-out. You may keep the assembled blintzes until ready to serve, At serving time, heat yet more butter in your iron skillets, which you need not wash or wipe in the interim, and fry the blintzes on all sides to your desired degree of golden-brown nirvana. Serve with full-fat sour cream.

Still working on the vegan version. A gut yontif ale.

See our Blintz video here.

This recipe appeared in Yiddish here.

Vegan Shvies (shavuos, shavuot, shabuoth) survival guide here.
Johnny Cash on Blintzes here.