Thursday, August 9, 2012

Home Made Beef Jerky

I did it! I made homemade beef jerky! As usual, I found a recipe online, and tweaked it as I felt fit. Here's the skinny:

1 lb Beef (I used a shoulder cut, I think. It was lean and on sale)
1 Bottle Teriyaki sauce

You can make you're own sauce, dry rubs, etc. I tried two other flavors besides the teriyaki one, but didn't really like either one of them. Although, almost any sauce you like, will likely taste good on beef jerky. I used a homemake worcestershire based sauce that Forrest really liked, and I recommend finding one you like!


Slice beef into strips.

You can buy it in strips sometimes, or have the butcher do it. If you're opting to slice it yourself, try and cut at an angle, and slightly off of the grain. See bottom note for more details.

Mix in marinade, and marinate overnight, or at least 8 hours, in the fridge. I put mine in a ziplock bag, and squeezed most of the air out.

After marinating, lay beef flat on a baking sheet, and place in oven, preheated to 170-200º, whichever is the lowest temperature your oven will allow.

Bake 6-8 hours, turning once or twice after 3-4 hours.

Your home will smell amazing! Forrest LOVED it when he walked in the door and had such an awesome snack.

Bottom Note:
Here's what I mean about 'slightly off the grain'. Look at your beef and figure out which way the fibers are going. If you line your knife up with it, and cut into the beef, you'll be going with the grain. If you look at the slice, you'll see long lines going up and down. Now, if you turn your knife 90º and cut, you'll be going against the grain. So, if the grain is going left to right, and your blade is going up and down, it's against the grain. If you cut it, you'll see a bunch of sections, rather than long lines.
Now - how to cut slightly against the grain. Line your knife up with the grain. Now, turn your knife (or beef) slightly, like 5-10º. If you look closely at my pictures, you'll be able to see what it should look like.

Home Made Mozzarella Cheese

OH MY STARS!!!! I just finished making a batch of homemade mozzarella cheese, and I will never ever go back to buying the stuff at the store.

Here is the story about my recent cheese conversion:
One day, I was board out of my mind, so naturally I was on pinterest. I saw something about "Homemade mozzarella cheese in 30 minutes". I laughed and thought, "Ha, who makes cheese at home?!" Then of course I clicked on the link to see what it was about. Sure enough, on some mom blog a woman had a recipe for homemade mozzarella cheese. My interest was piqued. I read thought it, looked at what was involved, and started to browse the web. Eventually, I came across this website, It appears to be a woman in the Northeastern area who makes cheese. I bought a kit from her site that contained all the random things that would take me weeks to track down on my own. The kit sat on my counter and the milk I bought to make it sat in my fridge, and the trial kept getting delayed for one reason or another. Finally, as my milk was about to pass it's prime, I hauled everything out to embark on a delicious journey.

Basically, here are the steps. If you really want to do it, I recommend checking out Ricki's website.

Stir milk and citric acid, heat.

Add rennet. Wait.

*Get SUPER excited because you can see it working!!!!*

Cut, stir, heat.

Drain, add salt, microwave.

Stretch. Drain. Microwave.

Stretch and shape.

I shaped mine into mini logs (string cheese), a log (for caprice salads, a personal favorite), and bit size chunks. They all look as ugly as sin. I'll upload pictures when I get my computer to cooperate.

It's fantastic. It cost $30 something for the kit (including shipping) and $2.50 for the milk. It costs $8 at your typical store for a log of cheese half the size I made. While it'll take a few rounds of cheese to break even, the taste, texture, and just plain fun of making it, far out weight the initial costs of buying the kit.
The kit comes with enough product to make at least 30 batches (30x$8=$240 worth of cheese) and has excellent tips, and instructions.