I went to the grocery store the other day to buy buttermilk and they were out. How were they out of buttermilk you ask? Well maybe everyone was making Green Velvet Cake…or not. Whatever the case, I thought perhaps I should share with you how to make your own buttermilk, just in case you’re ever standing in the grocery store staring at the empty buttermilk fridge as I was.

Homemade Buttermilk (from my Mama’s words of wisedom)

Makes one cup

1 cup milk, any percentage

Juice of half a lemon

Squeeze the lemon over the top of the milk in a measuring cup. Allow for the mixture to curdle for at least thirty seconds. Stir and use as you would store-bought buttermilk.

I love pineapple but I know a lot of people don’t buy them because they seem like a real pain to get into. Use this guide and after a couple pineapples of practice, I promise you will get the hang of cutting a pineapple. I like to use a serrated knife because I find the knife sinks its teeth into the pineapple well but you can feel free to use a chef’s knife too.

First, you remove the top and bottom of the pineapple — now you have a flat surface to cut on.

Then, just like with supreming citrus, you remove the skin off the outside of the pineapple. Use your knife and saw down around the outside of the pineapple until all the rough, prickly pineapple bits are gone.

Now, look down the center of the pineapple and see the circular little core. You want to use the core as your guide and cut the pineapple in half.

Cut the half, in half.

Cut the quarter into half.

Use your knife to remove the core. Place your hand on the outside of the pineapple to stabilize it as you cut. Locate the core and with your knife on an angle, cut it own.

You can now flip the pineapple onto the flat edge created by removing the core and decide if you want to: Cut it into strips.

Cut it into wedges.

Or cut it into tidbits.

Enjoy!

Ok, today we are going to talk about one of my favorite things…segmenting citrus fruit. Once you get the hang of it, segmenting or supreming an orange is an easy and elegant way to class up any salad, fruit or otherwise, or dessert. Who wants to eat the nasty pity anyway? Supreme away!

Begin with the lovely citrus fruit of your choice:

Using a knife, I suggest a paring knife, remove about quarter of an inch of the top and bottom of an fruit. Now you have a flat surface to use as you begin to remove the peel from the fruit.


Use your knife to follow the round of the fruit from top to bottom. Try to remove all the white pith and leave as much of the actual fruit as possible until all the peel is removed. (If you want…you can save the peel to make candied citrus peel and one day Baking Vintage will show you how to do that.)

Now it’s time to remove the fruit from the membrane. There are a couple ways to do this: The first way is a rebellious one. I hold the orange in my hand and use a small paring knife to remove the fruit, carefully cutting between the membrane and the meat of the fruit on either side of what will be the segment. I do this over a bowl to catch the juices and I go slowly and carefully because after all, knives are sharp, people. The second way is the way I suggest to those of you who are less comfortable with knives. Basically, you remove the segment of citrus from the white membrane by cutting on either side same as before, but you do so by resting the fruit on the cutting board and using your hand to stabilize it. You pick your method of removal.

Continue going around the orange till all the segments are removed — you feel classy now, don’t you?

I realize that I use whipped cream sort of a lot. And you know, sometimes I forget that not everyone knows how to whip it. Whip it good (sorry, couldn’t resist). I am a huge proponent of whipping cream by hand — it’s like my party trick. Call me old-fashioned but I think there is merit to knowing how to whip cream by hand. Furthermore, one of my chef-instructors in pastry school told me that when you whip cream by hand, you actually whip the little proteins in the cream into abstract formations and make a better end product then when you use a machine — he was probably telling me a little nonsense but let’s just go with it, shall we? Before you begin, there are three main ingredients in whipped cream: heavy cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.

I usually whip cream in a stainless steel bowl because cold cream whips up best and stainless steel keeps cream cold as you whip. The other essential tool that every cream whipper must have is a big balloon whisk. Balloon whisks help to incorporate lots and lots of air into the heavy cream as you are whipping which is exactly what you want.

I find it’s easiest to whip cream by holding the bowl with one hand and letting the cream collect on the other side. This way the cream is concentrated in one place and doesn’t have to be chased all around the bowl. After about 30 seconds of whipping, your cream will have developed thick bubbles that almost look a little like foam.

Continue whipping your cream until it starts to thicken. You will be able to feel and to see your cream start to bulk up. This can take 30 seconds to minutes depending on your cream whipping muscles.

When you get to the stage of whipping where the cream just starts to hold its shape, this is the soft peakstage. At this point, you can add your sugar and vanilla (or any other flavoring that you might like — liqour, honey, maple syrup, or no flavoring at all). Additionally, if you are making cream to serve a little later, be advised that you probably shouldn’t whip cream too much before hand. Take it as far as soft  peaks and then let it rest in the fridge until you are ready to serve and then finish whipping.

To get to stiff peaks stage it really doesn’t take too much more muscle. Really whisk another 30 seconds to one minute and you should be there.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream will make 2 cups whipped cream — heavy cream always doubles in volume

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

In a stainless steel bowl, begin whipping cream with a large balloon whisk. Whip cream till soft peaks form, add flavorings and continue whipping till soft peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip or cream will become chunky and start to separate.