EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 fat | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'fat'

Butter With A College Education

Cultured ButterOK, bad joke maybe, but I’ve been noticing that the next new big thing in San Francisco cuisine is all about cultured butter. Restaurants are making their own like it’s something new that’s never been done before and mixing in bone marrow or herbs or whatever they have laying around in the kitchen. The reality is that it’s not that new, it’s actually been around since people discovered milk comes out of cows and oddly enough it’s pretty easy to make yourself.

Why would I want to make butter? You’re probably saying. You can buy it at the store and if you look hard enough you can sometimes even find cultured butter. This is a bit different though because it’s fresh since you made it yourself and the thing that the restaurant chefs aren’t talking about is that if it’s made here it’s got San Francisco bacteria in it that you can’t find anywhere else. Just like our sourdough bread has it’s own flavor, cultured butter made in San Francisco has it’s own super rich awesome flavor.

I came upon making butter totally by accident actually. I kept hearing about creme fraiche as a new big thing and realized that I didn’t think I had ever tried it before so I had to make some. That part was easy. Here’s what you need:

1 pint heavy cream [not ultra-pasturized]
2 tablespoons plain yogurt with live cultures or cultured buttermilk
1 jar

Yes, it’s that simple. Pour the cream into a bowl and whip in the yogurt with a whisk then pour it into the jar. Here’s the part where people might get a little hincky. Lightly cover the jar and leave it out for 24 hours and you’ve got creme fraiche. The creme thickens up and starts to get a taste that kind of between cream cheese and sour cream. You’re free to stop there and use it anywhere you’d use sour cream. The fun fact with creme fraiche is that it’s higher butterfat content means you can mix it into sauces and it won’t break. I was tossing it on everything just to see where it would be good. Baked potatoes are great. Add a little sugar and pour it onto berries or dessert and it’s great. Mix in herbs for a super rich and wonderful dip for whatever you want to dip in it.

Now for the butter part. You can take your creme fraiche and pour it into a butter churn. Don’t have one? A food processor will work just fine. Turn it on and watch it start to look like beaten whipped cream in a couple of minutes. Let the processor keep going for about 5 minutes and it starts to break up from all that agitation. You’re getting butter and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk off and add some cold water and run the processor again. The water will wash out more of the buttermilk and you might have to do this a couple of times before the water starts to come out clear. The more buttermilk you can extract the longer it will last.

When you’re done you have cultured butter. The buttermilk you got out of it you can use to make more by adding a couple of tablespoons to more cream or you can make buttermilk pancakes. Part of the culturing comes from the yogurt cultures and part comes from your geographic location, i.e. San Francisco. It’s very high in butterfat like European butter. It’s kind of like a rock when you pull it out of the fridge. You can use it on whatever you like. I personally like it melting into some homemade dinner rolls, but again, I’ve been putting it on just about everything to see where it’s best. I’ve yet to be disappointed. It’s a little bit tangier than regular store bought butter and more than even the store bought cultured butter I’ve tried. I’ve used organic cream from Clover Stornetta or Straus Creamery because they’re local and I know the cows are grass fed so you get more Omega 3’s and all the good stuff that comes with grass fed cow’s milk. At the very least don’t tell anyone how easy it is to make and you can been all food snobby when you tell them that the dish you made incorporates hand made butter from the cream of grass fed cows. That’s a lot of words so that means it’s really good.

Yes, it’s pretty much all saturated fat, but it’s healthy saturated fat so it’s good for you right? Just try it and taste it and you really won’t care. I think I’ve found my last meal that won’t disappoint me.

Time To Change A Few Things

I’m not as active as I used to be because I spend most of my day at my computer either looking for a job or doing freelance work for others. This is caused a little problem. I’ve passed 200 lbs. I’m just shy of six feet so it’s kind of hard to tell when I’m standing, but when I sit down I definitely have a big belly now.

Most of this is probably due to a lack of exercise and the fact that my morning breakfast consisted of two pieces of toast drowned in butter. That has changed as of today. I’m back to cold cereal and fat free milk. I’ve also started walking more in an effort to help burn off some calories.

Obesity is something that’s on a lot of peoples minds [except in the Marina were everyone is thin and beautiful all the time]. I started to wonder one day why my Dad got skinny as he got older yet everyone else around him was getting fat. Then I did the math. The normal intake for an active person is between 2000-2500 calories a day depending on who you ask. Say you eat a bag of those 100 calories snack whatever past that and don’t burn it off and you do that every day. In a month you’ll have gained a pound, which leads to twelve pounds in a year and if you keep it up five years from now you will have  gain 60 pounds. Keep it up for ten years and you have an extra 120 pounds.

It’s that easy to get fat. My Dad was active well into his seventies, drank lots of beer and smoked like a chimney. Heart disease finally did him in at 83, but it happened pretty quick. My Mom on the other hand got less active after I was born and was probably over 350lbs when she died at 80. Also from heart disease, but because she was so overweight. The funeral home actually told me that I better put my hand underneath the bag they gave me that had the box that contained her ashes. It was so heavy that I had to weigh it when I got home. Her ashes weighed in at 10 lbs. My Dad and Grandmother were hardly a pound.

I don’t want to be like that. I like having mobility and the best way to keep that up with with a little bit of exercise. I don’t need to jog. I can just walk and mow my lawn and pull weeds like my Dad did. When I used to do that I was down to 178 lbs. So today I’m making a change because I want to see my daughter grow up and not be a faint memory to her.

Hi! My name is lard-ass

Well my doctor who can be blunt at times, which is good because I tend to take blunt people more seriously told me I was out of shape today and need to walk at least fifteen minutes a day. I kind of got an idea that something was wrong the night of the SF Weekly awards when I walked out of the metro station and by the time I got down to 111 Minna I had broken out in a sweat. I did that walk every day for years and never broke a sweat unless it was a very hot day. So things have changed for me and I sat down and thought about it for a bit.

For the last two years I’ve been unemployed except for a short 3 month stretch with a start up company that required me to sit at home in front of the computer and record voice overs for a cool iPhone app called HearPlanet. It turns out that being that sedentary all day long isn’t good for you. I spent most of my days at my computer, looking for work, doing freelance work or watching Hulu and Netflix and tweeting and Facebooking. This is not a good habit to have.

The weird thing is that I feel like I should look like the guy in the picture, but I don’t. I could lose five pounds, but I don’t look overweight for my age. I’m pretty close to my BMI which is good, but if I break out in a sweat after walking a block something’s got to change. As you may have noticed, my posting has been reduced a bit with my new job. I’m going to need to step away from the computer a bit more now so that I can get myself back to being able to walk six blocks to the store easily. That means I’ll try to have at least three posts a week.

It’s time I turned myself around so the guy in the picture can’t beat me in a sprint. We love our wide screen TV’s and computers and all the big techie stuff you can sit in front of for hours on end staring at here in San Francisco, but it’s not good for you. While my doctor has said my heart is in good shape, I still don’t want to die in my 50’s due to natural causes. Now it’s time to get up and take a walk after which I will call my friend Clint the yoga master down in Costa Rica for some yoga tips. For what it did for him, it might get me back in shape.

[ad#AdBrite]

Salt, Salt Everywhere

Well like most people my age, I’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. This actually came about twelve years ago and they gave me a pill and everything was fine. I was back down to 120/70 like I was as a kid. Then a few weeks ago something happened. It popped back up again. I couldn’t figure it out until I visited my doctor recently.

While there are many things that can cause your blood pressure to go up one of the main things they tell you about when you do have high blood pressure is to limit your salt intake. Since we don’t have a lot of money at the moment, we’ve been having to purchase more packaged foods which suddenly after looking more closely I’ve notice have high amounts of sodium in them. While we all know that salt is bad we’ve been keeping a look at it and I’m getting a little over two grams a day of salt. What I haven’t been getting is enough potassium. We in California seem to think that we are the top of the top for healthy eating, but we sometimes run into problems with that. If you look at some of the people who live in the rural parts of California where fast food is what they call breakfast, lunch and dinner because they’re too lazy to cook, you’re gonna see quite a few obese people out there.

Studies have shown that while our caveman ancestors didn’t have access to salt and being hunter/gatherers lived on diets high in fruits and vegetables with a little meat that this was a good way to get potassium which flushes sodium from your system. I realized I hadn’t been eating as many potassium rich foods as I used to and that is probably where the problem is.

I started with the number one great source of potassium, a banana. I have one every day with breakfast and get 448mg of potassium with that. Potatoes are an even better source so we have potatoes a couple of times a week. A good sized potato will give you 1.6gm’s of potassium. Still not enough since the average human needs around 3.7gms a day of potassium. This lead me to a bag of potato chips to have a look.

First off a serving [depending on brand] has about 115mg’s of sodium, but around 480mg’s of potassium. My doctor always told me to stay away from them because of all the saturated fat and cholesterol, but oddly enough a serving only has .5gm saturated fat and 0 cholesterol, so if you’re going for a junk food, potato chips are that bad. We’ll be going for the  low salt chips now for snacking. I seriously think that many doctor’s should take a look at the labels of foods before they speak out against them. Yes, potato chips are probably not very healthy, but when you compare a handful of potato chips to a granola bar you might be surprised. Granola bars or more accurately, power bars are really just a souped up candy bar with oats. Some have over 7 gm’s of saturated fat and loads of high fructose corn syrup not to mention electrolytes which oddly enough favor sodium over potassium or magnesium. Because of this, a small power bar can be upwards of 200 calories, while a serving of chips will hit you with about 150 while giving you 3.75 times as much potassium to help flush the salt from your system which aggravates high blood pressure. While I haven’t had time to try them there is a brand of unsalted chips that has only 5mg per serving giving you 88 times the potassium to salt ratio.

So how am I faring with the higher in potassium diet? Middle of last week my blood pressure was at 158/99, after adding in potatoes and bananas and english peas [great source of protein and good amount of potassium] I’m down to 130/83. Not perfect, but much better and I don’t have to take any supplements, this is all from natural foods.

Now, don’t expect me to start giving up meat and becoming a total vegan, but I am going to start eating better and maybe once a month I’ll splurge on a burger, hopefully I can get some sliced avocado on it [which has three times the potassium of a banana and tons of more nutrients as well as high in the healthy mono-unsaturated fats that build your good cholesterol and fight your bad cholesterol]. I don’t want to be like the Who and hope I die before I get old. I’m already kind of pushing towards the old they were talking about way back when, but I want to look fabulous when I’m in my 90’s and not like a shaking, withered up prune.

[ad#AdBrite]