random thoughts

I am back to my normal routine as of today and it feels good.

Yesterday after the noon, I was busy with socials and having great time with friends. That felt good. It was also expensive (the cab ride only took 51 bucks). Add to this the treats and gifts. But what can I do?

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Today I have gone to thrift stores. It was one of those days that I have no interesting stuff to pick. I could probably pick a number of things but none would be something that I would absolutely need. I tried around 20 blouses/cardigans and it is interesting that I did like none of them 🙂 That is okay too – there will be times when I find something really lovely and excited to purchase it.

My hair is doing well. I think because of the exposure to sun today, it looks a little bit lighter. That is what I need to see. I am scared, however, to find out how it will turn out in 2-3 weeks when the roots start to come out. Goodness, help me.

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Did I mention that I lost my sourdough starter? Yesterday I was about to feed it, but i could not find the glass jar in the fridge. It was an awkward 15 minutes of my life where I just stood there, looked around, tried hard to contemplate the situation, believed that somebody was messing with me, believed that a supernatural creature was messing with me, and eventually I came to the conclusion that with the stress and the agitation of work last week, I had forgotten to spare starter and put all of the fed starter into my loaf last week.

That sucks.

That starter worked really well. Thank goodness, I have had dried it up last January. I have dissolved some of it in water, and fed with flour yesterday and this morning. To tell you the truth, it just smells like flour but not starter. So I do not know what will happen, whether there is an microorganism to revive in the dried starter, and if so whether I will get a robust starter as before. But all I can do is to trying. The worst case scenario is that I start a new starter, even though I really would like my first starter to revive and be present in my life….

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My kefir grains, on the other hand, doubled. I think I have got them in May and it was just a table spoon of grains. Now I have double or even triple this initial amount. This has happened lately, in the last few weeks which I think is because of the warm weather. It has not disappointed me at all. I should find ways to preserve these grains; freeze them? Dry them? I gotta look at the internet again.

Tomorrow will be another lovely day. Until then, enjoy your day and night!

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adventures with kefir

I have had the excitement of owning kefir grains in the last one month 🙂

At first I left the kefir grains+milk mixture in a jar on the counter with only the top/lid being covered by a clean piece of cloth (secured with elastic band). I replaced milk everyday, directly from fridge. It did not get thick (that is, curdy) but tasted tangy and salty in 24 hours. I kept it that way for a week or so. 

Then I decided to wrap it with a kitchen towel and hoped that it warmed it and helped with fermentation. It did not make a huge difference in fermentation/texture/taste I would say.

Then I decided to put it in a cabinet and wrap with a thicker towel, away from sunlight. Again, there was no significant change.

Then, my sister convinced me to use warm milk; basically I put the fresh milk in a clean jar, covered the top, and put it in hot water bed for 10-15 min to warm it up. I then added the grains in warmed milk and also covered it with a thicker blanket. I replaced the milk everyday, and then started to change it every two days. These changes occurred last weekend (June 3-4). There was some thickening of the milk (curd) around the grains and there was some kind of mucus-like thing going on around the grains, but again there was not significant change in the texture. 

Then my best friend gave me the idea to warm up the thick blanket in the dryer to help fermentation. I did this starting this weekend – 3-4 min in dryer is enough. I did this whenever I changed the milk.

And a couple of day later, yesterday to be exact, I have had the kefir fermented in 12 hours! 🙂

I have removed the grains, fed them with fresh milk (which nicely gave me another batch of kefir today), and left the fermented kefir at room temperature away from sunlight (not covered by anything, except the lid) yesterday. This is called “second fermentation” by sources in internet. It started to separate (the curd and whey) a few hours after that and this evening I planned to make cheese/spread out of it (total of 24 hours of second fermentation). 

It was very easy.

It turns out if you leave it like that, the curd naturally moves up and it almost drains itself of the liquid part (i.e. whey). When used the spoon, I was surprised by how solid it felt 🙂 the bottom part where the curd touches the whey is naturally a little bit wet, but one can strain/drain this using a strainer (I did not this time, but I am planning next time). I added some salt, chili flakes, and dried dill to my first ever kefir spread! Yum 🙂

A couple of notes: I noticed that if I warm up the milk and the blanket, the jar/grains keeps warm for quite some time (for hours) and it is especially important to keep it warm where the grains are; my grains are always on the surface so covering the top/lid of the jar really good with a clean piece of cloth first and then with warm, thick blanket is a good idea.

Also, the fermentation temperature seems to make a difference; when it is colder temps, then it is more sour/tangy. However when it is fermented in a warmer environment, then it is not. There must be some bacteria that like colder temps and produce the tangy taste.

I used 2% or homogenized milk. I am not sure whether skim milk would yield such robust kefir grains. I must also say that there has not been significant change in the size or numbers of the kefir grains since I adopted them a month ago.

Overall, I am very excited and would love to try a cheese or two using the kefir curd. Here is one recipe that makes it sound really easy. Hope I can succeed in this 🙂

random thoughts

I keep waking up early and going to office by 8 am. Our administrative person at the office has joked today by asking whether I slept at the office 🙂 She said that I was there when she left yesterday and I was there this morning when she arrived 🙂 I told her that I think I am getting old – they say we sleep less as we age 🙂 (is that true, by the way??)

I also keep walking to the office, even though I find that my mind is quite occupied while walking. It is usually very quiet in the morning and there is not much of a traffic. I think I am really lucky to live so close to my work place. 

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It was a very busy day at the office today. I was drained in the evening but I was also happy that things moved well today. Tomorrow I have a busy schedule, and possibly Thursday too. If I remember correctly I have a free schedule on Friday, which is awesome. I for some reason thought that I have had the next Monday off (the Victoria day). It turned out I was wrong. Nope – I gotta work that day. Argh… I was so looking forward to working in the yard this long weekend.. Everybody does… It is the Victoria Day! It is the beginning of Spring and gardening!

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I will have two friends, a couple, over for a dinner on Sunday. I have a list of food to purchase and cook on Sunday. It is gonna be fun and lovely. Having the dinner on Sunday rather than Saturday was a good idea as it will be give me ample time to shop, clean the house, and cook without rushing. This will reduce my cooking stress :))))) I am budgeting 100 bucks for this dinner (including the drinks). I am positive that it will work out just fine. Thank goodness that these people are incredibly lovely and down to earth people. So it will not be a problem to feed them without having too much of fancy stuff on the table. Such people are always welcome in my home.

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I feel like my kefir grains are getting bigger. I will take pictures tomorrow, and then again at the weekend, to document the development in grains. I note that the milk is only lightly fermented in 24 hours even though the soury-kefir-y taste is recognizable at the end of this time period. I wonder whether the taste will get stronger over time. Maybe I need to use a larger container and more milk to ferment… Anyways; my grains are still young. I am sure I will know more about them in the future. For now, I am excited to be arriving home every day, and checking, drinking, and replacing my kefir 🙂

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This is it for now, friends. I hope you have had a great Tuesday and are having a wonderful evening!

 

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my kefir grains :)

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My friend who we visited yesterday gave me kefir grains! 

I am so excited!

Last year I had looked on the net for information about it. I was hesitant to purchase it, so I let it go from among my plans. So when my friend yesterday asked me whether I have had other fermented food (she knows that I have a sourdough starter),and whether I would like some kefir grains she has had,  I was like, yes – please!! 🙂

A wish came through.

Unexpectedly.

I m grateful for my friend and my sourdough starter – it will keep company of my second house pet 🙂

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