Ricotta cheese spreads with garlic and Italian seasoning. Swedish Gjtost cheese spread. Greek yogurts with fresh raspberry puree. Fresh ginger sparkling water. Home grown blue oyster mushrooms and fresh garden tomatoes in homemade bread.
Of late I’ve been enjoying time in the kitchen, time making foods from scratch, living life as though I had more time than money. The reality is, the opposite is true, but it’s a wonderful way to spend the limited time I do have.
Ricotta is actually quite easy to make. I won’t give the recipe, as that is easy to find online, but in brief, add some citric acid to milk along with a bit of salt. Then, heat the mixture to 185 degrees, separating curds and whey. Drain off the whey, and save. Pour the curds into some butter muslin or cheesecloth and hang it so that it forms a rough ball shape, dripping the remaining whey into the sink. Add spices and spread on your homemade bread.
To make Gejtost, simply simmer the saved whey until it thickens. Add a bit of cream and stir until it gets to a fudge like consistency. Cool and then eat. Honestly, I am not happy with the results… yet.
Yogurt is even simpler. Add some active culture yogurt to a quart of milk. Add dried milk for thickening. Let sit in a warm place for 8 hours or so. Eat.
I went a bit gadget crazy with the sparkling water. First, you buy a sodastream home soda maker. Then you chill water and then put it in the machine, push a button, and you have sparkling water. Then, boil some ginger in a pan for awhile. Add sugar. Then, add some of the concentrated ginger to the sparkling water. I probably spent $100 on this machine. Probably silly, but I’d say we were going through a $3 case of sparkling water every two or three days. The pile of cans was amazing. Now I can make a liter of sparkling water for about 25 cents, and reuse the container. I can also make my own flavors. I also have a bit of an energy soda habit.. aka Redbull. Each can is at least $2. I can make it, using their energy drink mixes, for about 65 cents a liter. It’s not as caffeinated, so a liter isn’t as crazy an amount to drink as it might sound! That doesn’t include the cost of the machine, but you can see it wouldn’t take too long to pay off if you were a Redbull fan.
Mushrooms? I bought a kit for $20 at a farmers market. The blue mushrooms will go for about $10 a pound or so. I may get two pounds. Break even.. but enjoy the process. Later, if I want, I can get oyster innoculent, and make my own kits for much less.
The tomatoes are being grown in bags that look for all the world like those new reusable shopping bags. Get some plant starts… add soil.. water.. sunshine.. and wait. We will see how it works out, as they haven’t grown yet.
If I start living the shantyboat lifestyle for months or years at a time this is how I’d like to spend my time. Good food. Healthy food. An enjoyable past-time. In some cases I save a LOT of money. In others, it may cost marginally more, but either way, the food is fresh, has no preservatives, and has exactly the spices I want. I am even being green, as I reuse old containers for all of this. I’ve said often that I see shantyboat living as more of a lifestyle than simply living in an old beat up boat. Yes, in my mind at least, the boat should be homemade or at least highly modified…. but it’s really how you use it…. and an attitude. No hurry. No pretentiousness. Living a simpler life where you take the time to notice the world around you.
Now, back to the kitchen and garden. It’s a beautiful day.