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French

Crème Fraîche

TIME: 5 MINUTES (plus 3 - 5 days to culture); SERVES: 1 PINT

Crème fraîche is one of the most important staples in my kitchen. This French version of sour cream is an incredible cultured food that costs only a few dollars to make, and has all the probiotic health benefits of high-quality, fermented dairy. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate content is perfect for those following a Keto diet, and making your own allows you to choose organic, grass-fed cream instead of conventional, ultra-pasteurized.

Crème fraîche is particularly useful in cooking because it doesn’t curdle when heated and can be simmered in sauces and soups. Purists may choose to purchase a true crème fraîche culture, but I find using cultured buttermilk to be just as effective & delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1 pint heavy whipping cream, preferably grass-fed & organic. Steer away from ultra-pasteurized for the best nutritional value and flavor. Raw cream is ideal if you have access to it.
2 tbls. cultured buttermilk

METHOD

  1. Stir the buttermilk into the cream.

  2. Cover with a cloth or loose fitting lid.

  3. Set on the counter away from direct sunlight. Fermentation will occur more quickly in a slightly warm place.

  4. Stir every day. After a couple days, you will notice the cream thickening. Once it is thick and slightly tangy, transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

*There’s a certain schedule that I stick to: Every week or so, I purchase a whole, organic chicken, a quart of buttermilk, and a pint of heavy whipping cream. For the chicken, I follow Samin Norat’s recipe for Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken, saving a couple tbls. of buttermilk to make crème fraîche. Once I finish off the roast chicken and the crème fraîche has cultured, I start the process again (and if I have saved enough chicken carcasses, I’'ll simmer a batch of bone broth as well).

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Easy Celeriac Slaw

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 4 - 6
Adapted from Ina Garten

If you want to go full-blown Parisian, you can make homemade Remoulade, which is basically Aioli with added Cornichons and herbs. This is a quicker version, but no less delicious. As a grower, I have much appreciation for the humble celeriac plant. They are the first seeds we sow in March and typically take 8 months to mature before ready for harvest. I love this dish as an alternative to cabbage slaw, especially with pork chops or roast chicken. It is delicious alongside poached eggs, a simple green salad, and a few slivers of sharp cheese.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds celeriac, 1 large or 2 smaller
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Juice from 1 large lemon, about 3 tbls.
3/4 cup homemade mayonnaise or crème fraîche
2 tbls. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar (opt.)
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Finely chopped cornichons or small sour pickles to taste (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, peel the celeriac: cut off the top to make a flat surface, then cut down along the sides, following the contour and removing as little flesh as possible. Then cut into thin matchsticks, or grate in a food processor fitted with the coarsest grating blade. Place the celeriac in a large bowl, sprinkle with the kosher salt and 2 tbls. of lemon juice, and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise or crème fraîche, mustard, remaining 1 tbls. lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Add enough dressing to moisten the slaw, without drowning it. If you have leftover sauce, reserve it for use in another dish. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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