… and a little background on milk.
The traditional/real food community has a few food items I think are keys to summing up the movement. One of those items is raw milk. It’s been in the news again recently, from people claiming it has made them sick to people claiming it has cured their chronic illnesses. (Listen to a recent segment on the subject from Living on Earth.) It’s a huge subject and I admit I still do not know enough about it to go into details here. You might want to look at the real milk campaign web site to get some ideas and also hunt around various real food blogs (some linked at the right) for more milk information. You can also check out Cheeseslave and Kitchen Kop for more material, and this week Kitchen Stewardship is talking all about milk options.
I started drinking raw milk about a year ago. It took some effort to find, although my state does permit retail sales, but I definitely think it’s worthwhile. For one, I drink a lot more milk now. Raw milk does sour faster than pasteurized and homogenized milk, and I don’t want to spend all that money and not be able to drink it. But an interesting fact about raw milk: you can still use it when it’s gone sour. It works for cooking and yogurt making for one. Apparently one of my relatives in Sweden once upon a time used to do just that, take the sour milk and make yogurt.
Sour milk also provides you with leftovers, unlike pasteurized. Let it sit for a few days after it sours, perhaps outside the fridge. (I promise you won’t get sick if you do this! If I have been doing what I am about to tell you for the past year with no illness, you’ll be fine.) Eventually the fatty portion of the milk will separate from the liquid and you will have two items you can use in the kitchen: whey and traditional cream cheese. It’s very simple to get both. Let the milk completely separate. Take a fine mesh strainer, line with a white dish towel, set on a bowl, and pour the liquid through. Once the majority of the whey has filtered through the towel, hang up the towel to let the rest of the liquid drip out. Store both items (separately) in the fridge. The cheese will last about one month and the whey, six.
I’ve been using the whey to soak oaks and beans, because it helps to break down a substance in plant matter called phytic acid. It’s a substance which prevents the body from absorbing minerals, and by removing it, you get more nutrients out of your food.
For the last year though, I’ve not really done anything with the cream cheese that separated. This is not the stuff you’re used to from the supermarket, believe me. I’ve put it in some other dishes, like a pesto spread and quiche, but the cream cheese retains enough of a sour scent that I haven’t had much luck eating it alone. Thankfully Nourishing Traditions came to the rescue because I finally got the idea to look in the recipe index for ideas, which is where I came upon the cream cheese dip. It uses the cheese, along with flax seed oil (a great source of omega 3 fats which you want in your diet) to make the base. I added the last of the garlic scapes I had in the house, and the dip was a hit! Nourishing Traditions does list several variations you can make with the dip, and what I am sharing here is the base given with the book along with my additions. I think next time I’d actually want to use a little sea salt.
Cream Cheese Dip with Garlic Scapes
1 cup traditional cream cheese
2 T. flax seed oil
6 garlic scapes
*Mix cream cheese and flax seed oil in a blender. Or, if you do not feel like pulling it out, I mixed mine in the serving bowl I planned to use with a rubber spatula. Came together just fine.
*Chop up garlic scapes.
*Mix scapes thoroughly into cream cheese mixture.
*Keep chilled until serving time.
serves approx. 4 people