Category Archives: whey

Whine…and Cheese!

Okay, so my last post was me being mopey about the grocery store.

HOWEVER, I did make some fantastic cheese tonight.  It’s so freaking easy.  This recipe came from DIY Delicious by Vanessa Barrington.

Step 1: pour 1 gallon of milk into a large pot

I would cry if I spilled all of this

Step 2: Heat milk to 185 degrees F, while stirring.

Step 3: At 185 degrees, turn off heat and add 1/3 cup white vinegar.  Stir to distribute the vinegar, then let it sit for 5-8 minutes.

this effect is infinitely more disgusting when you are teaching the milk separation lab for general chemistry..

Step 4:  Remove clumps of cheese with a slotted spoon and place in a cheese cloth lined strainer.  If you want dry cheese, use less layers of cloth; soft cheese, use more.  (I used two layers)

starting to look less disgusting

Step 5: Once the cheese reaches the desired consistency, add salt (to taste), and store in a tupperware.

Cheese is obviously stored best in an old chop suey container

There you have it.  This whole process probably takes about an hour, but most of that time is waiting for the milk to reach the correct temperature.  It’s really nice if you have work in the kitchen that needs to be done, or if you can sit around and do homework or drink tea while you chat with your roommate and watch ridiculous videos on college humor.

Price?  Crazy cheap.  This was 3/4 of a gallon and 1/4 cup of vinegar so it ended up being $4.50 for ~1 lb?  1.5 lb?  of organic cheese.  A great bonus is that I also have A TON of whey left over.

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The Best Mashed Potatoes I Have Ever Made

Mashed potatoes have always been one of my favorite foods.  When I was little, my mom centered meals around mashed potatoes and gravy.  I got the idea to make potatoes tonight because I REALLY needed to use the rest of that creme fraiche.  I figured it could work double duty in the potatoes and I could omit the milk and butter from them.  This worked fantastically and tasted unbelievable.  I ended up with a Shepherd’s Pie of sorts using more leftovers…

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

-boiled 4 Russett potatoes (diced, skin on) in the remaining whey I had leftover (10 minutes)
-drained/mashed them.  Added ~1/3 cup of creme fraiche, continued mashing
-added salt, to taste
-mixed in canned corn, leftover guacamole, salsa

Total meal took 15-20 minutes.  I’m not even going to try and guess the price since I’ve been down to the bits and pieces of leftovers, although I have to assume it was less than $2.50.

Chopped Champion in Training

So, besides eating cheap, my other hobby is cooking quick meals.

Today, I was at the chem building from 7:45 AM and I walked in my door at 9:06 PM.  I had gone for a run, too, so I was starving.  I knew I had two avocados that were nearing the end of their shelf life, so I pulled out everything in my fridge and pantry that was opened and needed to be eaten:

2 avocados
1/2 bulb of garlic
1/2 bag of onions
plain yogurt
1/4 box of spaghetti
whey
2 eggs way past their expiration date

The first component was easy- I made guacamole.  I’m a big baby about doing dishes, so I always mix my guac in a tupperware instead of a bowl.  It makes me feel like I’ll make a good housewife someday, once I’m done with this PhD business and all.  (kidding.)

guacamole

2 avocados
1 clove garlic, fine chop
1/4 onion, fine chop
salt, pepper to taste
cumin to taste
taco seasoning, to taste
2 large spoonfuls of plain (homemade!) yogurt

time: 5 minutes

I just mixed it all together.  It definitely could have used some cilantro.  Sometimes if I don’t have cilantro I’ll super finely chop celery to give it that fresh taste…but I didn’t have any of that, either 😦  The yogurt made the cilantro deliciously creamy.  My old roommate used to put sour cream in her guac, so I kind of stole that idea.

Next, I decided to boil the spaghetti in the whey.  This was really interesting because it gave the spaghetti a very sweet taste.  I liked it..it tasted more like fresh, homemade pasta to me.  My roommate, on the other hand, wasn’t such a big fan.  It may have been her lactose intolerance telling her that what she was eating was poison..or maybe sweet pasta just isn’t her style.  The nice thing about the whey is that it all seems to get soaked up by the pasta.  When I drained the pasta, maybe only a tablespoon came out.  Once I put the pasta back into the pot I added a couple heaping spoonfuls of guacamole and stirred it, with the heat on low.

time: 8 minutes

While the spaghetti was cooking, I fried the two eggs, sunny side up.

time: (concurrent with spagetti, 6 minutes)

When everything was finished, I placed the guacamole laden spaghetti on the plate, put the two eggs on the side, and drizzled my homemade creme fraiche over the top.

total time (with plating): 15 minutes

The result?  Amazing.  It was honestly pretty reminscent of spaghetti carbonara.  The yogurt and creme fraiche gave the dish that wonderfully gooey, light consistency that good carbonara sauce has.  The fluffy eggs were the perfect protein to pair with the mild flavors of the guac.  If I could do it over, I would probably add an orange vegetable- maybe cooked carrots or sweet potato to liven it up a little.  Now, for my favorite part:

Price

spaghetti: $0.25 (1/4 of the box, paid $1.00 for whole box) (NOT organic)
avocados: $0.80 (used 2 avocados for the sauce, but only used 1/4 of the sauce)
yogurt: $0.25 (used $2.00 of milk to make the yogurt, only used ~2 tablespoons)
garlic: $0.20 (used 1 clove)
onion: $0.20 (used 1/4 of the onion)
eggs: $0.28 (paid 2.50 for 18) (NOT organic)
creme fraiche: $0.25 (paid 2.50 to make the creme fraiche, used ~1 tablespoon)
Total: $2.23

BUT

I only ate half, and have half packed for lunch, SO:

Grand total: $1.12

I’m okay with that 🙂

By the whey…

So, yesterday I shared my cheese-making experience for the pizza.  The cheese that I made was extra crumbly, so there was a TON of whey left over.  We’re talking probably 10-12 cups worth.  Being the frugalista that I am, I didn’t really want it to go to waste, so I’ve been using it for everything.  I’ve heard that it’s really good for watering plants with, but I’m selfish (and don’t have any plants…) so I’ve been using it for myself.

This is a pretty amazing deal because 1.  I already factored the price of the whey into the cost of making the cheese, so this is essentially free, 2.  there are a ton of nutrients (including lots of protein) in the whey, so it’s like I’m cooking with a supplement…for free, 3.  I’m not using water, which makes me feel like I’m conserving..and not spending those .2 cents out of the faucet (hey, it doesn’t sound like much, but I know when my bank account gets down to the last $5.00 I always look back to places I could have saved haha).  4.  You can also substitute it for milk..which saves you a lot more money than substituing water!

Here are some of my uses, with the results:

Pancakes

I have this amazing multigrain pancake mix that I buy in bulk from Bloomingfoods.  I substitued the whey for the milk..I made 2 batches of pancakes which saved me 1 cup and 4 tablespoons of milk.  Considering organic  milk is expensive, I didn’t think that was too shabby.  The result?  Pancakes fluffier beyond my wildest dreams with a fuller flavor than usual.  Bonus: I drizzled the top with my homemade creme fraiche that I’ll post about later.

Barley

Like I said earlier, barley is my new love.  It also soaks up tons and tons of water.  I filled a pot half full with whey protein and added some barley.  Now, if you haven’t noticed yet, when I’m cooking I don’t really believe in measurements.  You can’t really mess these things up, and if you do, there’s always a fix for it.  So anyway, I put a bunch of barley in and started it cooking.  When the liquid got low, I just added more whey.  I also added chopped up potatos and diced acorn squash I had roasted a few days ago.  Interestingly, the whey imparted an amazing flavor to the potatoes.  Perhaps it has something to do with the protein breaking down the starch?  I’m not really sure..  I would be interested to try making mashed potatoes by coooking the potatoes in whey and substituing it for milk.  Other ingredients I added to this barley:

pressed garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, pepper

The overall taste was very home-y.  It had a subtle milky flavor to it, and the potatoes and squash made it feel comforting.  If you don’t like squash, I would definitely recommend adding something with a little color, because I think it might be a little bland otherwise.

Other add-ins I would like to try:

grainy mustard, spinach, sweet potato, chunks of beef, fennel

I feel like barley possibilities are pretty endless

Boxed Rice

I found an old box of Nature’s Way whole grain chicken and herb rice.  Again, I substitued whey for water.  Doing so in this recipe was pretty analogous to substituting chicken stock for water in rice recipes.  It added a little extra flavor.  In the future, I wouldn’t do a 1:1 substitution.  You definitely need about twice as much whey than the called for amount of water.

So, overall, I think you can do just about anything with whey.  I tasted a little bit and it probably wouldn’t be bad to drink by itself – in fact, a lot of cultures have carbonated drinks they make from it.  You could add it to a smoothie or a milk shake, bake with it, or even make more cheese.  If you do the same process as before – heating it to 185 degrees and adding vinegar, you can make ricotta.  This didn’t seem advantageous to me, though, because I heard you only get about a cup’s worth of cheese.

I still have quite a bit left, so I’m excited to see what other possibilities I can think of.

edit: (1/24/2012)

Oatmeal

I honestly didn’t really like this combination.  The whey gave it a gummy texture very reminscent of instant oatmeal.  Definitely not my favorite.

Mashed potatoes

I really liked this.  I think the whey actually made the potatoes cook faster, which was certainly a plus.  As with most of the food I have cooked in whey, I think the potatoes had a “fuller” flavor than those cooked in water.