Deb Joelle’s real talent is…

Hiya! I thought I might as well get the exclamation point out of the way right off the bat because I tend to be a bit excitable. Especially now that I’m a Deb! Okay…two per post, that’s my limit.

00330002e My name is Joëlle Anthony, and I’m pretty sure I was chosen to be a Deb because I know how to make butter. It’s true. You see, when I applied, there was a section on the application for “other things we should know” or something like that, and since I didn’t really think I should admit right then that I have trouble with commas, I decided to explain how to make butter. I am thinking that the 09 Debs read that and thought, “Now there’s a well-rounded girl.” Or not.

RestoringHarmonyLR It’s possible I was chosen because I have a debut novel coming out in 2010. Yeah, maybe that was it. It’s a Young Adult book called Restoring Harmony and it will be out May 13th, 2010 from Putnam. I’ll wait while you go add that to your Yahoo calender. Okay…finished? Great. Over the next year, I’m sure I will blather on ad nauseum talk a bit about my book, so for now, I’ll just say that I’m really excited, both for my book’s release, and to be a Deb.

I first heard about the Debs from Eileen Cook, who used to be one. She made it look fun, exciting, and glamourous, so I set my sights on becoming one too. As a tribute to Ms. Cook (author of fabulous books like WHAT WOULD EMMA DO? and GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD), I asked to blog on Fridays, so here I am. These are high heels to fill, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Like Eileen, I live in British Columbia. Unlike Eileen, who lives in a metropolis, I live on a tiny island in the Straight of Georgia. My husband and I are striving for sustainability by growing a lot of our own food (this means we don’t have real jobs and if we want to eat, we’ve got to work the land), walking or riding our bikes most places, and taking “green vacations” (sleeping on our porch). My husband is a musician and a photographer, and sometimes we are both actors…so yeah…we really need you to buy my book, because so far, we’re mostly Not For Profit.

I keep a couple of blogs on my website – one about writing, and one about what I’m reading, as well as a fun blog called Sunday Soup which is about our adventures each week when we open our house up to friends and family for vegetarian soup and bread. Cooking is my other passion, as you’ll discover. And on that note, here’s how you make butter:

1 quart of heavy cream (at least 33% fat)

salt (optional)

Fill the bowl of the food processer about 2/3 of the way with cream (it should have the blade in it). Add 1/2 tsp of salt if you want it and put the lid on. Turn it on. Wait and watch. Depending on your cream, and your processor, this can take about 5 minutes or so. It will turn to whipped cream after a bit. Then suddenly, like magic, it will turn to butter (I really wanted to put an exclamation point there, but I’ve used the allotment). Give it 30 seconds or a minute to clump together into a ball. Turn it off, remove the lump of butter and squeeze it to get all the buttermilk out of it. Voila. Butter.

I usually freeze what I don’t use because homemade butter doesn’t last more than a day or two in the fridge. I mean, it probably does, but it starts to smell funny, so I don’t eat it. You can use the buttermilk for something too.

And now you know everything you need to know about me…until next week, anyway.

26 Replies to “Deb Joelle’s real talent is…”

  1. Well, the butter thing WAS pretty impressive – but that’s NOT the ONLY reason we chose you to be a Deb. We are all excited about you and your writing and your fabulous-sounding debut book. And as last year’s “Girl Friday” (and a fellow fan of Deb Eileen), I welcome you to the Ball and to Friday. It’ll be a great year.

    And if you ever want to know how to make your own butter while living without electricity or running water (and in a war zone) … just ask me!

  2. Ah, butter. My parents were/are hippies, so they had milk cows and made butter (with a hand churn!) and cheese (which is hard). And when our cows ate green onions in the field, everything tasted terrible… These days I buy my milk products at the store.

    I look forward to reading your posts about writing, cooking and anything else. Welcome Joelle!

  3. I have to admit that I did not add your book to my Yahoo calendar, but that is mostly because I’m a Google girl. I’m very excited about reading your book (and all the new Debs) in the coming year. In fact, I’m planning to write a post this weekend about all your upcoming books.

  4. How to make butter in the city: Stop at grocery store- buy- go home. Some gas stations even sell butter. Just sayin. I’m not sure if I would make it on the island- or a remote area. I’m less self sustaining and more skilled at finding a really good margarita.

    Welcome to Fridays Joelle. It’s good to have you.

  5. That seems like a much better way to get buttermilk than to stand around waiting for a buttercow to wander by.

    (Thank you, thank you, tip your waitress.)

    Very happy to have you on board, Joelle! You know I adore your book cover and can’t wait to get my hands on it… also looking forward to seeing what you have to say this year!

  6. Hi Joelle,

    I’m a regular reader of this blog. I read from my Google Reader and seldom come out to comment. (Sorry about that. I’ll try to do better.) I enjoy reading the Deb’s posts and reading about life from the perspective of new authors. I’ve found them to be similar to a coming of age story.

    I just read the whole week’s worth of posts this morning and something made me come out of GoogleReader to say Welcome and Thanks for what you are doing. Perhaps it’s your cheerful spirit or the sharing of your life or maybe the butter recipe. Probably all the above. I look forward to reading your Friday posts. Good luck to you in this new adventure of publishing your first book.

  7. Welcome, Joelle! What an interesting life you’re leading. We are making our first attempt at urban gardening this summer in Toronto–just a few tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, peas, basil, nectarines. The results are mixed since we are not the most diligent gardeners but I must say that food from the backyard tastes amazing. I look forward to your posts and your book!

  8. Merry Joelle! Its nice to know you too get excitable and use too many exclmation marks!!!! I loved your blog, AND everyone else’s this week!
    We’re off to a good year ladies.. and we thank EVERYONE for checking in and giving us your support. xoxo ~Maria

  9. Hello Everyone!
    My, y’all are up early. We West Coasters are still making the coffee (well, the ones without real jobs anyway!). Thanks for all your great comments and for supporting me and all the Debs. Next week, we’ll learn to make…hmmm…maybe I’ll keep it a surprise (okay…yeah, I’m still asleep and don’t have a clue).

    Thanks again and I look forward to getting to know you all this year.


  10. Looking forward to reading how to make lots of things I shall never attempt while I live in close proximity to Wholefoods, which I hope will be always 🙂
    Congrats on being a DEB!

  11. Okay…I’m awake now. Or at least, I’ve gotten coffee in me.

    I think that I need my electricity, thanks! When it goes out in the winter, I always have plenty of butter in the freezer that needs to be eaten fast!

    Meredith, I’ve added green onions (or chives) AFTER I’ve made the butter, but I’ll keep in mind not to feed them to cows. I have to ask…did you all wander through the fields trying to pick out the wild green onions before the cows got them? Did you then eat them yourselves?

    Jen, I’m all for NO calendars myself, but now that I’m doing so much marketing, I’m actually having to use one. But I still don’t wear a watch!

    Eileen, just you wait until I get you over here and you taste this butter. You’ll be making it, even against your will.

    Tiffany, everyone is a sucker for butter…especially when it’s in cookies!

    Katie, everyone wants to be a Canadian.

    Margot, thanks for coming out from under your Google reader! Nice to “meet” you.

    Danielle – you can’t beat home-grown produce. It tastes totally different. Did you try growing potatoes? We’ve got them in pots, in the ground, and next year we’re trying them in burlap bags. They’re so good!

    Maria – Thanks! We’re gonna have fun.

    Alexa – you and Eileen are peas in a pod.

  12. Although knowing about your life on the island, I didn’t connect the dots until the butter recipe…you’re restoring harmony! What you’ve written reaches well beyond a YA novel, Joelle. After all how else to explain certain serendipitous events? Yes that’s a broad hint for everyone to visit the website now.

  13. I may get ambitious and try your butter recipe with my kids. That “like magic” moment sounds fun–then again, I got that “like magic” feeling from instant mashed potatoes, so I think my standards are extremely low 🙂

    Seriously, your lifestyle sounds enchanting. I’m looking forward to learning more about it!

  14. Okay, How To Make Butter is an official first! I need a clarification (ha!) though: what, exactly, do you “squeeze” the butter with? Is it like yogurt (as if I’ve ever made yogurt) and you squeeze it in cheesecloth? I am bizarrely enchanted with this idea. Oh yeah, and welcome!

  15. Kristy,
    The chef who taught me how to make butter said you can squeeze it through cheese cloth but the time I tried that, it was a huge mess. I just squeeze it with my hands, just sort of press it together. If your hands are really warm, it will start to melt, so maybe run them under cold water first… Some people rinse it with cold water to get the buttermilk off, but I found that was a mess too. I don’t like messes! You’re just squeezing it enough so it’s not dripping. After it sits a bit, a little liquid might separate…no biggie. Give it a try and let me know!

    A quart of cream will make around a pound of butter and half a quart of buttermilk (the buttermilk is quite thin because you’ve basically taken most of the fat out of it, so I don’t always bother to use it).

  16. Hi Joelle! Thanks for the butter recipe. I’m going to make some tonight with my Molly. Yum yummy! Notice my two exclamation marks? It’s a tribute to you. And now, because you’re so super cool and such a great friend…here’s another!

  17. Hi Deb Joelle, I’ll be here every Friday, reading about your fun and funny life as a green person. (Did that come out right?) Looking forward to more cooking ideas or whatever else you cook up.

  18. Ask Eve about yogurt and sleeping bags. Better yet, read her book. (And ask her, too, just because she’s funny and she’ll probably start talking about getting charged by a yak or something.)

    Welcome, Joelle! (I know you taught me how to do the French dots, which are not umlauts, but I forgot. Sorry!)

  19. Joelle, the idea of throwing out home-made buttermilk hurts! Ouch! Owwwie!
    Would it freeze well enough, in ice cube trays perhaps, to use in bread and (dare I say this to the Sunday Soup lady?) soup?

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