Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eating Omily: Cocktail Hour

Do you love a cold beer after a long day? How about a glass of wine (or, you know, paper cup in NYC) in the sunshine? A perfectly potent cocktail among friends? I do! I've been in the closet regarding my favourite hobby: Cocktail Enthusiast, for months, out of fear that it would be interpreted as 'blossoming alcoholic'. But it's not that; I don't love getting drunk, I just love booze! I love how a certain class of bugs+time+a distillery in certain cases, can turn the simplest of ingredients into something magical, and kaleidoscopic in it's mutability. I love how different types of drinks invite different kinds of energy: the pop of the cork in a bottle of sparkling wine always means a celebration, the viscous swirl of red wine in a glass means settling down and savoring, a huuuuuge mug of complex german beer means fun without pretensions, margaritas give everyone permission to get a little crazy, and a perfectly mixed manhattan with a house-preserved cherry at the bottom? Well, that means all is right with the world, no matter what kind of a day I've had!

And if you feel the same way about both booze, and eating local, you know where we have to go next: can you drink local??

Yes! Yes, you can, but I'll be honest: I'm never going to drink only local booze. Why? French wines, German beers, Mexican tequilas, Irish whiskeys...you get my point? Alcohol is one of the few things that Americans understand tastes different based on where it comes from. The soil the grapes grew in, the water the beer was brewed with, the climate the agave thrives in, all make a huge difference in terms of the taste, texture, and experience of the finished product. The people of Europe know this applies to everything, and it's why there are things like Parmesan cheese (cheese that is made in Parma), and Greek olive oil.

I think that respecting that you can't make real champagne outside of Champagne, France is true to the spirit of the locavore ethos, even if it means you can't drink local Champagne without shelling out for a big plane ticket.

That said, no matter where you live in the world, there are certain boozy specialities that are being made nearby, and this is especially true if you live in NYC. Go high five your friends, and then get ready for a run to your favourite liquor store. You are going to love this blog post!

Beer:

Brooklyn Brewery, anyone? Aside from picking up six packs at the bodega, you can grab this stuff on tap at tons of bars. I'll be honest: It's not my favourite; it always comes across a little skunky to me, but most people I know love it, so don't let that hold you back!

Six Point! Their Sweet Action is my jam: my go-to beer when I'm forgoing Guinness for something a little closer to home. They started canning their beers and distributing fairly recently, and rest assured, the husband and I are doing our part to keep that side of their business up and running.

Cider:

Oh, sure, you already knew you could buy a piping hot cup of cider to get you through your chilly spring day at the Farmer's Market, but how about a gallon jug of hard cider, rich with sediment from secondary fermentation taking place right in the jug? Wow! This is a very dry style, so if you're used to sweet appley ciders, this one may take some getting used to. And sit down, guys. Sorry to say, the season has passed on this one. Keep your eyes peeled this coming Autumn for the next batch.

Don't dispair, oh cider lovers! Instead, check out 1911 Spirits! All their spirits start as cider (more on that below), which means, yes, they offer cider! Their classic flavor is crisp and refreshing with a hint of apples, and citrus overtones. They also offer Light and Crisp, for a crisp (surprise, surprise), dry flavor, brewed in the style of American Colonial times. If your pallet ranges the other way, try the Sweet Apple variety. It's lower in alcohol, because less of the apple sugars were fermented into alcohol, meaning a sweeter, applyer cider for you. If you're feeling adventurous, don't forget about the blueberry, and raspberry varieties! Mmmm...perfect for a summer picnic! Don't forget your unbranded bottles, everyone! ;-)

Wine:
Get to your Farmer's Market! I recommend Wednesdays and Fridays if grapes that have died and gone to heaven are what you're after. The grapes that thrive on Long Island, and in the Finger Lakes region are primarily vitas labruska: the foxy grapes. You've tasted them before, but maybe not as wine. Think dark purple grape juice or jelly. And no, these wines are not as sweet as jelly! That sugar mostly gets fermented away. Check out reds, whites, sparkling wines, and yes, the occasional sweet dessert wine to grace your table. On Wednesdays, you can expand your horizons with blueberry, or dandelion wine, or home-made sherry vinegar.

Liqueurs:

You've probably already picked up on the explosion of locally made bitters invading Brooklyn's cocktail scene. If you haven't yet, let them invade a couple of your drinks. You won't be sorry! Thanks to a loophole in the alcohol law (designed to keep vanilla and other extracts on grocery store shelves), you can pick up bitters anywhere! Check out grocery stores that tend to stock organics, craft beers, or other, you know, hipster stuff.

Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur. This stuff? Seriously. So, so good. It's honest to God[dess] bottle-fermented ginger and sugar. It's sweet, but it packs a ginger punch that is amazing just mixed with seltzer over ice, or shaken up with dark, spiced rum in a martini glass. Go get a bottle.

Greenhook Ginsmiths has taken their artisanal gin, and added beach plums from Long Island, and turbanado sugar to craft a liqueur that you are going to love. Mix it with iced tea for the perfect respite from the coming mid-Summer heat! And then go give them a high five for choosing a local fruit, instead of, you know, waffles for flavoring their spirits. Because waffle-flavored vodka is a real thing, and I can't tell you how sad that makes me.

Fingerlakes Distillery is getting a mention further down for even more awesomeness, but for now, I offer you one word: maplejack. Yes. Applejack with maple syrup added. Don't ever leave me alone with a bottle of this. I may finish it. They also have more traditional cassis, cherry, and raspberry liqueurs, which sound like spectacular drinks to have around for your own enjoyment, as well as a comeback when a visiting relative complains about how strong and dry everything on your bar is. (Sissy!)

Vermouth is actually a fortified wine, and not a liqueur, but we tend to treat it as one, so I put it here anyway. It is essential for Manhattans, martinis, and other classic cocktails. There are different kinds: white, red, sweet, dry, and the kind you get will depend on what you want to do with it. And, yes, there are people making vermouth right here in NYC! Check out Uncouth Vermouth, made in Brooklyn, and  Atsby Vermouth, which boldly suggests you put down the cocktail shaker and enjoy it straight! Challenge accepted.

The Hard Stuff:

 Hudson Whiskey...yum. With awards like, "Best U.S. Artisan Distiller" under their belt (among others), and a roster of whiskeys that takes advantage of their newness on the scene, instead of lamenting the lack of aging-years they've accumulated, you'll want to pick up at least one bottle for your sipping pleasure! Neat, or on the rocks..?

Remember 1911 Spirits and their awesome ciders? Well, some of those ciders are distilled into fan-freakin'-tastic vodkas and gins. The result is a crisp, clean, and smooth flavor, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and fruit on the nose. Yes, yes, very nice, get out of my nose and into my mouth, please!

Tuthilltown Spirits also make use of New York's perfect apple-growing climate to produce, among other awesome stuff, a true apple vodka: vodka distilled from apple cider that retains some of that fabulous apple flavor for a spirit that's just right over ice if you're looking for something a little 'spirit forward'.

Kings County Distillery is the oldest continually operating distillery in New York City! It was founded in 2010. That's how young the industry is, which makes it all the more amazing that such delicious spirits are happening. Aside from being another award-winning distillery using Brooklyn ingenuity to overcome their young age to offer a superb (and superbly local!) bourbon, they also offer tours and tastings every Saturday from 2:30-5:30pm for $8! If you've ever wanted to meet me, just stake out that place.

Not going to lie: gin has always come in pretty close to the bottom of my preferred poison list, but after reading the about page for Brooklyn Gin, I'm wondering if it couldn't nose ahead of rum, and even scotch, into the top three! Hand-cracked juniper berries, and whole sliced citrus? Now that sounds like the beginning of a beautiful cocktail!

New York Distilling Company take their rye whiskey (Rye?? Be still my beating heart!) seriously. They're only offering a couple varieties of gin for now, because their rye hasn't had enough time to age yet. Oh man, this is worse than waiting for Lady Gaga's next album to drop! The good news is, you can stop by their still, too, on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons, with live music starting at 4:00! They have a full bar including their own gins of course, and other liquors to round things out, and a selection of craft beers if that's more your thing (although I have to ask...why are you there, then?)

You remember Greenhook Ginsmiths' super cool beach plum liqueur, right? If you like it, and I know you will, you'll want to try out the spirit it's based on: their American Dry Gin.

I really can't. Reading their list of spirits is making me drool. Find yourself something (anything!) from Fingerlakes Distilling, and get ready for whiskey bliss. Remember that preferred poison list I mentioned? Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye are tied at the top. Mmmmm...and I didn't even get to the brandy and grappa! I cannot believe this stuff is being made on my side of the Atlantic, let alone a reasonable drive away!

Really, Harvest Spirits? Pear brandy? Genuine applejack?? Shut up. Just shut up. I'm already placing an online order. I really need to sample these apple vodkas. Vodka has always say firmly at the bottom of my preferred poison list, but if this stuff is half as good the descriptions make it sound, rum is going right out the window! (not literally...I do enjoy it mixed with Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur, and a mojito in July will always be one of my favorite drinks.)

Rest assured, this is by no means an exhaustive list! There are plenty more beers, wines, and other awesome boozy treats just waiting to be fallen in love with. With such a cornucopia of choice, the only other question is: where can you get all this stuff??

I just happen to live nearby an amazing liquor and wine store that specializes in curated picks in every price range, with a soft spot in it's heart for the home team. Let's hear it for the Juice Box! They also feature a punch card deal to help keep that bar stocked when it seems like the bourbon is drinking itself (happens to me all the time!). They're also happy to order in a bottle you were looking for that they don't have in stock, and e-mail or call you when it arrives! (Because after all, that rare specialty vodka won't actually drink itself...) Of course, if you don't live in or near Windsor Terrace, you're going to have to find your own incredible wine and liquor store. If the only ones in your vicinity are the kind that come equipped with bullet proof glass, and a less than stellar selection, no worries! A lot of the distilleries in particular can ship their product right to your door! Remember that all stores (and restaurants and bars) want to stock what their cliental wants to pay for, so don't hesitate to pipe up, and politely ask for more local selections wherever you are!

This post would not be complete without a shout out to 61 Local, an incredible bar right off the Bergen street stop on the F/G that serves ONLY local wine and beer, and features an incredible list of delicious choices! They also offer local soda and kombucha, and a selection of super tasty snacks and sandwiches for pork lovers and vegans alike. Check it out! It's a favourite of the husband's and mine, and another great place to catch a sighting of your favourite non-celebrity blogger! ;-)

Wow, with so many incredible ways to unwind after a long day, start off a party right, or, you know, just taste something amazing, the only thing left to say is, don't try to taste all this stuff at once!!

I told you you'd love this blog post!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Omily Tarot: Ta-wrong?? What to do When it Feels Like the Gift's Stepped out of the Office

You know the feeling: you have a question (or even better, someone you know does). you shuffle, you cut, you lay out a spread. You start to turn the cards over. The first card makes your forhead wrinkle. You decide to move on to the next for now. You flip it. Blank. Not the card of course, you're mind! You go onto the next, but it's hopeless: each one seems like...well, like playing cards: inert, meaningless. You could tease some interesting thoughts out of a couple maybe, but there's no cohesive story to tell that you can see.

This is the moment, if you're reading for someone else, that you contemplate excusing yourself to use the restroom, and then climbing out the window. If you're reading for yourself you may just declare it snack time and conveniently forget about the tarot spread you so carefully laid out until your cat has muddled it hopelessly, and your husband is asking you if the cat is reading tarot by herself, because that would be worth filming for youtube.

Which is what I did today. Which is how you know that, yes, this doesn't just happen to you. This happens to everyone. Even professionals. Even people who have been studying and reading the tarot for more than ten years. So don't you worry, you are in good company.

But, assuming you don't want to climb out a window, or abandon the cards till another day...what do you do?

The first thing you do is remind yourself that every now and then the tarot is just going to turn up gibberish. Maybe you're having a bad day. Maybe the energetic weather is interfering with your flow. Maybe you aren't meant to have the answer to this question at this time. Maybe you're asking the wrong question.

Walking away from your cards for the day, or at least for the moment, is a perfectly legitimate response. So is reshuffling and trying again, whether with the same question, or with a different one, or trying with a different deck. You might take a few moments to meditate, or clarify your question first. It's also perfectly legitimate to stick it out and work with what you've been dealt though, especially if you've got a client in front of you. And trust me: 99% of the time, that gibberish has a lesson for you in it somewhere.

If you're sticking around, you should tune inward, and see if there aren't beliefs you already have about the situation you're asking about. If you were looking for the tarot to confirm something you already suspected, and the tarot isn't doing that, it can look a lot like gibberish. Maybe if you disregard what you had already concluded about a situation, that first card you drew will suddenly seem less contrary. And maybe that's all you need for the rest of the reading to fall together.

Or, maybe not. Maybe it just feels like pulling teeth the whole way through. That's ok. Not every reading is going to resolve into a perfect little pictorial story. Those cards may make a lot more sense after you've mulled over them for a few days, and events have unfolded a bit more. If you're choosing to leave the cards be for a bit, take a picture of your spread, so that if it isn't there when you get back to it, you can always look at it later, and see if aspects of it are making more sense.

You can also start pulling clarifying cards: cards that you add onto the spread to clarify the cards that aren't clear to you. You may be in a situation where you chose a simple spread, and the tarot had a complex answer. A few extra cards could bring things into focus. This can also get out of hand, though. If your tarot spread starts to look like a nearly complete game of dominos, or a some sort of coral reef, you may need to pack it in and consider starting all over.

What do you do when you get a reading you can't figure out? Do you feel better knowing it's at least a normal thing to have happen? Tell me in the comments! That reading at the top is the one that was blowing my mind and inspired this post! Any ideas? I was asking about my aerial style: what it is, how I can further develop it, and what it will look like fully realized...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Aerial Omily: A Frictional Relationship

It's why I can have this awesome chill moment! Also enjoy the amazing Floating Feet of Brooklyn, Ladies and Gentlemen! And avoid matte black like the plague when costume designing for the MuseIam...
Friction: it's your best friend! It's your worst enemy! It's crucial to the aerial moves you love! It's responsibly for those nasty burns you got last week! It's, you know, like everything else in the world.

Knowing just how crucial friction is can actually be disconcerting in your early days on the silks, because you want to feel SAFE: locked in, with no possibility of falling out. Ok, if you've done silks long enough, you've found a way out of at least one move that a teacher said was 'impossible to fall out of'. You can never be careless in the air. But yes, some moves are just really solid. A lot of them though? They're on a continuum. On a cold, dry day, you might find yourself sliding right out of a move that felt 100% locked on a hot, humid day, or you may find your teacher recommending an extra wrap in a familiar move because she or he just washed the silks.

The weather, and the cleanliness (or lack thereof...) of the silks in question are two important factors when you're choosing what to work on. We like to think of some tricks as falling into one of two categories: winter tricks, and summer tricks. Bicycle climb in July just makes you want to take the rest of the day off with a snow cone. On the other hand, taking half monty as a drop in January? Uh...maybe break out the spray rosin for that one. Another factor that comes into play is what you're wearing. Your bare skin is the best gripper you've got, and if you don't believe me, just try doing your basic climb with socks on. You just did your conditioning for the day! You're welcome.

Want another (maybe not so) fun way to experiment with friction? Climb up just one or two climbs, hold onto the silks overhead, and start slowly sliding down. If you don't feel anything, start to go a little faster. Oh yeah. The heat gets turned up really fast. That flare of fire in your palms is friction: the reason why you can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together (for real, you can; it's just pretty inefficient compared to other options). When you rub two things against each other (minds out of the gutter, guys), the resistance each provides to the other build energy, which is released as heat. Which is how you end up with what we call a burn when your skin slides along the fabric too fast. It's not just a good word choice for what it feels like. It literally is a burn. Your skin isn't being rubbed off (usually); it's being burned off. Fun, right?

There's actually a couple different kinds of friction, divided up based on the nature of the two things rubbing up against each other (No, there is no porn friction. What did I say earlier?). In the case of aerial, we're talking about dry friction (No, that's ok; I winced, too.) Dry friction is subdivided further into two categories, both of which are relavant to us: static friction (or stiction) is the force between two things that aren't moving (this force is why it's safe to do your 360 drop without holding the tails if you wrap the tails around your legs a few times), and kinetic friction, which yes, you guessed it, is when one or both surfaces are moving, and that's the friction that causes burns, but also slows you down when you're descending with the silks pinched between your feet, or in your knee pit.

So why does putting fabric between your skin and the silks keep those burns at bay? The friction is still there, but now the friction is in between the fabric you're wearing, and the fabric of the silks, and fabric is not a great conductor: heat does not travel through it very well. You slide fast enough, with those silks clamped tight enough, and you will burn through your leggings. You may have already noticed that some of your thinner tights don't provide as much protection as the thicker ones. Different materials will be more efficient or less efficient conductors of heat as well.

If you're trying to avoid burns, you may think the answer is to try to cut down on the friction by choosing leggings and tights that slide easily down the silks. It should be pretty obvious why that's a bad idea. You need friction, remember? Try climbing with socks on, again. It's not just because you're making your job a ton harder, though. If you're dealing with stiction (that's static friction, friction between two surfaces that aren't moving), there's no energy being generated and released as heat. The friction is just holding everything in place. It's only when you start moving that the heat starts building, and even with slick tights, there's going to be some friction. Since you're sliding more, you're going to end up burning more, not less, because you're exposing yourself to more of the potentially burning type of friction.

Aren't physics fun? Happy flying!

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air: What's the Big Deal with Pranayama?

It's Pranayama Month at Jaya Yoga Center! Pranayama, or breath control, which is one translation of the Sanskrit, is the fourth limb of Pantajali's Yoga Sutras. If you've spent a fair amount of time in yoga classes, you probably aren't surprised to learn (if you didn't already know) that breath work is it's own crucial aspect of the practice, what with teachers like me yammering on about it all the time.

But why? Why is your breath so vital to the yoga practice? As with all things yoga, there's a lot of reasons.

The one I find the most compelling is that the breath connects the conscious to the unconscious...quite literally. You can consciously control your breath, and if you don't, your breathing will happen involuntarily. This makes breathing a fascinating and endless channel for learning about, and influencing the body, which in turn influences the mind. Simply put: when you are calm and happy, your breaths are long, and slow. When you are anxious, fearful, or angry, your breathing rate grows faster, and shallower. If you notice you feel anxious emotionally, you can control your breath, slowing your breathing pattern to match the calm, happy mindset you prefer, and in only a few minutes, the anxiety will dissipate.

Controling the breath also allows you to move through your yoga postures with a minimum of effort, and a maximum of safety. Exerting on the exhale allows you to use more of your stabilizing core muscles, and by using ujjayi breath, that oceanic sound you hear in just about every yoga class, you're actually creating a pressurized column of air in your body, which cushions and supports your spine as you move. Pretty rad, right?

On a simpler level, controlling your breath requires paying attention to it: hearing, feeling it, knowing where it's going in your body, and how long the inhales and the exhales are. That's tough for anyone to do at first, and in a yoga class, we throw an extra challenge at you by asking you to move into and out of shapes that are very complicated, and require some thought in and of themselves. If you're actually doing everything your yoga instructor is asking of you, there won't be any room for thoughts of how your ass looks in these sweat pants, or if your boss gave you the bad eye when you left that day, or how messy your apartment is right now. All of your attention will be on the present moment, and when you get right down to it, that's all there is to enlightenment: being solely in the present moment, even if just for a little while.

Sometimes that little fact is a revelation to people: that yoga is supposed to be hard. Of course it's hard in the beginning, when you don't know your asana from your elbow, and pivoting your heel down for the Warrior series seems like a brain teaser, but it's supposed to stay hard! And you don't have to move up to a more advanced class for it to do that: you can just go deeper. There are always subtler details of the pose to explore, and trust me, I don't think there's a yoga student alive who is successfully focusing on and consciously controlling his or her breath for every second of a yoga class. You can let that be your challenge for your next yoga class, whether you know what ujjayi breath is, or not.

Individual pranayama practices also have their own benefits: alternate nostril breathing helps to balance the influence of right and left brain, while encouraging that pesky slightly-closed nostril to open up and do its share of the work.
Breath of the shining skull, or kapalbhati, builds heat in the body, wakes up the lower belly muscles, and helps to cleanse the respiratory system.
Bee's breath is excellent for creating a space of inner calm that banishes anxiety.
Lion's breath helps the body to release excess heat, while waking up your inner badass, and ready to tackle that next challenge pose.
Pranayama is a crucial part of your asana practice, and it's also a life-changing practice in its own right. It's so empowering to just sit down, and breathe, on purpose: to acknowledge that being aware of the functions that keep you alive is worth while will put you in an optimal mindset for health and healing. It can also be an excellent gateway into a meditation practice. Sitting and following the natural flow of the breath can feel very intimidating, but it's a little more manageable to have something to do: in this case manipulating the breath in very specific ways. Ultimately, though, you're setting yourself up for meditation as the next baby step, by narrowing your awareness down to just your breath.

Why not give it a try? The next time a yoga teacher goes through a pranayama exercise with you, pay close attention, and ask questions and take notes after class if necessary, so you're ready to take a crack at it all on your own later on. Be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments!

Live Omily,
~Emily

Monday, March 3, 2014

Eating Omily: We Are the Locavores Who Say...GHEE!

You might recall a blogpost a few months back in which I sang the praises of butter as a healthy fat, in fact a superfood, that you should be eating regularly. Of course, the caveat there was that the butter in question come from cows that have been eating grass when the weather allows, and hay (dried grass) when the weather does not: no corn, no soy, no chicken feathers, blood, or used chicken bedding full of chicken poop (yes, your conventionally farmed dairy cows are fed this stuff, along with tons of antibiotics, growth hormones, and other fun stuff). When a cow eats what it's supposed to eat, the meat and dairy it produces are super nutritious. Of course they have a perfect balance of omega 3's and omega 6's, but they also have special compounds that everyone is going head over heels for right now, which are getting better press within the context of coconut oil. Coconut oil is the shit. Everyone loves it. We're taking it by the tablespoon daily, we're cooking everything in it, we're spreading it on toast, etc. etc. etc.

But if we just ate grass-fed butter, we'd get all the same benefits! So why was I, too, a coconut oil devotee for a while? Because butter is excellent for cooking with at low heat, but it burns terribly at high heat, whereas coconut oil is stable at high temperatures, making it great for stir frying, roasting, and  searing.

BUT, here's the thing I hadn't thought of until a dear reader pointed it out to me. There is a magical alchemy butter is capable of that turns it into the high-heat stable, yet still local and uber nutritious, cooking oil I crave...and because magic is contrary like that, the way to turn butter from a low-heat cooking oil to a high-heat cooking oil is to add...heat.

If you're a yogi, you've almost certainly heard of ghee: the Ayervedic powerhouse for balancing and healing, especially during the colder months. You probably already know it is related to butter in some way. Specifically, ghee is what's left when you cook butter till the water in it evaporates out, and the milk solids get brown and crispy so you can strain them out. What's left is pure saturated fat: nothing to burn, and what's even better, it's fat that's been caramelized to a delicate, delicious, golden color. It tastes, to me, a bit like a perfect pie crust.

Making ghee is simple, and for that very reason, it's not easy. All you're doing is cooking butter till it gets to a certain point, but since the changes are subtle, it's easy to under do it and be left with a greasy mess all over your counter, or over do it and end up with a disgusting inedible pool of grease, and a pan you will spend weeks trying to scrub clean. I know, because during my first attempt, I managed to do both! The second time I tried, I was more patient, so surprise, surprise, it came out much better, and I had a chance to observe the different stages it goes through on the way to perfection.

I captured these stages for you via Vine. Are you following me on vine yet? Get on that. You don't even have to have vine; you can just follow me on twitter! Watching the vines I made will be a big help in knowing when your ghee is done, so I really encourage you to check out the links if you want to give this a try. Here's the recipe:

You'll need:

one heavy-bottomed medium saucepan

100% grass-fed butter, preferably local, and preferably unsalted, but I made mine with salted butter, and it came out fine, so don't worry if all the local butter is salted.

I made my batch with half a pound of butter. The more butter you use, the slower the proccess will be, so you may not want to do more than a pound at a time, or for that matter less than a quarter of a pound. Less than that will go so fast that your window of perfect doneness will be tricky to catch.

Put the butter in the pan, and melt it. I did this over fairly low heat, and I just dropped in my hunk of butter whole. Some recipes suggest cutting the butter up into small pieces, putting the heat on high, and stirring the butter, to get it melted as quickly as possible.

Once the butter is melted, crank the heat up to medium high, and wait. The butter is going to start boiling profusely, which is good. Turn the heat down to medium or medium low: basically as low as you can get it without the boiling slowing down.

Over time, the bubbles are going to get bigger, and the noises coming from the pan are going to evolve from the hissing of boiling water to a funny crackly-pattering. It's said to sound like it's raining. You'll hear it. The water is boiling out of the butter. Keep watching!

Here's the vine of these stages.

It's going to get easier to look down into the butter as the foam that was at the top when you first started slowly disapates, probably not all the way, but substantially. The butter will start to look more distinctly yellow, and if you tilt the pan, you'll see solids stuck to the bottom. At first, they will be white. Over time, they will cook, and turn brown.

As soon as they turn brown, turn off the heat. If only a few are looking toasty golden, give it a little longer, but don't wait too long; there is little that is sadder than a batch of burned ghee! Pour the ghee out of the pan into something with a pour spout, like a liquid measuring cup, to make your life easier.

Let the ghee cool for a little while, and while it does, set up a strainer with a clean towel, or a couple of layers of cheese cloth in it, over a jar, or a bowl if you want to be sure of avoiding a greasy counter. Once the ghee is warm to the touch (but not too cool; it will solidify on you!) pour it through your strainer.

Here's the vine of these final steps.

Transfer your ghee to a jar if that's not what you strained it into. Let it cool all the way with the lid off so it solidifies, then put the lid on, and put it away. You can keep it in your fridge to be extra safe, but it should be fine at room temperature for a matter of weeks or months. If you aren't sure you were successful in solidifying and removing the milk solids, keep it in the fridge.

Bonus treat: put your milk solids back in the pan, sprinkle on some sugar, and cook a little longer in the ghee left in the pan. Let cool, and nom nom nom...
 As you can see I've been using mine. It is awesome! On extra cold days I eat a spoonful for its warming, soothing properties...doesn't hurt that it tastes like, well, caramelized butter!
You can see that mine has a grainy texture. That's because of the salt in the butter. If you use unsalted butter, it will be smoother. The funny thing is, one of the 'authentic' recipes I read on making ghee said to add salt and stir it in at the end, because the grainier texture is preferred in some parts of India!

Will you make ghee? Don't let it intimidate you! As long as you stay close by and pay attention, and don't try to rush it, it will come out perfectly, and you will love it!