Creme fraiche is one of those things that is in every European supermarket but only in gourmet stores here in the U.S. It is similar to our sour cream; creme fraiche has a less tangy and more buttery flavor. It's wonderful with both sweet and savory dishes. Try it under berries with a touch of honey, or on top of warm, wilted greens.
If you buy it in a specialty store, you'll pay a pretty penny. But if you make it yourself, it is much more affordable -- plus, you can control the quality of the ingredients (think organic, grass-fed dairy!).
It's ridiculously easy to make. Most recipes call for buttermilk and cream. I never have buttermilk in the house, but I always have kefir so I used that. It came out perfect!
Put two tablespoons of plain kefir in a glass jar:
Cover and shake gently, just to combine. Now here comes the really easy part: let it sit on your kitchen counter or other warm-ish place (inside your turned-off oven or on top of your fridge are good spots) for about 24 hours. This lets the active, beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics) from the kefir multiply and culture the cream. You'll know it's ready because it will be super thick and smooth.
...or a tablespoon or two mashed into a couple of cups of steamed cauliflower and topped with chives:
|Chives make everything better.|
Note: if you put the jar in a really, really warm spot, it'll be ready faster; in a cooler spot, it'll take longer. You can check it at about 12 hours. 24 hours works for me in my oven.