Butter IV

(That’s Butter 4, not butter delivered intravenously. What’s the point of that? You can’t taste it that way!)

You know, I really hadn’t planned to do a whole week of butter-related posts. I hadn’t planned to do any kind of themed posts. But since it’s come up, I might as well run with it.

Today let’s take a look at some things you can do with butter other than just spreading it on bread.

How about making your own? WebExhibits looks like a good place to start. But there are a lot of websites out there that will tell you it doesn’t count if you don’t milk the cow yourself. Better yet, you should raise the cow yourself. I’m sure the HOA won’t have any complaints about that if we explain that we have to make butter the right way. Maybe something smaller would be advisable. Goat’s milk butter seems to be fairly popular, and my HOA is looking for a new source of goats for landscape maintenance. Oddly enough, sheep’s milk butter doesn’t seem to be nearly as popular, at least on the English-speaking part of the Web, though I do see some hints that it’s big in Greece.

Once you’ve got your butter, whether you made it the “right” way or not, what to do with it? Flavored butters are a good place to start. They concentrate flavors nicely and can take any recipe that calls for butter in interesting directions. Easy to make, too. The basic technique is to bring the butter to room temperature, then mix the ingredients by mashing with a fork or pulsing in a food processor. Keeps for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.

There are (according to Google) well over 17 million hits for flavored butter. One would hope there would be some interesting ideas that go beyond the standard dill, garlic, and/or “herb”, and in fact there are.

How about Maple Butter? Excellent for pancakes and waffles, I’d think. 1 cup butter to half a cup of maple syrup.

Even better: Chocolate Butter. 1/2 cup unsweetened butter, 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted.

Moving away from sweets: Horseradish Chive Butter. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons drained bottled horseradish, 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives.

(The above are all courtesy of “John” at Taste of Home Community)

They all sound tasty, but they’re not that much of a stretch. Let’s see if we can push the envelope a little.

Local Foods at About.com has several ideas, including an Avocado Butter: 1/2 cup butter, 1 peeled and pitted avocado, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 to 2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice, and salt to taste. Was it really necessary to specify that the avocado should be pitted? Peeled, yeah, OK, I could maybe see someone tossing the peel into the food processor, but the pit?

Cooks.com has just the thing for your next burger: Cheese and Bacon Butter! 1 pound of butter, 1/4 cup grated cheese, and 1/2 cup bacon bits. If you use cheddar, it would probably work very nicely as an addition to potato soup, too.

Tony Rosenfeld at Fine Cooking suggests a Chipotle-Cilantro Butter for steaks, sweet potatoes or steamed corn. 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1 minced chipotle chile from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce, 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

As an alternative if you don’t like cilantro, here’s a variation from Lucy Vaserfirer’s “Flavored Butters” cookbook (yes, a whole cookbook on nothing but flavored butters): force 4 chipotles in adobo sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to remove skins/seeds. Blend the puree with 1 stick softened unsalted butter, 1 clove garlic, grated, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a generous pinch toasted, ground cumin.

My nominee for the winner in the “My God, I Never Would Have Thought Of That” category is this little charmer from “The Endless Meal”: Sriracha Butter. 1/3 cup butter, 3 heaping tablespoons sriracha. Quick and easy. I guess I can see the potential, but not on grilled cheese sandwiches for me, thanks. And definitely not the variation suggested by Make Me a Damn Sandwich: Grilled Cheese and Apple Sandwiches with Sriracha Butter.

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