Thursday, August 19, 2010
Since I joined the Preserve the Bounty Challenge late, my first challenge was for week three. I planned on waiting until the end to try weeks one and two. Week two involved preserving things in oil or fat. At first I wasn't sure how this one would work out. I'm not interested in preserving my fresh herbs in pure olive oil. I would never use a product like that. I thought about preserving garlic in oil but then learned about the food safety risks associated to this method of preserving non-acidic foods, like garlic (read about it here. Scroll to the bottom). I was pleased to learn that compound butters, that is butter mixed with fresh herbs and other seasonings, is considered a way of preserving fresh foods. Perfect! I love butter (as you may have noticed), and I have an abundance of herbs in my garden. I decided to do a double challenge to start and complete weeks two and three in only one week. Time to get creative and whip up some fun, festive and flavourful compound butters!
See a good tutorial on the Tasty Kitchen Blog.
Jenny, from The Nourished Kitchen (the site hosting the Preserve the Bounty Challenge), has a great recipe for Wild Mushroom Butter.
Just take softened, unsalted butter and blend together with herbs and seasonings of your choice. I made my compound butters in quarter cup portions (four portions per large block of butter) as this was easiest to work with and I get to make four different varieties at a time! To the butter I added about a tablespoon or two of fresh chopped herbs, or a teaspoon or two of zest or spices. The measurements are completely arbitrary. Add as much as you want. You cannot screw this one up! Check the Tasty Kitchen Blog for tips on rolling the butter once blended. As a food safety tip, I read that you should add a half teaspoon of lemon juice or other acid to the mix to ensure there is no bad bacteria. Fat promotes the growth of botulism bacteria in non-acidic foods, so if you are adding garlic to your butter, make sure you add a splash of lemon juice just to be safe. It's also recommended to keep butters refrigerated or frozen at all times. Do not leave out at room temperature longer than it takes to use it up! As well, if you try any of the cheese butters, do not make more than you can use within a week. The other butters will keep well in the refrigerator for several months and even longer in the freezer.
Chive & Cracked Pepper Butter: Fresh chives, chopped fine and a few good twists of fresh cracked pepper. Great on steak or vegetables! (pictured right)
Lemony Basil Butter: Fresh lemon basil, chopped and the zest of one lemon. Alternatively use regular basil. Awesome for fish and seafood (pictured middle)
Garlic & Parsley Butter: Fresh chopped Italian parsley and 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced. You may want to lightly sauté your garlic for a more mild flavour. For this one I used a half cup of butter because I figured I would use it more than the other two. Perfect for bread, seafood, steak, baked potatoes or anything! (pictured left)
Blue Cheese Butter: Crumbled blue cheese and a pinch of salt. Awesome on steak.
Three Cheese Butter: Just like the one served on baked potatoes at The Keg. Fresh grated Parmesan, Asiago and cream cheese, Boursin or Laughing Cow.
Steakhouse Butter: Lightly sauté minced shallots, garlic and parsley then cream into butter with a dash of Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.
What compound butter combinations can you come up with?