Thursday, July 9, 2009

for the love of butter

Once in a while I have the privilege of participating in some sort of creative project with a good friend of mine. Not long ago, I received a text from her saying "Hey, can you help me with a wedding that I'm coordinating?" I was more than willing to oblige. So I texted back "of course!" Then proceeded to give some suggestions on services I could provide. I believe they included an interpretive dance number, and a song played on my son's out of tune five string guitar. Apparently, these ideas were not what she was looking for, because neither suggestion was even a continuing topic of discussion. So, I decided to stick with my strengths. That would be the food.
Which brings us now to butter. Yes, butter.

While we were brainstorming on easy, inexpensive, but tasty ideas for one of the appetizers, we came up with flavored butters. Compound butters to be exact. What could be more simple than bread and butter? A little boring you think? Well, I have to tell you. The two hundred people (plus two dogs) in attendance could not get enough of the glorious stuff. Every bowl was scraped clean, even when we ran out of bread and crackers, the people resorted to putting it on the crudites (not sure how that tasted).

But the idea was perfect...easy...inexpensive...and most of all tasty. So here you go, the top three hits of the appetizer countdown.



Herb & Lemon Compound Butter
1 pound unsalted butter

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. parsley
2 Tbsp. chives
zest of two lemons
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or to taste)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. pepper
When making flavored butters, start with cold butter and be careful not to over process, or the butter will melt.

Chop butter into uniform chunks. Place olive oil into the bowl of a food processor, add parsley and chives. Process until herbs are finely chopped. Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter in the mixers work bowl at medium speed until it softens and lightens in color, about 5 minutes.

Add the oil herb mixture to the butter, along with the zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper. Beat for another 2 minutes until fully incorporated. Taste for seasoning. Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Rosemary & Roasted Pecan Compound Butter
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces
15 oz. pecan pieces, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper

Combine in a food processor until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. Store in the same manner as above recipe.

Sundried Tomato Compound Butter
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8.5 oz. jar sundried tomatoes, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
Combine in a food processor until smooth and ingredients are incorporated. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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