The Buttery Blog

Everything's better with butter.

Medicinal Purposes April 13, 2010

Filed under: drinks,health/diet — butteryblog @ 12:14 am

This past weekend I caught the tail end of whatever the Butter Boys had. It usually goes down like that, after they are on the mend I come down with said sickness. This time however I was in bad shape. I hadn’t slept very well in a few days. Since I am one for a home-made remedy, I thought about the perfect concoction the hot toddy! The steam from the drink opens your sinuses, the brandy knocks you out, the lemon soothes your throat, the honey helps your cough. I have to say it was by no means a cure-all but I was finally able to go to sleep. Sometimes when you are sick, there is nothing better than a good night’s sleep!

Hot Toddy

ingredients

6 oz cup hot water (or tea- I used tea and it tasted pretty good!)

1 1/2 tsp honey

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 oz brandy (or bourbon or rum)

1 cinnamon stick

Directions

1) Into a cup measure out honey, lemon juice and brandy

2) Add hot tea or hot water to cup

3) Stir with cinnamon stick and sip slowly

 

A Perfect Spring Treat April 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — butteryblog @ 11:23 am

When it comes to dessert, I am generally a chocolate girl. Eating it, and making it. If a recipe doesn’t have chocolate in it, I will find a way to sneak in some chocolate chips. Recently, however, I was watching Giada on the Food Network and she made these. They looked so light and delicious and perfect for Spring. And just right for a lazy Easter afternoon with friends. They are great with a pot of tea…or, in our case, a glass of prosecco!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients
Cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

♦ Buttery B

 

Passover April 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — butteryblog @ 10:30 am

Passover is my favorite holiday.  I love the Seder, I love the stories, I love the spirit of the holiday.  At Passover, we retell the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. What I love most is that Passover is about remembering, about fighting against tyranny, and helping anyone and everyone in need. From Elie Wiesel’s foreword in the Haggadah I used this year, “I love Passover because for me it is a cry against indifference, a cry for compassion.”

Side note about Elie Wiesel- I had the opportunity to see him speak about 15 years ago. My father got to meet him- the picture of the two of them still hangs on my wall. He is an astounding, beautiful human being. Read his books, if you haven’t.

Elijah's Cup

Growing up, we always had Seder at my Nana’s house.   We sit at this long table in their dining room and everyone sits in the same spot every year.  My Papa sits at the head of the table, I sit to his right.  He is the leader, but pretty much everyone reads.  He just goes around the table one by one.  My favorite thing to read is this poem… I think it’s called “G-d’s Greatest Riddle”.  I almost never actually get to read this- it depends on the number of guests and the order in which people read and all that. Even as a grown woman, I still skip ahead to makes sure the section I get to read is cool. It usually isn’t.

At the end of dinner, we all look for the afikoman (a hidden piece of matzah) and one of us (not me, since I am genetically unable to find things that are hidden) leaves about $20 richer.  There are always chocolate covered marshmallows, fruit jellies, and angel food cake for dessert.  And wine.  Served in tiny glasses for the grandkids.  Note: all the grandkids are now in our 20s and 30s so we also get a grown-up glass. We’re not dumb.

Since I can’t always go back to my family for Passover, I’ve started the tradition of doing it at my house.  I am usually the only Jew or at the least, we are certainly in the minority.  I love having my friends over- I appreciate their generosity, their willingness to participate in a tradition that is not theirs, for their compliments on the food, even if I think it wasn’t so hot…..

Last night we had a small gathering.  Mr. Butterpants made the traditional brisket and I made kugel, matzah stuffing, and for the vegetarians, spinach and matzah pie.  Oh yeah, there were also some vegetables- oven roasted carrots and asparagus.  So here are some pictures and a couple recipes at the bottom.

Kugel

I’ve used Deb’s recipes twice in a row now- I love them!

Spinach and Matzah Pie

This was a repeater. It was so popular last year, I brought it back! I mostly use Amy Sedaris’ recipe for Spanakopita and replace all the phyllo with matzah. All the cheeses I used came from the farmers’ market. I really recommend this when you can. Everything tasted so fresh and was so creamy. Really excellent. Even better the second day.

Matzah Stuffing

For me, it’s not Passover without Matzah Stuffing. This is a bit different from my grandmother’s and it was minorly improvised, but it came out well.

Cake

Another recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I had raspberries on hand from the farmers’ market (yeah, I’m a fan) so I made the frosting with Chambord instead of Grand Marnier and topped the cake with raspberries just before serving. I served the leftover whipped cream with strawberries. I’ll be dreaming about that whipped cream. The cake was good, but I prefer another one I made last year.

Spinach and Matzah Pie
Adapted from Amy Sedaris’ I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

5 eggs
3 10-ounce packages of frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted (make sure you get rid of all the excess water)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese (I bought this in a block and crumbled it myself- save a bit so you top the pie with it)
Olive Oil
2 bunches of chopped green onions, sauteed
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Dill, fennel (optional) – I went with dill here.
3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
Dash of nutmeg
8-10 pieces of matzah
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a mixer or food processor, beat the eggs until fluffy. Add all ingredients, except matzah and butter.

3. Butter a 9 x 13 x 3 inch pan. Lay down enough matzah to cover the bottom of the pan. I like them to overlap a bit so the spinach mixture doesn’t seep through. Brush the matzah with butter. Spoon about half the spinach mixture on top of the matzah. Lay some more matzah down, butter it and top with the rest of your spinach mixture. Top with the remaining matzah, brush with butter, and top with a bit of crumbled feta.

4. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until top is brown and crispy.

Matzah Stuffing

1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
8-10 pieces of matzah
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. Saute your onions, celery and garlic in the olive oil until light brown.
3. Break up the matzah and dump it on top of your vegetable mixture.
4. Pour your broth over the top and let the matzah get soft.
5. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the eggs.
6. Dump it all in casserole dish (mine was 8×8) and bake for about 30 minutes or until brown on top.

Whatever holiday you may or may not be celebrating this week, I hope you have a good one.

Be excellent to each other,
Ms. Butterpants

Seder table

 

A Busy Busy Buttery B March 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — butteryblog @ 7:34 am

I’ve been busy ya’ll. (I think maybe if I start speaking with a southern accent, it will help me slow down!)

I can’t complain really–my time has been filled with a lot of laughter and fierce determination towards my goals. But I recently lamented to my Buttery sisters that I haven’t cooked a real meal in over a month (maybe two).

This past Fall I took a class at Capes Coaching here in NYC, focusing on life goals. One of the aspects I loved most about it was the emphasis on life-work balance. Attaining your goals won’t be nearly as fulfilling if you don’t have the rest of the pieces of your life in place. So every week I check in with myself and ask how I’m doing in these key areas:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Spiritual/Personal Growth
  • Home
  • Health/Self-Care
  • Romance
  • Contribution

I ask myself questions for each area. For “Home,” one of the questions I ask is “Have I cooked a meal in my home at least once this week?” Well, you can probably guess the answer. 

“Cooking and eating at home are central to the well-being of an apartment. Using your apartment for daily nourishment connects you to your food and your kitchen…and spreads one of the best smells there is throughout your home.” –Apartment Therapy

I finally decided that no matter how busy I was, it was high-time I give myself and my home some tender loving care. This is not a fancy meal and certainly nothing to write home about. But for the little time I did have, I focused solely on cooking, not letting all the swirling of thoughts and to-do lists take over. I allowed myself to enjoy every minute. Is there one area in your life that needs an extra 30 minutes of tender loving care?

Grilled Salmon and Quinoa with Onions and Red Peppers

  • Prepare Quinoa according to the package (by the way, if anyone has a good trick to cleaning quinoa, please pass it along!)
  • Saute 1/2 onion and one red pepper in about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, until they soften (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Add the onion/red pepper mixture to the prepared quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • For a time-saving measure, I purchased my salmon pre-grilled and then warmed in the oven (hey, I did say I was busy, right?!)

♦ Buttery B

 

Win a Copy of Julie and Julia! March 25, 2010

Filed under: Cookbooks,Meat — butteryblog @ 11:34 pm

Read this post and learn how to win your very own copy of Julie and Julia, read and signed by both Mother Butter and Buttery B!

Boeuf Bourguignon

One day a long, long time ago (okay, maybe a year or two ago) I (Buttery B) was perusing the books at Barnes & Noble, itching for a new good book. I had just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love (which has to be one of my all-time favorite books) and nothing seemed to compare. After reading many a synopsis, something about Julie & Julia resonated with me. Maybe it was the whole “if you’re unhappy, just do something. anything. but make it big” mentality. And so I bought it, hoping for a glimmer of inspiration.

After reading it, I gave the book to Mother Butter. Mother Butter lives in Long Island City (just like Julie) and loves to cook. Who else would I have given it to?

And then when the movie came out, Mother Butter and I made a date to see it. Other than Meryl Streep’s star power, the main thing I remember from the movie was that boeuf bourgignonne. The dish I can never quite figure out how to spell or say! As the credits rolled, Mother Butter said to me, “let’s make boeuf bourgignonne for your birthday.”

And the rest is history. Here is the link to the recipe we used from Julia Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. However, we recommend you buy the book. Highly recommend.

http://cooking.knopfdoubleday.com/2009/07/13/julia-childs-boeuf-bourguignon-recipe/

Getting Ready to Make It

  • Mother Butter: “Mise en place — makes it easier when you have a lot of ingredients. Preparation is key!”
  • Buttery B: “Find a good butcher — for the slab bacon with rind, and get the best quality ingredients”
  • Find a signature cocktail to get you through because you’ll have a big time gap. We decided on a French 75 (champagne and cognac).

Making It

  • Buttery B: “Follow the directions precisely. Don’t cut corners–as much as you’ll want to deny it, you must cook the mushrooms and onions separately.”
  • Mother Butter: “Splurge on a good red wine–you’ll be using the whole bottle!”
  • Cooking with a friend is helpful since you’ll gonna need some muscles to lift the meat and strain the sauce.

Eating It

  • Think about what you want to serve it over–potatoes, rice, or noodles (something very simple).
  • Mother Butter: “The five hours was SO worth it!”
  • Buttery B: “Amazing! I will remember that meal for the rest of my life. Every bite was full of flavor.”

To win the very copy of Julie and Julia that we have had our hands and eyes on, just leave a comment on this post–any comment by April 15th! And, if you can’t think of anything, let us know what your ideal birthday dinner would consist of. We’ll pick the lucky winner at random.

Bon Appetit!

Mother Butter and Buttery B

 

Spring is in the Air March 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — butteryblog @ 12:41 pm

This weekend was a glorious one in New York. The weather was a perfect mid-70’s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I say we deserved it after the blizzards and the crazy ridiculous rain storm we had the previous weekend!

I met a friend in Brooklyn and we took a long stroll through several neighborhoods. There was:

  • a stop at the farmer’s market and apple tasting
  • an iced chai from starbucks
  • a bavarian ham sandwich on “pretzel bread” at cafe peddlar in cobble hill
  • a sample-tasting at union market (my friend even bought the “baconnaise” which we were astounded to find out was safe for vegetarians)
  • a glass of wine and a tomato basil pizza to round out the day

This kind of weather inspires me to eat fresh, simple food. The vegetable of Spring is asparagus. As I wandered into my local grocery store to find that they were all out of asparagus, I realized that I wasn’t the only one with spring food fever!

So, here is my light (asparagus-free) and quick dinner (adjust the amounts to your liking!):

Sugar Snap Peas and Pasta...I just want to eat you up!

 

Sugar Snap Peas and Penne
Boil sugar snap peas for about 4 minutes (or until tender)
Boil pasta as per directions
Toss the pasta, sugar snap peas, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Serve immediately–this is best eaten fresh!

Enjoy!
Buttery B

 

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Chili March 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — butteryblog @ 10:00 am

So you may or may not have heard of this program, Meatless Monday. It’s an effort to encourage a reduction in meat consumption. I generally eat a vegetarian diet, with an occasional pescetarian day here or there. We’re in favor of whatever keeps us, our kids, and our world healthy so we at The Buttery Blog are giving this one a shot.

So, Mondays will henceforth be Meatless ones.

I’ve had a couple conversations recently about “fake meat” products and vegetarianism. A couple non-vegetarians have said they don’t get the whole trying to ape meat thing. I totally understand and appreciate this viewpoint. After all, why eat fake meat when you have so many amazing vegetables and foods at your disposal? If you don’t want to eat it, why fake it? Fair point. But sometimes, you just want a burger. And sometimes you just can’t eat another piece of tofu or tempeh. And sometimes you have a non-vegetarian in your house and you have to satisfy him too. I don’t use it all the time and I do try to use vegetables as the centerpiece of a dish, but the facts are these: I live with a carnivore. He is picky and not shy about registering his complaints. Fake meat makes him complain less.

In my effort to save money, cook more and help lower the collective cholesterol of the Butterpants household, I’ve forced Mr. Butterpants into a mostly vegetarian diet. It started with this chili recipe. It is super easy, super fast, hearty and great for freezing.

Black Bean Chili
adapted from Southern Living Magazine

3 15 oz. cans black beans
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 12 oz. package meatless burger crumbles (I use Smart Ground)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 14 oz. can vegetable broth
2 14.5 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes with jalapeños

When I can find it, I go for low sodium in any of the above ingredients.

Drain two of your cans of black beans. Leave the third one alone, for the moment.
Cook chopped onion and burger crumbles in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium for about six minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt (I sometimes add a bit of extra chili powder or some cajun spice) and cook for one minute. Stir in all three cans of beans, vegetable broth, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 10-30 minutes. I sometimes just cook it a bit longer…. no particular reason, just do.

Top it with some cheddar cheese or sour cream or gummi bears. I’m not here to judge.

Chili

Enjoy!

Be excellent to each other.
Ms. Butterpants

 

 
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