The Buttery Blog

Everything's better with butter.

Crock Pot Asian-Inspired Beef Ribs August 30, 2009

Filed under: Crock Pot/Slow Cooker/One Pot,Meat — butteryblog @ 9:58 pm
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Short ribs.

Short ribs.

As you may know, I am having trouble making anything truly amazing in my crock pot. Usually the house smells amazing and the food is “meh.” When I made these ribs, the house didn’t smell like much, but these ribs are definitely the best thing I’ve made so far in the slow cooker. The meat was super tender and all the Asian flavors went together really well. This recipe comes from Recipezaar.

Serves 6

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
* 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
* 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons sesame oil
* 2 tablespoons instant minced onion
* 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
* 2 tablespoons sake
* 1 tablespoon five-spice powder (I didn’t have this, so I added 1/8 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. ground cloves)
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 4 lbs beef back ribs or short rib of beef

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients except for ribs in crock pot.

2. Add the ribs one at a time, coating them with sauce and stacking them as you go.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

4. Remove ribs and pour sauce into a separate container.

5. Allow fat to separate and skim off of top (there will be quite a bit).

6. Return sauce to meat, and serve.

GRADE: A-

♥Lady Butterbuns

 

Cupcake Crazed August 25, 2009

Filed under: Baked Goods/Pastries,Desserts,Fruit & Veg — butteryblog @ 10:29 pm
Tags:

one sweet birthday

Butter Boy turned 4 this past weekend and in true foodie fashion, I used the occasion to delve into some baking research. Knowing there was no place but to go to Martha, I got out the February 2009 issue of MS Living. It was cupcake themed! There was much to consider. Butter Boy has some food allergies. This ruled out peanut butter frosting. There were going to be lots of girls attending- no monster truck decorations. Chocolate or yellow? He wanted yellow. The process narrowed itself down. I really wanted to make banana cupcakes with caramel butter cream. I had to remind myself it wasn’t my birthday. Finally the decision was made: a yellow cupcake filled with vanilla creme and topped with basic butter cream frosting and berries. It was a huge success! I have to say putting a single blackberry on a white iced cupcake is stunningly beautiful. Simple really is better. The kids dug in as if they had not eaten in weeks. Of course, being a foodie mom I also made ice cream. We had chocolate and vanilla. I highly recommend the Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream maker. All and all a delicious time was had by all.. Happy birthday to my “big kid’!

Yellow Butter Cupcakes © Martha Stewart Living 2009
Ingredients

Makes 36

* 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 9 ounces (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 5 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, room temperature
* 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
2. Reduce speed to low. Mix remaining wet ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each full.
3. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

Basic Buttercream © Martha Stewart Living 2009

Makes about 4 cups

* 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
2. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

 

Julie and Julia and Mushrooms August 24, 2009

Filed under: pasta,Vegetarian — butteryblog @ 12:01 am
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Julie  and Julia

Julie and Julia

Last week I treated myself to a double feature movie day. I was off work, Mr. Butterpants was at work so I headed to see two movies he’d rather eat his own face off than see. I saw Julie and Julia and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I really liked TTTW. The book is a lovely tear-jerker and the movie is a pretty faithful adaptation. And Rachel McAdams can do no wrong in my opinion. Julie and Julia was interesting. For me, reading the book before was helpful- it helped flesh out a lot of things that were left out of the film for dramatic flow. Meryl Streep, as everyone has said, is brilliant. Her Julia is lovely and vital and adorable. Paul and Julia’s marriage is so beautifully realized. I usually enjoy Amy Adams, but she didn’t do it for me in this. Julie Powell is dry, sardonic, and caustic. Amy Adams’ whole aura just exudes Enchanted to me. I would have loved to see Mary Lynn Rajskub (who played Julie’s BFF) in the role of Julie. She just oozes lovable bitch. That’s a compliment, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It was fun, it reminded me that we are never without options or the ability to choose a different path. When I left the theatre, all I wanted to do was cook. Or to eat. I didn’t really have much in the house so instead I cracked an expensive bottle of wine that I was saving for a special occasion (being reminded that life can be anything we want it to be counts, right?).

I wanted to learn more about Julia’s recipes, but they’re not the most vegetarian friendly. I won’t be going on any lobster killing sprees anytime soon. While I was searching I found Deb at Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite food blogs!) had created a mushroom bourguignon. I wanted to try my hand at this version of a recipe which seems to define so many cooking memories for people- not me, of course. The most common question in my home was, “Where are we eating dinner?” Not so much, “What’s cooking?”

Mushroom

Mushroom

I loosely followed her recipe, but didn’t stick to it perfectly which might explain why my version ended up a little lumpy and lacking flavor. I would definitely try it again since SK’s never let me down before. I can only blame myself for this one. I’ll share it with you in hopes that you have a better experience.

Be excellent to each other,
Ms. Butterpants

Mushroom Bourguignon
from Deb at Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
Egg noodles, for serving

Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.

Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce the wine by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles.

Shrooooms

Shrooooms

 

West Coast Picnic: Dana Point August 17, 2009

Filed under: Desserts,drinks,Salads,Sandwiches,Soups — butteryblog @ 10:47 pm
Tags: , , ,
Salt Creek Beach

Salt Creek Beach

Lady Butterbuns and Mrs. Butterpants finally realized they didn’t actually live that far away from each other and scheduled a summer picnic at Dana Point, which is roughly midway between LA and San Diego. Joined by our husbands and the Butterbuns’ very large dog, we packed our coolers with Capri Sun, watermelon juice, blackberry basil lemonade, rice and artichoke salad, melon soup, pear and camembert sandwiches and fruit hand pies. The following IM took place a few weeks later.

 

Date: Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 9:19 PM

 

Lady Butterbuns: Okay, let’s get cracking. First of all, that park [Salt Creek Beach Park] is really nice! Not too crowded and the weather was great.

Mrs. Butterpants: Yes, it really is. Gorgeous, not too crazy, lots of families, and a good amount of parking — that’s important to SoCal folks.

Lady B: So we drank …watermelon juice, Capri Sun and lemonade. I was thrilled with the Capri Sun, even though it brought up bad memories of punching my straw clean

Refreshing watermelon juice

Refreshing watermelon juice

through the pouch as a child.

Mrs. B: Yes, Capri Sun is the one of the best reminders of childhood ever. I love people’s expressions when you pull it out. The watermelon juice was tasty, but suffered from me forgetting to strain it.

Lady B: I really liked it! Very refreshing and a lovely pink color.

Mrs. B: That lemonade was seriously one of my favorite things ever.

Lady B: I’m glad you liked it! I think that’s the first recipe I ever made up.

Mrs. B: It was so good. I really just wanted to keep drinking it. The next time I come down to your house, I’m stealing your lemons so I can make some.

Lady B: Please do. I can’t use all the lemons! I even give them away, but that tree is, well, fruitful. So we ate cantaloupe soup. I thought it was tasty, but as you said, a fresher melon might have given it more flavor.

Mrs. B: Yes, I wanted to get the cantaloupe from my farmers market, but ran out of time. So I bought it from the store and wasn’t as pleased. But I think it was good. The mint and rum gave it a nice flavor.

Lady B: Yeah, I don’t always love fresh mint but it worked in the soup.

Mrs. B: Agreed.

Lady B: More rum next time!

A rhyming sandwich: pear and camembert

A rhyming sandwich: pear and camembert

Mrs. B: Done and done! Then we had the sandwiches, which I thought were excellent. I didn’t partake in the bread, but I enjoyed my fruit and cheese plate very much. I loved the sweetness of the pear and honey with the mild camembert.

Lady B: The bread was the worst part anyway! Too dry. But I did like the pear/honey/camembert combo. Camembert is so delicious.

Mrs. B: It did look sort of dry. It would be served by a thinner egg bread I think.

Lady B: Yes and technically it’s supposed to be panini-ed. That would help. Or foccaccccccio which is moister.

Mrs. B: Oooh, yes. That would be excellent.

Lady B: And we had artichoke rice salad. Did you have any of that?

Mrs. B: I actually didn’t eat any. But Mr. Butterpants liked it very much. I think he went back for seconds and thirds.

Lady B: I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t too sure when I was making it, but it was pretty good. I like food that can be served room temperature.

Mrs. B: It looked and smelled good; I just don’t eat rice. And I was having mouth trouble that day, but we won’t get into that. Anything served room temperature is my friend. Or cold.

Rice and artichoke salad with spinach

Rice and artichoke salad with spinach

Lady B: Easy food.

Mrs. B: Yes. I could make a quick and easy joke, but I won’t.

Lady B: We can each make one silently to ourselves.

Mrs. B: It’s better that way. What was next? The pies right?

Lady B: Yes. I didn’t have the apple, just the peach. The flavor of the filling was really good. And you know how I feel about something I can eat with my hands — LOVE IT!

Mrs. B: I like the flavor of the apple better than the peach, but I thought they were both tasty. I’d add more bourbon to the peach next time.

Lady B: Yes! More rum and more bourbon!

Mrs. B: The pastry was a little overpowering so I’d go for a thinner one or make larger pockets so I could fill them with more fruit. And I should have added brandy to the apples. More alcohol! More alcohol! More alcohol!

Lady B: And seriously, I’m no fan of making my own crust — get the refrigerated pie dough from Pillsbury. It’s delicious and so easy.

Pies...you can eat with your hands!!!

Pies...you can eat with your hands!!!

Mrs. B: Yeah, I’ve done it a few times and I just haven’t found my favorite. This one was definitely a victim of being overworked. If I make these again, I’ll try the Pillsbury. I love their crescent rolls, so they can’t possibly steer me wrong.

Lady B: Oh yes, those are delicious. Their biscuits are pretty tasty too.

Mrs. B: Yes and their cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies. Really, I should just buy stock in Pillsbury.

Lady B: Pretty much that little doughboy can do no wrong.

Mrs. B: I concur.

Lady B: So that was all the food, right?

Mrs. B: Was that really all the food? It felt like more.

Lady B: I know. That table was covered with foodstuff. But I think that was it.

Mrs. B: Overall I was pleased with the food. Yours more than mine.

Lady B: I think we tend to be overly critical of our own cooking. I rarely think anything I cook is good.

Mrs. B: Always.

Lady B: Have you ever thought about taking the watermelon juice and freezing it into pops?

Mrs. B: Yes, we did exactly that. They work really well. The top tends to be overly sweet since the syrup settles there, but they’re very refreshing, a good sweet cold treat that is not an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Lady B: B&J — I constantly have to give myself time outs from them!

Mrs. B: I know. I made the mistake of purchasing the peach cobbler flavor.

Lady B: I saw that in the store and thought of you. What do you think to just posting one recipe each? You can send me whichever one you like. I just don’t want this post to be 8 miles long, you know? Oh, send the recipe for Capri Sun!

Mrs. B.: Yes!!

Happiness in a pouch

Happiness in a pouch

1 straw

1 pouch

Punch straw into pouch

Let childhood memories rush over you

Lady B:: Yes! 5 stars!

 

Lady Butterbuns and Mrs. Butterpants are scheduled to meet up in October. Stay tuned …

 

Artichoke and Rice Salad (Martha Stewart Living)

 

Serves 6

 

* 1 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup Arborio rice
* 2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
* 12 small green olives, pitted and sliced
* 12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, liquid reserved
* 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced on a bias
* 1/2 ounce baby spinach (about 1 cup)

 

Directions

 

1. Bring stock to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Add rice, salt, and curry powder. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
2. Raise heat, and add half the stock. Stir 30 seconds. Stir in remaining stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook 20 minutes.
3. Spread rice onto a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
4. Combine olives, artichoke hearts, and celery in a large bowl. Add rice, and toss. Add 1 tablespoon reserved artichoke liquid, and toss. (Salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated overnight.)
5. Before serving, stir in spinach. Serve cold or at room temperature.

 

Cantaloupe Soup (Gale Grand/Food Network)

 

– 1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cubed
– 1/4 cup dark rum
– 1/4 cup cream
– 1 lemon, zested
– 2 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
– 4 mint leaves, julienned

 

Place everything but the mint leaves in a blender and puree. Strain through a fine chinois or strainer. Chill. Serve in chilled martini glasses with
juilenned mint. (I’d bump up the rum to 1/3 cup.  It definitely needed a little more kick.  And buy a super-fresh cantaloupe!  It makes all the difference.)

 

♥Lady Butterbuns & Mrs. Butterpants

 

Summer Vegetable and Potato Salad August 11, 2009

Filed under: Salads — butteryblog @ 10:24 pm
Tags: , ,
Amazing Potatoes.

Amazing Potatoes.

If you’re like me, a salad that isn’t covered in ranch dressing, tortilla chips, shredded cheese or fried chicken is not exactly what I’d call “appetizing.” But lo and behold, the good folks at Food & Wine have come up with a summer salad that has lots of flavor but none of the fattening stuff. Now don’t be scared by the anchovies. Chances are, if you’ve ever had an authentic Caesar salad, you’ve had anchovies. The flavor is actually mild and deliciously salty. Never until this salad did I realize how kind of amazing fingerling potatoes really are. They’re so creamy and once they’ve cooked in the rosemary water, they take on such a wonderfully nuanced flavor you’ll want to cook your potatoes this way every time. I added the spinach because, well, I had some. If you added tuna or salmon or chicken, you’d have a lovely main course. As is, it makes a nice post-workout lunch with a few flax seed crackers.

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 ounces yellow wax beans
  • 4 ounces thin green beans
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 12 sm. fingerling potato scrub, skin on
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chop parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon chop marjoram
  • 12 cherry tomatoes halved

ACTIVE TIME: 25 MIN/TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
This recipe comes from Jonathan Benno.

In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the yellow beans until just tender, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a baking sheet and let cool. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until just tender, 2 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, add the green beans to the baking sheet. Let cool, then pat dry.

Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and peppercorns to the boiling water. Add the potatoes and simmer over moderately high heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Careful here. I only cooked my 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving the garlic cloves. Discard the seasonings.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the anchovies in the milk for 10 minutes. I actually could stand more anchovy taste, so I would skip the soak next time. Drain the anchovies, then coarsely chop them and transfer to a blender. Add the olive oil and the reserved garlic and puree. With the machine on, slowly add the vinegar. Scrape the dressing into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley and marjoram.

Slice the boiled potatoes 1/4 inch thick and put them in a large bowl. Add half of the anchovy dressing and toss gently. Add the yellow and green beans, the cherry tomatoes and the remaining dressing, toss gently and serve.

Grade: B+

♥Lady Butterbuns

 

Comfort Food August 8, 2009

Filed under: Baked Goods/Pastries — butteryblog @ 11:42 pm
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Whenever something bad happens, I want macaroni and cheese and cake.  I try very hard most of the time to eat well, but occasionally something happens and you just gotta indulge.

Amelia

Amelia

Amelia died yesterday.  Mr. Butterpants adopted her 10 years ago while we were dating. I grew up with 8 cats, but I’d never met one like this.  She was smart- like people smart.  Crafty, jealous, anxious, suspicious, territorial and she loved Mr. Buterpants terribly.

This year, she developed a malignant tumor.  We had it removed and found out it was the size of a tennis ball.  Not once did she indicate that she may have been in pain, but there’s no way she couldn’t have been.  When the lump came back a few weeks ago and she was not acting like herself, we knew that we could never put her through more surgery.  It would have been for us, not for her.  We made the decision to let her go so she could finally be in peace and without pain.

Mr Butterpants wrote this yesterday:

She was a terrible cat. She hated everyone. She fought with the other cats, hissed and growled and screamed and swatted at anyone who came to our house, punched my wife in the face while she was sleeping, and thought everything was out to get her, including her own tail. She also sat in my lap when I was watching TV, slept above my head on my pillow almost every night, and climbed up on my shoulder and nuzzled my neck and purred. No one else was allowed to pet her, but she loved me, most of the time…. She was my cat, and I loved her, and I hope she knew I was trying to take care of her. I’ll miss her so much.

For my part, even though Amelia and I were not very good friends, I will miss her very much.  She made me laugh, she made me angry, she was a member of my family.  I know that many people don’t understand how a person can feel this way about an animal, but I do.  I always have and I always will.

So today when we woke up and needed to get out of the house, we went to Rush Street for some comfort food.

Rush Street Mac and Cheese

Rush Street Mac and Cheese

Then I came home and baked brownies out of a box. They completely fell apart so I just piled them on a plate and handed Mr. Butterpants a fork.

Brownie Pile

Brownie Pile

Tomorrow I will go back to my proper diet with the right balances of protein and whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Today, I’m just remembering my weird, angry, hilarious cat. Whom I will miss. Forever.

Be excellent to each other,
Ms. Butterpants

 

Pica What?

Filed under: Crock Pot/Slow Cooker/One Pot,Meat — butteryblog @ 4:29 pm
Tags: , ,

What's it called?Yes, that is exactly what my almost 4 year old said to me when I told him what I was making for dinner last night. “Picadillo”, I said again. “Pica who?” What can I say? His timing is pretty good. Still, he managed to eat a good portion of this Spanish dish at dinner later that night. It really is quite good. A perfect cool weather one-pot wonder if you will. Since we have yet to have a 90 degree day this summer it went down well. I have to say, it is not vegetarian friendly. It is all meat baby. A little something about this recipe. I am publishing it verbatim. This is how it came to me- this is a seperate topic for another post. I will make notes as I go.

Picadillo

1 lb. each chicken breasts, italian sausage, ground beef (cut chicken and sausage into bite sized pieces)

1/2 c olive oil

4 sliced onions

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 can tomatoes (I used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes)

1 can tomato paste, large

2 green peppers, diced

1 can green chilies, small

1 bottle green olives, small

3/4 c raisins

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

4 tbsp Pickapeppa Sauce

bay leaf, salt, pepper, basil, oregano ( I did these all to taste except I used 2 bay leaves)

1) Brown meat in olive oil. (Do this in batches to that everything gets a good sear)

2) Add everything else in dutch oven with meat. Simmer for 30 minutes

3) Serve over saffroned rice.

∞ Mother Butter