The Buttery Blog

Everything's better with butter.

A Wild Rumpus! October 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — butteryblog @ 2:34 am

I’m sure that by now, you’ve seen Where the Wild Things Are.  Or at least the trailer.  If you’re anything like Lady Butterbuns or Ms. Butterpants, you wept the entire way through the trailer and probably through the last quarter of the film.  This seems to be a pretty polarizing film, but I (Ms. B) loved it.  I thought it was raw, heartbreaking and beautiful.  I read somewhere that it’s not a movie for children, but it is a movie about childhood.  I agree.

But you people don’t come here for movie reviews.  To the food!  Months and months ago Lady Butterbuns and I decided that we would see the movie and make the entire event about food.  Because that’s how the Buttery Ladies roll.

Lady Butterbuns trained it up from San Diego, Honey Bee Cake in tow! Our theme was “Wild Foods” and we invited some old college peeps and made them fill out anonymous comment cards.  The menu and comments are below.

mushroom bread pudding

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding!

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

– “Mushroom? Good. Bread? Good.  Pudding? Good!”

– “Yummy!”

– “So awesome, I had seconds.  Maybe thirds.”

– “Yum!  So hearty.  The cheese and mushroom combo are very good!  I like the crust on top.”

– “Would work better without the mushrooms and the bread pudding.” – Clearly Mr. Butterpants.  He’d prefer to eat things that suck.

P1040170

Salad. And a wild thing.

Spinach Salad with Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts
*We forgot the Pecorino and turned the currants into cherries.
-“The only remotely healthy thing on the menu.”

– “I’m not a fan of green things, but this was good!”

– “So flavorful!”

– “Really like the dried cherries- nice twist and pine nuts, mmmm! :)”

P1040175

Shrimps

Jerk Shrimp with a Pineapple Salsa

P1040171

Pineapple Salsa

– “Who’s the jerk who made this delicious shrimp?”

– “Spicy! Love the salsa!”

– “Yum! I love the shrimpies and pineapple!”

– “Love it!  The pineapple really accents the spice of the shrimp!”

– “Great spicing!  Tangy and tasty!”  – While typing this I thought this read, “Tangy and trashy!” which could describe so many things in my life.

 

 

pom rita

Pomegranate 'Rita!

Pomegranate Margaritas

– “Holy crap!”

– “This is dangerous!”

– “Delicious- has bite!”

– “I’m already falling over!”

– “Who am I?  What am I doing here?  Stop touching me!”

 

 

 

P1040183

Beeeee Cake

Honey Bee Cake

– “Love it!  Not too sweet, moist, frosting was awesome.” – for the record, I hate the word moist.  I felt gross just typing it.

– “More please!”

– “Sweet. Creamy. Cakey. Honey…ey.”

– “Wish I could eat more! The almonds really go with the yummy, creamy, chocolatey, sweetness.”

P1040205

Gorilla Bread Innards


and Gorilla Bread for breakfast the next morning.

– “No monkeying around- pretty tasty!”

Before Lady Butterbuns headed to the train, we stopped off at Surfa’s, where they sell Coney Island Hot Dog Mustard  (hooray for specificity!)

P1040208

Mustardy

and colorful pasta.  Go here. Go now.

P1040211

Fancy.

 

So most of the recipes are linked above, but here are our two favorites.

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding adapted (to make it fattening) from Cooking Light

Ingredients

3 cups milk, divided
8 cups (2-inch) cubed country or peasant bread (about 12 ounces)
2 (4-ounce) portobello mushrooms
1/4 c. butter
6 c. quartered cremini mushrooms (12 oz) (I couldn’t find cremini so I used Baby Bellas and shitakes)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
4 large eggs
Cooking spray
1 1/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese, divided

Preparation

Combine 2 cups milk and bread. Cover and chill 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove brown gills from the undersides of portobellos using a spoon; discard gills and stems. Cut mushroom caps in half; cut halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add portobello and cremini mushrooms, and sauté 4 minutes (I do longer because I like my mushrooms pretty brown, though not crisp). Stir in parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.

Combine 1 cup milk and eggs, and stir with a whisk. Spoon 2 cups bread mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with the mushroom mixture; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Top with remaining bread mixture and the rest of the cheese. Pour egg mixture over top. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until set.

 

We are drinkers, though we haven’t shared any of our favorites before. So here you go. A buttery cocktail.

Pomegranate Margarita by Danny Broome

Ingredients

Lime wedge, plus more for garnish
Salt
Ice
4 ounces white tequila
2 ounces Triple Sec
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 lime, juiced (optional)
Club soda

Directions

Pour salt onto a plate or shallow dish. With a lime wedge rub along the rim of a glass and dip glasses upside down to salt the rim. Fill glasses with ice. In a cocktail shaker with ice place the tequila, triple sec, pomegranate juice, and lime juice. Pour into the salt-rimmed glasses and top off with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.

 

We’ll eat you up, we love you so.
Ms. Butterpants and Lady Butterbuns

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Dumplings and Cake. Oh Baby! October 25, 2009

Filed under: Baked Goods/Pastries,health/diet — butteryblog @ 9:19 pm
Tags: , ,

The NYC Dumpling Festival was held yesterday. The only reason I’m aware of this is because one of my (very brave) friends participated in the dumpling eating contest. Seeing pictures of his feat put a huge smile on my face, and for some crazy reason, even though everyone looked a little sick at the end, I had a craving for dumplings.

Off to Vanessa’s Dumpling House on the Lower East Side. Compared with most dumpling spots in the area, Vanessa’s is considered a “splurge.” Eight vegetable dumplings for $3.00 and Peking Duck on a Sesame Pancake for $2.25. The Peking Duck sandwich was delicious, and the size of a large man’s hand. Seriously, not to up their prices, but they could easily sell that thing for $4.00! Next time I go there I’ll try their pan-fried pork dumplings (4 for a $1.00). It’s a great place to stop and get a snack in the middle of shopping or sight-seeing.

Vanessa's Dumplings

Vanessa's Dumplings

Just a few blocks away is Babycakes, a well known vegan bakery visited by many celebrities. I had heard the name before, but it wasn’t until Lady Butterbuns asked us East Coast Buttery sisters to investigate that it was officially on my radar. “Can it really be that good?” Lady B asked, considering it’s wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free (the only thing it’s not is nut-free)?

BabyCakesNYC.com

BabyCakesNYC.com

I tried 3 of their offerings, and here is my professional buttery opinion, in order of taste-test:

Mini Chocolate Brownie: A two-bite brownie. It was moist, chocolately, and had just the right amount of sweetness. It also had chocolate chunks inside, which enhanced the texture. If someone had told me it was a regular-ol’ brownie, I would have believed them.

Just like the real thing: mini chocolate brownie

Just like the real thing: mini chocolate brownie

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting: Disgusting. The cake was so dry and it had a definite cardboard taste. Don’t even go there.

Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Very nice. It was more of a muffin texture than cake. What it had going for it was the pumpkin, which makes anything moist, and the spices. A key to making a low fat, low sugar food taste better is adding spices. And this one worked nicely.

Chocolate: Thumbs Down/ Pumpkin: Thumbs Up

Chocolate: Thumbs Down/ Pumpkin: Thumbs Up

Babycakes is totally cute. From the name to the storefront design, it beckons you in. If you’re vegan, it’s probably a little bit of heaven on earth. When I ordered, I was asked if I had any food allergies, so you know that there’s a greater purpose behind it than just baking cupcakes. For someone who’s not a vegan, and has no food allergies, it’s a trial and error type thing. I’d definitely go back for the mini brownie if I just happened to be passing by.

Too Cute

Too Cute

There’s a small park about a block away with a beautiful red bench to enjoy your vegan treats:

Sit on Me. I'm Pretty.

Sit on Me. I'm Pretty.

I ended my adventure with Where the Wild Things Are. A lovely Sunday afternoon indeed!

♦ Buttery B

 

Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars October 19, 2009

Filed under: Desserts — butteryblog @ 11:38 pm
Tags:
Pucker Up!

Pucker Up!

Another chapter from the Lemon Cookbook! My friend S and I decided to make Ina Garten‘s lemon bars. I’d made it once a few years ago and it was quite a disaster, but it was my fault. My baking dish was too small so the bars never cooked properly. This time, I put the batter into two dishes. Still, I can’t say I loved these. I loved the taste; it was an excellent balance of tart and sweet. But the texture wasn’t quite right. The recipe calls for flour in the lemon mixture to help the bars set, but I felt like this made the bars gummy. None of the others that ate these made that comment and in fact, they went over really well, but I personally would prefer something a bit creamier. If anyone has a killer lemon bar recipe, hit me with it!

Lemon Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes / Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes / Cook Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 20 squares or 40 triangles

 

CRUST:

    1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temp
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 cups flour
    1/8 teaspoon salt

FILLING:

    6 XL eggs, room temp
    3 cups sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon zest (4-6 lemons)
    1 cup lemon juice
    1 cup flour
    Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

4. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

 

GRADE: B
♥Lady Butterbuns

 

Hat and Gloves. Check. October 18, 2009

Filed under: drinks — butteryblog @ 12:00 pm
Tags:

It is mid-October and I pulled out my hat and gloves yesterday for the first time. It just seemed wrong. I refused to wear a proper coat, in defiance. It is only mid-October, people! NYC has gotten slammed with 30 degree temps the past few days and I am not sure how to react, or what to wear. But, what I do know is what to eat.

As I walked home yesterday, all I had on my mind was Hot Chocolate. No Swiss Miss action. Not even Starbucks. I wanted the real thing, complete with real milk (I usually go for soy) and whipped cream. I stopped off for some Cool Whip–but when I turned to the ingredients (corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup), I decided I could make my own whipped cream. For some reason it seems fancy and complicated. It is fancy, but not complicated.

First, I pulled out the hot chocolate ingredients. Last year I splurged on MarieBelle Hot Chocolate and still had some. So, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of hot chocolate. Boil the milk, add the hot chocolate, simmer for 10 seconds. Pretty simple. Next time I might add some cinnamon, or peppermint…when it is actually offiically winter!

MarieBelle Hot Chocolate

MarieBelle Hot Chocolate

Whipped Cream

8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream with an electric mixer (unless you want your arm to fall off) until it is about half-way to looking like whipped cream. Add the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until it looks like what you want your whipped cream to look like (though, it shouldn’t be beaten to the point that it has peaks–this isn’t a meringue!). Dollop on your hot chocolate and enjoy.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade Whipped Cream

Best enjoyed in a soft robe, or big sweater.

Let the winter games begin!

♦ Buttery B

 

Eating On the Run October 16, 2009

Filed under: health/diet — butteryblog @ 2:18 am
Tags:
This belongs in the Smithsonian!

This belongs in the Smithsonian!

A few weeks ago I ran my first 5K. Quite frankly, I’m shocked. On the list of things of things I never thought I’d do, running a race is somewhere up there with “eat the heart of a baby giraffe” and “pee standing up.” Now, unlike Buttery B, there was no celebratory brunch after the run. The run was the celebration. So what does this all have to do with food then? Simple. By the time you’ve settled into your 30s, like I have, your body has basically moved out of fifth gear, never to return. Things start hurting, joints are making strange popping noises and, generally, everything just slows the hell down. Including metabolism. The truth is, I can no longer eat an entire box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner at 5pm –as a snack!– and not see it the next morning (so many good memories; thanks, Kraft!). The math is easy: I run because it burns calories. The more calories I burn, the more calories I get to consume. The more I get to eat, the happier I am. Sure, I guess there’s some nonsense about fitness too. And I suppose if you think about it, the more I run, the healthier I become. The healthier I become, the longer I live. The longer I live –that’s right!– the more I get to eat.

 

Next race in three weeks. This time, I’m eating a sausage when I cross the finish line.

 

♥Lady Butterbuns

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Butterpants! October 12, 2009

Filed under: Desserts — butteryblog @ 8:20 pm
Tags: ,
Caaaaaaaaaake

Caaaaaaaaaake

I love birthdays.  I often start planning my own months in advance.  I know this is inappropriate. My inner birthday whore fights with my inner etiquette geek every year. Of course, my poor husband is not such a birthday freak, but every year I badger him into some sort of party or gathering by promising him that I will cook him whatever he likes.   I tell myself that deep down he likes it.

This year, the request was Southern food (specifically, chicken and dumplings) and Rock Band.  Since it is my belief that your birthday is your own personal holiday, in the Butterpants house, what you want is what you get.

I generally avoid cooking meat whenever possible.  The last time I tried, it resulted in a minor emotional breakdown so this time around, Mr. B took care of the shredding and prepping of the chicken and I took care of the rest.

Of course, birthdays require cake. Last year, Mr. B requested a box cake.  I’m not going to lie, I was offended at the request.  But…. what you want is what you get.  Well, a box cake he got.  Too bad it looked like this:

A five year old monkey made this.

A five year old monkey made this.

I swear I did not do it on purpose.

This year, I insisted on homemade.  Since Mr. B is a huge peanut butter/chocolate fan, I settled on the recipe from Sky High for the Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze.  Holy mother of G-d.

Both recipes are excellent.  Mr. B found the chicken and dumplings a little on the salty side, so if you’re not a salt person, err on the side of caution.  The cake is hardcore.  Superrich, but absolutely incredible.  This cake is going to be my chocolate cake base from now on.

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

From Scott Peacock via Martha Stewart.

Note: This is more of a soup than the thicker stewy texture (think Cracker Barrel) that Mr. B was hoping for.  I thickened it a bit with flour.  That didn’t really get to where he wanted it, but he was satisfied with it in the end and said it tasted even better the next day.

Chicken and Dumplins

Chicken and Dumplins

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 large chicken (4 to 4 1/2 pounds), cut into quarter

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

8 cups Scott’s Chicken Stock (I confess, I used canned because I was lazy and crunched for time)

1 medium onion, halved lengthwise

2 ribs celery, preferably inner ribs with leaves attached

1 large egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (I did not use these, Mr. B would have flipped)

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions

Generously season chicken with salt. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

In a large Dutch oven, combine chicken stock, 4 cups water, onion, celery, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat Add the leg portions and the backbone of the chicken to the Dutch oven. Place the breasts, skin side down, on top of the legs. Reduce heat to just below a simmer. Cover partially, and cook, making sure the stock mixture does not come to a simmer, until breasts are cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove breasts, and set aside. Continue cooking legs until very tender and meat begins to pull away from the bone, 30 to 40 minutes more. Remove chicken and vegetables, reserving liquid. Discard vegetables and set chicken aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together egg, oil, 3 tablespoons cold water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in flour until well combined. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

When chicken has cooled, remove skin and discard. Remove meat from bones and tear into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces; set aside.

Turn dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Roll out dough until it is about 1/16-inch thick. Cut dough into 1 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch rectangles. Bring reserved stock mixture to a boil over high heat, and season with salt. Add dough rectangles to boiling liquid, shaking pot as necessary, but not stirring. Cook until, dough is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add reserved chicken and reduce to a simmer. Add sliced egg, butter, and heavy cream; season with pepper. Continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes more; season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and cover; let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving in shallow bowl.

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
From Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes via Smitten Kitchen.

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16

The Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle. (I didn’t do this.)

The Frosting

Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (note from the book: commercial hydrogenated peanut butter works best because the oil doesn’t separate out)

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

The Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

So much cake.

So much cake.

Serve with Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka.

Be excellent to each other,
Ms. Butterpants

 

Pork Medallions with Garlic Ginger Pomegranate Sauce October 5, 2009

Filed under: Meat — butteryblog @ 12:32 am
Tags:
Pigging out.

Pigging out.

Not much to say here except that this dish was really tasty and easy to make. As you might expect, the pomegranate juice (that and packaged pom seeds have become so much easier to find nowadays) is a bit tart, so I added about a tablespoon of sugar at the end, which made it perfect. The fresh cilantro adds just the right amount of freshness. Serve it with rice. The recipe comes from Cooking Light.

SERVES 4

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chop cilantro

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add pork, seal and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade. Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and flour.

2. Preheat oven to 350°.

3. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Pour reserved marinade over pork. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Remove pork from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 8 pieces.

4. Combine 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Bring marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cornstarch mixture to marinade, cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Serve over pork; sprinkle with cilantro.

GRADE: A-

♥Lady Butterbuns