The Buttery Blog

Everything's better with butter.

Autumn on a Plate November 8, 2009

Filed under: Vegetarian — butteryblog @ 11:35 am
Tags: ,

Growing up in the South, I lived off of canned vegetables. Creamed corn with extra butter, anyone? Yes, we did have small farmstands on the side of the road, but I think the only time we ever actually stopped was to get baskets full of Georgia peaches.

So when I moved to New York, the farmer’s market became a place to get in touch with nature among the urban concrete. It took me a while to get comfortable with the farmer’s market. It was all so wonderful, but also overwhelming. I would go and leave empty-handed because I didn’t have a plan.

About 5 years ago I changed my perspective. I decided to go to the farmer’s market without a plan (and be okay with that), see what was in season, pick something, and then figure out what to do with it. One year I chose a butternut squash. At that point I don’t think I had ever even eaten butternut squash. I certainly didn’t know what was inside or how I was supposed to cut it up.

Luckily I found a Butternut Squash Risotto recipe in Martha Stewart Living. Now, at that point I had also never made risotto so I was really challenging myself. Of course, I wouldn’t have written 3 paragraphs if it hadn’t turned out to be out-of-this-world. I make it at least once a year. It’s creamy and cheesy, and warm with a dash of nutmeg.

Martha Stewart’s Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 4 to 6
1 medium butternut squash
6 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparing the Ingredients

Preparing the Ingredients


  1. Cut squash into eighths; discard seeds. In a large pot filled with 1 inch of simmering water, steam squash on a steaming rack or in a bamboo steamer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Scoop flesh from skin and mash lightly.

    Mashed Butternut Squash

    Mashed Butternut Squash

  2. In a large saucepan, heat stock to a simmer. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add oil and shallots; cook for 2 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.


    Onions and Butter

    Onions and Butter

  3. Add wine to rice, and cook, stirring, until wine is nearly absorbed. Stir in a cup of stock and the squash; cook at a steady simmer until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue stirring in stock, a ladleful at a time, until rice is creamy and firm but not hard in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Add chopped rosemary. Stir in remaining butter and most of the Parmesan. Serve immediately in shallow bowls garnished with the remaining cheese and rosemary sprigs.


    Butternut Squash Risotto and Lots of Greens

    Butternut Squash Risotto and Lots of Greens

Happy Autumn!

♦ Buttery B


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. can eat with your hands!!! 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)




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


Fourth of July: Dark Continent Style July 7, 2009

Filed under: Vegetarian — butteryblog @ 5:14 am

About a year ago I bought Discovery of a Continent, Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbook sold at Starbucks. It seemed interesting to me, but I never bothered to cook anything out of it. Until now. I made a lemon-olive chicken with Ras al-Hanout rub served with a side of red rice. I can’t say I’ve ever cooked anything African ever. I rarely even eat it. This has to be the most flavorful thing I have ever made. It makes me realize how often Western cooking is rather staid relying on the same handful of spices, used in the same handful of ways. I loved this meal, especially the rice. But be warned: spicy.

I can’t write out all the recipes because I don’t have that kind of time, but here’s the recipe for the red rice. I can’t recommend it enough.

A new twist on chicken and rice.

A new twist on chicken and rice.


  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, fine chop (remove seeds and ribs to lower the heat quotient)
  • 2 tsp shrimp powder (no idea where to find such a thing; Samuelsson suggest 1 tbsp of tomato paste in substitution)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup short grain rice (I used medium grain to no ill effect)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 thyme sprigs (you know how I feel about thyme right now)
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup loose pack cilantro, rough chop

1. Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the jalapeno, shrimp powder and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the tomatoes and chili powder, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the oil separates from the tomatoes.

2. Add the rice and stir to coat. Stir in the salt, thyme, tomato juice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 mintues.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Replace the cover and let sit for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.


♥Lady Butterbuns