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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Single Tablespoon Quick Change

Compound butter and flavored olive oil.  Make some ahead, freeze it or fridge it, and turn Plain Anything into an Amazing Something with a tablespoon or two.  Pork chops, chicken breasts, fish fillets, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, rice, pasta, scrambled eggs...it is astounding what you can do with this stuff.

In general, I'd use the oil and clarified butter to cook in and the compound butters and chimichurri to finish a cooked dish.

Mojo de Ajo
Makes about 2 cups
Thank you to Jason and Michelle for this one!

2 large heads garlic, cloves peeled and smashed slightly
1 - 1 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat oven to 325F.  Stir together garlic, oil and salt in a baking dish small enough to keep the garlic submerged in the oil (9x5 works).  Bake 45-55 minutes.  Add lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove and mash garlic into a coarse puree.  Add red pepper flakes to taste, if desired.  Store in a pint jar in a cool, dry place (I keep mine in the fridge and take it out a few minutes before cooking to let the oil liquify)

Ethiopian Spiced Butter (clarified butter)
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from a recipe from the Frug (The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 1" piece cinnamon stick
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 whole cloves
1 pound salted butter
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat.  When the butter is foamy, add the spices, onion and garlic.  Turn heat down to low and cook, uncovered , for 45 minutes.  Do not stir.  The milk solids will collect on the bottom of the pot and will start to brown. 

Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.  Store the clarified butter in a pint jar in the fridge.

Basil Butter
Makes 16 servings

cup softened butter (2 sticks)
6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
15 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

Combine all ingredients and form into two 1" diameter logs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.  Slice as needed.

Green Herb Butter
Makes about 2 cups
This is a good way to use up whatever herbs you have left in your garden before the first frost.

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup minced herbs, such as parsley, dill, rosemary, thyme, savory

Combine butter and herbs and form into 2 1" diameter logs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.  Slice as needed.

Barbadian Chimichurri
Makes about 2 cups
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
5 green onions, coarsely chopped (green and white parts)
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 habanero pepper, seeded (wear gloves!!)
1 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp dry marjoram
1/2 cup packed parsley
1 tbsp ground cloves
1/2 tbsp Worcestshire sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
6 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Blend all ingredients except vinegar in a food processor until nearly a paste.  Stir in vinegar.  Store in a pint jar at least 3-4 days before using to let flavors blend.  Keep refrigerated or frozen.

Sichuan Peppercorn Seasoning Mix and Dry Dip

Cinnamon Oil
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