Butter & Living Better

20 Jul

Right now, summer of 2011, I have lots of updates:

– The donut search in Indiana is well under way.  Some shops I’ve had to return to 2-3 times to get my sought after flavors because later in the morning they were already sold out!

– I’m officially living and learning grace through having mild seizures often and major seizures occasionally, all under the umbrella of epilepsy.  Looking forward to writing about this experience, but it needs to be done with some perspective.

– It is hotter than a-super-big-cuss-word in Indiana right now.  They say it will be the longest stretch of days over 90 degrees F since the 1940’s.  The 90s I can handle, it’s the 95%+ humidity that is a butt kicker.  Keep in mind that 100% humidity is called rain.

– One day very soon I’m going to start exercising.  The timing is right…  If I start now, I’ll look fab around the holidays, where the major sweets eating and candy mowing begins.  Also, I’m hoping that better health will improve my overall energy level!

That’s it for updates, now on to the food portion of this bite sized blog post.  Yes, I did mention donuts, exercise and now moving onto butter in the same post.

A new friend of mine is an amazing home cook, super frugal shopper and has even done a 30-day cooking challenge where she cooked 30 days of meals in one day and portioned everything to be frozen, etc. for future consumption.  Wow.  That takes some serious planning!

She has inspired this post about a little ingredient called butter.  I shared a Jacques Torres cookie recipe with her that called for butter and this was a new experience for her.  So, we spent at least 20 minutes on the topic of butter.  Its greatness, where to buy, and the best per pound cost in town.  I love it!

As a baker, butter to me is indispensable PERIOD.  It adds flavor, texture, tenderness, sheen, just everything beautiful in the world of food.

The very first time I remember eating butter was in Mexico.  My family visited Cancun in the early 80’s and back then it  just started to become a tourist destination.  It was still a fishing village.  The place we stayed was a two-level time share and it was the tallest “hotel” on that strip.  😀

Every night at dinner, we would sit watching a sun-setting sky indoors or out, white linens on the table.  Super sweaty glasses of water, crusty rolls in a basket and there was a glass dish of scallop shelled shaped butter curls.  They were very cold (and also sweaty) and perfectly shaped.  Every night, I thought to myself, “how did they do that?”  They were hollow, so by the time you spread them on the roll, they melted.

Wow! I Found Them. Just By Searching images.google.com on Butter

I actually think the experiences in Mexico shaped my attention to detail with the simplest ingredients, like butter.

It was perfection.

You can have that same perfection today.  You don’t even have to have one of these fancy butter curlers.  Just mid-day on the day you are serving warm bread, rolls, zucchini bread or one of my new loves that is very embarrassing, MCL’s banana nut bread, set out your stick of butter for super easy spreading at dinner time.

Room Temperature Butter = Nothing Better

At time of service, just fill a small custard dish or condiment bowl with your softened butter and it’s amazing.  Use unsalted butter and add a little crunchy salt, like kosher salt.

Of course, if you own a microwave, you can achieve this softness by heating at 10% for 1 minute at a time until desired texture.

It’s time to treat yourself better.  I beg you, stop buying strangely filled “butter” or buttery spreads or I Can’t Believe It’s Going To Take a Year Off My Life Spread, just go for the real deal.  You don’t have to use a lot.  Try local, organic butter.  Try imported butter.  Try any butter.  Tell me about your buttery experience, I’d love to read about it!

(I have a video post coming up where I make Martha’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing with unsalted Butter, Sugar and Egg Whites with my friend Amy L.)


4 Responses to “Butter & Living Better”

  1. allkindsofgoodies July 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Try RAW butter! My fave – and stay tuned for my “things you see on the restaurant table in Europe” – or better yet, “things you DON’T see on the restaurant table in Europe”.

    ….and have you seen the process for making margarine? It is 1 step away from plastic…. PLASTIC!


    • Carrie July 21, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      Heather, Looking forward to your post! That’s gross regarding margarine, I’ve never considered the process. I just know the taste is pretty bad. The only thing good about margarine are those 1980’s bowls they came in and ended up being our cereal bowls.

  2. Mere July 21, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    I work in an office of all women. I am always surprised by the comments “it tastes just like butter!”. Or. “you just spray it on so you get the texture”. If you want butter in flavor or texture, then use butter! It’s delicious, natural and cheap. You can make it at home. What could be easier, more natural or more rewarding.

    • Carrie July 21, 2011 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Mere, What a perfect time to practice grace or sarcasm…”hey, have you ever considered actual butter?” Second thought, I’m already sure I know the response. “Too expensive, not worth it, not easy enough to spread when I need it….” Not in a judgey, judgey way, but if someone likes chocolate, cheese and wine and Hershey’s, Velvetta & Franzia DO IT for them…OK, but WE just aren’t cut from the same (cheese)cloth. You know?!

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