Friday, August 26, 2011

Timer Tip #2 - Fresh Thyme

Check out my video for a quick tip on using fresh thyme for a recipe!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Herbalicious

This summer I planted an herb garden with parsley, cilantro, thyme, basil and rosemary.  The curly leaf parsley ended up becoming food for a few caterpillars that will soon turn into Black Swallowtail butterflies...who knew they were big fans of parsley?  I was happy to let them have it since I had the flat leaf variety too.  I wanted to use up some more of the herbs in something else besides as a garnish or just an ingredient in a recipe.  I wanted the taste of the summery herbs to stand out on their own.  I decided to make up a batch of herb butter to go along with all the delicious corn we have been enjoying this summer.

There are a lot of variations for making herb butters with the different herbs and other complimentary ingredients you have on hand - I used flat leaf parsley and a little bit of basil.  You can take out the garlic and add crushed red pepper flakes instead or some lemon zest would be a great addition too.  Some other uses for herb butters, sometimes called compound butters, are putting a pat on top of steak, baked potatoes or steamed vegetables or fish for some added flavor.

Herb butter

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup of herbs, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of kosher salt

Place all ingredients into a small bowl and mix well.  You can also put all the ingredients into a small food processor but I would suggest mincing the garlic as it sometimes doesn't get chopped as well and it is not enjoyable (for most people) to bite into a big chunk of garlic.  I used my magic bullet-type mixer to blend everything together.

As far a presentation goes, it is up to you.  You can spoon it into a small dish to serve, or the mixture can be spooned onto a piece of parchment paper, formed into a log shape and then rolled up in the paper, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated until firm.  Once the butter is firmed up, you can slice the log into individual pats.  I have also seen the butter piped onto a plate using a pastry bag, but that is getting fancy and I wasn't about to get all crazy for my weeknight barbecue.  I opted for spooning it into a small dish for serving and adding a little garnish.