Food Sunday: Butter
I love butter. It is the only thing I add to a baked potato (well salt and pepper but no sour cream.) I cook with butter (scrambled eggs and steak both.) Butter on my toast. Boiled and buttered potatoes. Butter floating on my mashed potatoes. As a kid, my dessert was often a slice of bread with fresh butter and sugar sprinkled on top. A marvelous pastry is a slice of Hawaiian sweet bread, buttered with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on and into the microwave for 15 seconds.
I had a time when I used margarine more than butter but a few years ago, I decided the original butter flavor and fresh butter just tasted better and generally worked better for cooking than margarine. The Wall St Journal had this article a few days ago on butter making a “comeback” (If the link does not work, google this title Butter Makes Comeback as Margarine Loses Favor and you should be able to read the whole thing.) Of course, part of the WSJ focus is the impact on the margarine manufacturers.
I grew up in the country and we had a milk cow and I would help churn the fresh butter. I generally keep a covered butter dish out so it is easily spreadable on my toast. Just like it was when I was growing up.
There is a balance to how much butter is acceptable and how much is too much. One of my uncles made a concession to health as he got older by going from five or six pats of butter for a slice of bread to “only” two or three pats. He lived to 92 and it was probably a broken heart that took him since he had lost his fourth wife and favorite granddaughter within the year before his death.
One thing I am not talking about is the infamous “butter flavor” for things like microwave popcorn. If I am making popcorn, I am going to pop it in an old sauce pan that I use only for popcorn these days and will melt the butter to drizzle over the top if I want that taste.
Food.com has this page with a quick discussion and definition of butter, including how to substitute other oils if desired. The page also has links to some butter based recipes.
I have recently used a product from Land O’Lakes called Saute Express. These are a seasoned butter pats and I have used their teriyaki, Italian Herb, Garlic Herb, and Lemon-pepper. One pat is good for two chicken breast or two pork chops and add a nice flavor. I think I could figure out how to make a seasoned butter myself but am willing to use their product for now.
Butter sculpture is a stable at some of the state fairs around the country. The butter cow at the Iowa State Fair is probably the best known but Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, and New York all do so as well. When I lived in Rome, NY, I went to the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse a few times and remember the butter sculptures in the Ag building. It also was a sight to see with the bright yellow and fresh butter sculpted to something topical for the year.
What are your go to butter recipes? Or what is your butter substitute? Healthful or not?
Picture from Taryn licensed under Creative Commons