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Chive Butter

22 Aug

Earlier this year Nick built me a planter so I could grow some herbs – it was going well until recently when my thyme, chives, parsley and oregano absolutely exploded.

I didn’t know what to do with all of my flavorful greens… I started drying some and putting them in mason jars, cooked with some, and threw some in olive oil (foreshadowing for another post coming soon!). While the thyme, parsley, and oregano dehydrated well, I knew that the chives wouldn’t do too hot just drying. I had to figure out what to do with my pounds and pounds of chives!

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In the main office at work we have a large poster of Paula Deen. Every day for the last few months those blue eyes just pierced my soul… it was like she was trying to communicate with me. And then, finally, it happened. Paula quietly whispered “butter” in my ear, and I knew what I was going to do.

I started by pulling a stick of butter out of the fridge before bed one night, to let it soften (cue major debate on whether or not you’re supposed to refrigerate butter… I do, get over it). Early the next morning, I cut about a handful of chives from the garden, and diced them finely – it turned into between ⅓ cup and ½ cup when chopped.

In a bowl, I combined the butter, the chives, and I added about 1/2 tsp of sea salt. I mixed well with a spoon, put into a tupperware container, and then instantly started putting it on everything! Spreading on toast, caramelizing onions, and our next step is to throw it on steak.

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Easy reading version:
1 stick butter, softened
~½ cup chopped chives
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine! Put in a nice container and pop in the fridge.

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Blueberry Compote

11 Feb

A few weekends ago, we had brunch with my parents. I made popovers (a mix I got for Christmas) and my Dad made waffles. We thought we would be clever and make a delicious blueberry treat to put on top of the waffles… after making a big flashy scene of the topping we thought we made up, my Dad looks over and goes “oh, that’s a beautiful compote.”

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Hmm… guess we weren’t so individual and creative. Oh well. It was delicious anyway. We make it a little differently every time we make it, but here’s pretty much our basic recipe.

What:
¼ cup water
½ cup cranberry juice
1 ½ cups blueberries (I used frozen)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp flour

How:
Alright I’m not the fanciest cook, and I’m sure we did a few things wrong when making it, but it turned out pretty well.

Combine the water, sugar and cranberry juice in a small saucepan on the stove. Add the blueberries and bring the heat up to medium high, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.

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I like my sauce a little thicker, so we combined the 2 tbsp of water with the tbsp of flour in a small bowl and whisked until fully combined. Then I added it to the saucepan and stirred everything together for about 3-4 minutes, and it thickened up great.

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Serve over waffles or pancakes… or anything else your little heart desires.

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(Bonus picture of the popovers)

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Cranberry Sauce

4 Dec

Sorry if some of this doesn’t make sense, I’ve had enough sake/wine to maim a small horse.

I wanted to try to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year. My rationale was two fold: 1) I have never really liked cranberries, but if I was the one cooking with them I could make them to my liking, and more importantly, 2) I would get to cook with alcohol.

I love amaretto but I don’t really ever have an excuse to buy it, but when Nick’s Aunt moved out of her old house she gifted us (Nick raided) some of her liquor collection. I figured that this would be the perfect excuse to break it out.

I made it a couple days before Thanksgiving. When it was first made it was pretty tart, but it had the opportunity to mellow out before we ate it. We had a lot of people coming over so I made a pretty big batch, but this could easily be cut in half for a smaller yield.

What I used:
2 – 12 oz bags of cranberries
12 oz orange juice
1 ⅓ cup brown sugar
⅔ white sugar (maybe a little more, I probably went up to 1 full cup)
½ cup amaretto

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What I did:
I put all of the ingredients into a medium size saucepan, turned it onto medium-high, covered for about 30 minutes, stirring every couple minutes. After everything cooked for a while, I added a couple more teaspoons of sugar because it was still very tart. I think ⅔ would have been enough, but I really don’t like the tartness of cranberries.

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I let it cool off and put it in a tupperware. On turkey day, I pulled it out and brought it to room temperature. I grated an orange rind on top to make it look pretty, and it added a great little kick of flavor!

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Drunk BBQ Sauce

24 Oct

I’ve used this recipe a couple different times with a couple different beers. I made it with Sam Adams’ Black Lager for our housewarming party, and I made it with Guinness on move-in day (pt. 2). The Guinness was a sweeter sauce while the Lager was a spicier one, but they were both insanely good. We made them originally to go on pulled pork, but I have been using it in place of my regular BBQ sauce at home.

I find that I change the proportions based on the beer I use, and this one is measured using a whole 12 oz bottle. This made more than enough for one big crock pot of pulled pork.

I don’t have any pictures of this one just yet, but I’ll come back and update when I do.

What I used
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, chopped
~7 garlic cloves, chopped
¾ cup molasses
¾ cup white vinegar
2 cup brown sugar
1.5 tsp cayenne (the second time I used an actual cayenne pepper, both were good)
12 oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
bottle of beer – 12 oz

I started by melting the butter in the bottom of a big sauce pan (~3 quart) over a medium heat. I added the garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper, and sauteed until the onion started to become caramelized.

I added the molasses, beer, vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper next. I brought it up to a boil, and then turned down the heat so it was on medium for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then I added the tomato paste and set to low. I simmered for another 30 minutes, and continued to stir every once in a while. Once that 30 was up, I took off the heat and let cool – well, tried to. The best thing to do is to bring it to room temperature and then blend it, but we are far too impatient. Instead, Nick burned his hands trying to blend hot hot BBQ sauce. I figure someday we’ll learn our lessons, but not any time soon.

Apple Butter

15 Oct

A few weeks ago we went apple picking and we were left with a couple not-so-pretty apples. I’m not going to let perfectly good apples go to waste, so I set up the crock-put to make apple butter today. All of the work happens at the beginning, but the effort pays off in the end. I use this stuff on toast and crackers with cheese… I’m sure it has a thousand other uses but I always finish it too quickly to figure that out.

I liked using red apples for this (because I don’t like green ones), but I think that any apple that is on the sweeter side will suffice.

What I used:
2 pounds (about 5 large-ish) peeled apples, cored and chopped finely
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash salt

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I put all of the ingredients in a crockpot, stirred, and left it on high for an hour. After the hour I turned it on low for about 10 hours, stirring every once in a while. Once that time was up, I turned back on high, took the lid off, and left for an hour whisking every 15 minutes or so. I spooned into jars and let cool.

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It was sort of the consistency of applesauce but tasted delicious! Will definitely make again whenever I have the chance (and the apples).

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