Do you know what this is?
Okay, you probably guessed from my post title that it's butter, but more importantly, it's butter that I made myself.
That's right - I made butter this weekend!
My friend Brian invited me to an Iron Chef party (ahem, just a few hours before it began, might I add) on Saturday at Ms. Orange and Salt
's house. I went last year and it was a total foodie blast, so no way I was passing up this invitation. Quickly I scrambled to find something to take made with the theme ingredients (honey and hot chile peppers) that would be completed in time.
My first instinct was shrimp, but I decided that was too predictable. I ended up settling on Chocolate Chile Pots de Creme
topped with fresh cream whipped with honey. I used three dried New Mexico chiles instead of the two called for in the recipe, and a slightly heaping 1/8th tsp of cayenne pepper instead of a scant one. Also, the recipe calls for nine oz of chocolate, but the notes say that 5 is better. I used five ounces of 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips
and one ounce of unsweetened Scharffen Berger chocolate
and thought the texture was perfect.
I was going to serve them in almond cookie cups, but I screwed up my dough. It was too wet so they stuck to my muffin tins and crumbled when it came time to take them out. I had to think fast, so I pulled out all of my milk glass custard cups (hooray for a good sized collection!!!), crumbled the cups into the bottoms, and topped that with the chocolate custard. I made the whipped cream but waited until I arrived to the party to top them. The garnish was a simple sprinkle of more cayenne pepper.
The recipe says this makes six servings, but I made ten and I don't know if anyone was able to finish one of those smaller servings. They were super rich, even with the cookie crumble to tone them down.
I knew that I would not win, but I also knew that my dish would stand up to being served to food people. Would you believe it? The one that one the competition was a shrimp dish! HA! At least my instincts are good.
Anyway, the butter. Right.
Just as I was about to leave, my friend called me and told me he was running late and asked me to wait to leave. Since I was all ready to go when he called, I needed something to keep me busy for about 15 minutes until I could leave. I don't know about you, but whenever I make anything with cream I always end up having some left over that usually goes to waste because we don't drink coffee or use cream very often. I dumped some of the leftover cream into a freezer jam jar and got to shaking.
That's right; last Saturday night I was sittin' on the back porch churnin' butter. HA! It's pretty easy. You just fill the jar about halfway and shake until it's pretty solid. Drain off the liquid, and you have fresh butter. Pretty cool, huh?
In other news, I finally planted those tomatoes in the ground.
I'm so scared they won't make it. I don't know why, but I'm more attached to those than any other of my plants out there.
I also put down mulch, moved some gravel from the side yard to the back, and planted more seeds to make up for the ones that didn't come up. I can't find lavender anywhere anymore so I just put garlic chives in there instead. The big pot is new. I put some green Zinnia (Envy) seeds in there and we'll see if they grow.
Here's what the other bed is looking like:
...and from the other side of the zucchini.
I had to cut back some of the lower leaves on that thing because they were covering up my carrots! Next year I know - zucchini needs a LOT of room.
Finally, I leave you with my "duh" story of the week. All of a sudden, we had tons of these purple flowers all over our driveway and yard. For the life of me, I could not figure out where they were coming from. No one on our entire street has any plants in their front yards with purple flowers. Every time I would go outside, it was like a purple snow had happened. I was so perplexed!
Then my husband told me to look up one day.
We are the house with the purple flowers. In my defense, the flowers are only growing on the top half of this very tall tree, so I couldn't see them without looking practically straight up to the sky.
I know. Duh, right?
Labels: cooking, gardening, how-to, husband, recipes