Friday, July 9, 2010

Herbal Butters

I admit that summer is not my favorite season.   I'm a cold-weather girl myself.   But one thing I won't deny, I am just thrilled when all of the fresh summer vegetables and herbs start to be ready in the garden and show up in the local farmers' markets.    Fresh herb plants such as basil benefit from regular and frequent "pinching" of the tops. It encourages them to become more bushy and flavorful.   If you never take more than the top 1/3 of the plant it will keep producing right until the first frost.

One of my favorite things to do with fresh herbs is make herbal butters.   These delicious spreads can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for longer-term use.   They are delicious spread on warm bread, melted on a grilled steak, stuffed inside a chicken breast a la Chicken Kiev style, or served with steamed redskins or baked russet potatoes.     And they couldn't be easier to make.

INGREDIENTS
2 sticks (1/2 lb total) of butter
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs   (My personal favorite combination is chives and basil)
Optional - 1 clove of chopped garlic

DIRECTIONS
Have butter at room temperature.   Mix in fresh herbs, and garlic if using.   Spoon into small serving dishes, or spoon onto plastic wrap to form a "log".    Return to fridge and chill for at least an hour before using.    For a fancier presentation, spoon soft butter into candy molds and refrigerate.   Pop out when chilled.     Freeze for longer storage.

The White Oak Inn
http://www.whiteoakinn.com/
Yvonne Martin
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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