Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
Just a little something simple to really highlight the garden’s bounty.
I love making my own butter – I know it’s not the first time I’ve posted to say so. I know it is not terribly economical, but it is really delicious. And it’s much easier to mix your own fun stuff into it if you make it yourself. I used to make this great garlic pizza, and the way I made garlic butter was to melt butter, add chopped garlic and stick it in the fridge to wait for it to solidify again. Not anymore.
Here’s what you need:
Start by putting the cream in your stand mixer (or getting out your hand mixer) and beating on medium. As with normal butter, keep beating until it goes past the whipped cream stage, and the solids separate. Eventually you will have a few large globs of butter swimming in a light-colored liquid (which is buttermilk).
At that point, remove the buttermilk and put the butter back in the mixer. Beat for just a few more minutes to make sure all the water is out. Then, pour off the buttermilk again and press any last water out of the butter with a paper towel. Put the butter back in the stand mixer bowl yet again.
Then, remove all the herb leaves from the stems, and chop them up to very tiny pieces. You should end up with 3-4 tablespoons of chopped, fresh herbs.
Add the herbs and the salt to the stand mixer, and mix on medium speed just long enough for the herbs to be fully incorporated. Spoon into a glass jar and let harden in the fridge before serving.
I don’t know why, but this tastes much purer and fresher than the store-bought stuff, even though it’s probably the exact same ingredients and not that much fresher. But I think that for yourself or especially for entertaining, homemade butter is a really nice touch – and one that is really easy to do.