Through the Fire
I hope you know Coffee Talk from Saturday Night Live ! Linda Richman ( Mike Meyers). I love her. Her skin, it’s like buttah. ( couldn’t find a video that was short and included that phrase, but go spend some time with the Google and listen.) Have a good laugh on me!
Today’s topic is butter. Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways.
I didn’t grow up eating a lot of butter. Number one, it was fattening. Number two, my mother and the rest of America were being brainwashed and discovering the joys of margarine. Click on that link and read the article, fascinating. Margarine was developed in the late 1800’s and the original “recipe” included beef tallow. hmmm. It came into its own during and after WW2 when there were butter shortages. I remember as a young girl, was to mix the little package of yellow dye that came with the margarine. It was found that it was too white and not appealing to the butter lovers of the time. Wow, what we have learned in the years since about the dangers of transfats and of artificial dyes. And, I am so happy that in recent years, butter is coming back into its own. Butter had its own Time magazine cover 2 years ago! We went through a period of being afraid of fat. Now science is proving that fat is really not the enemy we were taught to believe, it’s more the sugars and the carbohydrates. The powers that be finally noticed how general health declined as the use of butter declined and the use of low fat substitutes increased! yay!! I have written about this before here. ( I am not sure what happened to the photos from that post, but the words are the important part)
I’m not afraid of butter. I find that when I eat plenty of healthy fats, meaning butter made from milk from cows raised on grass and in the pasture, avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, and animal fats such as lard and tallow ( again from animals raised in pasture and treated well), I eat less. I crave less ” junk” food which happen to be loaded with very unhealthy fat as well as other ingredients. Food tastes better. Fat is what satisfies our brain, tells us food is good, tells us we are full, we are content. Read this to find out more about lard. If you are vegetarian, I respect your choice. Please know that you need saturated fat for your nerves and brain, so go for the butter and the coconut oil. There really is no reason for someone to go low fat on any sort of diet.
One of the ways I like to enjoy butter is making what is called a compound butter. This just means mixing butter with various herbs, spices, other flavors. You can do this with any solid fat – butter, ghee, lard, coconut oil. The sky is the limit and combinations are endless! I love a mix of finely chopped fresh green herbs – use your favorites. I find parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme ( yes!) are great, cilantro, basil, any combination you like. Of course, we all know and love garlic butter! How about adding some lemon or orange zest ? Or, make a breakfast-y sweet blend – cinnamon, ginger, any of the “baking” spices, again maybe some orange peel, a bit of honey. Mmmm. Here is a whole bunch of ideas for you.
One of my favorite uses of butter is to caramelize onions. So delicious. I eat them as a side dish. They are delicious as a topping for vegetables, pasta, potatoes, rice, meat. on and on. Try them as a pizza topping.
I don’t really have a recipe ( no surprise for the regular readers). You can find lots of them on Google and videos on YouTube. Here is my approximation. Of course double and triple the recipe as desired.
2 sticks of butter or one cup of ghee
4-5 large onions ( most people use yellow, sometimes a mix of yellow and red is good)
2 tsp. salt
Peel and slice the onions. I usually cut them in half and then slice ( just because it makes slicing easier). Melt the butter in your largest skillet. You may have to do this in a few batches if you don’t have a really big one. The onions really shrink down over the cooking time but at the beginning they take a lot of room. Add the onions and the salt. Keep your stove temperature at low to medium. You won’t have to constantly stir but keep moving the onions around and let them slowly brown and caramelize. They turn a lovely darker brown color and get a bit crispy on the edges.
The main ingredient in this recipe is patience. Slow is good. It will be tempting to turn up the temp and get them to brown quickly. Don’t! please. It will take maybe 30 minutes, depending on how many onions you do at a time but it is worth it. Breathe in that yummy butter onion fragrance. Listen to some good tunes or a podcast you’ve been waiting to have the time for. Drink a glass of wine. Dance. Just don’t forget to stir.
We are always in a hurry it seems and I think it’s a really valuable experience to slow down and really put your energy into something, to create something delicious. Imbue those onions with love and your time and they will return the gift with their deliciousness and their nutrition. So will all that butter.