Compound Butter

Butter, something most everyone loves (or tries to avoid). I remember growing up and loving the simple things of bread and butter. I see one of my kids doing that now. He is content with simple bread and butter, heck, I have even seen him try to get away with making a butter sandwich for lunch! When it comes to butter, we often think of salted or unsalted (I am a fan of unsalted), and that is about it. There is more to butter though, and that is making compound butter.

Compound Butter Recipe

Maybe you have had compound butter already, and many might have tried it in a restaurant without even knowing it. I make compound butter from time to time. Not only is it super simple to make, but it lasts a long time when stored in the freezer. During this time of year when the gardens are blooming with fresh herbs, and the grills are fired up on a nightly basis, using compound butter seems like a perfect pairing.

Let’s get started.

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • generous pinch of salt
  • plastic wrap

How to make compound butter

Begin by adding your butter to a mixing bowl. Keep in mind that you want it to be room temperature so that you can easily work with it. Toss in the chopped herbs, salt, and pepper, and give it a good mix.

Next, lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Place the butter to the middle of the plastic wrap, into an oblong shape if you can. Next place the plastic wrap over the butter, and begin rolling into a cylinder, trying to keep it as tight together as possible. The tighter the better as it will press the butter back together.

Once you have it in a tight cylinder shape, place it in the freezer for at least three hours. When you are ready to use, cut it into a medallion and remove any plastic wrap. Add the medallion to grilled meats or vegetables.

Compound butter not only makes a great presentation on the plate, but it is packed full of wonderful flavor. I’m a huge fan of rosemary, hence whey I used it in the is compound butter recipe, but the possibilities are endless. So the next time you are having a get together, make some compound butter and surprise your guests. Enjoy.

Cinnamon and Sugar Tortillas

For the past couple of months, I have been making these little tortilla cups (breakfast, snack), and let me just say how much I love them. They are really fun to make, and even better, more fun to eat. Whenever I am making them using flour tortillas, I am left with some scraps from the round cutter.

As I looked at them, and glared down at my daughter, I said to her ‘we should really do something with all of these tortilla scraps shouldn’t we?’. Her response, as most times, was an exciting one, and a positive answer of ‘sure!’. I knew exactly what I was going to do with these, and that was to turn them into a cinnamon and sugar snack that I knew my kids would love.

Cinnamon sugar tortillas recipe

These cinnamon and sugar tortillas are really easy to make, and are perfect to make with any kids in the kitchen. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Flour tortilla, cut into strips
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon powder

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, dip your tortilla slice into the melted butter, then sprinkle both sides, placing it onto a baking sheet. Repeat until the tray is full.

Ingredients for making cinnamon sugar tortillas

Place the tray into the oven and cook for about 12 minutes. Keep a close on them around the 10 minute mark as they can brown pretty quickly. Your goal is to get a nice golden brown. Once you achieve that color, remove them from the oven, and place onto a serving tray.

Feel free to dig right in. I know that is what my daughter and I did. For some reason, these remind me of something in my childhood. It wasn’t the cinnamon pies that my mom used to make, and it wasn’t the chips from Taco Bell. It was something, and whatever it was, it was good. Real good. Hope you enjoy.

Baked Chicken Wings

Simple things yield true pleasures, well, at least in the world of baked chicken wings that is. Our family members, and you probably know or have them in your family as well, love chicken wings. My wife is not a fan, and we never poke fun at her because of it, but my son and the guys in the extended family, love chicken wings.

Recipe for making baked chicken wings

I’ve grilled chicken wings low and slow, I’ve smoked them in my drum, and I’ve deep fried them, and I even make a killer blue cheese sauce for them, but there is something to be said about a really good baked wing. Sure the texture might not have that crunchy exterior from the deep fry, or the smoke from the smoker or grill, but let me tell you, if you bake a wing just right, well, let’s just say the rest of them just met their match.

As we were getting ready for a party last week, I decided to make some chicken wings. Heck, why not right?

Ingredients:

  • 4o chicken wing pieces (wings and drummies), cleaned and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

You can tell by my picture that I like to leave the wing tip on. Some people chop that off, but me, I personally like that part, as do others.

Begin by mixing all ingredients, excluding the chicken, in a mixing bowl. Mix until your sugar gets as best dissolved as it can. Add the chicken into a large, sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, seal, and move that marinade throughout all of the chicken pieces. Place in the refrigerator for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Use two baking sheets if you have to. place the chicken onto the baking sheet, and place in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn once around 60 minutes. After 1 1/2 hours, turn off the oven, and let them sit in there for another 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and plate.

I plated these for the party, then went back to the kitchen to finish up some shrimp egg rolls. I returned minutes later to nothing but a bowl of bones!

These chicken wings do end up with a bit of a caramelized exterior which lends itself well to a nice crunch, but shortly after, they just fall off the bone. Sweet and garlicky with a candy like texture is how I can describe them, and when they disappear within minutes, well, you know they are good. Hope you enjoy.

Preserved Lemons

I have been on a real citrus kick lately. Maybe it is the season, but I have been going through a lot of lemons and limes. For the last couple of weeks I have been juicing close to nearly 40 limes, only to pour a bit of the juice into smoothies or weekend cocktails. The same goes with lemons. As I was juicing the lemons into a smaller sized mason jar, it occurred to me that instead of juicing them, I should create some preserved lemons!

You might have never seen preserved lemons, yet, as they are typically not used on a regular basis in American cooking. Or, maybe they are and many of us just never know. The preserved lemon is commonly used in Moroccan or African cuisine, and let’s face it, many of us are not eating that cuisine in the states on a regular basis.

Recipe for Preserved Lemons

The preserved lemon is a thing of beauty, and it can be used in a lot of different dishes, not just Moroccan or African. If preserved right, and long enough, the lemons have an intense citrus smell and and taste which enhances most any dishes that require a bit of lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 7 whole lemons, rinsed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt, approximately 1 tbsp per lemon
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seed
  • Additional lemon juice
  • Wide mouth, pint sized canning jars
  • Time

Begin by cleaning your lemon by washing it in water, then pat them dry. Take your knife and take off any of the knobby end parts. Run your knife, lengthwise down the middle of the lemon, leaving about 1/2 inch at the bottom. Turn 90 degrees, and do the same. You pretty much have a quartered lemon but not cut all of the way through. Repeat with the remaining lemons.

Mix your salt, fennel seeds, and peppercorns.

Ingredients for making Preserved Lemons

Add about a tablespoon, or so, of the salt mixture to the bottom of the canning jar. Take a lemon and open it up a bit, and begin rubbing a tablespoon or so of the salt mixture all over the inside of the lemon. Take it and smash it down into the mason jar. Repeat with the second lemon. Two lemons fit into my canning jar. Depending on the size of your lemons, you might have more or less. Once smashed, roll a lemon on the counter, and apply enough pressure to extract the juices. Cut the lemon in half, and use your hand juicer, or hands and squeeze as much juice out of the lemon into the canning jar to nearly fill the top. This takes about two lemons per jar.

Repeat with a second canning jar. Add any remaining salt mixture to the top of the open canning jars, seal, and give a shake. Let these sit on your counter at room temperature for about 2 days, shaking the mixture each day.

Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks before using.

When you are ready to use some of the lemons, open the can, remove the softened lemons, and rinse under cold water. You can use the pulp in sauces if you would like, or stuff it inside of a chicken before roasting, otherwise, remove the pulp and slice the lemon peel into thin slices to be used in sauces, salads, rice, or whatever you can think of that would use that wonderful lemon and salt flavor. Give it a try. It’s something new!