Posts tagged butter
Posts tagged butter
Hello! I’m so sorry it’s been so long. Rob and I got married last weekend in Kansas City (woo!), and we’re working on getting our little lives in order back in Virginia. Now that we’re married and no longer in a long distance relationship, surely you must be wondering…what will happen to good ol’ Eating with Rob? Fear not, faithful reader, I’m not going anywhere. Sure, I won’t be documenting every little thing we eat these days, but I’m sure to continue to document fun restaurants, new recipes, and special occasions. Like this one!
We didn’t know it was a special occasion at the time, but on Tuesday, June 4th, we fixed our last meal together at the apartment where I lived in Richmond for two years. You can usually find some decent steaks on manager’s special at Kroger, so I picked up a pair of strips for like five dollars and tossed ‘em on the griddler for Rob to manage.
Unfortunately, Cuisinart’s griddling technology doesn’t allow the surface to get quite hot enough to sear a steak without turning it an unsavory shade of gray on the inside. I knew this, but I’d hoped that somehow Rob’s meat-makin’ presence would mitigate the inevitable. Nerp.
We topped our steaks with caramelized onions (the only steak sauce anyone should ever need) and served it alongside some garlic and butter-sauteed spinach and macaroni salad. I wouldn’t recommend using the shells like I did since the thickness of the pasta really overpowers the other fixins, but otherwise this is a great recipe that I’ve used many times for parties and such (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/classic-macaroni-salad/detail.aspx).
We ate our dinner at my kitchen table, not knowing that it would be the last time we would eat together there in my apartment, where we met every few months for two years for a good home-cooked meal. We don’t even have the table anymore, sadly…it was too big for our new little place. But trading a kitchen table for having Rob back in Richmond with me for the forseeable future? Sounds like a pretty good trade.
On the morning of Sunday March 3rd, Rob and I met up with our good buddies Tyson and Kristen, who live just a few neighborhoods over in Crown Heights. They joined us in Park Slope for a nice Sunday brunch at Dizzy’s, a “finer diner” on 5th Avenue (http://dizzys.com/).
We began with a basket of baked goods that came with our prix fixe brunch. The dreamsicle-looking scoop you see on top there is actually a mound of some kind of fruit butter, and it was AMAZING on those scones. Once we’d had our fill and were waiting for our entrees, Kristen spilled a little of her mimosa into the basket, which was actually a brilliant strategy for flavor enhancement.
We waited for quite a bit among a gaggle of screaming children in the new back room of the place, but finally we were ready to eat. Rob had the above corned beef hash, which was much better than the version he’d had in Front Royal, VA a few weeks earlier (http://omnomwithrob.tumblr.com/post/44142739970/come-down-from-the-mountain). This stuff was fresh and flavorful and served with two over-medium eggs…Rob’s favorite!
Kristen went with a raspberry-stuffed waffle they were having on special that day. The second she saw ours and compared it with her own, she feared she had made a terrible mistake. But after a few bites and a little syrup, she was happy with her life choices.
This did not stop her from stealing a few bites of Tyson’s biscuits and gravy. Apparently Rob has been trying to get Tyson over to Park Slope to try them at Dizzy’s for quite a while, so this was a big moment. He had them with scrambled eggs on top, and we were so pleased that he enjoyed them.
I also had the biscuits and gravy…it wasn’t until right now that I realized that we are having an exact replica of that diner breakfast we had in Front Royal, but the quality was worlds apart. I love the b&g at Dizzy’s (re: http://omnomwithrob.tumblr.com/post/25651975015/dizzy-with-goodbye). As you can see, it is just a rustic and savory looking pile of deliciousness, truly robust in flavor and far from its pasty facsimiles. It has just the right amount of spice, and paired with crusty biscuits and over-medium eggs, these are oh so hard to beat. You’ll never have any other like them.
We had a great time at brunch with our sweet friends - isn’t Kristen so channeling Annie Hall in this pic? We became painfully aware of the screaming baby population in Park Slope - I swear there was one at every table. But if that’s the price you have to pay to live in a safe and adorable neighborhood in New York City, I’ll take it. I hope we make it back to Dizzy’s again soon - hopefully avoiding the after-church brunch rush about town next time.
When we got home from a chilly afternoon of pictures with Mallory, we went right back to work. As the evening wore on and we started to get hungry, I looked up from the stacks of exams I was feverishly grading and said, “Guess I’d better fix something for dinner.” To which Rob, who could see how overwhelmed I was, insisted he’d do it instead.
He decided to take on the leftovers from our dinner at Edo’s Squid the night before (http://omnomwithrob.tumblr.com/post/44314238625/krabby-patties). Determined to make my pasta palatable, Rob asked me questions from the kitchen about how to put together an alfredo sauce. And he did a really good job! Butter, cream, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper brought my lifeless linguine back from the dead.
His pasta, the sausage with spicy red sauce, was a little easier to resurrect, since there wasn’t much that was wrong with it in the first place. So he just heated it up on the stove.
He brought the fruit of his secondary labor into the dining room, where there was hardly room for it among the exams, computers, and cameras. I eagerly took my first bite, wondering if somehow, maybe, our manipulation had worked.
Oh my gosh, it was so. much. better. These poor noodles that were so want for flavor the night before had been helped tremendously by our joint effort alfredo sauce. I was so proud of him for being able to whip that up from scratch, based on nothing but my brief how-to from the dining room. What never should have been one meal has become two, and my wallet smiled somewhere. Rob saves the day.
A little later on the 8th, Rob and I went to the Key Food for one of my favorite pastimes, grocery shopping!
While at the grocery store, I spotted some beautiful fillets of fresh salmon, and thought to myself “Self, you have never made Rob that salmon you like to make.” Re: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/03/toasted-sesame-ginger-salmon/.
So when we got home, I sliced up our salmon into pretty little pieces and got them going in a haphazard marinade of things Rob had on hand that vaguely resembled the recipe. For example, he didn’t have rice wine vinegar on hand, but he did have apple cider vinegar (???), and I remedied his lack of brown sugar by using maple syrup. And a great crossing of the fingers was had by all.
We also bought some spinach at the grocery store, which I treated with garlic and butter on the stovetop. This ended up reducing to approximately one tablespoon of spinach, so I had to add some more.
After marinating the salmon for a half hour or so, I pan-seared it for a few minutes - one thing I like about salmon aside from its healthful and delicious nature is that it takes like NO time to cook.
It came out significantly oilier than it does when I make it at home, which I can’t explain. But then again, when all was said and done, I had really only used a few ingredients that it called for, so you can hardly call it the same recipe.
Rob loved it! Always a good feeling. And I tell you what, fresh spinach is so good and SO much better than any frozen or canned version, so I recommend you get on board that train, especially since it’s good raw in a salad or cooked in garlic. It was really nice to have a home-cooked, healthy, and affordable meal at Rob’s, where it’s so easy to get caught up in all the nearby eat-outeries (I just made that up, and I like it). You should give the (original) recipe a try.
By Saturday night, we were running out of time to use a Groupon I’d bought with a fast approaching expiration date. The voucher was for the Cornerstone Restaurant and Cafe (http://www.yelp.com/biz/cornerstone-cafe-new-york) over in Alphabet City; it cost me about $30, but was worth $98. Niiiice.
However, while figuring out what to order, the waitress told us that we were limited to two beers or house wines, two entrees, and two desserts - no combination of which would add up to $98. I was a little peeved, and for the first time ever, Rob thought I might actually get mean with a waitress (all I said was “Well that’s a little misleading!”) She said they’d changed the menu to make their prices cheaper, so it didn’t add up anymore. Riiiiight.
So anyway, we ordered our beers (they were out of my first choice and NOT off to a good start) and then a pair of the most expensive entrees they had - some kind of steak…ribeyes, maybe? Ordinarily we never get the same thing as the other, but we were determined to spend our allotted value! I did feel better about being slightly duped when we were greeted with some unexpected salads and a surprisingly sophisticated vinaigrette, though.
It tasted nice, kind of like your folks might have grilled for you in the back yard. Of course it was difficult to love it since we’d had such fancy pants steaks the night before, but I appreciated its homey flavor. The mashed potatoes were nothing special, but the SPINACH! I never thought I’d say this, but I loved the spinach. Douse anything in butter and garlic and it’ll be wonderful I guess, but this was the best spinach I’ve ever had. Delicious.
After our steaks, it was time for dessert. Rob got the cannoli you see above, and since they boast Italian roots in this restaurant, they did it fair justice. I couldn’t decide what I wanted, so Rob ordered me the affogato sundae, which was ice cream, espresso, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Since we rarely get dessert out (with the night before being an exception), this was a nice treat.
By the time the meal was over, I was a little less miffed about the whole situation. Food has this effect on me. It might not have been worth $98, but we did have a large and decent meal there, and yes, we tipped our waitress 20% on the whole value like good customers should. I’m not sure this is the kind of place we would have ended up without a Groupon (this is Groupon’s charm), but in the end, we were satisfied.
On the morning of Sunday August 26th, it was time for me to pack up and get ready to go back to stinky ol’ Richmond. Since we’d spent an arm and a leg on Mexican the night before (a sentence no one else has ever said), we decided to take it easy at home.
I think it’s the sweetest thing when Rob makes me breakfast. The idea is so that I can be working on something else (like packing), but I always end up in Rob’s little closet of a kitchen with him anyway, snapping away.
Usually we have our eggs over medium, but it was much faster that morning to just scramble them all together and divvy ‘em up among the two of us. We didn’t have any bacon (silent, emo tear), so we slapped some Nutella on a few slices of toast and called it a meal. Life lesson: you don’t need both butter and Nutella on the same piece of toast.
Anyway, after such a funny little trip with practically a stopover in New York, it was time to go back. If there’s one good thing about a long distance relationship, it’s that we have opportunities like we never had before to explore places that are proximal to at least one of us. Nothing between Boston and the Carolinas is too inconvenient. This little farewell breakfast was a time for me to stop and think about how hard we’ve tried to make the most of the distance, and that we’ve done pretty well so far.
I have to admit, we weren’t the most exciting eaters during this trip. We had a lot of leftovers, a lot of sandwich cake, and perhaps the best of these, a lot of biscuits.
For breakfast on our last morning together, I broke out the biscuits (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/biscuits-recipe/index.html), excited to try them two ways. The first, I naturally smothered with gravy (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/super-sausage-gravy/).
And on the second, I was delighted to smear our homemade butter (http://omnomwithrob.tumblr.com/post/26559173908/paula-deen-eat-your-heart-out). Topped with some strawberry jam, it was a real treat.
It was a quick breakfast, since I’d made all of the ingredients earlier in the week, and each have appeared in previous posts on their maiden voyage. This breakfast leftoverture was a nice way to spend the morning together.
…you make breakfast.
I fried us each a pair of over-medium eggs and a few slices of turkey bacon, and toasted some bread that was just begging for our new lactic creation.
If there’s one advantage our homemade butter has over store-bought, it’s that it spreads way easier!
But how does it taste? The verdict?
Rob-tested, Rob-approved. Like I said before, it doesn’t have the strongest butter flavor, but it’s worth it to know that the only thing in it is whipping cream. No salt, no “natural flavoring,” just pure dairy product.
This was something really fun to do together on an otherwise laid-back and uneventful day. We spent the rest of our Sunday doing homework side by side with sprinklings of conversation…mostly about butter, but who’s counting.
For a while, Rob and I had been meaning to try our hands at making butter from scratch. On Sunday, June 10th, we finally gave it a whirl (or a shake, I guess).
We actually had to think ahead a little bit and LEAVE THE CREAM OUT OVERNIGHT. It killed me to know this was going on in my very own apartment. Dairy? Overnight? This is a recurring nightmare that I have. But according to the recipe, leaving it out gives it “flavor.” My blood pressure!
We (Rob) gave it a whiff the next morning and pressed on. I had wanted to use my recipe, since it was a pretty easy looking mixer trick, but he insisted that we follow this video made by an old man with a huge beard (http://www.wimp.com/makebutter/). This is Rob’s usual logic. So even though I didn’t have a lot of mason jars to spare, we proceeded to shake.
We took turns like a couple of nice guys, but Rob did most of the work…as you can see, it was pretty intense for me.
It came together in just a few minutes, all to the sound of our old bearded friend’s dulcet tones, quietly describing the chemical reactions happening inside our little jar, mostly in terms of “water balloons.”
We thought about adding salt, but I usually buy unsalted butter anyway, so it stayed as is. Rob drained the buttermilk (not the same as the buttermilk you cook with, which is apparently important), and we were left with this creamy jar of fun.
Luckily, I had the perfect little Pyrex dish for it, and our homemade butter spent some QT in the fridge before we tried it.
Super easy! All you need is some (warm, nasty) heavy cream and a jar. Despite its sleepover on the counter the night before, it didn’t have a very strong butter flavor - but at least we know it’s not pumped full of additives that give it that flavor. And the texture is really interesting, not quite as smooth as butter you would buy, and it actually kind of feels like chapstick if you get it on your lips. Next time, I might try it with some garlic and herbs to give it some punch. You should try it…fun for the whole family!
Sorry for the brief hiatus…I’ve been in New York visiting our blog’s very own namesake, as well as attending painfully long orientations for school. I would like to welcome you back with this happy image.
The morning of Sunday, April 22nd was met with butter in a hot pan. Rob makes a mean breakfast, and he fixed some for me while I got ready for the day (and took pictures, of course).
Breakfast with us is generally dictated by whatever we can rummage out of the fridge that would taste even remotely good with an egg or a piece of toast. That day, the main players were onions and mushrooms (and Parks and Rec).
He scrambled them up with a couple of eggs to the tune of Leslie and Ann, and of course this kind of thing only takes a minute or two.
Rob is the type who likes his breakfast in a tortilla, and while it isn’t my own go-to, I sure don’t mind it when he makes it for us. He is also a slave for muenster, so if you ever want to bribe him, you know what to do.
Such a perfect way to start a rainy Sunday around the apartment!