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Posts Tagged ‘Browned Butter’

One of the best perks of late spring and early summer cooking is that so many dishes are quick and simple– there’s isn’t much fussing or preparation time.  This is a good thing– especially if you have little ones either underfoot or begging to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  And even if you don’t have to keep one eye on the kids while you cook, who wants to spend these longer, warm days in the kitchen?  I know I sound like a skipping record, but I happen to be delighted that summer produce is starting to appear.  Aside from the fresh seasonal flavors, it’s easy– and that means more playtime.

This week, it’s time for asaparagus!  Yes, that sentence was worthy of an exclamation point.  You see, asaparagus isn’t around for long, so when it arrives, I go all out.  I have several simple asparagus dishes that I make this time of year.  This gorgeous tart is one of my favorites. And this one, which combines two fantastic seasonal ingredients– asparagus and morels, still makes me swoon. But the best of all is the dish in today’s post- roasted asparagus with balsamic browned butter.  It is, unquestionably, my favorite way to prepare asparagus.

I first made this dish years ago for my in-laws.  They loved it enough that they started preparing asparagus this way, too.  I think the chances are better than average that you’ll do the same.  This side is perfect because it relies on a simple flavor combination.  Browned Butter, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.  That’s it.  These three ingredients pack an amazing punch.  So much so, that you don’t want your asparagus swimming in the sauce.  Less is more, here.

A word or two about the preparation of the asparagus.  First, use fresh seasonal asparagus.  Don’t get me started on that asparagus you often see year-round in some grocery stores and restaurants.  Those oversized, tough, tasteless, shoots are not what I’m talking about.  Asparagus should be enjoyed when it was meant to be– for those few weeks in spring when it’s fresh and tastes amazing.  When looking for asparagus at the market, look for the tops of them to be tight and closed.  This indicates they were recently harvested.  Asparagus should be eaten as soon as possible after you buy it, as the flavor dissipates pretty quickly.  Also, I don’t follow the school of thought that you should snap huge chunks off the bottom of the stem to avoid the “woody” portion.  Instead, I simply use a vegetable peeler and peel the bottoms.  It becomes just as tender as the top section and you avoid wasting a fair amount.  Hope you enjoy this dish!

The Recipe:  Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

1 pound asparagus

olive oil, to drizzle

kosher salt

cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

toasted, sliced almonds, optional

shaved lemon zest, optional

Preheat an oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Wash and dry the asparagus.  Cut off the very bottoms with a sharp knife.  Use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottom 1-inch to 1  1/2 -inch.  Toss the asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Place on the baking sheet and roast for about 12 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, place the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Stirring frequently, melt the butter until it is a deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Be careful not to burn it.  Remove from heat and add the soy sauce and vinegar to the pan.  Mix it together well with a wooden spoon, making sure to incorporate any brown bits in the butter.

Place the asparagus on a serving platter and pour the balsamic browned butter over the top.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds and a bit of shaved lemon zest.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light

Thanks for stopping in — have a wonderful weekend!

Laurie

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I know, I know, could I possible have a more lengthy title for a recipe?  I could.  I didn’t mention the whole wheat flour.  You get the idea.  This is a cookie recipe I’ve been playing around with for the last few weeks.  You already know that I’m a cookie fiend, so this one is for me (and hopefully you).  It has all of my favorite  flavors that make-up a perfect cookie.

Let’s break this down.  First, I wanted to create a cookie that contains coconut oil.  You can read a bit about it here on my friend Amy’s blog.  Not only do I love the health factor, but the flavor is phenomenal.  Use virgin coconut oil as opposed to regular, as it has a more noticeable coconut flavor.   Then there’s the browned butter.  Is there anything that brown butter does not make better?  Of course not.  It adds a deep caramel-like flavor that is unforgettable.  The toasted walnuts add a brilliant crunch.  Now cookies are obviously not going to be terribly healthy, but I slipped in whole wheat flour and rolled oats for fiber.   Finally, we get to the chocolate chips.  Use good quality chocolate, or even go the chunk route and chop your own.

All of these elements come together to make this delicious cookie.  It’s loaded with great ingredients and has wonderful texture– crisp on the very edges and soft in the middle.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  My husband declared this the best cookie he’s ever eaten.  So, that’s something, right?!  I hope you enjoy these little morsels as much as I have!

The Recipe:  Chocolate Chip, Walnut, and Oatmeal Cookies with Browned Butter and Coconut Oil

(Makes 24-26 cookies)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, browned

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60 % cacao chips are my favorite)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan over medium heat add the butter.  Stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, cook the butter until it becomes a beautiful medium colored brown, just a few minutes.   Too little will not have enough flavor, and too much will taste burnt.  It will smell fragrant and somewhat caramel-like.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool for at least 10 minutes.

In a small sauté  pan over medium heat add the walnuts.  Stirring frequently, toast them until they become fragrant, just a few minutes.  Keep a watchful eye, as they can burn quickly.  Remove from heat and pour onto a plate to cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (a hand mixer or bowl and wooden spoon can also be used), add the coconut oil, browned butter (brown bits, too), and brown sugar.  Cream the mixture on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Mix the beaten egg and vanilla together and pour that into the bowl.  Continue to cream for about 3-4 more minutes, or until the mixture has gained a little volume and has become pale in color (Note: it won’t have as much volume as cookies with room temperature butter). Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.  Turn the machine off and stir in the oats, chocolate chips and walnuts by hand.

Roll into balls by hand or use a small scoop.  Use a bit of pressure to make the mixture form a solid ball.  Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes, the edges should just be starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for a couple of minutes.  Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack.  The cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!  Be sure to check back next week — something exciting will be happening on Relishing It!

Laurie

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This summer my son, Aanen, declared that peaches are his favorite fruit.  Given the quality of the organic peaches from our co-op this year, he may be right– they’ve been perfectly ripe, juicy, and delicious.  We’ve eaten so many in the last month– and not just for snacks.   Turns out they’re perfect for baking (surprise!) as well.

I’ve made this cake twice in the last couple of weeks– and if the judgment of my family and neighbors is any measure– it’s fantastic.  More than one person has mentioined that it’s one of the best cakes I’ve made.  I agree, and it’s all about the peaches.  This cake is adapted from a fellow Minnesota Food Blogger and friend, Zoe Francois.  I’ve mentioned her before, though you may know Zoe from her well-known cookbook Artisan Bread In Five Minute A Day.  She is an top-notch pastry chef who always has wonderful ideas on her blog, Zoe Bakes.

A few words about what makes this cake stand out.  First, the sauce is unforgettable.  The peaches, butter, and brown sugar meld together to create an amazing flavor.  The addition of three tablespoons of whiskey adds additional complexity.  Both times I’ve made it I’ve wanted to keep licking the spoon.  Second, the flavors of the sauce combine with the caramel-like addition of browned butter in the cake.  I’ve found that the toasty, nutty, carmel flavors of the browned butter make most any dish better.  Here, it really acts as the framework– a subtle backdrop that accentuates the the peach, brown sugar, and whisky perfectly.  Finally, I decided to toast and add millet, a whole grain, for a little bit of texture.  As with most any grain, the toasting adds additional ‘toasty’ flavors.  Here, it also provides a nice little crunch that makes this cake unique.  If you don’t have access to millet, don’t worry.  It’s not a necessity.

The Recipe:  Upside-Down Peach and Cardamom Cake

Peaches:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 tablespoons whiskey (substitute orange juice, if you don’t cook with alcohol)

1 pound peaches (about 2 1/2 large) Cut into slices, peelings can be left on.  (Firm peaches will work well here, as they won’t break down as much)

Cake:

4 ounces (8 tablespoons unsalted butter)

1 cup  (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs at room temperature  (To do this quickly:  place eggs in a dish of warm water for roughly 10 minutes)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup buttermilk  (To make your own: mix 1 teaspoon white vinegar into 1/3 cup milk — let sit for 10 minutes)

1/3 Millet, toasted

To toast the Millet:  Place millet into a small frying pan over medium heat, toast until golden and fragrant.  Being careful not to burn.  Remove from heat and set aside.

To brown the butter for the cake:  Place butter into a small saucepan over low heat.   Cook the butter until it is a beautiful caramel color and smells toasted, making sure to stir all the while. Being careful not to burn.  There will be dark brown bits in the pan.  Remove from heat and strain.  Set aside to cool slightly.

To make the peaches: In a large skillet cook together the butter, brown sugar, salt, cardamom, vanilla, whiskey, and peaches.  Cook them on low heat until the juice is as thick as maple syrup.  I ended up removing the peaches so they didn’t fall apart and cooked the juices down a bit more.

Place the peaches and juice into a 8-inch round or square cake pan. (And if you’re a little bit neurotic like myself, you can make a pattern with the peaches while carefully trying not to burn your fingertips.) I also made it in a 9-inch cake pan and it turned out fine, if that’s all you have.  The cake will not be as thick, but still delicious.  (Note: Both times I made the cake, I didn’t butter the pan and it came out easily, but if you’re hesitant — feel free to butter away!)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the cake batter:   In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.   Using a paddle attachment, on an electric mixer  (a hand mixer will also work), beat together the browned butter that has cooled a bit, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each one.    Alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.   Finally, fold in the toasted millet with a spatula.

Place the batter evenly over the peaches and spread it out smoothly.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is set and a tester comes out clean.  Let sit until the pan is cool enough to handle and invert onto a serving platter.  I prefer to let the cake cool completely before serving.  This cake begs to be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream along side of it.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Zoe Francois at Zoe Bakes

As always, thanks for stopping by Relishing It today.  This little blog has become  such an amazing place for me to connect with new friends and still keep in touch with old ones.  I am so happy to share it with all of you.

Laurie

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