Cream, salt and a special marble go into a sealed cup. Then shake until arm cramps, and then keep shaking. Finally, after what feels like hours to your arm, you end up with creamy butter. I can still remember the grade school experiment, as well as how good that butter tasted.
Then along came the junior high years, an obsession with the scale, and many false accusations directed at real food. This was followed by a growing interest in nutrition and fitness. Next, the work toward my degrees in nutrition.
And through all of this, there was no butter.
I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I even convinced myself that I liked dry biscuits and pancakes. I can still remember family cookouts and preparing those foil packets filled with potatoes for the grill. Knowing I was partially in charge, my grandmother would make sure I heard her say, “I want mine with butter. REAL butter.”
Now, the thought brings a smile to my face. Oh, if she could only see how much I’ve changed.
As you know, I am now a believer in real food — grassfed and pastured meats, garden grown vegetables, and yes, sweet butter. No trans-fat filled imposters make it into my kitchen and biscuits and pancakes have never tasted so good.
Naturally, when I was given the opportunity to review a cookbook all about butter, I jumped at the chance. Flavored Butters by Lucy Vaserfirer celebrates the simplicity of butter while showing how exciting we can make it.
The book is filled with simple (yet taste-bud thrilling) recipes that can turn a pat of butter into the highlight of your breakfast, brunch or dinner. Curry Butter and Coffee Butter were two that immediately caught my attention.
Then I saw the Green Tea-Sesame Butter! Despite my love of Matcha, I had yet to see it in butter. I promise you, a dollop of this gorgeous green, shaken cream will completely transform a meal.
In one of the beautiful photos by Lucy, the book shows this butter on top of grilled salmon, which I’m sure is delicious. I decided to take a little creative liberty and used it to top Japanese soba noodles which I plated as bite-sized appetizers. Either way you choose to have it, you’ll love this recipe, and the many more ways this book will introduce you to the amazing potential of butter.
GREEN TEA–SESAME BUTTER
Recipe © 2013 by Lucy Vaserfirer and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press
From the author: This green-hued butter is flavored primarily with matcha tea, which gives it a subtly sweet vegetal note that complements both sweet and savory foods. It pairs nicely with seafood—particularly salmon fillets—and steamed vegetables. But it’s also delicious spread on ginger scones.
Matcha is the powdered green tea traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony and can be found at tea shops, many Asian markets, and online.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons matcha tea, sifted
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (use black sesame seeds if you want to see the speckles)
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1⁄8 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Blend together the butter, tea, sesame seeds, sugar, salt, and sesame oil in a medium-size bowl. Form into a log and refrigerate until firm before slicing and serving, or use another shaping method.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review purposes from The Harvard Common Press. I was not required to write about it and I received no compensation for doing so. Thoughts are my own, and I love butter.