Category Archives: Sauces/Dressings

Better Butter

First, I’ll allow you a moment to recover from the shock of me posting two days in a row. When I get the chance to “steal” my girl child’s computer to do some blogging, and I actually have something to blog about, I take the opportunity. And this is a post I’ve been wanting to make for a couple years now.

It’s no secret that I love butter. I’ve mentioned fresh butter several times in my postings. I’ve even talked family members who were over for dinner into helping  to make butter (once, even a sister’s ex who only dropped in to see their daughter and wasn’t even staying for dinner helped to make the butter). I don’t always make my own butter, but if I’m making a nice dinner or yummy bread, I like to have really great butter to go with it. More than once, people have said things to me along the lines of “You know they sell that at the store, right?” and “There are easier ways to make butter than that”. “I know” is pretty much my response to all of the comments. So, would you like to make your own fresh butter? You just need one ingredient, one “tool”, and a little muscle (or several little muscles with the help of some kids)

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Pour 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream into a chilled 1 quart jar with a tight fitting lid. If you have access to fresh, raw milk and the cream that comes from that…well, I’m jealous if you do, but… it will make an even creamier, sweet, beautiful butter! Screw the lid onto your jar. Make sure it’s tight. It is important to not fill the jar all the way. Half-filled is perfect. The cream needs room to move around and do its thing to become butter.

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You can shake the jar yourself, or if you have some bored teenagers roaming around like I do, you can hand them the jar. It’s a tiring job, so usually more than one person and some turn-taking will make the task a little easier. I’ve set kids up in a circle on the floor and let them roll the jar around between them, but that takes longer (although, it keeps little ones entertained for awhile, if you need an easy activity for them!).

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You will know when the cream is turning into butter because it will start to kind of “thud” against the side of the jar. And once that starts to happen, keep shaking, as hard as you can (I almost always have taken over the task from the teenagers with tired arms by this point and finish it off myself), until there is a mass of butter and the liquid has separated. That’s buttermilk, by the way. Save it and use it in some pancakes, or Breakfast Cookies.

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Pour the liquid off into a bowl (or into a clean jar to store for later use, in the fridge of course), and spoon the butter into your favorite butter dish. Mine is a French Butter Dish I got from a friend’s shop last year.

There you have it, fresh butter. One ingredient, and a wonderful treat for topping for your favorite breads, and anything else you love topping with butter!

And now, my dear friends, family, and blog-readers… I must go. The battery on the girl child’s computer is near the end, and Red Widow is on. Have you started watching this show? Oh, you should! You really should!!!

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Filed under Cooking With Love, Recipes, Sauces/Dressings

Eye Roll Worthy Ranch

I make an eye roll worthy Ranch dressing. It will make people roll their eyes for different reasons, but will almost always bring on the eye roll in some form.

Believe it or not, some people don’t understand why I would make my own Ranch dressing (or any other dressing for that matter) when the condiment aisle is filled with so many choices and it wouldn’t take any effort. These people are rolling their eyes at my preference to make my own dressings (and many other things) because they think I waste my time to make something that I can just buy in a bottle… but they don’t know what the next group of eye rollers know…

Anyone who has ever tried my Ranch dressing has rolled their eyes. It’s that eye roll of pleasure. Yes, I don’t mind if I do say so myself, my Ranch dressing will make your eyes roll back in your head!

My secret is simplicity! And I’m going to share it with you.

Eye Roll Worthy Ranch Dressing:

  • buttermilk
  • mayonnaise
  • garlic
  • fresh herbs

As with most of my “recipes”, there’s not much recipe at all, just a list of ingredients. And with this one, it’s a matter of taste and how much dressing you want to make. So, here’s how I do it.

Start with equal amounts of buttermilk and mayonnaise (I never measure, but it’s probably about 1 cup of each). Mix in 1 pressed garlic clove and 2-3 tablespoons of fresh herbs. My favorite combo is dill and chives. I’ve used oregano and marjoram and thyme, also. Generally, I send my kids out to the garden to choose 2-3 herbs to mix in. Whisk all of it together and put it in a jar in the fridge. It’s best to allow at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend together before serving.

I would try to give you an idea of the shelf-life for this, except it rarely lasts more than 3 or 4 days in my fridge before I find the jar empty. 😉

I serve this up with salads, potatoes, oven fries, fresh veggies… you can make this a thicker dressing for a dip by adding more mayonnaise than buttermilk.

Enjoy!

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Stir it Up

Just some soy sauce, chili oil, green onions and garlic. That’s all you need to add flavor to your stir fry, no matter what it is you’re stirring up! I’ve used this with veggies, chicken, beef, shrimp… Over the years since I started using this simple sauce, I have tried prepared sauces from the store and always been left with disappointment at the flavor. So, I stick with what works.

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3-4 green onions, green and white parts
  • Soy Sauce
  • Chili Oil*

What to do: Press garlic into a small bowl (I use a Small Prep Bowl that holds 1 cup), slice green onions and place into same bowl. Pour soy sauce over garlic and onion until covered. Pour a couple drops of chili oil into this. (Use more to taste. I don’t like things too spicy, so I just use a couple drops.)

Yup. That’s it. Now you just need to stir-fry your meat and veggies (small batches so you get a little browning. If you overcrowd the pan, you’ll end up steaming the food instead of getting the carmelized yuminess that you want.), and when they’re all cooked up, return all to the pan, make a well in the center and pour in the sauce. (If you want to thicken it and make it a little glossy looking at the same time, you can add a bit of corn starch and water, too) Stir this all up, and share with Friends.

* To make your own chili oil, use about a cup of oil (peanut oil is a good choice, but you can use whatever cooking oil you have/use) and about a tablespoon of chili flakes. Heat in a pan on the stove. Once cooled, transfer to a glass bottle and store in the fridge. The longer it sits, the hotter the oil becomes.

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Cinnamon Roll Filling & Icing

Grandma’s Sweet Foundation Dough recipe didn’t come to me with good directions on fillings or toppings. So for several years, I’ve experimented with different fillings and icings. I have finally found the “winning” recipes in cookbooks I have had for many years.
Filling:
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 packed brown sugar
2 Tbl cinnamon
1 Tbl light corn syrup
In order to use this filling for the entire sweet dough recipe, I quadruple the ingredients.
Frosting:
2 oz softened cream cheese
2 Tbl softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbl milk
Double, triple, quadruple, as necessary
I also like making my own sticky rolls or caramel rolls….
Glaze for sticky rolls:
Mix together in bottom of round baking pan:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbl melted butter
1 Tbl corn syrup
Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Place shaped rolls on top and continue as usual

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Filed under Breads & Rolls, Breakfast, Recipes, Sauces/Dressings

Asian Dressing

1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pressed garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup vegetable oil
 
Combine all ingredients into a salad dressing mixer, or small bowl. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
 

 
MY NOTES:
I use low sodium soy sauce
1 garlic clove seems weak to me, but I’m a garlic-lover! I use 2…
Instead of vegetable oil, I use sesame oil to add another element of flavor to the dressing….
 

 
THE SALAD!!!
 
I have no measurements… it’s a salad, just use as much as you need to make enough for your family!
 
sliced red cabbage
sliced savoy cabbage
sliced green onion tops
carrot strips (jullienne, or shredded with a vegetable peeler for ribbons)
sugar snap peas
new addition to the salad…
ramen noodles, broken into small pieces
(This was added my request of the family…. and they love it, so I will probably keep adding it…… I guess… lol As long as they don’t start asking me to make them soup with the noodles, it’s all good. LOL)
 
You may also add grilled chicken, toasted sliced almonds, sesame seeds…… it’s a salad! BE CREATIVE!

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More on Makin’ My Own… BBQ Sauce

Tonight’s menu included BBQ Chicken…. and I was VERY low on BBQ sauce. Having already been to the store (twice!) I didn’t really want to go back!!! So I did a search and found an easy BBQ Sauce recipe online. I added a couple teaspoons of Pampered Chef’s Sweet & Smokey Barbecue Rub, and we decided it was decent sauce. Now that I know how EASY this is to make, I’m going to play with the spices and cooking time until I perfect my OWN sauce!!!! This could be a very fun summer project! I’m going to try to come up with a "perfect" recipe and then maybe I will can a few jars for later use.
 
 

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Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing

2 cups fresh spinach, cleaned and dried
4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 green onion top, sliced
3 hard boiled eggs
1 avocado
Bacon Dressing (recipe follows)
 
Toss first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl with Bacon dressing, immediately before serving. Top with sliced eggs and avocado. Enjoy!
 
Bacon Dressing:
2 Tbl bacon drippings
3 Tbl vinegar
1/4 C. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp sugar
 
Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer about 2 minutes. (Dressing will still be thin) Cool slightly before tossing with salad. (Mix in bacon pieces and chopped egg, if desired)

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Filed under Recipes, Salads, Sauces/Dressings