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Browned Butter Sauce & It's Many Uses
Lesson 6 - Cooking Lessons for Real Housewives
When my children were babies I learned a lot about saving money. I quickly realized that I was spending a small fortune at the grocery store each week. I was not using what was in my pantry or saving as much as I could by being a more effective planner.
I learned to make the most of my budget by simply planning a better grocery list.
I would take a mental stock of what was already in my cabinets and plan meals around that. I would take into consideration how much each meal would cost to prepare. I found that I could make several meals that would feed a family of five for under 10 dollars.
Butter sauce is one of my favorite tricks to pull out of my sleeve to dress up vegetables, meats or make a whole meal. Browned butter sauce is delicious and you can make a meal that will serve five or six people for just a few dollars. This way you can afford those mortgages housewives!
Butter is something I always have stocked in the refrigerator. I keep both salted and unsalted butter at all times. Salt is used in butter as a preservative. There are certain rules about cooking with butter though. It burns. It has a low smoke point - the lowest of all fats to cook with. When the temperature of the butter reaches about 265* it will begin to smoke. Butter is not a good fat to use for anything you want to put over high heat for a long time. This is why olive oil or margarine may be called for specifically.
Butter and margarine are not always interchangeable. They may greatly affect how well a cake tastes or not. It may affect the chemistry of the recipe so always use what the recipe asks for unless it tells you it is okay to substitute. If you are in a pinch and want to experiment - it might taste better either way or make no difference. It is sometimes just a matter of individual taste.
Browned Butter Sauce
I prefer to use unsalted butter but some cooks don't. Simply slice a stick of butter, drop it in the pan and do not leave! It doesn't take long to cook - or burn so this is something to stick around for. Let it melt completely and then it will begin to foam.
At this point you can add whatever flavor you would like to add. Garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, parsley, tarragon, red pepper flakes, cinnamon - you name it.
Once the butter begins to turn a darker yellow with light flecks of brown - it's done. Some people describe the flavor as a "nutty" taste. It does taste quite different than melted butter and it can be used to flavor just about anything.
The pan is hot so if you do not remove the butter immediately it will continue to cook and burn. Pour it on top your vegetable, noodles, meat or store it in Tupperware in the fridge for later.
Browned butter is delicious. It is great over roasted potatoes and carrots. It also tastes great on steamed vegetable medleys like broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. I love butter sauce on Asparagus. There are vegetables my children refuse to eat unless they are disguised in some flavored sauce.
If you don't have a lot of time to cook you can boil some spaghetti noodles (al dente) toss some browned butter and fresh grated Myzithra cheese on top and stir. Voila - now you have Spaghetti Factory "Browned Butter & Myzithra Cheese" in 15 minutes or less.
Spaghetti with Browned Butter & Myzithra Cheese
Whip It Trailer
Butter Vs. Margarine
There are many fallacies floating around on the wild, wild web about butter and margarine. Butter is made from milk and salt. It is turned into cream, add a little yellow food coloring and Bam! Butter. Margarine has been around since about 1869.
Margarine and Butter contain the same caloric value. A tablespoon of each is equivalent to 100 calories. Fat is higher in butter and it depends upon which label - I have found radical differences in sources but believe it is due to the different brands.
Margarine is not natural like butter and while there are many myths I do not believe, I always stick with natural ingredients if possible. I use very little margarine or butter spreads. I use butter and olive oil almost exclusively. I am just as careful to budget our fat intake while I make my weekly list as well. I won't substitute flavor for calories, I'd rather balance the total intake and go for moderation.
Whipped Butter Tips & Tricks
If you want to decrease the calorie count of butter by 50% - whip it. This makes butter, light, fluffy and easy to spread. You can toss your butter in the mixer - but use a paddle, not a whisk. Start out on a lower speed until it is creamed and then turn it up to high and whip it for about 20 minutes. After the butter is creamier you can toss in any herb or spice you like or leave it plain.
Plain whipped butter is wonderful for pancake toppings, waffles, french toast or to make a quick grilled sandwich.
Save the butter in a container and you will have a great spread for breads, a topping for vegetables, fish, or noodles.
This is the ticket!
NOTE to Real Housewives: You have done an excellent job if you have come this far! Now don't you feel better knowing that you can create your own meal ticket? When the looks are gone and you can't fit one more ounce of botox in those smiley faces you will still be able to feed yourself. You will have a skill and the days of getting all frustrated over how to wash a chicken or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will be behind you!