Monday, March 31, 2008


Spring Corn Soup with Chive Biscuits

Do your thoughts whiz around so fast they go *POP!*?

Like when you have a bitchen recipe idea that just filters up from the grey matter into the lovely stew of today?

Oh yes, you know what I mean. Those kismet culinary kinda moments are the bestest!


This soup is not only a luscious meeting of early springtime form and function, but is super ultra pretty and tasty in a smooth n’ silky kinda way. Mix that with some warm, chivey, baby biscuits and, well...*POP!*

It's just that luscious my peaches, exactly like you.

Which is why you simply must try it, and taste the joy.

8 cobs of corn
3 tablespoons butter
1 leek, white part only, minced
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup cold water
salt and white pepper

With a sharp knife, remove the corn from the cobs. Set aside.

In a large soup pot over low heat, melt the butter, then add the leeks and sweat (cook without adding color/browning) until translucent. Add the corn and cook, stirring sometimes (why always occasionally. Why not sometimes?) until cooked through. Add the water and the stock and raise heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove half the soup and puree in a blender. (Please be extra careful here, hot liquids expand in a blender, so never fill it more than half way) then strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the soup.

Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings, garnish with the biscuits and some additional chives.

Serves six

Now, this part of the recipe is taken verbatim from the fine folks over yonder at Cooks Illustrated. Nothing has been changed (much). I just cut them into small circles and used three per bowl of soup. Sass-tastic!

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and chives in medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups cream and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough from bowl to counter-top, leaving all dry, floury bits behind in bowl. In 1 tablespoon increments, add up to 1/4 cup cream to dry bits in bowl, mixing with wooden spoon after each addition, until moistened. Add these moistened bits to rest of dough and knead by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Shape the dough into a round, 3/4-inch thick. Cut into small rounds with a biscuit cutter, making sure not to twist the cutter as you cut the biscuit out. Place rounds in groupings of three on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. This means you choice cooking recipes. Stop stealing my content.

Scoop: The Los Angeles Times is going to be naming Two Stoners Dudes Catering (recently seen on the Food Network) the "Best Catering Company in L.A." in an upcoming edition. The Dudes do not have a website, or business cards. They DO have a cookbook coming out soon though. You heard it here first.


The Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River have disappeared. The almost complete collapse of the richest and most dependable source of Chinook salmon south of Alaska left fisheries experts struggling for reliable explanations — and coming up dry. The $150 million fishery, which usually opens for the four-month season on May 1, is almost certain to remain closed this year from Oregon to the Mexican border. As a result, Chinook, the most prized species of Pacific wild salmon, will be hard to come by until the Alaskan season opens in July. Even then, wild Chinook are likely to be very expensive nationwide. - LA Times

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Mushroom Pate

I write in books. I write in books in ink. I write in books in black ink that sometimes smears across the smooth pages because despite my attentions I am still a left handed writer.

I am forever underlining passages and leaving myself small comments in the margins.

A book is a personal item, to be devoured, and the notes that lie within are my mark. They remind me of where my mind was when I was reading it, or where I wanted my mind to go. Much like this site.

Since this is my habit, it should come as no surprise that I have little scribblings scattered throughout my cookbook collection too. Usually phrases no more descript than “Made, 1/25/06. Perfect.” But just enough info for me to recall the dish, the meal, and the company it was made for. Always a wonderful thing. Like a small notation on my life.

I can open any number of recipe collections and be transported as easily as I am by my favorite authors of fiction. With the words upon the pages come memories of good friends and good food. All of them blessings.

Now, tomorrow is my birthday, and we are going to a simple and beautiful restaurant that evokes so many memories for me. Memories of lovely times spent with new friends, old friends, family and loved ones. It is a place I retreat to for a quiet evening of fine dining in a graceful setting. It is old and new all at once, and it is perfection. I dream of their food, and the calm it brings me.

And yet, I do not have a copy of the cookbook they created, and therefore there is not a word in my hand etched out within. Perhaps I will fix that. And then I can recall what I am certain will be a fabulous meal.

This is just a recipe I have never written down, so in the spirit of keeping this site as my personal storehouse, I will post it now.

Try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

1 pound button mushrooms
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper
Bay leaf for garnish

Mince the mushrooms until very fine.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Cook the shallot until translucent, then add the mushrooms and herbs. Saute until cooked through.

Remove 3/4 of the mixture and add to a food processor with the cream. Process until smooth. Remove and taste. Add salt and pepper. Add back the remaining mushrooms. To fancy it up, put into a large ramekin, top with a bit more herbs de Provence and a bay leaf Chill and serve with crackers.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

Soda makers, Dr Pepper has promised that if Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose releases "Chinese Democracy" at any point in 2008, everyone in America will receive a free can of Dr. Pepper.

Kosher salt weighs at least 26 percent less by volume than table salt. That means if you use a 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a recipe calling for 1/4 teaspoon of table salt, you’re adding too little.

Lucques was chosen by Los Angeles Magazine as the number one restaurant (out of 75) in LA in their March, 2007 issue. “As native Angelenos, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne understood something about the city’s dual fascination with what’s fleeting and what’s permanent. Lucques captures this paradox. It has the snap of the new and the ease of the classical. Goin’s cooking style, Mediterranean in its inspiration, quietly flirts with the traditional repertoire. The restaurant defines the city’s laid-back luxury; it is gracious and timeless and, dare we say it, grand.”

Nacho-cheese-flavor Doritos, which contain five separate forms of glutamate, may be even richer in umami than the finest kombu dashi (kelp stock) in Japan. - NY Times

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Monday, March 24, 2008


Arugula Pesto

Hollywood is going green!

That's right kids we are all (each and every one) goin' green. And don't forget lil' punkins, you heard it here first.

Right here in super-sunny Southern California the thought on every single resident's mind (seriously, its a massive thing. 17 million strong) is how can I cleanse my body and my soul while eating something tasty, and simultaneously practicing silent yoga. (Well, not everyone is doing that, it only seems that way to me this week.)

And of course the answer is to eat more locally grown, vibrant greens. And what better way to start doing that than with a sassy springtime spin on pesto.

The leaves of the basil plant, at their best in the heat of summer, so fragrant and delicate, are almost the parallel opposite of arugula, which has a bitterness and fortitude one wouldn't expect from such a small green leaf. The ultimate early spring green.

And when it comes to my current fixation with allspice (oh, have I mentioned this? I am obsessed with allspice.) well my darlings, arugula is the perfect foil. They go so well together, it's like a dream come true.

This version is completely raw, but if the arugula is too strong for you, try a quick blanching of the leaves.

So try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

6 cups arugula leaves, stems removed
Salt to taste
Pinch of allspice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon pine nuts

Rinse the arugula in cold water. Puree with the rest of the ingredients. This is great to do with a mortar and pestle, but if you don't have that, a food processor works well too. As you can see, that was how I did it.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with crudite, over pasta, or as a sauce for grilled meats or tofu.

Puree the wilted arugula with a hearty pinch of allspice,
© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. This means you cooking recipes collection. Stop stealing my content.

Arugula is popular in Italian cuisines and was commonly featured in ancient Roman meals. - Willie Green's Organic Farm

Judy at No Fear Entertaining and Lolo at Vegan Yum Yum also made Arugula Pesto.

800 million people on the planet suffer from hunger or malnutrition, but the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States. Mark Bittman, NYTimes

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Saturday, March 22, 2008


Blogging By Mail - Fantastic Treats!!!

First, before I start gushing and getting all over the top and grateful, I should explain that I took part in Blogging By Mail, an event that really is just the best thing ever.

In brief, participants names and addresses are added to the virtual pot, then names are drawn and voila, everyone gets a few little treats in the mail. All of this courtesy of Stephanie at uber-blog Dispensing Happiness. Is that a good time waiting to happen or what?

And now, on the the gushing...

Oh WOW. I feel like I won a prize package or something!

I got a simply lovely, and truly generous and kind package from that dear, sweet, love of a woman Brilynn of everyone's favorite site Jumbo Empanadas. She not only drew me a card (so sweet!) but she included a shot glass with the Canadian Maple leaf on it (it's as if the dear-heart just knew I love a good shot of Canadian Whiskey every here and again. And again.) then there were two sets of mini fluted tart molds (Oh the possibilities!) not one, but two Coffee Crisp bars (which have yet to be devoured) a giant bag of one of my all time favorite spices, paprika, from Toronto's House of Spice. (So nice! So nice!).

But wait, there's more!

She included a really fun peeler that actually does a julienne strip and a packet of Bali Breeze tea from The Language of the Leaf. (Canadian businesses sure do have excellent names, don't they! Love it!) That smells too good to be true. There was a Fair trade (yeah!), organic (yeah!) Cocoa Camino Matcha Green Tea candy bar that I ate in small nibbles, enjoying every moment of. And to tempt my sweet tooth even more, there are two pieces of candy that I am going to have to ask her about directly, since I cannot identify them.

My very mostest favorite thing was a bag of dried strawberry candies that were so sweet and juicy I almost wanted to pinch them! (What can I say, that's my reaction to sweet and juicy things.)

And last but not least, that gem of a woman included a copy of the film Waitress. Seriously folks, is she a peach or what.

I know its a bit strange to read me post about a few things I got in the mail, but I am so touched by Brilynn's spirit and the whole spirit of this event that I hope you are inspired and will sign up for the next round. My heart is so full of joy right now!

Of course, I was a bit of a slacker in mailing my gifty out, but there is a package on it's way to Little Spatula in Naperville, IL right now, so hopefully it will be there soon...(Update: It arrived!)

Thank you again to Brilynn for her wonderful package, and to Stephanie for organizing such a thing, and to you all for reading my silly little blog.


© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. That means YOU, "Collection of Cooking Recipes"!!! Stop stealing!!!!

If only life were as easy as pie. - Tagline for the movie Waitress

All Cocoa Camino products are certified organic and Fair Trade Certified. This means that the ingredients have been produced in an environmentally sustainable manner and that Fair Trade prices and premiums have been paid to farmers for their cocoa and sugar. - Cocoa Camino

Food prices are affecting the bottom line at restaurants nationwide. Last year the $28 tuna au poivre entree at Boston's Chez Henri was eight ounces of fish. Now it's five. "I can't allow my food costs to go up because then I won't be in business," says chef and owner Paul O'Connell. -


Monday, March 17, 2008


Springtime Spinach Soup with Gruyere Croutons

Just between us kittens, I simply have no idea why The Ombudsman isn't head over heels madly in love with me.

I mean, really. That man...he can be so exasperating!

This weekend, among other things, I fed him home-made soup (well, he fed himself, but I made it) and I surprised him with tickets to see the Derby Dolls.

And that isn't just some run of the mill roller derby mind you. No, no. I'm talkin' all-girl, indoor, bank-tracked roller derby. Described by someone as "a cross between a Suicide Girls photo shoot and a prison brawl...on wheels." In other excellently good time to be had by all.

So really, it just doesn't add up.

I think he needs to reassess. Pull his head out of the sand. Open his eyes and realize this soup alone is worthy of a proposal, let alone the fact I am a super star friend.


Oh well, I guess it's just not meant to be.

But you should try the soup and see how fab it is. It may not set your heart afire, but it sure is tasty.

The Ombudsman swears it.

So try this my lil' Shamrocks, and taste the joy.

1 pound spinach leaves
2 T olive oil
1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups water
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 thin baguette, sliced on the bias, yielding four slices
2 ounces gruyere cheese, grated fine (this is best done with a microplane)
2 teaspoons English (Coleman’s) mustard

Rinse the spinach and drain but leave a bit damp.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the potato for about five minutes, until soft. It will totally stick to the bottom and brown, so if your pot is non-stick, all the better. If not, just scrape it up as best you can.

Add the spinach and stir until well wilted.

Add 4 cups water, salt and nutmeg to taste. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.

While it is simmering, smear the baguette slices with some mustard. Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and add four small piles of the cheese (in roughly the same shape as the slices of bread) then immediately top with a slice of the bread (mustard side down.) and let cook until the cheese is just browned. Flip the bread over and let toast a bit more, then remove.

Ladle the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth, then return it to the pot.

Stir in the cream and slowly bring to a boil. Adjust the seasonings. Simmer for a minute or two.

Ladle the soup into shallow bowls over a small pile of spinach leaves that you have chiffonaded and serve immediately with gruyere toasts.

Serves four as a first course.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

I based this recipe on one by Gordon Ramsay. Its pretty different, but still, I thought I would mention it. His is called Spinach Veloute with Goat Cheese Quenelles.

Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 % it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days. – Mark Bittman, NYTimes

The ladies of the French court of Louis XI subsisted mainly on soup because they believed that chewing would cause them to develop facial wrinkles.

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Friday, March 14, 2008


Drink of the Week: The Devil's Tail/Rhubarb, Sugar, Vodka

I think I first came across this spring-time indulgence with a dangerous sounding moniker in Denmark a few years ago.

Then again, it may have been in Baltimore.

I forget.

Either which way, it is an absolutely outrageous way to indulge in the crimson beauty of super-sour, uncooked rhubarb.

It's so hectically sour that I personally figure the only reason it's is eaten by anyone is that it's impossible to resist the deliriously shocking pinkness of it all.

One glance and I tell you, a feverish desire to consume it comes on. It just has to be made palatable. And that is usually accomplished with the addition of strawberries and a gang of sugar. (And voila, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie) That's pretty much the only way to go, seeing as those stalks are so puckery if you take a nibble, your mouth will seize up and wonder if you've taken leave of your senses.

But if you aren't the pie-makin' type and want a wild way to indulge, try this. After one bite, just bring on the the bracing sting of icy cold vodka and numb that mouth into submission.

It's a diabolically sweet-tart experience.

Try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

2 stalks rhubarb, sliced 4 inches long
4 tablespoons white sugar
8 ounces vodka, chilled

Gather three friends round, and pass out rhubarb spears. Pour an icy cold shot of vodka for each player. Simultaneously dip your rhubarb spears into the sugar, then bite in. Enjoy faces being made. Chew. Swallow. Take a shot of the vodka.

Repeat only if you dare.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

Rhubarb is a vegtable that is a relative of buckwheat and originated in Western China and neighboring areas. The leaves of the plant are poisonous.

Vodka was first sold legally in Sweden in 1498 by a Stockholm tavern keeper. Absolut Vodka was introduced in Sweden in 1879 as "Absolut rent branvin" - "Absolutely pure vodka". -

Restaurants have long engineered menus to allow the bigger profits from pastas and vegetable side orders to subsidize such loss leaders as steaks. With food prices rising at their highest rate in decades, chefs are swapping out high-end ingredients for humbler substitutes and scratching low-profit entrees off the menu. Pink's hot dogs in Hollywood introduced a $6.75 dog that's more topping than wiener. At Gramercy Tavern in New York, the caviar-topped hamachi appetizer has been replaced with a tuna-and-beet tartare topped with sliced radishes. Raphael Lunetta of JiRaffe in Santa Monica is yanking pricey entrees from the menu to promote as daily specials. He says a good pitch from waiters helps sell more and reduces leftovers. -


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Mademoiselle de Margaux Chocolate Covered Cherries

The downfall of the youth of today is that they just don't get the cultural reference of that moment-in-time arrangement of words,

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.*

Poor lil grommets, don't know what they are missing.

Such a quality expression too!. Not to mention it's got a really catchy tune.

Just try to say that and not smile.

So that, obviously, that is the golden phrase emitting from my rosy lips every moment I think of Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl (blog) and her breaking the news that she and The Chef are expecting a baby girl in August.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.

Of course, (in a fit of generosity) as a little mother-to-be, I guess it makes sense she had these chocolate covered booze-infused French delights from ChefShop sent to me instead of to herself...for one thing, she is just really nice in sending an unexpected gift, (which really, I owe her!) but she also probably pegged me as the perfect person to gain sympathy weight.

Oh those crafty pregnant ladies...

Well imbibing in calories is no trouble with these beauties (which are very much gone as of this writing) are as easy on the eyes as they are to eat.

I really was surprised and thrilled to receive two boxes of this incredible Mme de Margaux sweets at Ms. Shauna's request. One sky blue box of chocolate covered cherries with armagnac and the other of equally amazing chocolate covered grapes with rum. Which rhymes with yum. Happy Happy Joy Joy indeed.

They were so good, I simply must sing their praises. They were so boozy the Ombudsman refused to eat one before getting behind the wheel of his (hybrid) car. They made my head swim, my heart swell and my mouth smile. They are chocolate perfection.

Now peaches, on this random late winter (for some) 80 degree (for others) day, I am going to urge you to click on over to ChefShop and make a box of these your own.

So here is to the Happy Happy Joy Joy of new life, and new treats.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

Oh My GOODNESS. I am a terrible, bad and awful friend. I forgot to wish that sweet peach, Tiffany a very happy birthday last week...oy. Happy belated Birthday Tiffany!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please visit her blog and leave b-day wishes comment for her, won't you?

Based in the Médoc region of France near Bordeaux, the makers of these chocolates, Mademoiselle de Margaux draws its inspiration and know-how from the renowned Margaux terroir. In the quest for subtly powerful ingredients and aromas, Mademoiselle de Margaux creates new recipes inspired by the riches of nature. -

Americans drink thirty-five million bottles of cognac each year. We're the world's No. 1 consumer by far. -NY Magazine

Armagnac is a distinctive kind of brandy made of mainly the same grapes as cognac. Its name comes from the Armagnac region of France where it originates.Armagnac has been making brandy for around 200 years longer than Cognac. And for every six bottles of Armagnac sold around the world there are one hundred bottles of cognac sold.


Saturday, March 08, 2008


East-West Thai Basil Salad Rolls

That poor, sweet darling of a man, The Ombudsman, has had a very up and down two weeks.

The boy got himself a bit sick, then moved on to much sicker, then was in agony, and then went to a meeting in at his office (his office that is an excellent example of stylish 1960's post modern architecture, I must add) and then passed out and then drove himself home and then the next day decided maybe it was time to go to the emergency room.

Aww. Poor puddin'. Broke my heart. He was trying to be so brave...(and yet he makes a good argument for "so smart, yet so dumb," don't you think?)

And then, while still a bit ill, he surprised me with two very much lauded and supremely desired tickets to see the extremely awesome spectacle that is Grizzly Bear play on a bill with our very own Los Angeles Philharmonic. (Harmonic indeed.)

The man is a peach I tell you, a peach.

I was a bit worried for him as we set out, (what with the temporary deafness, insane cough and heavy dosage of assorted prescriptions) but he assured me all was well, and he was excited to be out and about after all that he had gone through.

Well, he made it through and I am happy to say the concert was beyond awesome, and bless his heart, he is fine now, (phew). But I was compelled (and pleased) to make him his favorite, elaborate salad/finger food the next day, as thanks for a perfect, lovley evening which he really, really shouldn't have done. But I'm glad he did.

And now you dolls, I am sharing with you.

Try it and taste the joy.

1 large head romaine lettuce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
½ cup fresh Thai basil
1 fresh lemongrass stalk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 rice paper rounds
2 mini red bell peppers, sliced into rounds

In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, vinegar and lime juice together to dissolve the sugar.

Peel off the hard outer layer of the lemon grass and mince the soft core.
Reserve 8-12 leaves of the basil and mince the rest. Add the lemon grass, basil and mayo to the lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Cut the lettuce leaves into 3 inch strips and divide into four portions.

Quickly dip one rice paper wrapper in warm water until softened. It will feel rubbery.
Then, cut it in half.

Lay out a half round on the work surface, with the straight edge away from you. Arrange one of the portions of romaine and a few basil leaves in a little pile about 3 inches from the right edge of the paper, letting the tips of the leaves extend over the straight edge. Fold the bottom up over the greens, then fold the right side up over the greens and roll the lettuce up in the wrapper. Continue with the remaining rice paper and romaine.

Drizzle the dressing on a plate and top with two salad rolls, garnish with pepper rounds and serve.

Serves four as a first course.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking


© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

Well, I'm pouty! We drove by last night only to find out The Coronet Pub closed down. Darn it!

Basil is sacred to both the Sub-Asian deities, Krishna and Vishnu. You can buy Sacred Holy Krishna Basil seeds here.

This recipe is an extremely altered version of the Romaine on Romaine recipe in Michel Richard's stunning and brilliant book, Happy in the Kitchen. Make sure to check it out sometime!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008


How & Why To Make Compound Butter

It seems as if, in every high-end cookbook there is that inevitable recipe - nestled between those grand glamor shots - for something so super basic, it requires a pause.

For instance, I was flipping through Super-Star Chef, Thomas Keller's hefty tome, Bouchon and finding my silly-self wondering…is this the book - of all the books available, that I pull off the shelf for a basic vinaigrette recipe? Is this the man I first think of when wondering how to make toast? No, no, not so much. And yet, those recipes lie bound within.

But if that little interjection of epicurean knowledge were not in there, would I notice and indict the volume for falling short on such important building blocks? Yes, yes, and yes.

Double-edged chefs knife indeed.

I mean, let's face facts, the man can and does make superior foods, but my ultra-glossy, five pound cookbook isn't coming into the kitchen with me for something so plebeian...then again, perhaps I am alone in this...

So then there is this lil site. No high-falutin' space, but still, a site that let's you think about how to make chicken-date sausages, and veers wildly back to a primer on how to make bread crumbs.

Both here, both ready to direct and guide you through your own culinary adventure.

And in that spirit - and to create that fancy-cookbook feel, I offer you a non-recipe recipe for that magic bullet, compound butter.

Yes kids, compound butter.

Herbs and aromatics satisfyingly smushed up into creamery butter and rolled into a convenient shape. Primed and ready for all sorts of culinary uses. (Especially on a nicely cooked steak)

All sorts of culinary uses, I say. Roast chicken, crostini, a nice steak, cream cheese spread, lamb chops and more. Savory dishes in need of a bit of flavor injection can all benefit from a pat of this glory. And it sure beats out using a shake of some spice mix that has been lurking in your cupboard for an age plus a day.

Useful too, since perhaps you, like me, tend to have some fresh herbs around that you just can't bear to see go bad. If so, this is the perfect thing to preserve their usefulness.

So try some today my darlings, and taste the joy.

Please do feel free to change this up any which way you see fit, this just happens to be what I made, it is certainly not set in stone. Just butter.

½ pound butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons, minced fresh herbs (I used dill, marjoram, parsley and thyme)
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon citrus zest (I used lemon and lime)
Some fresh pepper
Pinch of paprika

And now for the fun part…using you hands, mush that all together. Roll into a log, wrap in plastic and, voila, compound butter.

Keeps in the freezer for 6 months, in the fridge for 2 months.

Slice off a few pats as needed or desired.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright.

Do you shop at
Rose and Radish?

Nick Davis’ Hobsons Mild was voted Britain's best beer last year and is currently being served up as a guest beer in the Houses of Parliament! The small brewery near Kidderminster now produces four draft and four bottled beers using hops mainly grown on farms within a 10 mile radius. If you can't find them at your local, you should be able to buy bottles through the brewery's website in the coming months. -Birmingham

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