Compound Butter with Parsley and Lemon (Maitre d’Hotel Butter)

Compound butter is a chef’s best friend, and is one of the secrets of French bistro cuisine. Maitre d’Hotel butter - with a little lemon zest and parsley mixed in - gives bistro food its distinctive character.

Maitre d’Hotel butter is versatile. I use it to saute vegetables, baste roast chicken, and season mussels. But the best way to use this butter is to finish a steak. Put a pat on top of a cooked steak, right when it comes off the heat; the butter melts, mingling with the juices and making my all time favorite steak sauce.
More on Steak with Maitre d’Hotel butter on Thursday…

Compound butter is easy to make, and keeps forever in the freezer; I always make a big batch, and freeze the rest. Then I have frozen assets - ready and waiting for me to shave off a slice when dinner needs a flavor boost.

Inspired by dinner at Le Bistro du Beaujolais in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. Looking for bistro French in Northeastern Ohio? It’s worth the drive.

Recipe: Compound Butter with Parsley and Lemon (Maitre d’Hotel Butter)

PicOfTheWeek: Sous Vide Carrot Saute

Finishing Sous Vide carrots with a quick sauté. Still working on the recipe for this one...

Grilled Bread and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

Grilled Bread and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

When the first tomatoes of summer arrive, I’m wriggling with excitement. I eat them straight - sliced and sprinkled with a little salt. Nothing else. Don’t get between me and my fresh tomatoes.

Then, a few weeks pass…the tomatoes still taste delicious and all, but…well…I get bored. They were summer’s glory, all in one red, ripe package; now they’re “Five pounds of tomatoes from the CSA? But I still have a couple left over from last week!”

That’s when the recipes come out. I make salsa (lots of salsa) and gazpacho. And, when I’m grilling, I make this bread salad.

It’s a perfect summer recipe - marinate the tomatoes in a garlicky red wine vinaigrette, grill the bread quickly, and sprinkle with some minced herbs. I still get the glory of summer, but it seems…new, somehow.

Recipe: Grilled Bread and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

Mellow Hot-Cold Sous Vide Water Bath

Photo courtesy of Mellow

I’m a geek. I admit it. I love technology and cooking. Cooking technology? I’m all over it. (That’s why I’m fascinated by sous vide cooking.) The Mellow is the coolest new cooking technology I’ve heard of since sous vide was introduced.
As you’ll see, “coolest” is a pun. Sorry.

I heard about the Mellow in passing at the end of the This Week In Apple podcast - the mentioned a sous vide machine that is a heater AND a cooler. That’s…that’s…genius! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

My first thought was time shifted sous vide cooking. I drop a bag of vacuum sealed food in the Mellow as I leave for work, and it keeps it chilled all day - until it is time to cook. Then it turns on the heater, and ten minutes later it is at sous vide cooking temperatures. I walk through the door, and my sous vide is ready to go.

PicOfTheWeek: Small Batch of Chicken Stock

When you work on a rotisserie chicken grilling book, you have a lot of leftover chicken. (Ask my kids - or, on second thought, don't ask them. You'll get an earful of whining about "not chicken agggaiiinnn.")

To use up all the carcasses, we've been eating a lot of soup. Here's a few recipes from the archives:

  • Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock (I'm using the "no pressure cooker, no worries" version in this picture, obviously; I was puttering around the kitchen all afternoon, so leaving the stock simmering in the oven was no big deal.)
  • Then I used the stock to make Turkey Noodle Soup. (Yes, I know the recipe says "Turkey Noodle Soup - that's OK, I was improvising.)
  • But what the kids really wanted was Tortilla Soup. That's OK - I have plenty of chicken carcasses in the fridge, I'll make that next week.