Garlic Butter

One of the things I always have in my fridge is a batch of homemade garlic butter. My husband asked me to make a batch while we were cooking at his parents, and his mother asked “what would you even put it on?” I answered “we put it on everything!” Responses like this are why I tend to get “looks” from my mother-in-law sometimes. I know I am a little crazy/weird, but my husband assures me repeatedly he does not mind.

I have a confession to make…

WE ARE A GARLIC HOUSEHOLD!

There I said it. We don’t shy from garlic. We embrace it (figuratively, or I would need stronger deodorant) and lavish it upon our food with great enthusiasm.

The possibilities are only what you can imagine. My mother would put it on her bake potatoes, rolls, rice, mashed potatoes, throw a dollop in with cooking veggies or in soup. I once encountered a packet of Ramen Noodles sold in New Zealand where a packet of garlic butter was included with the noodles and seasoning. So now, I throw in a dollop if I am making Ramen.

The biggest use for garlic butter is garlic bread!

We have a pizzeria nearby with great bread, and you can by the big loaves for a dollar. My dad will get me 4 or 5 and I do one of three things.
1) Freeze them. I love having bread I can defrost in the microwave for 30 seconds. It does get soggy, but this is not a problem as I bake the bread.

2) Dry the bread for making homemade seasoned bread crumbs

3) Make garlic croutons. I cube the bread, toss it with some melted garlic butter and bake it. Amusingly enough, the croutons never make it onto salads, because my family will eat them out of the container like chex mix.

Garlic butter is entirely customizable. About the only thing that is a requirement is butter, and of course, garlic, but then again, maybe not!

I adapted this from a few recipes I saw once into the following:

1 cup of soft spread butter or margarine
1/4 cup shredded cheese (Parmesan works)
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano

Now, I don’t always have shaker cheese around, so I use what I have on hand. Sometimes I have added parsley, rosemary, asiago cheese, and anything I feel like adding at the time. Paprika is also a good choice or if you want your butter a little spicier, cayenne pepper works too.

I can’t post a picture because my husband just used the last of the garlic butter on some homemade dough for garlic bread to go with our pizza. I will post a picture of the garlic bread though here shortly!

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Zucchini and Pepper Relish

So currently, I am making zucchini and pepper relish from out of my Food in Jars cookbook. I am munching on some guacamole (recipe later) as I wait for things to simmer.

I have grated six cups of zucchini, chopped six cups of peppers, and grated two and a half cups of onions. This has been cooked in two cups of apple cider vinegar, and it just spent 30 minutes reducing. First off, the biggest thing that jumped out was the change in color. I decided to add some color and threw in one red pepper with the green peppers- I think it definitely added some good color as the green peppers turned very pale after reducing.

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Now I randomly decided to film bits as I was trying this recipe. Unfortunately, since I am a cheap-sake and do not wish to spend $8 a year on the off chance I might upload a video every now and then, I am going to post it onto my youtube channel and then put the link here! It’s a kind of a spur of the moment thing and as long as I don’t get any wildly inappropriate remarks, I might do it again.

I simmered my relish mixture again with the required spices added in.

I am about to pack it into jars.

I have the jars in the canner, and once it reaches a rolling boil, it has to process for 10 minutes.

They seem very pretty and when I tried the smidgen of what I had left over, the relish was pretty good! It will get even better as it sits and has a chance to meld over the next few weeks.

I hope that the video helps a little bit as I know my writing can be a bit hard to follow sometime. Then again, my speaking is not much better.

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The finished product!

When the husbands away, the tomatoes come out to play (run away in terror from the pot)

So once again, my husband calls and tells me he will be late at the gym and then he will go get groceries for me and to eat without him. This means one thing.

Tomatoes!
Since my husband hates tomatoes and everything tomato-y tasting- I tend to use what I can when he isn’t around. This time, I decided to do something involving the new 100% wheat pasta (apparently what we had had before was not 100% wheat- the bastards can be tricksy!) we had in the cupboard and some squash a friend had dropped off after her ratatouille dinner.

Whilst the pasta boiled, I dumped a can of italian chopped tomatoes into a pan along with some Marsala wine. I let that simmer and decided to throw in some leftover bruschetta mix.

Simultaneously, I also made garlic bread from a nice Italian loaf I had frozen for such an occasion.

I added in some oregano, as well as Salt & pepper. Towards the end of the pasta’s cooking time, I ended up mixing in some fat free sour cream which helped tighten the whole mixture up.

The dinner ended up being really nummy, but it was surprisingly not the prize I though it would be.

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What was the real surprise was when I randomly decided to put my leftover chunky sauce on my garlic bread. I hadn’t sliced it yet and just ended up piling the whole lot on there. Then my surprise happened, it was delicious! This became my meal!

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It was delicious and because the bread was toasted, it didn’t get all soggy like I hate. The crunch of the bread and the garlic mixed with the creamy, tangy tomato mixture made me think I had rather come up with my own version of something I saw on “French Cooking at Home” (I couldn’t remember the name or find it) instead of the side it was originally intended as. The cooking show talked about how a small meal for one usually involved a few pieces of bread with different toppings- like sautéed mushrooms or steamed arugula and chicken- things like that. It was basically whatever topping you wanted was the limit.

The point, once I find it, is that my whim ended up better then the meal I actually planned. Go figure! This is why I love to experiment and why I always emphasize it in cooking. The mistakes are almost always useful in some way, even if only as a lesson.