s
s
Sections
Search
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Login

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

LoginSubscribe

Homemade Butter

If you’re looking for indoor activities for kids during winter vacation, why not let them make butter? There’s something magical about the process of transforming cream into thick, yellow butter that kids love.

Begin by pouring a pint container of heavy cream into two glass pint jars, filling each one half full. Attach the rings and lids and let rest at room temperature for about 6 hours or overnight.

To make the butter, make sure the seal is tight and then hold the jar in one hand and shake it vigorously for anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes. At first, the cream will look as if it has been whipped. Before long, it will suddenly separate into a clump of butter and a thin liquid known as buttermilk.

Pour off the liquid, rinse the butter in a bit of cold water and pour it off, too. Press the butter into a small glass jar, enjoy right away and store what is left in the refrigerator.

If you prefer salted butter, add ¾ teaspoon kosher salt to both jars before shaking.

Let’s talk about butter. Some people see it is an essential pantry item, a culinary workhorse that transforms whatever it touches and that is always on hand. To others, butter is a rare indulgence or something to be replaced with one of many commercial butter alternatives.

The belief that margarine is healthier than butter was disproven quite some time ago, and fat, it is now widely acknowledged, doesn’t make us fat.

There are many reasons to let yourself enjoy butter. First, it is packed with essential nutrients, some of which we find in few other foods. Second, the North Bay has the cleanest milk in America, a claim that has been verified by third-party certification. If you live here, you should be eating butter produced here.

Milk from grass-fed cows provides both the best tasting and most nutrient-rich butter. If you can spring for organic butter, that’s the best choice, but any local butter is better than butter that has traveled a distance.

Here in Sonoma County, Clover Stornetta butter has long been our local default choice, but we also have butter from Straus Family Creamery of Marin County, and Spring Hill and McClelland dairies, both located in Two Rock. We also have Haverton Hill Creamery, which is making the country’s first sheep’s milk butter. It’s best enjoyed simply, on bread fresh out of the oven.

___

Normandy, France, also is known for its delicious butter, and many of the region’s dishes are easy to duplicate in Sonoma County, including this traditional chicken dish, so warming and welcome on a cold night. Serve small new potatoes alongside and complete the meal with a simple green salad.

Normandy-style Chicken & Apples in Cream

Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed

3 firm-ripe apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

4 chicken leg-thighs, bone in, skin on

2 cups hard cider

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley

Melt the butter in a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat and when it is foamy, add the apples in a single layer. Sauté for 2 minutes, turn and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more, until just tender and lightly browned. Season with a pinch of salt and a few turns of black pepper and transfer the apples to a bowl. Cover with a tea towel to keep warm.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sauté it, skin-side down, adding more butter if the pan seems dry. After 5 minutes, turn the chicken and cook 5 minutes more.

Pour the cider into the pan, reduce the heat so that the liquid just simmers, cover and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook until the cider is nearly completely evaporated. Add the cream, and when it just begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Transfer the chicken and its sauce to a wide shallow serving bowl. Scatter the Italian parsley on top. Use a large spoon to add the apples at the outer rim of the bowl. Enjoy right away.

Homemade Butter

If you’re looking for indoor activities for kids during winter vacation, why not let them make butter? There’s something magical about the process of transforming cream into thick, yellow butter that kids love.

Begin by pouring a pint container of heavy cream into two glass pint jars, filling each one half full. Attach the rings and lids and let rest at room temperature for about 6 hours or overnight.

To make the butter, make sure the seal is tight and then hold the jar in one hand and shake it vigorously for anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes. At first, the cream will look as if it has been whipped. Before long, it will suddenly separate into a clump of butter and a thin liquid known as buttermilk.

Pour off the liquid, rinse the butter in a bit of cold water and pour it off, too. Press the butter into a small glass jar, enjoy right away and store what is left in the refrigerator.

If you prefer salted butter, add ¾ teaspoon kosher salt to both jars before shaking.

___

Butter mochi is delicious and has the added benefit of being gluten free. You can find inexpensive mochiko (sweet rice flour) at markets such as G&G. If you like your sweets with chocolate, see the variation at the end of this recipe.

Butter Mochi

Makes 24 servings

— Butter, at room temperature

1 pound mochiko (sweet rice flour)

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 12-ounce cans coconut milk

5 large farm eggs, beaten

4 ounces butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the inside of a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan with butter. Combine the mochiko, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Put the coconut milk into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the beaten eggs and whisk together. Add the butter and vanilla, mix thoroughly and whisk in the dry ingredients, whisking or stirring until the batter is very smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, set on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the mixture is set but not too firm, about 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

Remove from the oven and cool until you can handle the pan. Invert the butter mochi onto a wire rack or smooth surface. Let cool to room temperature, cut into small even squares or rectangles and arrange on a platter. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate, covered, until 30 minutes before serving. Butter mochi will keep for about three days but is best enjoyed the day it is made.

Variation:

For Chocolate Butter Mochi, put about 2 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate into a small saucepan set over low heat. When it is melted, use a pastry brush to paint the surface of the cooked butter mochi while it is still in the baking pan. Wait until the chocolate is fully cooled before cutting the mochi.

Michele Anna Jordan is author of the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email her at michele@saladdresser.com or visit her blog at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.

Show Comment