Cooking Tips

Herbed Butter

I wrote earlier about planting my own herbs and I was able to harvest them very soon after I brought them home from the market. I have transplanted them into bigger pots so that they can get bigger for me. I was pondering about what to do with the variety of herbs that I have and I read about making herb infused oils and butter. So… that’s what I did! And what a great payoff it has been already. Today, I used the herbed butter and basil to make bruschetta for dinner. It was the best bruschetta I’ve ever had or made myself.

Here are the herbs that I have planted so far, including basil that is not in the picture:

I found that there was no great way to store these herbs for an extended period of time, which is why I’ve decided to chop them up and mix them with some butter. I suppose you could chop them up, mix it with some olive oil and freeze them in ice cube containers, but I like butter more than olive oil anyday, LOL!

All you need is to have sticks of butter at room temperature and some herbs. You could use a single type of herb per stick, two types, or like me, I used everything except for chocolate mint.

The ratio of herbs to butter is 1 tablespoon to 1 stick of butter (equivalent to 1/4 pound or 1/2 cup). A little more herbs won’t hurt I suppose.

The chocolate mint is mixed with the butter on its own because that’s a dessert type of herb. I think it will go over excellent on toasted waffles or pancakes, YUM!

There are plenty of resources online on making herbed butter and oils, but don’t let the instructions scare you. Just let your imagination run with herbs!

Stir Fry 101

A friend of mine from a bridal forum would like to know more about Chinese cooking. I’m not an expert, but here’s some basic tips that I had shared with her, that I thought would be useful for some readers out there:

  • Chinese cooking is like Taoism… yin & yang. That’s how you balance the flavours, salt & sugar, sweet & sour.
  • In most stirfries with sauces, you thicken with a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of cold water, and add to the stirfry just before turning off the heat.
  • The sequence of making stir fry is normally in this order, some exceptions may apply:
    1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a hot wok.
    2. Add the underlying flavour (garlic / ginger / onion) into the wok.
    3. Add protein (meat or tofu). You can pre-cook the protein in a wook with some hot oil and then set aside if you don’t want to overcook it. Add the protein back into the wok after adding in the last pieces of vege.
    4. Add in hard vege, e.g. carrots, celery.
    5. Add softer vege, e.g. mushrooms (with the exception of enoki mushroom becuase too much heat will make it tough and stringy).
    6. Add water to help cook down the ingredients.
    7. Add sauce, e.g. oyster, black bean, soy.
    8. Balance the flavours, i.e. add sugar / salt / pepper / flavouring essence
    9. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch + cold water mixture just before turning off the heat.
    10. Remove from heat.

I do not own any Chinese cookbooks, I pretty much just follow my intuition 🙂


One response to “Cooking Tips

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