Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I've been making my own butter lately and there are many reasons why you should do the same... you will know there are no dyes or additives in your butter, it tastes great and melts beautifully, with butter comes buttermilk, it's a good conversation starter. But perhaps the best reason to make your own is that it is very easy. You just need a couple of tools: heavy cream, a food processor, a bowl (it's easier to pour off the buttermilk if you use a bowl with a spout) and a nice firm spatula (the one I use is all one piece, which I find more sanitary than the rubber on wooden handle variety).

Pour the cream into the work bowl of a food processor and let it go. First, it will become whipped cream.

And then the cream will "break" and begin to separate into fat globs and liquid

How do you know the food processor stage is done? Use your ears. Making butter this way, I have found, is a delightful auditory experience. The whipped cream makes one sound, which changes as the cream breaks and the globs start to coalesce. Once the globs have mostly come together, the sound stops changing and the butter spins around either as one giant blob, or it stops spinning and hunkers down in one section of the work bowl. Dump the butter and buttermilk into your spouty bowl and it should look like this:

Pour off the liquid and then knead the butter with your spatula, pouring off liquid as needed until liquid stops appearing as you knead. I usually add a little salt around this time.

Once the kneading is done, I form the butter into cylinders, which makes it easy to store, weigh and cut off small bits as needed. To shape it, I dump a blob into the center of a piece of wax paper, fold the paper over the blob and with the help of cookie sheet, push the blob inside the paper to form a cylinder, like so (this method also works well for cookie dough)...

I twist the ends to seal the cylinders and any that are headed for the freezer get wrapped in tin foil. Now you have little Christmas crackers full of homemade butter and a container full of homemade buttermilk. What could possibly be better?

- Team Hollywood

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Couscous patties with mint-yogurt

here is what you need for this vegetarian dish:

1 cup couscous
fresh mint
2 eggs

1 cup of Greek yogurt
fresh mint
2 garlic cloves

Mix all the ingredients for the mint yogurt together, while your couscous is "cooking." Cut your cucumber lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, slice thinly and add to the yogurt. Add minced olives and mint to the couscous when done and let rest for a minute. Whisk an egg or 2 and add to the mixture, let rest again. Then form small patties and fry in some oil in a pan. Enjoy! n*

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Arugula Leek Pasta

If there is one day of the week, that I am most excited about to make a meal, it is Sunday. It's much less religiously motivated as this just sounded. What I mean is, it is the day we are usually unprepared for cooking. The shops are closed - yes, capitalism hasn't fully blossomed in Austria, much to K's dismay - and we have to make do with what's at home. Here I can shine. I love nothing more than randomly gathering all that's edible and figure out how to combine it into a fine meal. It also helps, that I am stickler for using left-overs. What can I say? I was raised by the (post)-war generation. My mother to the day cannot throw away bread and neither can I, despite not ever having experienced hunger or hardship myself. So, last Sunday was a prosperous day in our fridge. This is what I used:

  • 1 leek
  • some arugula
  • lemon (zest)
  • a dollop of mascarpone
  • cream
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a sip of white wine
  • basil
  • roasted almonds
  • salt, pepper
  • Pasta of your choice. We had Cappellini

I sauteed the leek with the garlic and added a little white wine, which always seems appropriate to me. I added basil, lemon zest and the mascarpone, and at the very end the cream. I split the arugula and added some to the sauce and left some out to put on top unwilted. We crumbled some roasted almonds and put it on top of the pasta. The combination was delicious. Obviously you don't need all these ingredients. In fact, a plain old leek sauce is delicious as well. But the arugula added a wonderful bite and my favourite element was the lemon zest. The dish didn't necessarily need basil nor mascarpone. Try it! -n