Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garlic Cilantro Butter + Asparagus Chicken Roll-Ups

This is me at the end of my latest culinary journey, enjoying a glass of wine with a very rich, delicious meal.

It all started with
butter. I stood in the grocery store flipping through cooking magazines looking for pretty pictures to adulterate. Then: the colors grabbed me. A rich, rosy orange; a creamy white speckled with a deep green. Baked salmon with a herb-infused yogurt sauce. Yum... I think?

Somehow the wires crossed in my brain to the extra butter we had at my house -- both my roommate and I bought some the same day -- and one of my favorite flavors, cilantro -- which my roommate hates. Weirdo!
(I know quite a few people who don't like cilantro; they say it tastes like soap. I have to admit I love the taste of soap bubbles...)

I wanted to try it two different ways: with regular, store-bought butter and with homemade whipped butter. To whip your own butter, you just get some heavy whipping cream, whip it up with a mixer until it's whipped cream -- then keep whipping until it's butter. With the regular butter, it's best to leave it out until it's room temperature before the mixing.

Then I chopped up some cilantro and used my garlic press for some fresh garlic smooshies. Just mix it in!

Now, the whipped butter won't be the same consistency as real butter so I packaged these products differently. With the real butter, I rolled it up in some wax paper and stuck it back in the fridge. Once it cools off again, it'll harden up and you can take the wax paper off for a nice roll to keep in your butter dish.

I also used these two different butters very differently. The whipped butter was a delicious and light topping for Triscuits or fancy bread or something. Here's a little product placement from last Friday's ANGRY BAKING night:

The real butter was obviously too rich to be a topping right on a Triscuit, unless you're really into heart disease. I prefer to use butter when cooking so I check out what was in my fridge the next day landed on some chicken and asparagus.

I'm really into putting good food inside other food -- which is why I have a small obsession with crescent rolls. I wanted to have chicken breasts with asparagus rolled up in them -- but once I started cooking, I realized I didn't have chicken breasts, I had chicken tenderloins. What? If you're in the mood for chicken fingers, why would you cook them at home instead of just going to whatever family restaurant is closest to you?

Anyway, I took these already tiny tenderloins and pounded 'em flat and even so that I could actually fit asparagus in them. While pounding, I broke apart the asparagus and sauteed it up in some of the cilantro garlic butter. The magic of the garlic butter is that 1. I didn't have to messy my hands with garlic and 2. the kitchen instantly smelled soooooo good. Buttery and garlicy and cilantroey mmmmm.
In the MiniVideoBlog in the previous post, I talk about the genius of fresh flavored butter. I think I'll always have a stick of garlic butter ready for cooking.

The rolling was fun. It'd have been easier with chicken breasts. A lot of toothpicks later, here are the tiny roll-ups just in the frying pan, seasoned with Tony's, of course.

I let these cook on pretty low heat with a cover.

The result was really rich, seemingly fancy finger food! Here's the beau enjoying. He doesn't look like he is, but he is.

So, here's to butter. I know it's not the healthiest food, but, god, it tastes soooo good. There are a few things I never ever compromise on, even though there are low-fat alternatives: butter, sour cream and mayonnaise. May you allow a little bit of fat into your life.

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