Friday, August 13, 2010

Not Ugly! Not Ugly!

I've been in butter-braise bliss, lately.
We're talking about vegetables, here. A pan with a lid. Some salt. A hunk of butter. And about 20 minutes of your time.
I first experienced butter-braise bliss with asparagus, and then applied the trick to a handful of whole, baby carrots.
Not long ago I bathed peas in butter, long past the al dente stage, and... bliss.
I was in a hurry last week when I wanted to caramelize some corn kernels in butter, and I didn't reach happy. But there is fresh corn in the house, and I'm trying again, maybe today.
However, then. This is the winner (so far): Artichoke bottoms.
My whole life, I've only cooked artichokes with moisture, either in boiling water, or steamed in a pressure cooker. It's fine. But only now do I realize how waterlogged the leaves and heart get. Not appallingly, but just sad.
I had a bag of artichokes from the plants in the front yard. They were getting kinda old, I'm embarrassed to say. So I plucked off the leaves (a deft little snap that actually keeps a bit of flesh attached to the globe). Cut them in half, pole-wise. Yanked out all the fuzzy choke.
Now it gets easy. Melt lots of butter in the pan, not too hot. Lay the groomed artichokes in the grease, cut side (or choke side) down. Put on the lid and WALK AWAY. (Well, it's OK if you want to peek to adjust the temperature.) You can wait almost an hour, while the artichokes develop a sweet, soft-chewy texture. Garden candy. Vegetable pudding. Use a spoon.
What else should I butter-braise?


Robert said...

How about limas? I love slow cooking them with a little bacon and onion: I bet a butter braise would be twice as delicious!

Zoomie said...

Leeks. Cauliflower. The artichokes look beautiful to me - with that squirt of lemon, heavenly.

cookiecrumb said...

Robert: I LOVE limas. They would just glory in a butter bath. Thanks. Wow.
(You've been here before, I believe; I just checked out your blogs. Nice to know ya!)

Zoomie: Yes, cauliflower is another vegetable that suffers by cooking in water. Ooh, yumza. Leeks, too. I've got a new calling. The Cholesterol Lady.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Leeks, or those tiny little french onions or 'shrooms, ooo yes, 'shrooms, whole little ones. Whole tiny zucchini.
Right, I'm off to the markets!

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Yum, but they are a little ugly : )

How about cabbage?

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: 'Shrooms. Subsumed by butter. You're ON.

Denise: I know. Looks like dragon guts.
I love cabbage in butter! That's next.

altadenahiker said...

I was looking for a roasted tomato recipe, landed somewhere, and guess who they referenced? I know her, I thought.

As my city has been quarantined and no garden produce can leave one's own property, I'm busy preserving...

I'm mad and I'll be eating -- way more than I planned.

cookiecrumb said...

Hiker: Gad, what's the quarantine for? Little brown apple moth or some such?
But all the better for you, to enjoy your bounty.

kudzu said...

Dragon guts! You manage to make me giggle every day.

Yes, cabbage would be wonderful, getting all soft and imbued with that butter.

As the weather gets cooler ('cause we know it will: even cooler than this weird summer), I would head toward roots -- the sweeter ones, and if you can find some now, cranberry beans would be great because they have their own meaty sort of flavor.

Good subject. Will keep thinking on it. Ooooooo: radishes!!

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Thankee.
I'm rejoicing in finding new vegetables to cook in butter. I've been planning to eat a salad of radish and pickled herring, but it wouldn't be cooked. I would LOVE butter-cooked radishes.
We have some leftover white beans cooked in vegetable stock; they'd love some spa treatment.
Cranberry beans... are they in season? Very cool.

Cute Banana said...

more artichokes, those look *heavenly.* to expound on cabbage/cauliflower family veggies, broccoli would be tasty, but I think sweet potatoes or butternut squash could hold a flame to the artichoke experiment best of all.

cookiecrumb said...

Cutie Banana: I LOVE that idea. Signing on for the butter train. (To misquote Mary Murphy.)

Kat said...

have you done mushrooms? i'm thinking a nice mix of wild mushrooms and a sprig of thyme.

cookiecrumb said...

Kat: I forgot to mention mushrooms (I know, I know). I learned to cook mushrooms in butter... drown them, really... when I was 15.