When I first announced that I wanted to plan out my menus for an entire year many thought me totally NUTS! My thought was you plan a menu every week, so why not collect all 52 menus and end up with your menus planned for the next year. The benefits of having a meal plan are numerous. These posts are about the menus I planned and how I did them.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


In the 1899 “Jingle Book” a little rhyme, by Carolyn Wells, titled “The Butter Betty Bought” first came to fame.  As time went on it would be included in the Mother Goose collection as Betty Botta Bought a Bit of Bitter Butter and soon spread to be one of the most well known of tongue twisters children and adults alike learn to recite.

Many auctioneer schools have the students use this rhyme in their training to speak quickly.  It is amazing to hear an auctioneer do the tongue twister.

It now has numerous versions but the most common is:

Betty Botta bought some butter;
"But," said she, "this butter's bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o´ better butter
Will but make my batter better."
Then she bought a bit o´ butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So ´twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o´ better butter

What most who recite it don’t realize is that each of the basic vowels(a, e, i, o, u) are used in this b-tter rhyme.

So why do I mention this on a pantry blog instead of over on my language blog called Jan’s Wordless Words?   Because this post is actually about flavored butters and their myriad of uses.   

No I won’t be telling you how to make bitter butter like Betty Botta Bought, but how to make a variety of butters to have on hand for a delicious add to for numerous dishes.
So let’s get started. 

I personally use real butter for all of these recipes. I have, however, due to budget concerns have used in the past a good quality stick margarine for most of them with great success, but we much prefer the taste and consistency of real butter for them in our home. So I watch for butter on a good sale and then do a butter day of making up various flavored butters.

All have the same main ingredient, butter, obviously.  Whether you make your own butter, or purchase at the grocery it is something divine to always have on hand in both its salted and unsalted varieties. This I bring to room temperature before I start trying to mix anything.
While I am waiting for that to happen I assemble my utensils and ingredients.

Small mixing bowls
Pastry cutter or forks
Plastic wrap
Plastic storage bowls for flavors kept in the refrigerator for near daily use.
Labels and a permanent marker. 
Sauce pan, or oven cookware if making clarified butter, Ghee, or beurre noisette.

Unsalted Butter for all the recipes

The stir-ins for each of the various recipes I am making that day. 

I like to gather everything I need before starting that way I know ahead of time if I’m going to come up short on something and adapt my plans accordingly.  I also put up the leftover ingredients as I measure the proper amounts into a recipe so there is never any confusion as to whether or not I added something should I be interrupted.

Note: Because we use butter on a daily basis and refrigerated butter is hard to spread on bread, we own and use a device that dates back in usage for centuries.  Mine, of course, is not that old, in fact neither of them are.  We have two, one for the house and one for the camper, we are that big of butter fans in our home. 
They are called simply a “French butter keeper”.  They were thought to be first developed by the potters in Valauris, France in the late 19th century.  Other locations also take credit for its development.

Whoever developed this ingenious design I thank them.  Basically it is a two part pottery cup that uses fresh water to keep the butter safely in temperatures of 80 or less at a spreadable texture.

You bring your butter to room temperature and fill the small cup that is attached to the lid section with the butter.  The bottom section you fill with fresh cool water up to a level that it won’t overflow the cup when the lid section is placed on the bottom cup.

When the lid is placed on the bottom cup the water comes up over the butter and seals it away from the air that could have bacteria in it that would cause it to ruin. 
Because of the natural fat in butter the water rolls right off of it and the flavor or consistency of the butter remains unaffected. 

You should change the water regularly to keep it fresh.

The size of the cup on your butter keeper will determine how much soft butter you will have on hand at any given time.  Our blue keeper holds a full pound of butter, while the white one only holds 1-2 sticks.
The pottery cups help maintain a constant temperature.

We do NOT put flavored butters in our keepers because the other ingredients might not keep as well in this non-refrigerated container.    Also, if we are going to be away for awhile we drain the water and refrigerate the entire crock.  We also thoroughly wash the crock between each refilling.

So our first bit of room temperature butter goes into our French Butter Keeper plain, for toast and other uses.

The rest are mixed together well with the ingredients of their individual recipes. Then either stored in a covered dish in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if using fresh ingredients, longer if using dehydrated ones, or formed into a log on a piece of plastic wrap, wrapped and frozen on a flat surface.  The frozen log is then  placed in either a freezer zipper bag, still wrapped in the plastic wrap or in a vacuum sealed bag for long term freezer storage.  Be sure to label your butters when you make them because it is amazing how many different butters look the same in the freezer.  A berry butter could be a real surprise in a Chicken Kiev when you thought you were putting in herb butter. 

The advantage of the freezer storage is you can slice off just what you need as you need it, and return the rest to the freezer.  This task can be made simple by heating the blade of your butter knife under hot running water prior to trying to slice the frozen butter.  Thus the phrase “like a hot knife through butter” to mean something was easy to do—a little wordless words plug there.

If you click on the hyper links you will be taken directly to the recipes for various flavored and types of butters. After reading a few you will soon see how easy it is to develop your own family favorites.

Since I currently do not have a free standing freezer I do not always have all the recipes listed below on hand, but each does make an appearance sooner or later in my food storage. 

I’ve broken them down by their types and usages for your convenience.

NOTE: For a special snack treat melt any of these butters and brush them over tortillas or pita bread then cut the tortillas/pitas into wedges and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 250 F. oven and bake until crisp.  WATCH CLOSELY they will burn easily.  You could also fry the tortilla or pita wedges in a small amount of olive oil with some of the flavored butter melted in with it, if you prefer.

Herb butters.  These get used for spreading on bread for a variety of toasts to go with a meal, seasoning vegetables, fish, and adding flavor to various meats.  You will soon see why having them on hand can pep up any meal with just adding a pat or two of butter.

Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu in various flavors can be made simply and quickly when you have anyone of the various herb butters prepared and in your freezer. Don’t stop with just Chicken Kiev with these butters, try them on various other meats you have prepared in a similar fashion, or spread them on meats as you grill them.  The additional moisture and flavor it will give the meats is beyond compare.

Want to give just an herbal hint to something you are frying?  Add a pat or two of the herb butters to the olive oil in your pan to do the trick. Mixing the butter with olive oil helps raise the possible burning temperature because butter will burn easily.

Perk up plain veggies by dropping a pat or so into them as you heat them up.  No need for time consuming extra measuring, it’s all ready all done and ready to go.

Breads of all sorts benefit from the addition of herbal butters either as fresh hot rolls or on toasted bread. You can also substitute the herb butters for all or part of the oil/butter in any bread recipe for a subtle hint of herbs.

One of our family quick favorites is to put a small amount of olive oil in a pan and add corresponding herbal butter pats to the oil then fry biscuits, either canned or homemade, that have been pressed thin until golden brown. 

Examples of this would be garlic butter for spaghetti, chili butter for a Tex-Mex meal, tarragon butter for a French meal the possibilities are endless.

Choose from these herbal butters or create your own using your favorite herbs. Each of the ones listed below can be accessed by this link.  

Garlic butter can be made two different ways, with many stir ins.  Who doesn’t love luscious garlic bread?

Chive Butter:  Use with fish, poultry and potatoes.

Chili Butter: Spread on crusty French bread, or corn bread or add to corn or popcorn

Curry Butter: Great to use on poultry, lamb, green vegetables or rice.

Dill Butter: Seafood, lamb, potatoes, rice and spinach all benefit from the addition of this.

Horseradish Butter:  What is roast beef or corned beef sandwiches without a little horseradish?

Mustard Butter: Ham and beef sandwiches benefit from this butter, as does spinach.

Paprika Butter: Poultry and potatoes, as well as some cheese dishes are brightened by this butter.

Parsley Butter: Add this to poultry, sea food, green vegetables and potatoes.

Tarragon Butter: Roast beef, steaks, chicken fish and even as a stand alone butter this adds great flavor.

Not truly and herb, but nearly consider also making duxelles for a Mushroom flavored butter to use on vegetables, roasts and poultry
Cheese butters.  Whether it’s to put on crusty breads, to stir into pasta for a quick dish, or to place on baked potatoes a good supply of cheese butters in your fridge will be a blessing. These recipes are here.

Roquefort Butter:  while not one of my immediate family favorites my mother loved it.

Tex-Mex Butter is great to spread on plain tortillas to throw into the oven or microwave until the cheese and butter melt for quick nachos. 

Italian cheeses butter(s).  Mixed with garlic or plain over pasta, on bread, on a potato a great side dish

Sweet Butters.  Whether on pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels, muffins, hot cereals and toppings for snack cakes these are always a hit.

Berry Butters, you choose the type of berry.  Use these in hot cereals, on waffles and pancakes.

Cinnamon Sugar Butter, a quick and easy butter to put on your bread for cinnamon toast with no mess.

Honey Butter.  One of my personal favorites to spread on homemade dinner rolls for a special treat.

Honey Cinnamon Butter.  Tremendous on pancakes and waffles.

Honey Orange Butter.  Use this on sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, raisin bread or other fruit breads.

Brandy or Rum Butter, To use in desserts or sauces.

Lemon or Citrus Butter, handy to have for seafood, poultry, green veggies and potatoes.

Streusel Topping Mix.  Add to sweet potatoes, carrots, muffin tops before baking, to top cupcakes or cookies or anything you want to add a nutty crunch to.

Other butters that don’t fit into the above categories, but I like to have on hand are:
Washed or unsalted butter.  Turn regular butter into these more expensive butters to use in recipes.

ButterBalls for White Sauce.  Use these to make quick and easy white sauce.

ClarifiedButter. Because regular butter starts to burn at 350 F clarified butter is preferable for some cooking.  Clarified butter can be used for temperatures up to 425 F.
Ghee. Usually used in recipes from India. Some ghee is made from butter made with buffalo milk I tend to use plain old cow’s milk butter to do this.

Beurre Noisette is simply Ghee that has been slow cooked a little longer to a nutty brown color and you don't have to strain it to use it. 

Whipped Butter, for those who love the easy spreading of whipped butter.  Why buy expensive plastic containers of it when you can make your own

Dieters Butter for those that are watching their calories but still want the taste of butter.

One more thought for you.  What if you are cooking and discover you are out of butter?  Here are some quick substitutes for you.  For 1 cup of butter you can substitute  either 7/8 cup corn oil, cotton seed oil or strained bacon fat OR 3/4 cup chicken fat. 
Jan who is hoping you will get “buttered up” to try all the varieties listed for a whole new world of flavors in OK

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