As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.
I am sad to say sayonara to strawberry season of 2012. It was a good run, and I have but one pint of fresh picked strawberries left. I strategically hid them from my children, who will go to great lengths building makeshift ladders to the kitchen counter, spotting any berries left unattended. But this last little pint of puny berries were destined for something great. Something unusually simple that could transform a piece of toast is something extraordinary. Something like Strawberry-Vanilla Butter.
Now I could just whip the berries up with 2 sticks of good quality butter, or I could go ahead and make it from scratch. There are certain things in life that must be tried and tasted at least once. Homemade butter is one of them.
Here’s what to do:
½ cup of fresh strawberries, chopped
2-3 Tbls Maple syrup
Salt to taste
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod
Pour the cream in a stand mixer and beat on medium. After about 5 minutes or so, the cream will inevitably turn into whipped cream, at which point you can stop the mixer, scoop out a few spoonful’s and eat this while you continue to make your butter. (this step is optional)
Now, turn the mixer back on, and in about 5 minutes, the cream will start to separate into chunks and buttermilk will be splashing around the bowl.
Scoop the butter out and put it into a sieve to drain out the buttermilk. Prepare an ice bath, (bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes) and drop the butter in the cold water to completely rinse out the buttermilk. Work the butter a bit, to squeeze out all the liquid.
Wipe the mixer clean and return the butter back to the mixer. Add the berries, vanilla bean seeds, salt and maple syrup. Mix until incorporated. This butter lasts about a week in the fridge. If you roll it into a log and wrap it in wax paper and aluminum, it will last about 2 months in the freezer.