Posts Tagged ‘butter’

Feel the Burn: Sun-dried Tomato Butter (Tomatenbutter)

Tomatenbutter (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

A few days after our apartment burned down, we went grilling in Tempelhof. “We don’t have to buy coals,” I said. “We can just shovel up the remains of the bedroom.”

Hey, I like a joke as much as anybody.

Nevertheless, we did buy a bag of non-homemade coals, and – after discovering that the grill I’d been storing in the damp basement was rusted beyond use – a new grill, too. The humor of a grill being the first household good replaced post-fire is not lost on me.

Tempelhof in the summer is a haze of smoke from the barbecues clustered in the two sections of the park where grilling is allowed. The air is scented with pork fat spitting from the paprika-spiked belly kebabs, sausages, steaks, and good char smell.

Not the toxic char smell that currently blankets the old apartment.

Our barbecue was smack-dab in the middle of the denial phase of my grief process, and it didn’t seem real to me that when the guards came around kicking people out of the closing park at dusk, we didn’t have a home to go to, didn’t have covers to crawl under, wouldn’t have a sleepy Sunday morning to lounge into.

But I also remember how deliriously happy I was, between scoops of salsa and a bratwurst dipped in mustard. I was so thankful to be alive, thankful I was living the life I’ve built for myself in Berlin, thankful for the people who surround me, so sappily thankful for the city itself and all the beautiful people in it.

Long ago and before there ever was a fire, one of those people gave me a recipe for a sun-dried tomato butter called, in German, Tomatenbutter. It’s a very simple thing, but sometimes it’s the simplest things that feel the most revelatory. » Continue reading this post…

In the Beginning, There Was Butter: Bagna Cauda

bagna cauda recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

“You start with nine sticks of butter,” my aunt says, giving me the recipe for a dish which, at the end of its life, will contain fourteen sticks. Her voice is a Florida twang, an accent no one else in my family seems to have picked up as strongly, though when I am with her, I find my own vowels stretching out. I becomes Ah, as though I’ve been stuck into a Twilight Zone dentist’s office and every personal statement is a chance to glance at my sweet tea-ravaged cavities.

“This is the easy way, but the real way is, you’re going to want to chop up about three things of garlic – at least.” Except it sounds like, Yer gunna wunna

My aunt is referring not to cloves of garlic, but to heads, because this is the famed family recipe for banyacotta, which is the phonetic spelling for a dish which is actually a famed Italian recipe called bagna cauda. The recipe is basically the same. But I think my family uses more butter.

bagna cauda (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Banyacotta is a familial rite of passage. Lovers, fiancés, new spouses, children – you’re not a part of the family until you’ve eaten banyacotta.

This is mostly due to the fact that for a full two days after eating it, you trail the scent of garlic behind you thicker than Pepe le Pew on an amour trail. It is imperative, for this reason, that everyone in the family partake, so that we don’t notice our stench, naïvely wandering through the world in our own little garlic reek.

For a long time, I had no idea that banyacotta was not just something that had been handed down in my family from generation to generation. All of the friends I told about the dish – it’s a dip of butter, garlic, and anchovies and you eat it on cabbage – were disgusted (but then again, that isn’t quite the favorite foods lists of an eight year old). » Continue reading this post…

Totally Bizarre Thing I’m Kind of Obsessed with Right Now

Mozzarella with butter (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Mozzarella with butter. Not mozzarella and butter. Mozzarella made with butter. It sounds gross, I know. It even looks gross. And eaten cold, um, well, it’s butter. Which is kind of gross.

But melted together on a pita or bagel or pile of potatoes, it’s amazingly delicious. Melted mozzarella is the stuff dreams are made of – it’s the cornerstone of pizza and cheese sticks and anything requiring gooey, stringy, hot cheese. And melted butter makes everything especially bad for you, which is a euphemism for extremely delicious. As the saying goes, more is more. Skeptics be damned, mozzarella and butter is not too much of a good thing.

My mother and I found this interesting specimen at an Italian deli on Grand St. (and corner of…Mulberry?), where they also sell the most phenomenal Sicilian Black Pepper Cheese and excellent prosciutto and whose next door neighbor is a charming, wonderful, amazing pasta shop where is made the most charming, wonderful, and amazing pasta (pumpkin ravioli! black pepper and cheese tortellini! tomato basil linguine!). We are curious people. And buy weird food – just because we can. And what is weirder than mozzarella with a chunk of butter cradled inside?

Mozzarella with butter (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

The last time we were at the shop, we opted for the traditional mozz, but after we had made our purchase, we overheard a pregnant lady raving about the mozzarella with butter. At the time, I remember someone remarking, “Oh, trust the pregnant lady, they eat a lot.” But in retrospect, mozzarella and butter strikes me as just the sort of pregnant lady craving everyone disparages. I’m thinking pickles and peanut butter. Together.

Although, maybe mozzarella and butter is like that too. But in a good way.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. I just got sort of excited about it right now – I made a “pizza” for dinner with pita, butterella, oregano, jalapeño, sundried tomato, and salami slivers which was just great. » Continue reading this post…

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