Flash in the Pan: “My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread
[I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly, or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan."]
What??? Another Flash in the Pan, back-to-back with the previous one?
Honestly, I was working on a post about cookies (a Gastronomic Gift to be shared next time, promise!) when I accidentally happened upon this amazing discovery. I was so thrilled with myself that I just had to share it immediately! (Yes, you’re right, I really must get another hobby).
And, as today’s post title implies, my life has been rather out of balance lately. Scrambling to complete a cookbook manuscript (oh, woe, oh, woe, I fear I may miss a deadline for the first time in my life!), marking student exams, preparing for the holidays and a visit from the CFO, tending to an injured Girl, my weight hopping between lows and all-time highs like critic’s reviews of Britney’s music–well, let’s just say I needed something to balance the mood.
And, as serendipity would have it, this recipe filled the gap. This is my version of a creamy, smooth, spreadable, nonhydrogenated, trans-fat free, yellowish in color, firm-when-refrigerated-but-not-melty-when-room-temperature, spread-it-on-bread or melt-it-on-a-pancake, tastes-rich-and-incredible, all-purpose, homeade and waaay-cheaper-than-that-famous-brand BUTTERY SPREAD.
Well, as you know, many a great invention has been discovered by accident. I think most people are aware of the accidental discovery of Post-It Notes (for which, apparently, the inventor was never properly compensated). On the other side of the sticky/non-sticky spectrum is the unintentional discovery of a new substance even slicker than Teflon (though, of course, we’re all aware that any kind of nonstick cookware can emit deadly gases, right?). Or how about the monumental “mistake” that was the development of penicillin? My sinuses thank you, Alexander Fleming.
And yesterday, this entirely fortuitous concoction was created in my kitchen. I was so shocked after I turned on the little food processor (I have one of those “Mini-Prep” processors for small batches) and saw the result that I did an internet search to check who else had already come up with the same recipe. It seemed too simple! Too easy! Too good.
I found lots of coconut oil-olive oil based mixes, Bryanna’s low-fat “Corn Butter” and a great-sounding recipe in Alisa’s new book, Go Dairy Free, but nothing like this. At first I thought the tofu in the recipe might be a problem (well, it is for those with soy allergies), but I checked out the Earth Balance website for a list of ingredients, and since it, too, contains quite a bit of soy protein, I assumed this would be fine (and that accounts for the similarity in appearance between the two, I imagine). A little tweaking, and I found my new favorite spread!
The only caveat I’d offer with this spread is that, made from coconut oil, it is, after all, mostly fat (specifically, saturated fat). Unlike the prepared spread, though, this contains no canola oil (which can be controversial) or other additives.
I don’t know if this would work as a butter substitute in recipes other than baked goods, but please, give it a try and let me know! Also, since I’ve never tasted Earth Balance, I don’t know if the flavor of this spread is similar or not. I do know that I really enjoyed it on bread (even though I was never a butter-on-bread kind of gal in the old days), and that the HH loved this so much, he ate three pieces of bread with it and proclaimed, “Hey, this is good stuff, man!”**
It may not balance the chaos in your life, your chakras, or even your budget–but I bet you will still love this buttery substitute!
My Life in Balance Buttery Spread
Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://dietdessertndogs.com)
You can spread this mixture as you would butter on any bread, pancake, or muffin. There are myriad possibilities for fruited butters, herb butter, garlic butter–use your imagination, and let me know how it turns out!
2 ounces or 60 g (I weighed it; 1/6 box) aseptically-packaged firm-silken Japanese style tofu (I used Mori-Nu)
1/3 cup (80 ml) refined (ie, tasteless) organic coconut oil (I used Omega Nutrition)
generous pinch or two turmeric
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) nutritional yeast, or a touch more, to taste
1/2-3/4 tsp. (2.5-4 ml) sea salt, to taste
tiny pinch paprika
In a food processor (I used a miniature-sized one; a regular size or even hand blender would probably work for this, too), whir the tofu to break it up. Melt the coconut oil and add it to the tofu mixture along with remaining ingredients; process to blend. It may look curdled and like it’s too soft; this is as it should be. Scrape down the sides and blend again, until the mixture emulsifies and you have a smooth, buttery spread. You can melt this on toast, spread it on bread, or spread in a thin layer and refrigerate until cold, then cut into squares for pats of “butter” (see photo, below). Store in airtight container for up to one week (I’m guessing you could freeze it longer). Makes about 1/2 cup (120 ml.)
* Actually, Elsie’s stitches came out this morning! The vet said all is fine and it looks as if the gash has healed really well. The HH and I are bracing ourselves for a day as referees at the dog wrestling marathon that will inevitably occur.
**Well, he didn’t actually use the word “stuff”–his was a little more colorful–but this is a PG blog, after all.
Looking for a way to bake with this spread? Try Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies
Last Year at this Time: Spelt Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Artichokes and Chard
© 2008 Diet, Dessert and Dogs