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MARKET FRESH: From prawns to bread, butter makes it better
Wow. It’s a month into market season and things are growing strong. From here on in, it is full-on fresh.
Of course, we are all excited about strawberries — and for good reason. The Lower Mainland is home to some of the best strawberry producers in the country and their berries are far superior to the imports from California and Mexico.
Local strawberries burst with colour and flavour, and they don’t last long, so eat as many as you can.
One of my favourite ways to use them is to mash them into butter, along with a bit of orange zest, and use it to spread on scones fresh from the oven.
And while I love strawberries, I get a bit obsessive with the new potatoes. I can eat them at every meal. Steamed with butter. Fried with butter. Boiled with butter… hmmm, maybe it’s the butter I love. Seriously, though, fresh nugget potatoes complete just about every meal for me for the most of June.
English peas are another spring favourite. I so looked forward to the first harvest from our garden when I was a little girl. I would sit with my grandpa and shuck peas every day. (We always had butter on them, too.)
Thankfully, there is no shortage of peas, potatoes or butter at the local markets and Golden Ears Cheesecrafters of Maple Ridge brings its sweet cream butter to every market. They make it using cream from their own herd of cows. It’s fascinating to see the seasonal changes in the butter as the cows’ diet changes throughout the year. Try blending the butter with some fresh mint or thyme, it is delicious.
Clearly, this column is going to be about butter. That is not what I had in mind as I sat down to write. I wanted to talk about what is coming into season in June. But everything that is in season is better with butter.
It’s also spot prawn season. How can you eat spot prawns without butter? In my world, spot prawns are best when boiled, peeled hot and dipped into garlic butter. Then you need to soak up the leftover butter with fresh bread. Baguettes from A Bread Affair or classic French bread from Gesundheit will work splendidly. Spot prawns are a sustainable seafood choice as well as they are trap caught.
Karen Curtis is the Lemonade Lady (www.kicslemonade.ca and kicslemonade.blogspot.ca) at the Coquitlam Farmers Market. Her column runs once a month during market season.
In honour of all things butter, the following recipes make liberal use of it. Visit your local market to stock up on all things fresh and happy eating.
I know I shared a scone recipe last month, but this one is a classic and works so well with butter.
• Fruit Preserve Butter
1/4 C fruit preserves
1/2 C butter
• Strawberry Butter
1/3 C fresh strawberries
1/8 C maple syrup
1/2 C butter
1 tbsp orange zest
• Garlic Herb Butter
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh chives
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 C butter
• Red Pepper Butter
1/4 C chopped red pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C butter
For all butters, combine ingredients in food processor and pulse. Place onto a piece of wax paper and form into a log. Wrap in wax paper and twist ends. Refrigerate. Enjoy.
2 ¼ c flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ c cold butter
1 c buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
My friend Rosie shared this recipe from Canadian Living with me. These are the best scones I have ever made. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (you can add raisins or grated cheese here) Add buttermilk to mixture all at once, stirring to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. With lightly floured hands, press dough into ball. ON lightly floured surface, knead gently 10 times. Gently pat dough into ¾ inch thick round. Cut round into 2 inch wedges and place on baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with egg. Bake in 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on racks. Eat the scones with one of the flavoured butters featured below.