Saturday, April 14, 2012

Butter - Cook It! 2012: March Resolution + Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Garlic Shrimp Recipe

Sweet, fresh butter
It is the simplest of foods that sometimes bring the most joy. If I would have known before now that 1 cup of heavy cream and a hand mixer could produce the sweetest, softest, freshest butter...well it would've been trouble. Butter would undoubtedly be slathered on everything. 

Thanks to month three of Grow It Can It Cook It's Cook It! 2012 kitchen resolutions, that is just what happened. Oh well, consider it a celebration of spring. Fresh cream turned into fresh butter eaten on fresh bread in the sunshine  what could be better? 

There are a few modern variations of technique for making your own butter. You can use a jar, or you can use either a stand mixer or hand mixer. I went the hand mixer route, and followed the steps described here, but for ingredients I just used 1 cup of Strauss Family Creamery heavy whipping cream. After all the buttermilk was extracted, the butter was so sweet and delicious tasting I debated whether to add salt at all. Finally I went with 1/4 tsp kosher salt (mostly b/c the bf prefers salted butter), but you could easily skip it or add more to taste.

Cream and a hand mixer is all it took

I started out on low to minimize splattering

After about 5 minutes, I turned up the speed to medium

Kept it on medium for about 5 minutes

Once it started to thicken up, I switched to high speed

At the beginnings of butter, I switched back to medium speed

Slowly you'll start to see moisture appearing

Pour off the buttermilk as it begins to separate

It looks like runny scrambled eggs at this stage, right?

Becoming creamier

Looks like butter!
Keep adding very cold water & mixing until water is clear

Once done, knead it together like dough with your hands


The final yield: a ball of butter & half a cup of buttermilk
First things first, I spread it on fresh olive bread

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”  - James Beard

Recipe for Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Garlic Shrimp

Since I had produced half a cup of buttermilk from this whole process, mashed potatoes seemed like just the thing. Topped with garlic shrimp it was the perfect easy, fast dinner.

1 1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 Tb butter
20-24 shrimp (choose quantity depending on size of shrimp; you can use fresh or frozen  either cooked or uncooked  just adjust cooking times accordingly)
1-2 Tb olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, diced
Lemon zest 
Italian parsley for garnish
Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

Ready to mash
Whether to peel or not peel your potatoes when mashing them is a entirely personal preference, but I tend to not peel them if using thin-skinned, waxy potatoes like Yukon gold. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes and add to a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook for 15-20 minutes until soft, but before they start to disintegrate at the edges.

Light and fluffy
About 5 minutes before the potatoes are done, warm the buttermilk and butter on low heat.

Then heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, add diced garlic and lemon zest and cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook until done, approximately 3-5 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the warm pot. Add buttermilk/butter mixture and use a potato ricer to combine. If a little dry, add 2-3 tablespoons more of buttermilk if you have it on hand, or use regular milk. Add pepper and salt.

Top a bowl of mashed potatoes with the garlicky shrimp and garnish with parsley and hot sauce to taste. Eat immediately.

Serves 2, with generous mashed potato leftovers

Super easy dinner is served


  1. Looks lovely! And yours was SO much less messy than mine. :-)

  2. OMG. Too dangerous! Do you have a recipe for unknowing this recipes? Mostly I'm talking about fresh butter, but the mashed potatoes too. : B