Fresh herbs aren't easy to find or grow year round, even here in the desert. It gets so hot here during the
summer that even the cactus start to look like they are going to give up and melt away by the end of August. It's difficult for me and my lack of a green thumb to keep plants alive indoors for any extended period of time, even ones as hardy as most herbs are. Right now is the time to plant many herbs and greens here in the Arizona desert even though the gardening season is coming to an end in most other regions. Just one more reason I love the Fall.
So since I adore cooking with my fresh herbs I needed to find a way to preserve them a bit longer. One way is by simply dropping a small handful of fresh herbs into a small bottle of olive oil and using as a salad dressing. Another way to keep fresh herbs around for cooking is by chopping them up and mixing them into softened butter and refrigerating or freezing for future use.
So make a big batch of fresh and creamy herbed butter and freeze in ice cube trays and you will have little herb balls of joy to throw into your saute pan whenever you want a fresh pop to your dish.
Make this herbed butter now and it would be perfect for a quick baste on your
Thanksgiving turkey, potatoes and other side dishes.
Start with fresh, creamy salted Organic butter. The salt will help preserve your herbs.
Let it sit on the counter for an hour or so until it softens.
Choose any selection of your favorite herbs. I went with an Italian theme this time.
In the bowl of your small food processor, combine softened butter and herbs. You can mix them up or just add one herb to each small batch of butter.
Pulse the butter until its smooth and creamy.
Using a small spoon, fill an ice cube tray with your herbed butter. I used small ice cube trays which hold about 1 teaspoon of butter. Then larger ice cube trays hold about a tablespoon. Cover with wax paper and freeze. If you are not going to use the butter within a short period of time I suggest taking the butter out of the freezer after a few hours and popping the frozen butter cubes into a freezer safe bag. They should keep in the freezer for months and in the fridge for several weeks.
When you are ready to use your butter simply add one of the cubes to your pan or baking dish and watch as the aromatic butter turns golden brown.
Fresh herbs really made this thinly sliced squash so aromatic and delicious.
For a different and healthy version of Friday Pizza night I made these stuffed baby portobello pizzas. Even the kids loved them since the were stuffed with Italian sausage two kinds of cheeses and fresh pizza sauce.
Use a wet cloth to clean your mushrooms. Don't rinse under the sink since mushrooms are like sponges and will absorb all of the water and become soggy while baking.
Using your fingers, pop out the stems.
I used a sweet Italian sausage for the kids but we prefer spicy Italian sausage. Simply brown the sausage in a skilled and spoon into your carved out mushrooms. Spoon on pizza sauce and sprinkle Italian cheeses such as mozzarella and Parmesan.
I use my baking stone which I looveee! It keeps oil locked in the pours of the stone so I don't need to brush my mushrooms with any additional oil. If you don't have one brush the tops of your mushrooms with a bit of oil. Put into a pre-heated oven at 400F. and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
Serve these healthy little pizzas with your sauteed Italian squash and enjoy your weekend!
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