Compost to Compounding



Before you toss that last bit of chives or parsley you used for a recipe tonight or the lemon peel from the lemon in your tea this morning, think again!  Think compound as in compounded butters and oils.  

Combine those leftover scraps you may have thrown in your compost pile with a stick of softened, organic, unsalted butter or a few drizzles of your favorite healthy oil or ghee.  Infused oils and ghee as well as compounded butters serve as great flavor enhancers to any dish you are preparing.  They store well and can even be frozen for later use.  They can make your dish progress from somewhat ordinary to extraordinary by simply using what you already have or were about to throw out.


Using Ghee

Using ghee to combine with various flavors is a great option.  Ghee is a traditional cooking fat from India resulting from heating butter and removing the impurities and milk solids that rise to the top and fall to the bottom. The remainder is a delicious deep golden fluid much like butter but unique in taste.  The smoke point is higher as well and cooking with it can be easier on the digestion, perhaps due to the removal of milk solids.  



How to Make Ghee

Ghee can be purchased at your grocery stores but you can also make it yourself.  Watch this informative slideshow on how to make ghee at home:


Flavor Combinations

Here are a few compounding combinations to get you started.  If creating a flavored oil or ghee is your choice over butter, there is no need to finely mince some of these ingredients as listed below - a rough dice will do as the ingredients will be strained.  


Gather

  • If using butter, one stick of softened, organic, unsalted butter.
  • If using oil or ghee, one cup of a healthy oil or organic ghee.
  • Remaining ingredients below of flavor combination of choice.


Smokey
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper, minced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste


Citrus
  • 1 tablespoon organic peel of citrus of choice or combination of citrus peels (lime, lemon, orange), minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of citrus juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste


Italian
  • 4 tablespoons mixed minced fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (add to butter only)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced sun dried tomatoes


 Orange Asian
  • 1 teaspoon organic orange peel, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sriraka sauce or Thai chili sauce, depending on heat level you like


Almond/Honey (with butter only)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • several large dashes of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice


Now do this

If using butter:
  • Combine the ingredients well with a fork or whip up in a mini-food processor. 
  • Roll the butter up in a log formation in wax or parchment paper and fold in the ends or seal with string or rubber bands.  It keeps for two weeks.  
  • You can also freeze portions of the flavored butter as well in freezer bags.

If using oil or ghee:
  • Combine ingredients in a small pot.
  • Heat on very low for 10-20 minutes.  Do not let it burn!
  • Cool for 15-20 minutes.
  • Strain oil or ghee through a few layers of cheesecloth.
  • Store in small sealed jar in refrigerator.
  • Bring to room temperature before using.

Put It to Use

The list of uses for infused oils and ghee or compounded butters is only limited by your imagination, but here are a few ideas that come to mind:

  • Stir a tablespoon into soups.
  • Spoon over roasted or grilled vegetables.
  • Saute mushrooms.
  • Stir fry greens. 
  • Fill a baked apple (the almond honey combination only!).
  • Drizzle over your favorite grains or pasta.
  • Toss your salad with it.

Have you created infused oils or ghee?  Compounded butter combinations you would like to share? Please do so in the comments.












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